Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery

Choking a mask with Mask Edge


Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery

with Deke McClelland

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Video: Choking a mask with Mask Edge

In this exercise I'm going to show you the new and improved way to choke or spread a layer mask inside of Photoshop CS4. When I say new and improved, I mean really neither actually. It's not new because you used to be able to do this inside of Photoshop CS3. It's just that nobody knew you could do it because of the strange way that Photoshop presented this function. It's much more obvious here inside Photoshop CS4. And it is improved to the extent that we get better feedback but sometimes you get better results out of Gaussian Blur and Levels. So you never know. It's worth knowing about all of these techniques as I was saying before.
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  1. 21m 20s
    1. Welcome
      1m 21s
    2. Installing the DekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      5m 38s
    3. Resetting the Function keys on a Mac
      3m 51s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 37s
    5. Setting up the CS4 color settings
      5m 53s
  2. 2h 31m
    1. Introduction to masking
    2. Introducing color range
      4m 22s
    3. Adding base colors and adjusting fuzziness
      4m 46s
    4. Localized color clusters
      6m 12s
    5. The Quick Mask mode
      7m 33s
    6. Viewing a quick mask by itself
      6m 40s
    7. Testing the quality of edges
      3m 55s
    8. Introducing the Masks palette
      7m 45s
    9. Editing a layer mask
      6m 18s
    10. Choking a mask with Gaussian Blur and Levels
      6m 44s
    11. Choking a mask with Mask Edge
      7m 43s
    12. Adding a Gradient Overlay shadow
      4m 23s
    13. Using live Density and Feather
      6m 12s
    14. Journeyman masking
      5m 44s
    15. Creating an alpha channel
      7m 6s
    16. Increasing contrast
      7m 15s
    17. Overlay painting
      8m 28s
    18. Cleaning up whites and blacks
      5m 48s
    19. Soft light painting
      5m 47s
    20. Selecting in style
      6m 55s
    21. Employing masks as selections
      5m 2s
    22. Scaling and compositing layers
      6m 30s
    23. Compositing glass
      5m 10s
    24. Selecting glass highlights
      8m 41s
    25. Working with found masks
      5m 46s
  3. 1h 34m
    1. Introduction to vector-based shapes
      1m 10s
    2. Vector-based type outlines
      7m 23s
    3. The benefits of vectors
      6m 27s
    4. Upsampling vs. nondestructive scaling
      7m 35s
    5. Vectors and effects
      8m 7s
    6. Fill Opacity and clipped layers
      4m 24s
    7. Basic shape creation
      3m 15s
    8. Drawing interacting shapes
      6m 21s
    9. Power-duplicating paths
      3m 12s
    10. Combining pixels and vector masks
      5m 19s
    11. Line tool and layer attributes
      7m 5s
    12. Copying and pasting path outlines
      3m 28s
    13. Drawing custom shapes
      3m 59s
    14. Drawing with the Pen tool
      7m 48s
    15. Creating cusp points
      7m 28s
    16. Defining a custom shape
      3m 34s
    17. Assigning a vector mask to an image
      2m 38s
    18. Adding a vector object to a composition
      5m 40s
  4. 1h 24m
    1. Introduction to Vanishing Point
      1m 11s
    2. Creating and saving the first plane
      8m 9s
    3. Creating perpendicular planes
      5m 16s
    4. Healing in perspective
      8m 47s
    5. Cloning and scaling in perspective
      8m 34s
    6. Patching an irregularly shaped area
      6m 59s
    7. Healing between planes
      3m 35s
    8. Importing an image into a 3D scene
      5m 46s
    9. Adding perspective type
      5m 37s
    10. Removing and matching perspective
      5m 36s
    11. Applying a reflection in perspective
      5m 1s
    12. Creating a perspective gradient
      6m 11s
    13. Converting a gradient to a mask
      2m 58s
    14. Swinging planes to custom angles
      4m 32s
    15. Wrapping art around multiple surfaces
      5m 49s
  5. 1h 15m
    1. Introduction to Smart Objects
    2. Placing a Smart Object
      5m 7s
    3. Saving a PDF-compatible AI file
