Gritty Newsprint Effect in Adobe Photoshop | Evgeniya & Dominic Righini-Brand | Skillshare

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Gritty Newsprint Effect in Adobe Photoshop

teacher avatar Evgeniya & Dominic Righini-Brand, Graphic Design & Photography

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Introduction & Overview


    • 2.

      What You Can Use These Effects With


    • 3.

      File Preparation


    • 4.

      Building the Graphic Effect for Images


    • 5.

      Texturing Images Using This Effect


    • 6.

      Colouring Techniques: Gradient Maps


    • 7.

      Colouring Techniques: Fill Layers & Blending Modes


    • 8.

      Colouring Techniques: Fill Layers & Blend If Settings


    • 9.

      Adding a Subtle Texture to the Type


    • 10.

      Adding Imperfections to the Type


    • 11.

      Adding Halftone Pattern Texture to the Type


    • 12.

      Randomising the Type Texture


    • 13.

      Applying The Effects to Other Images


    • 14.

      Applying The Effects to Other Graphics


    • 15.

      Saving Your Work


    • 16.



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About This Class

I really love the aesthetics of old newspapers and posters and the gritty look created by halftone patterns and printing processes. And by replicating this look it in the digital environment we can add an old school character to photographs, graphics and type, which then can be used in a variety of applications, including editorial and poster design.

I am Dominic Righini-Brand, and in this class I will share a technique for creating graphic effects which imitate gritty halftone texture using smart filters in Adobe Photoshop. This class is not about the usual halftone effect in Photoshop, but a creative approach to experimental styling of photographs, designs and illustrations and giving them a gritty print-based feel!

Everything in this class deals with non-destructive smart filters and adjustments in Photoshop, so once you have built these effects, you can easily apply them to any other images or graphics with just a little bit of tweaking!

With these effects you can stylise:

  • photographs (this effect is especially great for portrait, documentary and sports photography);
  • other types of images with a tonal range (such as pencil drawings or found images and prints);
  • typographic, calligraphic & lettering compositions;
  • solid colour graphics, including vector illustrations.

In this class you will lean how to:

  • build a newsprint effect for images;
  • build a newsprint effect for type and vector graphics;
  • colourise images and graphics which have these effects applied to them;
  • quickly apply these effects to other images and graphics.

I cannot wait to see what you create with these techniques, join in now and let’s make something awesome!

* This technique can be used in Adobe Photoshop CC and should also work fine in CS5 & CS6 versions, though it has not been tested.

Meet Your Teacher

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Evgeniya & Dominic Righini-Brand

