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Blue Screen blending

From: Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques

Video: Blue Screen blending

Now that we have a basic sense of how a Calculations command works, we are going to put it to use to create a base Alpha channel for masking this particular image, and specifically we are going to see some blue screening techniques. So in this case, we've got this image called Model on blue.jpg, it's found inside of the 14 Calculations folder, and you'll notice that she is very warm, and rosy, and light, and her background is very cool, and blue, and so on, so that she has got a high degree of contrast; complimentary color contrast between foreground and background.

Blue Screen blending

Now that we have a basic sense of how a Calculations command works, we are going to put it to use to create a base Alpha channel for masking this particular image, and specifically we are going to see some blue screening techniques. So in this case, we've got this image called Model on blue.jpg, it's found inside of the 14 Calculations folder, and you'll notice that she is very warm, and rosy, and light, and her background is very cool, and blue, and so on, so that she has got a high degree of contrast; complimentary color contrast between foreground and background.

You can set the setup in front of a traditional blue screen, or even a green screen if you like, or you can set your model against this sky, a cloudless sky frequently works well, and you can even get away with a clouded sky when you are using the Calculations command. The only thing that you want to make sure is that if you are working with a blue background, you don't have your model set in blue, that she is not wearing blue, for example, wearing blue jeans . If he or she was wearing blue jeans, probably I want to set them against a green background, if masking was your intention. In our case, she does have some blue threads working through the fabric inside of her dress but it's far enough toward the interior, just enough that we have an edge to work with here, so that we should be able to get rid of that stuff fairly easily.

Now she had some blue jewelry, we would just want to make sure that wasn't dangling directly over the blue background that was are set against her flesh, her hair, or something along those lines. So she is going to work out really nicely, where blue screening is concerned. I've got the RGB composite selected here inside the Channels palette. I am going to go up to the Image menu, and we are going to choose the Calculations command, and just as in the previous exercise, I want you to make sure that the first channel, Source 1 is set to Red and the second channel is set to Blue, and Invert is turned-on.

And you should see this by default because by default, the blend mode is set to Multiply so that we are darkening up the background fairly fiercely, and we are leaving some little lightest sort of darkish grays in the foreground. So, when you are working with a blue screen or a green screen, you'll probably want to start off with your blending set to Hard Light, that's just the good place to start. I am not suggesting that it's going to necessarily work for you, it's just a starting point, and in fact, you are going to have to experiment with the blend modes in order to figure out what blend mode produces the best results.

So I am going to go ahead and choose Hard Light. Now most of the time, you leave the Opacity value set to a 100%. I'll show you an exception shortly, but for now, we are going to leave it set to a 100. Now, notice here on the PC, that my blend mode is sticky, meaning than I can arrow through it, so if I press the Down arrow key, I'll advance to the Vivid Light mode that we see here. On the Mac, you can't do that. You have the actually manually select the modes which means this is one of those rare occasions, one of the very, very rare occasions where sticky options here under Windows is actually helpful, instead of just extraordinarily irritating, the way it is normally.

Now when you are working inside of a dialog box, it can actually be helpful sometimes, particularly, when you are cycling through blend modes. So anyway, I've got Vivid Light, you can see that it works pretty nicely. We've got a very light foreground image against a very dark background, and there are those little blue threads showing up as dark as well. We could work with this mode if we wanted to, but I would like to checkout some other ones, here is Linear Light, not nearly as good, here is Pin Light, forget about it, here is Hard Mix, now this is pretty interesting, in that we get either white or black pixels with nothing in between, and it does a pretty good job of differentiating the foreground from the background here, but we've got jagged edges.

Now if I want to reduce the jaggedness of those edges, if I want to soften them up a little bit, I would switch over here to the Opacity value, and I would reduce it. So I press Shift+Down arrow to reduce it to 90%. You can see, now we are introducing some soft edges, and if I go further, we will introduce some more, and more soft edges, and more gray values into the image as well. So our Opacity value is especially useful when combined with Hard Mix, not really useful at all when combined with the other options. All right, I am going to set that back to a 100%. Let's keep cycling down, we've got two modes that are unique to the Calculations and Apply Image dialog boxes. They don't appear inside the Layers palette and those are Add and Subtract, and they do just what they say, you are going to either add brightness value in the case of the Add option right here, which means that you are going to elevate the brightness of the image, or you can subtract brightness values, in this case, I've got my Offset value set to 140, it would really look like this by default, so very, very dark.