      4m 27s
    4. Performing nondestructive transformations
      6m 8s
    5. Editing a Smart Object in Illustrator
      6m 50s
    6. Converting an image to a Smart Object
      6m 50s
    7. Cloning Smart Objects
      5m 24s
    8. Creating a multilayer Smart Object
      5m 51s
    9. Updating multiple instances at once
      2m 55s
    10. Creating a Camera Raw Smart Object
      4m 17s
    11. Editing a Camera Raw Smart Object
      3m 25s
    12. Assembling a layered ACR composition
      5m 55s
    13. Using an ACR Smart Object to effect
      3m 41s
    14. Blending multiple ACR portraits
      6m 56s
    15. Live type that inverts everything behind it
      6m 33s
  6. 1h 48m
    1. Introducing nondestructive Smart Filters
    2. Applying a Smart Filter
      4m 22s
    3. Adjusting filter and blend settings
      4m 25s
    4. Heaping on the Smart Filters
      5m 19s
    5. Smart Filter stacking order
      7m 23s
    6. Resolution and Smart Filter radius
      6m 12s
    7. Masking Smart Filters
      4m 42s
    8. Employing nested Smart Objects
      5m 5s
    9. Dragging and dropping Smart Filters
      6m 31s
    10. Using the Shadows/Highlights filter
      5m 53s
    11. Regaining access to the pixels
      7m 8s
    12. Parametric wonderland
      5m 52s
    13. Working with the Filter Gallery
      6m 28s
    14. Freeform filter jam
      5m 52s
    15. Swapping filters from the Filter Gallery
      3m 45s
    16. Mixing all varieties of parametric effects
      7m 30s
    17. Addressing a few Smart Filter bugs
      3m 11s
    18. Applying a Smart Filter to live type
      5m 30s
    19. Choking letters with Maximum
      3m 7s
    20. Duplicating a Smart Filter
      2m 38s
    21. Enhancing a filter with a layer effect
      6m 30s
  7. 1h 6m
    1. Introduction to Auto-Align, Auto-Blend, and Photomerge
      1m 2s
    2. Merging two shots into one
      3m 49s
    3. Applying Auto-Align layers
      3m 44s
    4. Masking images into a common scene
      1m 39s
    5. Auto-Align plus Auto-Blend
      8m 11s
    6. Assigning weighted Opacity values
      4m 7s
    7. Employing a Difference mask
      7m 17s
    8. Masking smarter, not harder
      3m 53s
    9. Capturing multiple depths of field
      3m 37s
    10. Auto-blending real focus
      8m 31s
    11. Creating a panorama with Photomerge
      7m 27s
    12. Correcting a seamless panorama
      4m 52s
    13. An altogether nondestructive Lab correction
      7m 59s
  8. 1h 44m
    1. Introduction to new CS4 technologies
      1m 1s
    2. Applying Content-Aware Scale
      7m 18s
    3. What works and what doesn't with Content-Aware Scale
      4m 19s
    4. Protecting areas with masks
      7m 31s
    5. Applying incremental edits
      7m 6s
    6. Protecting skin tones
      7m 12s
    7. Scaling around a model with TLC
      9m 0s
    8. Adjusting the scale threshold
      5m 22s
    9. When Content-Aware Scale fails
      4m 2s
    10. Creating a lens distortion effect
      8m 39s
    11. Layer masking the family
      11m 44s
    12. Installing the Pixel Bender
      3m 43s
    13. Introducing Pixel Bender kernels
      6m 50s
    14. Pixel Bender kernel roundup
      7m 24s
    15. Tube View and Ripple Blocks
      3m 58s
    16. Making a seamless pattern with Kaleidoscope
      6m 13s
    17. Introducing the Pixel Bender Toolkit
      3m 24s
  9. 1h 20m
    1. Introduction to actions
    2. Creating an action
      5m 45s
    3. Recording operations
      5m 12s
    4. Reviewing and editing an action
      4m 45s
    5. Playing an action (the Button Mode)
      4m 51s
    6. Saving and loading actions
      5m 0s
    7. Copying and modifying an action
      4m 8s
    8. Permitting the user to change settings
      5m 50s
    9. The Best Chrome Effect Ever II
      3m 41s
    10. Recording a fail-safe action
      7m 33s
    11. Rounding corners with a mask
      4m 33s
    12. Cleaning up layers
      3m 52s
    13. Automating layer effects
      7m 1s
    14. Applying chrome with Gradient Map
      6m 24s
    15. Action anomalies
      4m 11s
    16. Rendering effects to layers
      5m 1s
    17. Testing that it works
      2m 0s
  10. 1m 14s
    1. See ya
      1m 14s