Graphic Design & Photography

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1. Introduction & Overview: I really love the aesthetic of old newspapers and posters and the gritty look created by haft time patterns and printing processes. By replicating this look in the digital environment, we can add an old-school character to photographs, graphics, and type, which can then be used in a variety of applications including editorial and posted design. This is dominate from attitude creative, and in this class I will share my approach to experimental styling of photographs and designs to create a gritty print based fail. Everything in this class is done purely within Photoshop and deals with non-destructive smart filters. So once you have built these effects, you can easily apply them to other images or graphics with just a little bit of tweaking. I cannot wait to see what you create with these techniques. Join now and let's make something awesome. 2. What You Can Use These Effects With: In this course, we'll be creating two complimentary effects. The first one deals with photographs and other types of images which have a good tonal range, and the second is designed to work with solid shapes like typing graphic elements in one color. The fast effect is best for photographs which have a good exposure or tonal range, focus, and a shallow depth of field. Its aesthetics are perfect for any sports, documentary, portraiture, and close-ups. But it does not work so well with gigantic landscapes with lots of minute details. You can also use it with any other images with a tonal range, for example, pencil drawings or found vintage lithographic prints. As for the second effect, it can work with any solid color graphics. So you can use anything you want. Depending on the image you're using, the first effect might need to be adjusted to work well if it's tonal range. So to start with and to build up the initial effect, I recommend you download the same photograph I'm using to practice and see how they effect works. Then you can easily replace the source and experiment with your own images and tweak the settings of the effect where necessary. So follow the link in the notes to download this photograph, and let's start. 3. File Preparation: As with all effects built in Photoshop, the look you create will depend on the size of the image, type or graphics the effect is applied to. Depending on how subtle or pronounced you want the effect to be, you will need to set up your file accordingly. The bigger the image, the smaller the details you will have. If you want your effect to be very subtle, taking into account the minimum values the effects can be set to. You will need to work with an image which is larger than the intended outcome and then scale it down afterwards. For demonstration, I'm going to create a new file in an A3 format because it allows enough scope for playing with the minimum and maximum settings in the filters. I recommend you do the same to start with, to create the same effect and to follow the tutorial before experimenting and going in your own direction. When you create a new document, make sure it's set to RGB Color mode and the resolution is set to 300 dpi. Create a new document and save it straightaway under a descriptive name. Make sure to specify the desired location and select PSD file format here. Click "Save". Now go to the Layers panel. If it's not open, go to the menu window, Layers. In the last panel, select the Background layer, right click on it and select Convert to Smart Object. Smart Objects are instrumental and in applying effects and adjustments to images or type in a nondestructive manner. Also make it possible to easily swap the images around and to edit the text whereas keeping all the effects intact. So this is the smart object into which we are going to be placing the image. Rename the layer to something descriptive so you can easily navigate through your document. Then double-click on the layers frame now. This will open the contents of the smart object in a separate document. Now, open the image you want to apply the effect to in Photoshop. Select the whole image by pressing "Command A" or "Control A" in windows and then copy the selection by pressing "Command C" or "Control C" in windows. Then go to the Smart Object document and paste the image into it by pressing "Command V" or "Control V" in Windows. The image will be pasted into the document as a new layer. Now or you can delete the background layer as we won't be needing it. The image is slightly smaller than our document, so we need to resize it. Select the image layer on the Layers panel and press "Command T" or "Control T" in windows to activate the free transform tool. Whilst holding down the Alt and Shift keys, drag the corner of the bounding box out and resize the image covering the entire document. Holding down the Shift key when resizing constraints the proportions of the image and holding down the Alt key scales it in relation to the reference point sets to the center here. You can also move the image around by holding down the mouse button, whilst dragging it or nudge or into place using the arrow keys like this. When you're happy with the size and position of the image, press "Enter" to apply the changes and exit the free transform mode. Now we're done editing our Smart Object Document. We need to save it to automatically update our main documents. Press "Command S" or "Control S" if you're working in windows to save it and see your changes in the main document. You can now close the smart object document. It can be opened again from the main document if you need to make any changes to it later. We can now start building the graphic effect. 