Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Smoothing out the edges of a jagged mask

From: Designs dekeConstructed: Retro-Style Superhero

Video: Smoothing out the edges of a jagged mask

So here I am looking at my initial mask.

Smoothing out the edges of a jagged mask

So here I am looking at my initial mask. Problem is, if I go ahead and zoom in to 100% by pressing Ctrl+1 or Cmd+1 on a Mac. And I might even zoom in a little further on this guy's hair and ear. You can see that we have some very jagged transitions. And that's because, for the most part, except for that hand painting that we just did, all of the pixels inside this mask are either black or white. What we need to do in this movie is smooth those transitions. And we're also going to turn our silhouette into an independent layer.

So, the first thing we're going to do is take this threshold 20 channel that I created in the previous movie and I'm going to create a copy of it by dragging it and dropping it onto the little Page icon at the bottom of the Channels panel. It's very important that you're working inside this same panel because after all, every alpha channel is a flat, layerless image. With the copy selected, I'll go up to the Filter menu. And this is a great way to smooth any alpha channel, incidentally. Go up to the Ffilter menu, choose Blur and then, choose Gaussian Blur.

And, you want to enter a radius value that's commensurate with the resolution of the image. Now, this image is quite large. At 300 pixels per inch, it would be something like 22 inches tall. And, so, I'm going with the very large radius value. If you have fewer pixels in your image, then you want to go with a lower value. But you want the blur to look something more or less like this. So, an awful lot of blur going on. And then, click OK. And now, in order to calm down the blur, you want to apply levels.

So, you go up to the Image menu, choose Adjustments and choose Levels. And of course, because we're working in a flat alpha channel, we have to apply a static modification as opposed to an adjustment layer. So, we'll go ahead an choose Levels. We'll press Ctrl+L or Cmd+L on the Mac. And then, go ahead and scoot this black point value up to 100. This is a great way to work, just about all of the time, regardless of the resolution of your image. And then, you want to scoot over by pressing the Tab key a couple of times to the y point value and take it down 100 to 155.

So, you're adding 100 to the black point value and subtracting 100 from the white point value. And now you can see that they're nice and smooth. That is to say, no longer blurry, at which point go ahead and click the OK button in order to apply your change. And just to keep track of what I've done, I'll go ahead and rename this channel G Blur 6, let's say, and then ,100/1/155. And that tells me that I applied those level modifications.

Just an easy thing to read, once you become familiar with this approach. Now, I want to convert this silhouette into an independent layer. So, the first thing I need to do is convert it into a selection outline. And the easiest way to do that is to press the Ctrl key, or Cmd key on the Mac, and click on this channel at the bottom of the Channels panel. Then switch back to your RGB image. Go ahead and return to the Layers panel. And I'm going to press Ctrl+0, or Cmd+0 on the Mac, to zoom on out and now I'm going to create a new layer by pressing Ctrl+Shift+N or Cmd+Shift+N on the Mac and I'll name this layer, silhouette.

So, this is kind of a weird word to spell, but there it is. And then, you click OK. And then, press the D key to make sure that you're foreground color is black, and press Alt+Backspace, or Option+Delete on the Mac in order to fill the selection with black. At which point, we no longer need the fellow in the background, so go ahead and select the background to make it active and then press Ctrol+Backspace, or Cmd+Del on the Mac, in order to get rid of them so that we have a plain white background with the black silhouette sitting on top of it.

And now, just to get a sense for what we've been able to achieve here, I'll press Ctrl+1, or Cmd+1 on a Mac to zoom in to 100%, and then I'll spacebar+drag until I see the fellow's head here, and you can see that it is much smoother than it was previously at the outset of this movie, for example. But you lose detail as well. So, instead of seeing extremely finely rendered hair, as we might if we had spent a little more time masking this image, we end up with these sort of lumpy results.

But that's going to work out just fine because our final superhero has a very smooth head, and in fact, he has no ears whatsoever. And that, friends, is how you create a nice smooth silhouette of a human form set against a white background, here inside Photoshop.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Designs dekeConstructed: Retro-Style Superhero
Designs dekeConstructed: Retro-Style Superhero

43 video lessons · 1623 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 41s
    1. Welcome
      41s
  2. 13m 6s
    1. Masking a person from a white background
      8m 20s
    2. Smoothing out the edges of a jagged mask
      4m 46s
  3. 28m 52s
    1. Adding power and motion with Liquify
      8m 21s
    2. Puppet warping the legs closer together
      6m 36s
    3. Applying a perspective-style transformation
      5m 34s
    4. Smoothing and removing details with Liquify
      8m 21s
  4. 28m 34s
    1. Filling and stroking the silhouette
      3m 47s
    2. Drawing with the Pen and Brush tools
      7m 56s
    3. Hand-painting the face
      8m 56s
    4. Refining brushstrokes with Median and Minimum
      7m 55s
  5. 39m 2s
    1. Adding complementary colored clouds
      5m 28s
    2. Drawing a handful of spikes in Illustrator
      8m 34s
    3. Creating a burst pattern with Transform
      9m 36s
    4. Adjusting the spikes for a better effect
      7m 20s
    5. Bringing the burst pattern into Photoshop
      8m 4s
  6. 51m 4s
    1. Creating the extreme paths for the grill lines
      7m 31s
    2. Blending the grill lines in Illustrator
      9m 42s
    3. Correcting potential blending problems
      9m 58s
    4. Bringing the blended paths into Photoshop
      8m 27s
    5. Simulating pressure when stroking paths
      5m 35s
    6. Contouring the grill lines onto the face
      9m 51s
  7. 23m 47s
    1. Drawing a hand with the Pen tool
      9m 29s
    2. Converting the hand path to a shape layer
      6m 2s
    3. Finishing off the hands and gloves
      8m 16s
  8. 28m 49s
    1. Blend, scale, and rotate photographic flames
      6m 17s
    2. Filling in gaps with symmetrical flames
      7m 15s
    3. Shooting flames out of the hero's hands
      7m 34s
    4. Stroking the composite flames
      7m 43s
  9. 19m 13s
    1. Drawing cartoon flames as a shape layer
      5m 56s
    2. Enhancing the flames with layer effects
      5m 32s
    3. Adjusting Puppet Warp and Expansion
      7m 45s
  10. 16m 56s
    1. Installing a free comic-lettering font
      3m 59s
    2. Formatting the monologue text
      5m 43s
    3. Drawing the talk balloons (a.k.a. speech bubbles)
      7m 14s
  11. 43m 10s
    1. Selecting a font-creation software
      5m 17s
    2. Drawing consistently rendered letterforms
      9m 10s
    3. Pasting the letters into Glyphs Mini (Mac only)
      8m 11s
    4. Copying capitals into lowercase positions (Mac only)
      6m 45s
    5. Generating an OpenType font (Mac only)
      7m 56s
    6. Stylizing the custom font in Photoshop
      5m 51s
  12. 4m 24s
    1. Time lapse of the retro superhero
      3m 4s
    2. Until next time
      1m 20s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Designs dekeConstructed: Retro-Style Superhero.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.