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery
13h 7m Advanced May 29, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Photoshop mastery can be elusive, but in Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery, best-selling author and video trainer Deke McClelland teaches the most powerful, unconventional, and flexible features of the program. In this third and final installment of the popular and comprehensive series, Deke delves into the strongest features that Photoshop has to offer, including scalable vector graphics, Smart Objects, and Photomerge. Exercise files accompany the course.

Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, both part of the Online Training Library®.

Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.

Topics include:
  • Defining the essentials of masking
  • Resizing images with content-aware scaling
  • Adjusting perspective with Vanishing Point
  • Applying Smart Filters to create complex effects
  • Using the Auto-Align tool to build composite images
Design Photography
Deke McClelland

Choking a mask with Mask Edge

In this exercise I'm going to show you the new and improved way to choke or spread a layer mask inside of Photoshop CS4. When I say new and improved, I mean really neither actually. It's not new because you used to be able to do this inside of Photoshop CS3. It's just that nobody knew you could do it because of the strange way that Photoshop presented this function. It's much more obvious here inside Photoshop CS4. And it is improved to the extent that we get better feedback but sometimes you get better results out of Gaussian Blur and Levels. So you never know. It's worth knowing about all of these techniques as I was saying before.

All right so we want basically reinstate the bad edges associated with our hadrosaur here and you can either do that by going up to the History palette and backing up a few steps to the step right before Gaussian Blur. So just click on that state there here inside the History palette and you will reestablish the bad edges, or you could go up to the File menu and choose the Revert command. That will work for you as well. All right anyway, we got the bad edges. Let's go ahead and zoom in on them so that we can keep track of just how bad they are. Now what I want you to do is make sure the layer mask is active. It's not for me so I need to click on it before I go messing up my image and the Mask palette will tell you, actually who's selected and who's not selected, because if you click on the image to make it active, then the Mask palette goes, hey no mask selected buddy. Then at that point you can either come down here and click on it in order to select it or you can click on this little icon and that'll switch you over to the layer mask as well.

All right so we have this Mask Edge function. Now what's amazing about this, by the way, if you click on it, it brings up this command called Refine Mask right there. We'll cancel out. This function used to be available to us. We would go actually up to the Select menu and choose the Refine Edge command and that would allow you to modify the contents of layer mask. It's just because it was here under the Select menu and it was called Refine Edge, we all naturally thought it only affected selection outlines but we now learned it affected layer mask as well. So either way it's fine.

You can choose this command and press this keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Alt+R, Command+Option+R on a Mac or you can just click on the Mask Edge button. These are the default settings right here, which are no good for our purposes. The first thing that's bad for our purposes is we're seeing the dinosaur against a white background. That's not helpful at all. Now we could see the dinosaur against a black background. Great! Now we see that the edges are a mess. However, wouldn't that be nice just to see the dinosaur against its new background instead of all this other stuff? We care about how the dinosaur looks against the otherworldly earth against earth background. So I want you to click on this first icon right there, this first mobius tube, and that will show you dinosaur against strange background but it also show you the Marquee.

So then press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac and we're going to hide the ends and you will see exactly what you want to see. Now we've discussed these options in the past. We've got Radius, which allows you to blur into luminance levels inside of the image. We've got Feather, which is just a straight edge blur. We've got Smooth which is going to smooth out the jagged transitions. We've got Contrast, which is going to increase the contrast of the edges so that they're sharper. And then we have Contract/Expand, which allow us to either choke, in the case of contract, or spread, in the case of expand, our edges.