4. Building the Graphic Effect for Images: Before we can start working with the filters, we also need to save the main document by pressing command S. This stage can be quite power intensive. If you have a lot of apps running at the same time as Photoshop, it might be a good idea to close them now. If necessary, dedicate more RAM to Photoshop in your Photoshop preferences. In any case, it may take some time to render previews and apply changes. Be patient because the results are worth it. Now, makes sure that in the Tools Panel, foreground color is set to black. Double-click on it and check that you have zeros in the hex color value here. Then open the color picker for the background color and make sure that it is set to white with fs here. This is really important because otherwise the effects won't work properly. Pay attention to your colors. Now, select your smart object layer with the image and go to menu, Filter, and choose Filter Gallery. Here, we need to have two effects. If you only have one effect on the list, click on the new effects Layer button to add another one. If you have more than two effects here, then you need to delete the extra ones using the delete effect layer button. Now select the bottom effect. Go to the Sketch section here and set it to Halftone Pattern. Then select the one on the top and set it to Reticulation from the same section. Make sure both effects are visible. Here, we've got a preview of our effects. Set it to about 33 percent so we can see our effect. The document should now look close to how it would appear if it was printed in its original size. When we first pick these effects, the image might not look good at all, so we need to adjust the settings until we get the look where after. Let's start with a Halftone Pattern settings. First of all, let's set the pattern type here to Dot, to imitate a print Halftone Pattern. Then we need to set up the eyes and contrast. If you hide the visibility of the Reticulation effect, you'll be able to see better the changes when editing the settings. Both these settings are fairly self-explanatory. With the higher values, you get bigger dots and higher contrast between the dots and the background. Because we'll be applying second effect on top of the Halftone Pattern, I'll set both the size and contrast to five. But you can always check out other values too. Just remember that with a high contrast here, you'll start losing the details in your image, which might work sometimes. But it all depends on image you're working with and the look you're after. Now, let's turn the visibility of the Reticulation effect back on and set it up. The Reticulation effect simulates the clumping of a motion on photographic prints and is based on the overall lightness and darkness of the image, and the levels of contrast within it. Because of that, it does not look great when it is applied to images with a continuous tone or solid colors. With lower density values, you get darker images with dense grain. If higher values, the grain appears dispersed. The foreground and background levels control the contrast of the image and use the colors set in the document. With black set as the foreground color, increasing the foreground levels makes the image darker. With white set as the background color, increasing the background level makes the image lighter. Again, depending on the image you're using, you can play around with these settings to create your desired effect. I'll set the density to 14 and both the foreground and background levels to eight. For this image, these settings look good to me. But if you want, you can try out different dot sizes in the Halftone Pattern settings to bring in more details, but lose a bit of the Halftone Pattern texture or make the Halftone more apparent but lose some of the details instead. I'll be sticking to five for the dot size as it looks just right for me. When you're done setting everything up, press OK to apply the effects to the document. You can see that these effects were added to the smart filter in the Layers panel. You can edit the effects at anytime by double-clicking on the filter gallery item here. 5. Texturing Images Using This Effect: This image looks great as it is now, but you can also color it or use this effect to texture the original photograph to give it a printed look. The fact that filters are applied a smart effects and that they exist separately from the image, allows us to change the way they blend together with the image they're applied to. On the layers panel next to every effect, you'll see this icon. If you double-click on it, you'll get this basic blending options window. Here, you can change the blending mode of the texture created by this effect and the opacity of the effect, if necessary. Be sure to check out multiply, screen, overlay, soft light and luminosity modes, and see the range of effects you can create. You can also turn down the opacity, if you want a subtler effect. You can also try other blending modes to create different looks, but these ones are our favorites. Now, let's have a look at how we can color this image. To make all of the following methods work properly, make sure to set the blending mode of the effect to normal and set the capacity to 100 percent. 6. Colouring Techniques: Gradient Maps: The black and white version of the image and all these text string options are great. But coloring it can make it even more exciting and give it a more graphic look and offer even more opportunities for using it. There are a number of ways that you can color an image like this, depending on how you want to use it and how far you want to push it graphically. The first method I want to show you is the Gradient Map Adjustment. On the lowest panel, click on the "Create New Fill" or adjustment layer button here and select "Gradient Map" from the list. This will create a new adjustment layer on the Layers panel and the Gradient Map properties should automatically open. Make sure the Gradient Map layer is above the smart object layer that you want to color. Now click on the "Gradient" to open the gradient editor. Here, you can either pick a gradient from the presets or set to own colors by double-clicking on the color stops and selecting a color on the color picker. Gradient Map works for replacing the colors from the original image based on their brightness in gray-scale with the equivalent colors from the set gradient. So the left stop affects the dark colors in your image and the right one affects the highlights. You can add any gradients you create to the presets by clicking on the "New" button here. This will make it easier to look through different options. Click "Okay" to apply the gradient map to your work. In the Gradient Map Properties panel, you can also swap the gradient colors around and creates an inverted look. This is faster than moving the color stops in the gradient. The great thing about using adjustment layers is that you can adjust the settings at anytime and easily create many different versions without destroying your original work or drastically increasing the file size. Let's hide or even delete this Gradient Map layer and have a look at other coloring methods. 