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Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques
Illustration by John Hersey

Building a 32-bit sky mask


From:

Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques

with Deke McClelland

Video: Building a 32-bit sky mask

In this exercise, we are going to correct the shot so that we have a nicely lit sky so that we are exposing the sky in a way that we want to, nice and dark actually, and then we elevate the exposure of the rest of the scenes so that the boat isn't mired in darkness down here, because after all, we have some pretty sky detail at this point. Then the rocks go very, very dark as you can see. And then this half of the scene, the right half of the scene is just mired and pitch black really. So the sun has left this region and the boat is in weird shape as well because we have these eerie blue shadows going on that don't fit the scene at all.
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  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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Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques
20h 48m Advanced Nov 21, 2007

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

The elusive alpha channel remains one of the most misunderstood yet powerful tools in Photoshop. Alpha channels are collections of luminance data that control the transparency of an image, and they inform just about every aspect of Photoshop. As he builds transitional blended layers, fashions a depth map, makes edge adjustments, and takes on extreme channel mixing, Omni Award-winning expert Deke McClelland teaches Photoshop users that where there's a will, there's a way. Photoshop CS3 Channels and Masks: Advanced Techniques covers mapping texture on an image, turning flesh into stone, using vector masks, working with all different channels, creating a rustic edge effect, and much more. Exercise files accompany the tutorials.

Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts for Channels and Masks from the Exercise Files tab."

Topics include:
  • Distorting and shading with a DMap
  • Understanding bits and channels
  • Creating paths with the Pen tool
  • Using blend modes and the Dodge and Burn feature
  • Understanding channel mixing
  • Using layer masks, clipping masks, and knockouts
  • Applying Smart Filters
Subjects:
Design Photography Masking + Compositing
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Deke McClelland

Building a 32-bit sky mask

In this exercise, we are going to correct the shot so that we have a nicely lit sky so that we are exposing the sky in a way that we want to, nice and dark actually, and then we elevate the exposure of the rest of the scenes so that the boat isn't mired in darkness down here, because after all, we have some pretty sky detail at this point. Then the rocks go very, very dark as you can see. And then this half of the scene, the right half of the scene is just mired and pitch black really. So the sun has left this region and the boat is in weird shape as well because we have these eerie blue shadows going on that don't fit the scene at all.

Now, I should mention that generally speaking, Photoshop has done a brilliant job of aligning this shot. All of the elements are aligned very nicely. The shot is kind of sagging over here on the right side of the image. So it's listing a little bit clockwise. And that's something that we will fix later. Also notice, if you zoom in here, I was telling you that there is a ski-doo or a jet ski in the background and that jet ski was moving of course. So the one motion trail that's associated with the jet ski ends up turning into three different motion trails right here. Actually I have to say, given that the water looks pretty darn good, it's pretty uniform, that this is really nice, that Auto Align feature. It's just a rocking feature inside Photoshop CS3.

But the exposure, I don't like it. We need to increase the exposure of the lower portion of the scene, and we are going to do that using a mask. And so what I want to do is, I want to select the sky. So let's go over to the Channels palette. Let's collapse the Navigator palette and check out. There is the Red channel. All right. So actually, why don't we go ahead and Shift+Tab away the palette so that we can see the entire scene. This is the Red channel right here. So pretty dark sky, dark everything really. And this is the Green channel. Things lighten up a little bit in the water and they lighten up in the sky as well. And then in the Blue channel, things lighten up even more. In the water, they darken in the earth tones of course.

And then the sky goes lighter still. Now what's tempting is say, OK, let's go ahead and expose this sky. Take the sky all the way white, right, because we want to select it and then, let's go ahead and duplicate that channel. Let's dup it by dragging it on to the Page icon at the bottom of the Channels palette, and it appears like that original. It's not a brilliant sky anymore. And in fact, that's because the thumbnails of course, have not been updated. But even if you went over to the View command and chose the 32-bit Preview options and change that in order to update the thumbnails, the Alpha Channel is still going to work from some other version, some original version, whatever Photoshop's concept of the original version of that Blue channel is.

So you can't edit it in other words, using this exposure value. So let's just go ahead and reset that back to something more reasonable, like for example, let's go to the RGB image and expose for that. I am going to go ahead and take this slider down just a little bit, right to there. And there is no values. Notice, the slider just kind of moves back and forth and you would just eyeball it. All right. Let's go over to the Blue copy item and let's call it Sky mask. And what we are going to do, is we are going to expose this sky mask. We are going to increase the brightness of the sky using the Levels command. So press Ctrl+L or Command+L on the Mac. Now I find that this Histogram inside the Levels dialog box verges on utterly and completely useless.

So I am just going to drag this guy over. Notice how far I have to go over in order to get rid of the sky. I am dragging this white point to 52. and of course, it's still talking to me in 8-bit language. This is 52 out of 256 different luminance levels you can have. Really, you have several octillion colors to choose from. But this is 52 which is not really true. So everything becomes fairly meaningless inside Levels. Again, you just need to eyeball things out here. But looks good right. The sky has definitely gone bright white and I am guessing, this stuff from here on, is representing sky detail and other bright details inside of the image.

So I will stay on this side of that cliff and I might go ahead and darken up the rest of the scene like this in order to make it go away by dragging the black point up and let's see, do we still have, we still have some little items here and there that we need to deal with. So I will go ahead and take the white point down further and the black point looks actually pretty good where it is. So I have got 51 and 54, there it is. And I will go ahead and click OK in order to accept that modification and we just created the mask from the image.

Now, it's a little bit of as hard edge mask. It's not jagged. But it is definitely a hard mask, I should say. And then if you find that you want to make some more changes like this here, it kind of needs to go away. You can go ahead and select it and press Alt+Backspace in our case because black is foreground color. So you can do some manual modifications. You also have a few filters that work for you here inside of the HDR mode, inside of 32-bit per channel, some blur functions that are available to you, the Add Noise command, Render whatever we got. We got clouds, who cares? We got a few sharpen functions, a Smart Sharp and an Unsharp Mask. We have got Emboss I bet, yup, sure enough. And then of course we have High Pass and Maximum and Minimum.

So your classic filters are basically available to us, especially the filters that are of the most use for the building masks. And so we could go in there with Blur and apply a little bit of Gaussian Blur. But I don't think we should. I think we should just leave it the way it is right now. All right. So we have a sky mask. We have managed to create a sky mask. And the beautiful thing about this is unlike previous projects, where I have showed you how to use a mask to select the sky and grab a sky from a different image and then paste that sky into a layer mask, we have got everything we need in this one image. We can expose for the boat area and we can expose for the sky, all in one image. It's just that it helps to have a sky mask to distinguish between those two zones.

All right. So we have done it. We created the sky mask inside of this image, inside of a 32-bit per channel image. Amazing, that we still have Alpha Channel control inside of 32-bit. I love that. In the next exercise, we are going to employ this sky mask in order to more properly expose the scene.

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