We'll come back to Add and Subtract, because they are actually very useful functions here inside the Calculations dialog box. We'll come back to those in a future exercise. Here is Difference, that's going to go ahead, and trace around the edges. It's going to use one channel in order to invert the contents of the other channel of course, and sometimes, it's very good in terms of tracing edges inside the image, other times, not so great like now. And then finally, we've got Exclusion set here, almost never useful inside of this dialog box because it delivers such tepid results.

Let's switch back to Hard Light, and let's up arrow now through the blend modes here. This is hard light, we saw that before. This is Soft Light, actually better. If you check it out here, we've got a fairly light image in the foreground against the fairly dark background, not a heck of a lot of contrast but we do have uniformity, that is the foreground image is more or less uniformly lighter than the background which is a good thing. Up arrow to Overlay a little stronger, then Soft Light but not much. Now let's go up to Lighter Color. Now this is interesting. This is a mistake, actually Lighter and Darker color don't produce any effects, they only produce effects on a full color composite image. They don't work on grayscale images.

So they shouldn't be here inside the Calculations dialog box at all, they got stuck here inadvertently. It's basically what happen in Photoshop CS3. So go ahead and skip them, they never do you any good, that's Lighter and Darker color are always the same as Normal. Here is Linear Dodge, Add in parenthesis, that's because it does the same thing as the Add mode. The Add mode just gives you a few other options to work with. So you can modify the results of the Add mode. You've just got to accept what you get with the Linear Dodge, and this is what Linear Dodge gets you, does the same thing we saw when we choose Add a moment ago.

This is Color Dodge, actually better because the background are little bit darker there. This is green; not so good, this is lighten, bad, this is darker color, non-functioning, this is Linear Burn, gosh! Interesting, that's not going to work for masking. This is Color Burn, a little lighter, a little better than what we had before, but still the dress isn't separating from the background, which means this is Multiply, we already saw that, she just looks freaky, and this is darkened, she just looks freakier. She does look freaky and bad because she is set against a light background. Here is what we want, of all of those, the one that I think looks the best is Color Dodge.

Now Color Dodge isn't necessarily always going to deliver the best results but it often does, so it's definitely one of the ones to check out. So you would basically want to work with your strong modes, meaning your Color Burn and Linear Burn, your Color Dodge and your Linear Dodge, and your Hard Light, your Vivid Light. Sometimes Linear Light is going to come through for you, and then Add and Subtract are extremely powerful. We'll come back to them later, but for now, we'll go with Color Dodge. This looks great to me, this is a nice starting point for our New Channel. So just go ahead and make sure all of your settings are set as you see them on screen right now. It's very important that the first channel is set to Red and the second channel to Blue Invert, then click OK, and you'll generate a new Alpha channel.

I am going to go ahead and name it, mask and I am ready now to go ahead and craft the mask using the Levels command, and an Overlay Brush, and so on, and that's what we will set about doing in the next exercise.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques
Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques

190 video lessons · 26518 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2h 13m
    1. The Odyssey Continues
      2m 39s
    2. Mapping one image onto another
      7m 12s
    3. Making a custom contrast mode
      7m 10s
    4. Luminance blending
      8m 40s
    5. Forcing the visibility of underlying layers
      4m 4s
    6. Adjusting the appearance of clipped layers
      4m 34s
    7. Selecting a Blend If channel
      6m 12s
    8. Enhancing highlights by hiding them
      5m 9s
    9. Smart Object first, layer mask second
      7m 22s
    10. The Fill Opacity Eight
      4m 30s
    11. Blending Smart Filters
      7m 24s
    12. Cleaning up edges
      7m 39s
    13. More fun with luminance blending
      6m 22s
    14. A first peek at the Calculations command
      12m 11s
    15. Masking a softly focused model
      11m 46s
    16. Moving layers and masks between images
      7m 35s
    17. Matching colors
      9m 13s
    18. Building transitional blended layers
      6m 33s
    19. Restoring normal colors
      6m 50s
  2. 2h 33m
    1. Layer masks, clipping masks, and knockouts
      1m 20s
    2. Rotating and stretching
      7m 54s
    3. A jet of motion blur
      9m 18s
    4. Keyboard tricks
      5m 4s
    5. Merging sky and landscape
      6m 3s
    6. Masking an adjustment layer
      6m 37s
    7. Creating two windows into an image
      7m 42s
    8. Whitening teeth and adding other highlights
      3m 46s
    9. Mapping a texture onto an image
      4m 1s
    10. Isolating a texture with a layer mask
      6m 44s
    11. Welcome to the glass composition
      3m 18s
    12. Balancing shadows and highlights
      5m 51s
    13. Masking the glass
      7m 24s
    14. Masking the text
      9m 23s
    15. Adding and blending the goldfish
      8m 45s
    16. Assembling the perfect group photo
      5m 12s
    17. Aligning photographs automatically
      5m 26s
    18. Masking in each person's best shot
      5m 18s
    19. Masking densely packed people
      6m 17s
    20. Crafting the perfect final poster
      5m 16s
    21. From the improbable to the impossible
      1m 56s
    22. The fantastical "world of clones" effect
      10m 0s
    23. Upsampling and blurring a background
      8m 39s
    24. Adding a knockout mask
      8m 3s
    25. Choking edges with Gaussian Blur and Levels
      3m 46s
  3. 2h 27m
    1. The corrective power of masking
      1m 6s
    2. The amazing luminance mask
      7m 22s
    3. Brightening and neutralizing the eyes
      8m 22s
    4. Adjusting a nondestructive composition
      5m 52s
    5. Creating a corrective mask
      6m 4s
    6. Averaging away irregular flesh tones
      3m 52s
    7. Modifying specific colors
      7m 46s
    8. Initiating the color mask
      6m 0s
    9. Refining the color mask
      6m 40s
    10. Adjusting the edges around fabric
      7m 56s
    11. Perfecting hair
      9m 35s
    12. Sharpening with a High Pass layer
      10m 12s
    13. The also-amazing density mask
      4m 48s
    14. Adjusting the knockout depth
      8m 48s
    15. Fashioning a depth map
      6m 12s
    16. Invoking a depth mask from Lens Blur
      6m 38s
    17. The perfect depth-of-field effect
      6m 25s
    18. Sharpening an archival photograph
      7m 7s
    19. Creating an edge mask
      8m 29s
    20. Making a High Pass sandwich
      7m 46s
    21. Applying the edge mask
      6m 2s
    22. Customizing your sharpening effect
      4m 6s
  4. 2h 3m
    1. Channel Mixer, I am your father!
      1m 39s
    2. Three ways to gray
      7m 49s
    3. Meet the Channel Mixer
      8m 26s
    4. Mixing a custom black-and-white image
      7m 10s
    5. Creating a professional-level sepia tone
      5m 36s
    6. Employing the Black & White command
      8m 1s
    7. Extreme channel mixing
      4m 50s
    8. The infrared photography effect
      6m 43s
    9. Taking shadows to the brink of black
      3m 56s
    10. Elevating highlights, leeching saturation
      5m 58s
    11. Deepening a black-and-white sky
      5m 49s
    12. Infusing luminance levels with color
      5m 44s
    13. Creating an opposing colorization scheme
      4m 58s
    14. Bolstering contrast with the Green channel
      5m 37s
    15. A tiny improvement to a terrific technique
      7m 39s
    16. The simple (but wrong) approach to red-eye correction
      6m 39s
    17. Channel-mixing red pupils
      9m 18s
    18. The expert approach to red-eye correction
      5m 20s
    19. Fixing problem coronas (pupil edges)
      8m 9s
    20. Making pupils match
      4m 8s
  5. 2h 33m
    1. Chops are dead; long live maskops
      1m 37s
    2. The Calculations command
      8m 16s
    3. Blue Screen blending
      7m 40s
    4. Refining the Blue Screen mask
      5m 53s
    5. Brushing away color fringing
      7m 24s
    6. Locking the transparency of a layer
      6m 22s
    7. Nondestructive layer painting
      7m 36s
    8. How the Add blend mode works
      8m 40s
    9. How the Subtract blend mode works
      6m 43s
    10. Focus, noise, and other masking challenges