7. Colouring Techniques: Fill Layers & Blending Modes: Again, go to the create new fill or adjustment layer button and select "Solid Color". Select any color you want to use, and click "OK". As always, make sure the fill layer is above the smart object you want to color. Now, if you change the blending mode for the color fill layer, you will be able to colorize the image below. That is a number of different looks you can create using blending modes, so try them out and see what works best for you. Be sure to check out Darken, Multiply, Lighten, Screen, Overlay, Soft Light, Divide, and Color. These usually create some interesting results. Also, don't forget, you can edit the fill color at any time and see how it affects the image in real time. 8. Colouring Techniques: Fill Layers & Blend If Settings: Another coloring method I want to show you involves more variables and allows you to add a background to the image and make the image appear overprinted. Let's start by adding a background. You can use a solid color, a gradient, some nice texture, or another image. I'm going to keep it simple and creates new colorful layer and set it to the color I want to try out first. To make it act as my background, I need to put this layer underneath the smart object. At the moment, we cannot see through the image, so we need to get rid of the background color in it. To do this firstly, let's hide this fill color layer for now so that it does not confuse us. Now, let's select smart object layer, right click on it and from the menu here, select blending options. Check preview here to be able to see the changes. Now, in the main blending options section, we need to work with the blend if settings. Make sure it is set to gray here, and on the top slider, move the white toggle to the left. The further you move the toggle to the left, the more transparency you create in your image instead of the white color and highlights. You can also split this toggle by dragging one of its parts sideways whilst holding down the alt key to better control the level of transparency of highlights and midtones. Click okay when you are ready to apply the changes. Remember that you can always adjust the blending options further by double-clicking on this icon here. Let's color this image. But this time, let's use the gradient fill instead. When you add a gradient fill layer, this menu opens which allows you to set your gradient the way you want it to be. Click on the gradient to open the gradient editor window. It is absolutely the same as what we've seen when working with the gradient map. Again, we can set up your gradient here. Two colors look nice, but you can add more color stocks to your gradients like this to make it look more funky. Click okay when you're done with the gradient editor. Whilst the gradient fill window is still open, you can pick the gradient style from the menu here, and then further adjust the gradient scale and angle and move it around holding down your mouse button like this. You can also reverse your gradient or reset the alignment to its default setting. When you're done here, click okay. If you need to edit your gradient fill, as always just double-click on the thumbnail in the layers panel. Now, we can use the gradient fill to color our image. But to do that, first of all we need to select our smart object layer and put it into a group on its own by pressing command J or control J in Windows. This is a necessary step because otherwise you will not be able to utilize the transparency in the image when coloring it. Now, having smart objects in a group on its own and having the gradient fill layer above the group, hold down alt key and click between them when this arrow appears. This will use the smart object layer as a mask of the fill layer above, and the fill will only affect non-transparent areas in the smart object. When you apply the color this way using the blend if settings, your image is interpreted as having only a solid color which will be filled with the gradient and the transparency which will stay transparent. If you want to bring in more tonal range from the image, you can set the blending mode of the color fill layer to something else rather than normal, in a similar way to what we've already done before. 9. Adding a Subtle Texture to the Type: Now, let's create a complimentary effect which you can use texture type in any solid color shapes, including vector graphics pasted from Illustrator. Start by creating a new empty layer and then right-click on it and select Convert to Smart Object. Then double-click on its thumbnail to edit the smart object contents. In this document, let's quickly typeset some text. You can also copy and paste some type compositions or vector graphics from Illustrator. In any case, make sure that whatever you have in this document is 100 percent black. So either set the color in the characters panel or if you're using any vector smart objects, go to the Effect button here in the Layers panel and select Color Overlay and set color here to black. Now, let's save this document and go and build our texturing effect. In the main document, make sure that the foreground color is still set to black and your background color is set to white. Then, select the smart object you've just been working on and go to the Filter menu and select Filter Gallery. This should load the filters you've used last with the same settings. Here, you should see what we've set up for our photograph effect. Now, instead of an image with a tonal range which is nicely interpreted by these filters, we have got a flat one color shape. So texturing takes a few steps depending on how far you want to take the texture. Here, we've got this, which might not look that exciting to you, but is the lightest texture with this