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Deke's Techniques is a collection of short Photoshop and Illustrator projects and creative effects that can be completed in ten minutes or less. The series is taught by computer graphics guru Deke McClelland, and presented in his signature step-by-step style. The intent is to reveal how various Photoshop and Illustrator features can be combined and leveraged in real-world examples so that they can be applied to creative projects right away.
In the previous movie, we managed to reconstitute a lot of our couple using repeated applications of the Color Range command. However, we've gotten to a point where automation is no longer going to serve our purposes, and now we have to resort to hand-masking--that is, painting with the Brush tool along with the Smudge tool inside the layer mask. This may sound like an inefficient approach; however, it turns out to be not only wildly efficient but also very obvious, and it's a kind of masking technique that you can go to when just absolutely nothing else will work.
So I am going to zoom in to left half of Mary's face. And we've got some rough details down here in the knuckle region, along the jaw, along the top of the dress strap too. If you Alt+Click or Option+Click on that layer mask thumbnail, you will see that this area is just an absolute mess. So I am going to grab my Brush tool, which I can get by pressing the B key, and then I will right-click inside the image window. Make sure my Hardness value is cranked up to 100%--very important for this technique--and then I'll press the X key to change my foreground color to black, and I'm going to paint over all that stuff that's bad. Just paint it away.
Now, I'm going to Alt+Click, or Option+ Click on that layer mask thumbnail again so that I can see the image, and I am going to note the location of that shoulder region right there where it cuts off. Actually, I will draw a marquee around it like so and maybe move it over just a little bit. Now, I'm going to Shift+Click on the layer mask thumbnail to turn it off. But notice it's still active. You can still paint inside of it even though you can't see what you're doing. Once you get a feel for how this works, it's an amazing technique. It's the kind of stuff I do all the time.
So I'm going to switch over to the Brush tool, press the X key to make my foreground color white, and then I will go ahead and click right about there, in the shoulder, maybe Shift+ Click down a little bit as well. Let's go ahead and zoom in on this dress detail. Reduce the size of your cursor so that it matches one of the lumps in this dress strap, and you can change the size of the cursor using the square bracket keys. So the left bracket key makes it smaller, the right bracket key makes it bigger. I will click and then I will Shift+Click to paint a straight line right there. I will click at that location as well, reduce the size of my cursor a little bit, click there, increase the size of my cursor a little bit, click there, Shift+Click down. And so I'm working blind.
This is faith-based healing at this point. I'm just hoping that I'm doing everything right. But I do have the right tool selected, the Brush tool, and I am painting with white because I can see that at the bottom of the toolbox, so everything should be working. I will go ahead and click there on that finger, maybe Shift+Click right about there, click on the knuckle, Shift+Click up a little bit, Shift+Click over. Oh! I won't be painting anything anymore because I have the selection outline going, so I have to press Ctrl+D or Command+D on a Mac to deselect the image. Let's try clicking there, Shift+Clicking up a little bit, Shift+Clicking at that location.
Let's see what we have. I will Shift+Click on the layer mask so that I can see what I've done, and then I will go ahead and paint some of these rough areas away--that is, these areas that remain invisible inside of Mary's hand. This is turning out to work beautifully, actually, at this point. I'll Shift+Click on the layer mask thumbnail again to turn it off, make sure it remains active, click at the bottom of the neck, Shift+Click near the top of the neck, and this one is easy, the jaw here. Just increase the size of your cursor to 200 pixels like so. Then move your cursor down just a little bit to about that location there and click.
That should take care of that. Go ahead and Shift+Click on the layer mask thumbnail to turn it back on, so we can see what we are doing. I missed a few spots right there, so I will click on those. If you feel like anything about the image is a little bit too sharp--actually I am going to raise this hand up little bit, just by clicking at a couple of locations. But if you feel like the focus is too intense then go ahead and grab the Smudge tool, which you can get from the Blur tool flyout menu. Now I know a lot of folks will use the Blur tool to soften details inside of a mask. I prefer the Smudge tool, however.
I find it to be more efficient. You can get work done very quickly just by rubbing back and forth, maybe 1 pixel, that's about it, and also it produces very organic results. I am going to go ahead and zoom out. We need to paint in the hair now but not using the Smudge tool. Now, when you're painting a mask and you are painting it blind, it's very easy to get mixed up as to which tool you have selected. If you start painting in with the Smudge tool, you are not going to get anything done. It does have a brush cursor, so it can be confusing. So make sure to go ahead and switch back to the Brush tool, and then I'm going to Shift+Click on the layer mask to turn it off.
