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Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training
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Using layer masks to combine images


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Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training

with Jan Kabili

Video: Using layer masks to combine images

One use of layer Masks is to combine photos here in the Full Edit workspace into multi-layered composite images. In this example, I'll show you how to use that technique to switch out a background on one image for a more interesting background on another. Let's start by taking a look at my Project Bin. If your Project Bin isn't open, you can click on its tab to expand it here at the bottom of the Full Edit workspace and notice that my Project Bin is set to Show Open Files which is the default. I've opened two files into the Full Edit workspace; this photo of my daughter Kate by photographer Roddy Macinnes and this photo of a rainy pond.
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  1. 11m 0s
    1. Welcome
      1m 18s
    2. What is Photoshop Elements?
      3m 47s
    3. Touring the workspaces
      5m 55s
  2. 54m 16s
    1. Working with catalogs
      5m 22s
    2. Importing and using the exercise files
      5m 13s
    3. Importing files from your computer
      7m 31s
    4. Importing photos from your camera
      8m 57s
    5. Importing photos from iPhoto (Mac only)
      4m 44s
    6. Importing files from external drives/CDs/DVDs
      4m 44s
    7. Scanning photos
      6m 50s
    8. Dividing scanned photos
      5m 51s
    9. Importing from watch folders (Windows only)
      5m 4s
  3. 39m 10s
    1. Touring the Organizer
      6m 41s
    2. Viewing thumbnails
      6m 15s
    3. Rotating photos
      52s
    4. Renaming photos
      2m 55s
    5. Fixing photo dates
      2m 28s
    6. Hiding and deleting photos
      4m 6s
    7. Stacking photos
      4m 22s
    8. Moving files
      2m 43s
    9. Reconnecting missing files
      4m 53s
    10. Using Help
      3m 55s
  4. 54m 22s
    1. Rating photos
      3m 58s
    2. Applying and organizing keyword tags
      7m 4s
    3. Searching by keyword tags
      3m 35s
    4. Tagging with People Recognition
      11m 3s
    5. Using Smart Tags
      5m 57s
    6. Creating albums
      4m 41s
    7. Creating Smart Albums
      6m 28s
    8. Searching by text
      5m 28s
    9. Using the Find menu
      4m 19s
    10. Using the Timeline
      1m 49s
  5. 30m 14s
    1. Viewing slideshows in Full Screen view
      4m 21s
    2. Working with photos in Full Screen view
      9m 20s
    3. Comparing photos
      5m 56s
    4. Viewing by date
      3m 18s
    5. Mapping photos (Windows only)
      7m 19s
  6. 38m 36s
    1. Applying Photo Fix
      9m 0s
    2. The Quick Fix interface
      7m 9s
    3. The Quick Fix controls
      5m 22s
    4. Adjusting lighting in Quick Fix
      3m 46s
    5. Adjusting color in Quick Fix
      5m 39s
    6. Using the Touch Up tools in Quick Fix
      7m 40s
  7. 43m 43s
    1. Guided Edit basics
      8m 13s
    2. Making an Out of Bounds image
      10m 17s
    3. Perfecting a portrait
      7m 43s
    4. Adding realistic reflections
      5m 26s
    5. Applying a LOMO camera effect
      2m 0s
    6. Making pop art
      1m 31s
    7. Using Style Match
      8m 33s
  8. 1h 20m
    1. Full Edit workspace overview
      6m 51s
    2. Working with tabbed documents
      4m 51s
    3. Using tools
      7m 40s
    4. Arranging panels
      5m 18s
    5. Setting preferences
      3m 41s
    6. Using Undo History
      6m 39s
    7. Zooming and navigating
      7m 4s
    8. Creating a blank file
      5m 19s
    9. Photo resizing and resolution
      8m 9s
    10. Cropping and straightening photos
      7m 15s
    11. Recomposing photos
      8m 15s
    12. Enlarging the canvas
      3m 27s
    13. Saving and formats
      5m 46s
  9. 35m 4s
    1. Understanding layers
      7m 17s
    2. Working in the Layers panel
      5m 21s
    3. Using layer masks
      7m 43s
    4. Using layer masks to combine images
      6m 27s
    5. Building composites
      8m 16s
  10. 20m 58s
    1. Selection basics
      3m 22s
    2. Manual selection tools
      3m 19s
    3. Automatic selection tools
      7m 24s
    4. Refining selection edges
      3m 30s
    5. Saving selections
      3m 23s
  11. 1h 21m
    1. Color managing
      7m 14s
    2. Applying Shadow/Highlight adjustments
      2m 42s
    3. Using adjustment layers
      8m 24s
    4. Masking adjustment layers
      7m 38s
    5. Adding a Levels adjustment layer
      6m 8s
    6. Adding a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer
      5m 56s
    7. Adjusting with Color Curves
      4m 14s
    8. Removing a color cast
      3m 37s
    9. Reducing digital noise
      4m 7s
    10. Sharpening photos
      7m 32s
    11. Processing multiple files
      7m 59s
    12. Working with raw photos
      15m 57s
  12. 18m 34s
    1. Using the Smart Brush tools
      6m 16s
    2. Dodging and burning
      2m 29s
    3. Retouching blemishes
      4m 29s
    4. Content-aware healing
      2m 31s
    5. Removing content with the Clone Stamp tool
      2m 49s
  13. 25m 53s
    1. Applying filters
      5m 36s
    2. Adding effects
      2m 34s
    3. Using layer styles
      7m 23s
    4. Using shapes
      4m 46s
    5. Using the Cookie Cutter tool
      2m 19s
    6. Converting color to black and white
      3m 15s
  14. 11m 25s
    1. Creating text
      7m 1s
    2. Editing text
      4m 24s
  15. 1h 25m
    1. Creating a photo collage
      8m 38s
    2. Fine-tuning a photo collage
      8m 3s
    3. Creating greeting cards
      8m 34s
    4. Creating photo calendars
      9m 28s
    5. Creating CD/DVD jackets and labels
      7m 43s
    6. Creating a photo book
      7m 44s
    7. Fine-tuning a photo book
      7m 11s
    8. Creating a slideshow (Windows only)
      8m 0s
    9. Fine-tuning a slideshow (Windows only)
      3m 23s
    10. Creating a flip book (Windows only)
      2m 47s
    11. End to end: Making a scrapbook page
      8m 15s
    12. End to end: Completing a scrapbook page
      5m 24s
  16. 49m 27s
    1. Printing photos
      8m 38s
    2. Contact sheets and picture packages (Windows only)
      6m 40s
    3. Sharing photos by email
      6m 38s
    4. Sharing photos by Photo Mail (Windows only)
      5m 8s
    5. Sharing to Flickr and Facebook
      4m 43s
    6. Saving images for the web
      6m 48s
    7. Signing up for Photoshop.com
      2m 55s
    8. Sharing online albums at Photoshop.com
      5m 4s
    9. Backing up
      2m 53s
  17. 38s
    1. Goodbye
      38s

