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Learn how to use selections and layer masks in Photoshop to create composite images and apply targeted adjustments. After covering the key concepts behind selections and exploring Photoshop's selection tools, Tim Grey delves into a variety of advanced techniques that will help you make accurate selections, create seamless composite images, and apply adjustments that do exactly what you want them to do.
You might be familiar with Layer Effects in Photoshop, the ability to add, for example, a drop shadow to an image. These effects are very often used with text, for example. But we can also utilize those Layer effects in the context of a composite image. In other words, in conjunction with a Layer mask. Here, for example, I had a sign of a side of a building with an entrance sign. And I've isolated just the sign in order to put it onto a white background, but I'd like to add a little bit of depth by adding a Layer mask. To do that, I'll go ahead and click on the thumbnail for my sign layer to make sure it's active. And then at the bottom of the Layers panel, I'll click on the FX button which will bring up a list of layer effects that I'm able to apply. I'll go ahead and choose Drop Shadow from that popup menu. And now the Layer Style dialogue appears and you can see that the Drop Shadow option has been turned on.
And selected so I can see the drop shadow controls. I'll go ahead and adjust the settings here for example. I'll increase the distance so I get a drop shadow that's moved a little further away from the object there. I can also adjust the size in order to essentially blur that drop shadow. And then I'll reduce the opacity a bit so that it's a little bit more subtle. And I can continue fine tuning, adjusting the Angle for example I'll set this to 135 degrees perhaps. I'll move the Layer Style dialogue out of the way a little bit, so we can see the full image. And you'll notice that that Drop Shadow is appearing based on the Layer mask. In other words I'm only seeing this image where the sign exist. And therefore, that drop shadow is effectively a drop shadow of the sign, the drop shadow only appears along the shape defined by that Layer mask. And so in this way, I can apply a variety of different Layer effects, and they will respect that Layer mask.
So for example, if I add a Bevel and Emboss effect I'll go ahead and just increase the size here so we can see it very obviously. That Bevel and Emboss effect also happens only along the edge of that sign. Because all of these effects, all of these layer styles are respecting the layer mask. So, I can continue fine tuning the settings as needed and adding any layer effects I like. And when I'm finished I'll click okay, but as you can see I'm able to add effects based on the masked version of the particular image layer.
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