      5m 33s
    11. The Add mode in action
      7m 51s
    12. The Subtract mode in action
      8m 25s
    13. Comparing two channels with Difference
      5m 24s
    14. Enhancing the contrast with Curves
      9m 11s
    15. Gathering details with Apply Image
      9m 43s
    16. Dodge highlights, burn shadows
      6m 6s
    17. Dodge and Burn in action
      8m 24s
    18. Painting in the scalp
      10m 1s
    19. Painting away the face and chin
      4m 53s
    20. Compositing complementary images
      4m 13s
    21. Multiply, Minimum, Blur, and Apply Image
      6m 40s
    22. Crafting the final composition
      7m 7s
  6. 1h 57m
    1. Mark of the Pen tool
      1m 35s
    2. The big paths project overview
      6m 51s
    3. How to make a path
      8m 25s
    4. Corner points and freeform polygons
      8m 6s
    5. Editing paths with the arrow tools
      5m 2s
    6. Adding and deleting endpoints
      5m 15s
    7. Adding and deleting interior points
      6m 6s
    8. Converting a path to a selection
      3m 35s
    9. Converting a path to a mask
      6m 38s
    10. Smooth points and control handles
      8m 57s
    11. Making cusp points
      6m 0s
    12. Combining paths in a vector mask
      7m 55s
    13. Turning a path into a shape layer
      8m 57s
    14. Combining paths to make a layer mask
      7m 52s
    15. Mixing layer and vector masks
      10m 14s
    16. Editing character outlines as paths
      8m 39s
    17. Using the Convert Point tool
      7m 8s
  7. 3h 17m
    1. Where there's a will, there's a way
      1m 18s
    2. Masking natural cast shadows
      4m 10s
    3. Applying the cast show
      4m 2s
    4. Creating a difference mask
      3m 7s
    5. Applying an arbitrary map
      3m 50s
    6. Making the flesh mask
      7m 17s
    7. Roughing in an object mask
      6m 49s
    8. Drawing missing details with the Lasso tool
      4m 7s
    9. Combining flesh and object masks
      3m 53s
    10. Amplifying the cast shadow
      4m 10s
    11. Selectively choking edges
      3m 58s
    12. Power duplication in Photoshop
      7m 9s
    13. Masking blond hair
      5m 48s
    14. Using Levels to mask iterations
      3m 14s
    15. Drawing an iteration boundary
      4m 55s
    16. Merging the best of two Levels iterations
      4m 4s
    17. More fun with Dodge and Burn
      6m 14s
    18. Fixing edges with the Pen and Stamp tools
      7m 29s
    19. Pulling from another file with Apply Image
      4m 52s
    20. Blending clipped layers independently
      5m 43s
    21. Building the flame mask
      9m 22s
    22. Amplifying the flame
      3m 53s
    23. Masking an image against a busy background
      5m 15s
    24. The Freeform and Magnetic Pen tools
      6m 52s
    25. Masking with arbitrary maps
      9m 32s
    26. A more deliberate approach to arb maps
      10m 51s
    27. Combining arb maps with paths
      9m 28s
    28. Masking with the help of the History brush
      11m 38s
    29. Creating a High Pass mask
      7m 25s
    30. Coloring in the outlines
      8m 31s
    31. Mastering Calculations
      7m 29s
    32. Subtracting and merging the beak
      11m 6s
  8. 1h 33m
    1. The meaning of bit depth (and why you care)
      2m 50s
    2. Scanning line art in 8-bit and 16-bit
      5m 9s
    3. Measuring the 16-bit difference
      8m 9s
    4. Correcting 8-bit images in the 16-bit space
      9m 31s
    5. Opening a raw image directly in 16-bit
      6m 13s
    6. Editing in Camera Raw, opening in 16-bit
      8m 22s
    7. 16-Bit/channel vs. 32-bit/channel (HDR)
      8m 18s
    8. Working with auto-bracketed photographs
      5m 6s
    9. Using the Merge to HDR command
      6m 0s
    10. Adjusting the HDR preview
      6m 0s
    11. Building a 32-bit sky mask
      6m 29s
    12. Properly exposing land and sky
      4m 25s
    13. Modifying a layer mask in 32-bit
      4m 56s
    14. Converting to and correcting in 16-bit Lab
      12m 7s
  9. 2h 8m
    1. Photoshop flirts with the third dimension
      1m 13s
    2. The displacement map
      8m 24s
    3. Making custom waves
      7m 14s
    4. Creating a Gaussian distribution
      4m 32s
    5. Using a two-channel displacement map
      6m 28s
    6. Creating a rustic edge effect
      8m 21s
    7. Distorting and shading with a DMap
      6m 34s
    8. Moonlight reflecting off water
      8m 48s
    9. Mapping the reflection onto the water
      7m 7s
    10. Dipping the moon into the water
      6m 18s
    11. Turning flesh into stone
      7m 55s
    12. Wrapping the stone around the face
      7m 27s
    13. Softening a displacement map
      8m 5s
    14. Making a repeating watermark pattern
      9m 22s
    15. 3D embossing with Lighting Effects
      10m 48s
    16. The amazing credit card type effect
      6m 56s
    17. Lightening the credit card letters
      6m 16s
    18. Wrapping the background around the text
      6m 27s
  10. 1m 43s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 43s

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