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Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training
11h 20m Beginner Nov 23, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training, Jan Kabili highlights the key features of this comprehensive image organization and photo enhancement application. She shows how to correct and enhance photographs, and how to organize a growing collection of digital photos. The course also explains how to use photos in creative projects like photo books, calendars, and greeting cards, and how to share work online and in print. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Downloading files from a digital camera
  • Importing photos into an Elements catalog
  • Applying keyword tags
  • Organizing photos into albums and Smart Albums
  • Automatically adjusting photos in Quick Fix
  • Walking through Guided Edit photo techniques
  • Understanding photo resizing and resolution
  • Cropping and straightening photos
  • Making and refining selections
  • Correcting photos in the Full Edit workspace
  • Applying image sharpening
  • Adding text and special effects
  • Creating photo projects, such as greeting cards and calendars
Subject:
Photography
Software:
Photoshop Elements Elements
Author:
Jan Kabili

Using layer masks to combine images

One use of layer Masks is to combine photos here in the Full Edit workspace into multi-layered composite images. In this example, I'll show you how to use that technique to switch out a background on one image for a more interesting background on another. Let's start by taking a look at my Project Bin. If your Project Bin isn't open, you can click on its tab to expand it here at the bottom of the Full Edit workspace and notice that my Project Bin is set to Show Open Files which is the default. I've opened two files into the Full Edit workspace; this photo of my daughter Kate by photographer Roddy Macinnes and this photo of a rainy pond.

I'm going to use a layer Mask to combine these two photos in a way that's nondestructive of both photos and that's editable. The first step is to combine the two photos into one document. Right now, you can see that there is only a single layer in the rainy pond image. I'm going to bring the photo of Kate into this pond image. There are several ways to do that. I think the easiest way is from the Project Bin. I'll click on the Kate thumbnail in the Project Bin and then I'll drag up and into the rainy pond image in the Document window.