effect, it's quite good. Let's apply the effect and see how it works and what we can do with it. The same way as with the photograph, to be able to color and keep the texture, we need to put the smart object into a group on its own so that we can use the Blend If settings to bring out the texture. Before we start looking into Blend If, again, let's add a new color fill layer and pick a color so that it is more representative of what we want to create in the end. Okay. Now, make sure that the fill layer is above our group with the text and if not, drag it up there and clip it to it by Alt clicking in between. Now, let's right-click on this type layer and go to the Blending Options. In the Blend If settings, we need to move the white toggle to the left and split it in two by dragging parts of it once holding down the Alt key. I quite like how it looks now, but you can play around further with the settings and we're no way finished with the texture yet anyway. This will do for now. 10. Adding Imperfections to the Type: This grainy texture looks rather subtle, and it can work nicely in some cases but we're going to keep developing it further. Firstly, let's make the text look a bit less digital by adding a couple of effects. Select the text smart object layer and go to the menu, filter, distort, and select "Ripple." Depending on the size of your typographic, you might want to play around with the different settings here. But for this, I'll pick a medium-size and set it to 30 percent. Click "Okay." Now on the layers panel, we need to drag this effect and put it onto the filter gallery effects so that it is applied first. You can see that the edges become a bit more uneven. Now, let's pick another filter. In the Filter menu, go to noise, and select "Median." Median noise is designed to reduce noise in images by blending pixels together but it works well for averaging and rounding shapes like this. So just a little bit of it, three percent is enough to remove the sharp edges of the letters and make it look imperfect. Let's apply this effect, and then on the layers panel, move it to the bottom of the stack so applies first. You can also put it above the ripple effect if you want to average the rippled edges. This already looks a bit more lively. Now, let's go back to our filter gallery effects by double-clicking here and see what else we can do with the texture. 11. Adding Halftone Pattern Texture to the Type: To create a rough halftone texture, we will be needing one more effect. So add a new effect to the stack and set it to torn edges from the sketch section. Well, this is also a pretty cool texture but it's not really what we're after. To get the effect we want, we need to first of all put the reticulation effect at the bottom of the stack. Then we need to go and adjust all the settings. Let's start with the torn edges. The contrast in the torn edges controls the balance between dark and light areas. Smoothness controls the appearance of the particles, with higher values the shapes become more defined. Image balance controls the threshold of what will be considered black and what will be considered white. After experimenting with this a lot, I know that I want to set the image balance to 49, smoothness to 14, and contrast to 12. Now we've got a bit more aware in the type, but it does not look like a halftone. So we need to adjust the reticulation density. If you turn it up, you'll start to see the halftone pattern as it should be. Now you can also edit the halftone pattern settings if you want. This looks good, but this overall coverage is not that exciting. So let's apply the effect and have a look how we can randomize this texture. 12. Randomising the Type Texture: Select the Text Smart Object and make sure that your foreground color is still black, and the background color is white. Then go to the menu Filter, Render and select Difference Clouds. Drag them right onto the Filter Gallery effect, on the Layers panel. Now it's a bit more patchy. If you double-click on the Difference Clouds effect here, it will re-render them and you'll get a different texture every time. There might still be too much texture coming through, and we can adjust it further. If we go to the text smart object and add an Inner Glow to this text from this menu on the Layers panel. Here, set the Blend Mode to normal, Opacity to 100 percent, and the color to white. Set Technique to softer, Source to edge, and play around with these settings. I'll set Choke to 13 and Size to 48. Set Contour either to linear or half round, and adjust Range how you like it. This looks good to me. Save the document to see the changes. Basically, the white and black areas created by the Inner Glow here, interact with the Difference Clouds in the main document, and allow you to create a more patchy texture. I feel the dots here a bit too big for my liking. I'll go here and adjust the size of them in the Halftone Pattern settings. 13. Applying The Effects to Other Images: Now you've got your two effects ready. You can easily apply the first texturing effect to other photographs or images with a tonal range. The second texturing effect can be applied to any other type compositions or solid color graphic shapes, including vector objects created in Illustrator. To replace the photograph of a different picture, open the smart object document with the photograph. Now copy and paste the new image into the smart object document. Then resize it and move it as necessary. When you're done, save this file and wait for the update to come through in the main document. You might need to adjust some of the filter settings depending on the tones used in the new image. Double-click on the Filter Gallery effects on the Layers panel here and play around with the settings in the effects window. Remember to zoom out to about 33 percent to see the picture and the changes that you make better. Start with reticulation settings and work on the the levels first to get the tone you like. Change one thing at a time with little steps and see what happens, rather than moving the sliders too far away. Good results come from trial and error. So experiment and see where it takes you. If the tonal range of the new image is drastically