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Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals is the introductory installment of Deke McClelland's four-part series on making photorealistic compositions in Photoshop. The course shows how to make selections, refine the selections with masks, and then combine them in new ways, using layer effects, blend modes, and other techniques to create a single seamless piece of artwork. Deke introduces the Channels panel and the alpha channel, the key to masking and transparency in Photoshop; reviews the selection tools, including the Color Range tool , Quick Mask mode, and the Refine Edge command; and shows how to blend masked images so they interact naturally.
In this exercise I'm going to show you how to customize the color setting so that you get the riches colors you can from Photoshop both when you're working with images on screen and in print. You want to start things out here inside Photoshop. Go to the Edit menu and choose the Color Settings command, or you can press the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+K or Command+Shift+K on the Mac. Now by default your settings will read North America General Purpose 2 here in the States. In other countries it's going to read differently. But your first working space option RGB will be set in all countries to sRGB followed by a string of characters.
What I want you to do is click on the down pointing arrowhead and change it to Adobe RGB 1998. The reason we're doing this is because sRGB, even though it a laudable standard, is designed to mimic a worst-case scenario consumer level old-style CRT monitor. So it's not even a particularly up-to-date standard. Whereas Adobe RGB is going to provide you with a richer wealth of colors onscreen. Next what I recommend you do is click on More Options and that will reveal a bunch of additional options down here in the bottom portion of the dialog box.
I typically turn Use Dither off and the reason is that I don't want to introduce a dither pattern into the solid color regions of my image. That's totally up to you if you do that one, but it does tend to make it a little easier to select regions inside of an image with some of the tools. And then notice that Intent to set the Relative Colorimetric by default. If most of your work is graphic and design work, then you can leave it set to that. However, if most of your work is continuous tone photography, especially digital photography, by the way, then I recommend you change this option to Perceptual.
That pretty much takes care of it. Now the only other option you might want to change to CMYK rather than leaving it set to its default which is going to read differently in different countries, you may want to go ahead and load a CMYK file that's provided by your commercial printer and you would want to talk to that printer. Not a printing device, but a person in order to figure out what that setting would be. But I'm going to leave it set as is. Then you would to go ahead and click the Save button in order to save out your settings. Now I've already saved mine in advance so I'm just going to go ahead and load them up here.
I call these settings best workflow. So I'll go ahead and choose that command, and then I'll click OK. There's one more step. Photoshop is the only application you use in the Creative Suite, then that's all you need to do. However, if you own one of the Creative Suites, this is just for those of you who own a full Creative Suite package. Then you need to switch to the Bridge and you do that by going up here to the Launch Bridge icon in the Applications bar. Go ahead and click on it.
That'll automatically either launch or switch you over to be Adobe Bridge which allows you to browse files inside of various folders on your hard drive. Then you go to the Edit menu and you choose the Creative Suite Color Settings command. If you own a full version of the Creative Suite, then you'll get this dialog box. If you don't get the dialog box; if you get a warning instead, that means either you don't own the Creative Suite and you do not need to follow the step or something is wrong and you should call Adobe. Go ahead and locate that file that you just saved which in my case is Best Workflow.
If you can't find it then turn on this check box Show Expanded List of Color Settings Files and then finally click Apply and that'll go ahead and synchronize the color settings across all of the Creative Suite applications, which is very important especially if you want consistent color between Photoshop and Illustrator and InDesign. I am going to click on this little boomerang icon to return to Photoshop. If for some reason you have any problem with things going wrong your prints aren't working the way they used to, your images are looking different, it's bothering you, even though these are the best settings, I assure you, you can reinstate the old settings and have things work the way they did before just by going up to the Edit menu, choosing the Color Settings command, and switching that Settings option back to the way it was which again in this States is North America General Purpose 2.
So that is an option. I just want you to know that. But I'm going to stick with those Best Workflow settings that I just showed you and cancel out. That takes care of color. In the next exercise I'll show you how to set up your workspace and just a few preference settings.
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