It's really important to get all the way inside the rainy pond image. It wouldn't be enough if I released my mouse down here. I need to bring it all the way inside the image and then I'll release my mouse. Now you can see in the layers panel that in the pond image, there are two layers, a brand-new layer that was made automatically for me that contains the photo of Kate and notice that that layer is automatically named with the name of the kate-4.jpg photo. So that's nice because I don't have to bother changing that layer name and then I have the background layer below that still has the photo of the pond.

So what I want to do is to hide this area around the umbrella and around Kate, so that we can see down through that area to the pond on the layer below. Now there are a couple of ways to use a layer Mask for this purpose. As I showed you in the preceding movie, I could first add a layer Mask and then I could select this area here and fill it with black on the layer Mask. But if I want to save a step, I can make a selection first and then add a layer Mask and that will save me time because the layer Mask will come in with black paint already applied to the non-selected area.

So I'm going to do it that way for the sake of efficiency and to show you a different approach than I showed you in the last movie. So the first step is to make a selection. I'm going to select the umbrella and Kate. I can use any of the selection tools to do that, but I think in this case, the easiest tool to use will be the Quick Selection tool, which selects based on color and tone and is smart enough to see edges as well. I'll go over to the toolbar and I'll get the Quick Selection tool, then I'll move my mouse into the image and I'm going to make the brush tip really small because this tool works best with a small brush tip.

So I'll use the Left Bracket key on my keyboard, pressing several times to make the brush tip small. Then I'll click on the umbrella and I'll start dragging and as I drag, the Quick Selection tool automatically selects similar color and tone. If I miss a bit, I can just click and drag to add to the selection and if I've included a bit in the selection that I don't want, like the green grass here, I can go up to the options bar and click on the minus icon and then come into the image I'll make my brush even smaller by pressing the Left Bracket key a couple of more times and I'll click and drag to remove that little bit of grass from the selection.

Now, if I were trying to make a really good selection, at this point I would click the Refine Edge button and try to smooth out the edge of this selection. I'll show you how to do that in a later movie, but for purposes of this layer Mask technique, let's just move on with this rough selection. Now that I have that selection active, I'm going to add a layer Mask. I'll go to the layers panel and I'll make sure that the Kate layer is still targeted there and then I'll go down to the bottom of the layers panel and click the Add layer Mask icon. The layer mask represented by this thumbnail on the Kate layer comes in with black paint already added to the non-selected area.

As you can see in the image where there is black paint on that layer mask, it's hiding the content of the Kate layer, the layer to which the layer mask is attached. I can still see the rest of the Kate layer, because in that area the layer Mask is white. If you're wondering why I didn't just select this area over here and delete it from the Kate layer, the answers are the same as those I gave you in the last movie that using a layer Mask is both nondestructive of the Kate image and gives me the chance to come in and do some editing to the mask.

So if I wanted to make this edge softer, I might get the Brush tool and paint with black or white along this edge to try to make it a little smoother. Here's another way that I can smooth out the edge of a mask after I've created it. I can apply a filter to the mask. To show you that, I'll go back to the layers panel and I'll double-check that there is a thin border around the layer Mask thumbnail which means that I have the mask selected, not the photo on that layer. Then I am going to go up to the Filter menu and I am going to go to the Blur category of Filters and I'm going to choose the Gaussian Blur Filter.

Here I have a preview of the layer Mask which I can drag into View by clicking and dragging. When I have my mouse pressed down on that preview, it's showing me the edge of the mask before I've added any blur to it. So as you can see, there's a really jaggedy sharp edge there. But when I release my mouse you can see how that edge will look with this Gaussian Blur Filter applied at this particular radius. I can play with this radius, but I don't want to make it too high or that edge will be too blurry. I think I am going to leave it at two because I like the preview that I'm seeing over here in the Document window.

If you don't see a soft edge there, then go back to the Gaussian Blur dialog box and make sure there's a check mark in Preview, which allows me to see the results of applying Gaussian Blur here in the document and then I'll click OK. Now when I go to save this image, I want to be sure that I save it in a format that retains layers, so that I can come back in and rework the layer Mask if I need to. So I'll save in the Photoshop document format, not in the JPG format which flattens layers, so that I'd no longer have access to the layer Mask. So that's a simple example of using a layer Mask to combine two photographs into a composite.

I'd like to show you a variation on this technique in the next movie in which I am going to use a gradient on a layer Mask to make a soft gradual transition between two images in a composite.

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