different from the previous one, you might also want to adjust the Blend If settings of the new image by clicking on the icon here. If your new image is either faint or has too much contrast and you cannot compensate for it using the reticulation level settings, you can also adjust your image outside of the filters. To make this work in older versions of Photoshop, you will need to apply the changes to the image inside the smart object. In this document, select the top layer and then go to the create new fill or adjustment layer button and select Levels. Adjust the levels how you need to bring as much detail and texture in your image as you want. Then save this document and see how the changes you've made affect the image in the main document. If you're using Photoshop Creative Cloud, you can add a smart object effect to the image in the main document by selecting the smart object and going to the menu, Image, Adjustments, and selecting Levels. When they are added, you will need to move them to the bottom of the effects stack so that the levels are applied before any other effect. This method is better because you can see any changes without a need to save anything or to go from one document to another. But smart adjustments are only available in Photoshop Creative Cloud versions. 14. Applying The Effects to Other Graphics: If you need to apply the same effect you've applied to text to any other type of vector object, then you can copy this smart object. But here's a little trick. If you just copy the smart object layer the usual way, it will duplicate it and it will lead to the same smart object contents. This is really useful if you need to have copies of the same object to be able to update them dynamically. That's not what we're doing. So to create an independent copy of this layer, you need to select it on the last panel, right-click on it, and from the menu, select new smart object via copy. Now if you go and modify the contents of this object, the original one won't be changed. So let's do that. If you want to apply the same effect to different text, you can just edit the text here, the usual way. But if you want to apply it to some other object, then you'll need to copy the layer styles across. So create or paste a new solid color object. You can draw it here. Or copy and paste something from Illustrator, or add something from your creative Cloud library. That's what I'll do. Now, I'll right-click on the text layer and select copy layer styles here, and then apply them to my other layer by right-clicking on it and selecting paste layer styles. After that, you can delete or hide the text layer so that it is not visible in the document. Now, depending on the style of the graphics you've got here, you might want to go and adjust the inner glow settings. When you're done here, save the file and see the changes in the main documents. Now you can also adjust the effects here. If you have small details, you might want to reduce ripple and medium blur not to distort your graphics too much. You can also randomize difference Clouds by double-clicking on them. Of course, you can edit the blend if settings if too much or too little texture is coming through. Then revisit the filter gallery effects to finalize the look if necessary. To color a few different smart objects in the same color, simply put them in the same group like here. If you have a number of different smart objects in your document, you can also color them individually by putting them in separate groups and then clipping different fiII layers to them. You can also have a bit more fun by manually painting different elements of the same object in different colors. To do that, instead of using a fill color layer, you need to have a regular rasterized layer. To rasterize a color fill layer, right click on it and select rasterize layer. Make sure you have the layer selected and not the mask. Now you can draw on this layer using the brush tool. So set the foreground color on the tools panel to any color you like. Select to your desired brush shape and size and color any elements you need. If you need to move the object afterwards, make sure that you move both the object and the layer with the colors on it together. To make it easier, you can group them together. 15. Saving Your Work: When you're done with your work, save your development file as a PSD to keep it so that you can easily and quickly create the same effect in future. Then, save your work in JPEG or PNG format if you're planning to put your work online, or save it as a TIFF or PDF if you want to print it. If you are working in larger format than your intended final output, to be able to have smaller details in your image, then open your flattened file you've just saved, go to menu Image, Image Size, and resize it to the desired size here. Apply changes, and save your document, and you're done. 16. Conclusion: Play around with applying this effect to any individual photographs, type compositions, illustrations, or combine them together and create some awesome posters, scenes, or anything else you can think of. If you enjoy learning how to create different graphic effects in Photoshop, don't hesitate, checkout out our classes in creating screen printing grain effect and the line engraving effect, which also show a great methods of stylizing images or preparing them for printing. So that's it for this class. I hope you've enjoyed it and learn something new. If you liked this class, please leave a review so more people can discover it. If you have any questions leave a comment on the Community board for this class, and I'll happily answer it and provide feedback. I cannot wait to see how you use these techniques and hear about your experience. Make sure to post your work in the Project section for this class and if you're going to share your work on Instagram, please tag attitudeskills so we can see it there too. Also don't hesitate to follow our page on Facebook. To see what we're up to, get all the latest updates. Send us private messages if you need to get in contact and ask about something and not to miss if you're featured in our students spotlight gallery. Thank you for watching this class and I hope to see you in our other classes.