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In the next lessons, we're going to explore masking. Now, masking seems kind of mysterious to a lot of folks. It's simply taking two images, layering them on top of each other, and then erasing or removing, part of the top image so you can see the image below. You can often do this with Chroma Key, where you take away the green background and put a new background on, or maybe you have a situation where you have two photographs and in one image one person has their eyes open and the next one they're closed. And you want to be able to take one head and put it next to a different head on the image.
All these are very powerful tools that you can use within perfect mask. So let's take a look at some basic masking on this first image, and I'm going to open up this image called Self_Portrait_Mask.psd, a layered Photoshop file. So, I'm going to select it and open it up in layers. Now, a couple things to keep in mind when opening up this image. Make sure that your file format is Photoshop because that way it will open up with all the layers intact so you can follow along, and everything else can be left at their defaults.
And as usual, I always edit a copy, never the original. And since I don't have any images open, I don't want to add this as a layer. And you'll notice we now have an image, but in the layers' side, I can see one's called Shadow, one's called Abba, and one is called the Wall. And what I did is I took a picture of me taking a picture of myself, and let me turn that off for a moment. Then I have me leaning against the wall, and then finally, I have the original shot, but I just slid it over to the right because what I want to do is remove this door so it's a nice solid image.
With all three layers turned on, I'm going to begin to erase part of the top layer, or mask out part of the top layer, so you can see me, and then I'm going to mask out the top two layers, so we can actually see the wall. And to do that, I'm going to use the Masking Brush tool. It's the B key, and I want you to realize that we're still in the layers module. We don't even need to step into the masking module to achieve what I want to, with these three images. Once I have the brush selected, I do have some choices that I can work with.
I can choose whether I'm painting in or out a layer. Of course, the size and softness of my brush, how opaque it is, and we've learned about opacity in earlier lessons. So if I want to brush something out slowly, and then there's the perfect brush tool, which, if I check this, it's really good for cleaning up edges and making sure that you have a nice, clean edge if you need to pull out a person from a background. I don't need to be that perfect. So I'm going to leave that off. Now, with this tool selected, I'm going to use the right bracket key.
Make it a little bit bigger. And I'm going to start erasing the area right above where I'm standing or leaning against the wall. You'll notice that as I started to do this erasing, I'm not seeing myself, and I want to point that out right here that I have the wrong layer selected. And this is one of those instances we need to make sure you have the right layer selected to make sure you're erasing the right area. Let me undo that. I'm going to hit Undo a couple of times: Cmd+z or Ctrl+z on Windows, and I'm going to click on the very top layer and start erasing from there.
And as I start erasing, not only do I start seeing myself start to appear, but as soon as I let go of my mouse, you'll notice that to the right of the image is a black and white element, and that is your mask. Anything that is white, I'm going to see, and anything that's black is going to become transparent, and I'll see what's below it. If I had changed my opacity, say to 50%, and I started erasing an area, it's actually translucent. So, you'll notice I see some of the wall behind me.
Now for this image, I want it to be 100%, and I'm going to simply erase the area on top so I see me leaning against the wall below. And I'm going to erase everything to the right because I want to make sure that I can see underneath both layers one, and layers two to that door that's below it. So now I'm going to click on layer two, and I'm going to use the same brush. But this time I'm going to erase the door, and you'll see that that wall that I move into place will appear.
Now this worked out pretty well. The images weren't quite lined up, and if I wanted to line the images up, I can simply switch to my Transform tool, grab the layer that I want, in this case the second layer, and just kind of line that up a little bit. And now we're in good shape. I could also load this layer into the Perfect Effects module or the Enhance module and make sure that the color and the luminance values all match. But to keep things simple, I'm just going to make a really soft brush.
So I'm going to switch back to my brush tool. Apply the transformer where I shifted it up and down, and now, holding down the Shift key, I can make a really soft edge, and just simply paint over it. It'll be more subtle here, and if I accidentally paint over too much, I simply go back up here under Mode, and I can switch back to Paint Back In, or the X key would be a quick toggle, and I can bring my foot back into place. If I hit the Perfect Brush tool, then when I start painting things in and out, it's going to try match the edge as well as possible.
And I often use that X key to toggle back and forth to get exactly the area painted in and painted out that I want. As you can see, it's easy blending images together using just the Masking Brush tool in the Layers module.
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