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Photoshop is the world’s most powerful image editor, and it’s arguably the most complex, as well. Fortunately, nobody knows the program like award-winning book and video author Deke McClelland. Join Deke as he explores such indispensable Photoshop features as resolution, cropping, color correction, retouching, and layers. Gain expertise with real-world projects that make sense. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download Deke's free dekeKeys and color settings from the Exercise Files tab.
Another great thing about working with Adjustment layers inside Photoshop is that you can apply a Color Adjustment to one region of an image, independently of another using a layer Mask. We are going to create a very straightforward layer Mask inside of this exercise. Now, I am looking at Corrected dark butterfly.psd. That's found inside the 07_basic_correct folder. I am comparing it to Corrected light butterfly.psd on the right here. I am noticing that the formerly dark butterfly's body is still awfully vibrant when compared with the formerly light butterfly.
So I would like to back off my Color Adjustment inside the body, while leaving it fully applied to the wings and to other bright details inside the image. I am going to do that using a layer Mask. Now, notice that my Adjustment layer does not have a layer Mask currently, and that's because back in the introduction chapter, I asked you to go to the Adjustments panel, click on the menu icon and turn off Add Mask by Default. Now, I don't like default layer Masks for two reasons. One is they add to the general clutter inside the layers panel.
The other reason is if they already exist, then you can't automatically convert a selection outline to a layer Mask on the fly, which is what we are going to be doing. So I am going to go ahead and close the Adjustments panel. I am going to click on my Adjustments layer right there, lighten. I am going to select the body of the butterfly using this tool right there. We haven't looked at Selection tools yet, but there is the Quick Selection tool, one of the easiest selection tools to use inside of Photoshop. Go ahead and select it. And then, I am just going to drag down the head and into the body of the butterfly, like so.
That automatically selects this region as you can see. Now I want to select into the other brownish details. I am not brushing. I am just showing you with the cursor where I want to go. So I am going to go up to the Select menu and I am going to choose this command right there, Similar. That goes ahead and expands the selection to other similarly colored pixels inside of that image. Just so that I don't mess up my selection, I am going to switch back to the Rectangular Marquee tool. I am going to convert this selection to a layer Mask by dropping down to this icon right there, Add layer mask.
Now, if I were to click on that icon, I would apply the Color Adjustment to the selected region and not the deselected region, which is exactly the opposite of what I want. I want to rule out the selected area. So I am going to press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and click on this Add layer mask icon, like so. That masks away the formerly selected region inside the image. Now, we are going to get to all these options in more detail, the Quick Selection tool, the Similar command, adding a layer mask, Alt+Clicking or Option+Clicking on that layer Mask icon, we will see all that stuff later, as well as what I am about to show you now.
Notice that I am currently completely ruling out the Color Adjustment inside the body of the bug. That's way too dark, because if I turn off this Adjustment layer by clicking on the eyeball, you will see that he was awfully dark to start with. So now that we are not affecting the body at all, just the wings and the leaf in the background, we have a lot of jagged transitions inside the image, and the body is just too darn dark. So what I want to do is back off the density of this mask. So I am going to click on the layer Mask to make sure it's active, which it is.
It should have a double outline around it. Then I want you to bring up the Masks panel, which you can do by clicking on this icon or you can go to the Window menu and you can choose Masks, to bring up this panel, like so. You should see that you have got a Pixel Mask selected. Again, if you don't, go ahead and click on that layer Mask to make it active. And then, I am going to take this Density value down dramatically to about 20%. You can see that allows us to see through the mask back to the Adjustment layer. So it's basically reinstating the Adjustment layer to the tune of 80% of its former strength, because the Density of the mask is now just 20%. All right.
So I will close that panel, and just to give you a sense of what we have done, I am going to press the Shift key. I am going to click on the layer Mask icon, and you will see this is what the bug looked like before, brighter, here inside the body region, because I just temporarily turned off the layer Mask. And now I will Shift+Click again. This is what he looks like now, thanks to the 20% Density version of this layer Mask, as compared with its counterpart, we have a much better match.
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