It's still active, however, so I will click at this point in the hair and then Shift+Click down there. And you might say, well, you're painting hair with a hard brush? That's nuts. Actually, you'll see, it's going to look great. Anyway, I will paint at this location, click right there, click right about there. Actually, I am going to paint right along her hairline, not into that thin hair-- I will leave that alone--and then I will Shift+Click at this location. Actually, I am going to have to reduce the size of my cursor here. I will click at the bottom of the ear and then Shift+Click up like so in order to paint in this region of face. And let's just check that I've done a decent job here.
I will Shift+Click on layer mask to turn it back on. Actually, this is looking pretty darn good. We'll fix the fact that it's still very sharp in a second. I'm going to zoom in. At this location, we are missing the side of her face, the side of her jaw right there, and the earring. I wish Mary had not worn earrings because they are both caught up in this guy in the background here. But I'm going to Shift+Click on that layer mask in order to turn it off. It's still active. Reduce the size of my cursor. The good news about her earrings are they are kind of these circle-shaped blobs.
So I will click at this location, click here, reduce the size of my cursor a little bit, click right about there, paint down into this region, maybe paint a little bit around here like so, reduce the size of my cursor to about 3 pixels, I think is going to work. So I will click and then I will Shift+ Click up like so, and then I might paint in some of this region just a little bit. Let's see what we've done here. That looks pretty darn good, actually. I just Shift+Clicked on the layer mask in order to turn it back on. Let's increase the size of the cursor once again.
We've got a missing jaw line right there, so let's see what we can do. Click here, maybe Shift+Click and Shift+Click like so. Shift+Click inside the layer mask thumbnail in order to view it once again. We might have some kind of lumpy details going on. Let's see if I click at a few locations if I get slightly better results. Now, this is where we go ahead and switch back to the Smudge tool. And I am going to reduce the size of my cursor and smear this detail in just a little bit on the earring, and then I'm going to smudge this kind of back and forth on her jaw.
I think I went a little bit too far with that, actually. What I want is to bring this detail out right there inside of her jaw line. So you have to be careful that you don't smudge the earring too much there. Then we want to smear these guys back and forth. Let's go ahead and zoom in and out a few times here to figure out where we are at and what needs to be done. I am just smearing back and forth into hair. Now, this right there, this works out beautifully. This ends up giving us some very nice, soft, but credible hair detail up there at the top.
Now, we are missing--I will go ahead and Shift+Click for a second-- we are missing this little hair down here. And so what I did, I cheated at this point. I made a path. So I'll go to the Paths panel, and there's this path outline called hair right there. Go ahead and Ctrl+Click on it here on the PC or Command+Click on a Mac in order to load it as a selection outline. Switch back to Layers panel. Let's press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac to hide that selection, Shift+Click on a layer mask so we can see what we're doing--that turns it back on in this case--and then I will press Alt+ Backspace or Option+Delete on the Mac in order to fill it with white in the layer mask.
Now, that ends up attempting to select too much of the hair, because it starts getting very light down here at the bottom, and so we need to paint that away by pressing the X key to switch my foreground color to black. By the way, the selection is still active. It's still there. I am just going to hide it again by pressing Ctrl+H. Right-click inside the image window. Make sure the Hardness is down to 0%. Well, that's weird that it is because it's the Smudge tool that I have selected. I almost started smudging. That's not what I want to do. You've got to switch to the Brush tool.
I cannot tell you how many times I've made that mistake. Switch to the Brush tool, right-click with the Brush tool, reduce the Hardness value to 0%, press the Enter key a couple of times in order to hide that panel, and then click and click in order to soften that detail up. Switch back to the Smudge tool, press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac in order to deselect the image, increase the size of the cursor a little bit, and just a little back-and-forth wiggle on that area of hair. It looks to me like we've got ourselves a final mask. Just one more thing that's kind of bugging me here.
I want to sort of work on this area just a little bit, so I am going to switch to the Brush tool, and I am going to increase the size of my cursor slightly. I am painting with black and I've got my Hardness value cranked down to 0%, so I have to be very careful, but I just want to paint in a little softer transition right there in that region. And also, I'm going to paint in some soft transition up here. Now, that ends up creating this kind of weird effect, at least where my Content Aware Fill is concerned, my vegetation, where I end up having kind of this slice right there, that almost looks like it's a leftover from that guy's head.
Well, what I will do to get rid of it is go to the foliage layer here, and then I will grab my Spot Healing brush, and I will paint over that area like so. That will go ahead and replace those details. And that, friends, is the final version of the image with those people in the background. And here is our newly no-people-in-the-background photo, thanks to our ability to paint some people away with the help of Content-Aware Fill, paint other people back into place with the help of the Color Range command, and finally, apply manual hand-masking using the Brush tool here inside Photoshop.
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