So what do we want? In the case of this dinosaur, let's crank down smooth. We don't need more smoothing because we're already getting some degree of smoothing out of the Radius and Feather functions. Then I'm going to change the Contract/Expand value all the way down to -100 so that we can see those edges contract all the way in. Beautiful thing. Looks totally awesome. We're getting rid of those edges. We are creating holes inside of the dinosaur in a few places but we'll address those in just a moment. But this is great. We're going to leave Radius set to 1, but now we can play with the Feather value in order to determine how much we really need to move the edges inward.

So I'm going to reduce this Feather value by pressing the down arrow key so I'm reducing it in 0.1 pixel increments. I'm going to take it down until I start to see edges pop up around the right side of the dinosaur because this is where the worst of the edge is or the worst of the color fringing. Even instead of 0.1, we don't have bad edges but we do have some edge details popping up. So I'll just go ahead and increase that value to let's say 0.4 pixels and we get this result here. Go ahead and click OK in order to apply that modification.

This is before my friends. Ah! How awful is that? Let's go ahead and zoom in. This is before, Ctrl+Z or Command+Z for after. Looks so much better, but we do have some holes popping up. So what I recommend to do is Alt-click or Option-click on the layer mask thumbnail so that we can see the layer mask by itself and let's go ahead and get rid of those bad things right there just using the Rectangular Marquee tool. I'm going to select this region and then Shift+Drag around here and Shift+Drag around here as well, and then press Alt+ Backspace or Option+Delete to fill that area with white because white is the foreground color. Nice! And you could paint around some of these other areas. So press Ctrl+D, Command+D on a Mac, get your Brush tool for what you paint here, make your brush much smaller if you're going to paint around these edges.

But I'm not sure that these are showing up that well. We can see them here, when we're seeing the mask by itself. But I think -- Oops! I definitely don't want to paint in there like that. I need to be careful if I'm going to do it. But I don't really think that these are showing up quite that much inside of the actual masked layer. Then what I recommend you do -- let's just make sure we get rid of the most obvious holes. That's the stuff I'm most worried about, like this right there and paint over these regions right here, these weird little holes is what I'm worried about, because these are single pixel problems that grew up and turned into blobs.

Alt-click or Option-click on the mask thumbnail in order to view the image again. Let's see what happens if we paint in there. Nope. That was a good edge. It was fine the way it was. Look at that. There is something going on right there. Press the X key to make black the foreground color and then paint, and oh hey that's not something that's binded by the dinosaur. That's a star. That's actually in the background. So that's okay. Where else do we have problems? Let's go ahead and zoom out here a little bit and see, Ooh! There is one. There's a good needy problem. Notice that highlight has disappeared on that bone right there on that vertebrae. So I'll press the X key in order to make the foreground color white and then I'll go ahead and paint that spine back into place and I've got another one right there that I'll paint in. So that's nice. You can see it happened right there on the fly. This is no mystery. It's the way there is with the Quick Mask mode. You can actually see how the foreground image and the background relate to each other, right there on the fly when you're working in the layer mask.

Anyway keep painting until you feel like you've done what you need to do. Now let's go ahead and zoom out. So I'm going to go ahead and grab my Rectangular Marquee tool. I'm going to drag around this garbage like so. Let's scoot it away from the beak of the mighty duckbill by Spacebar dragging a little bit. Let's go ahead and Shift+Drag around this area just to make sure that we don't have any problems there. We do have some problems along the bottom here, so Shift+Drag there. Go ahead and zoom out and then we need to fill that with black. Black is our foreground color. So all I have to do now is just press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac. And the deed is done.

We now have an expertly masked hadrosaur against this wild other worldly background but here's the deal folks. Even when you've done a splendid job of masking, you don't necessarily get credible results. For example, even though it's sort of a comic composition, we need it to be credible. So you sometimes have to apply a few compositional tricks in order to make the foreground and background match each other. The compositional tricks are coming in the very next exercise.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery .

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Q: My Polygon tool is locked into a very small size. I can use the Transform tool to increase it's size once drawn, but I must have something set that will not allow me to freely draw it like I can the other shapes. What could be causing this problem?
A: This could be caused by a value associated with the Radius option of the tool. Click the down-pointing arrowhead to the right (a few tool icons over) from the Polygon tool in the options bar at the top of the screen. This brings up pop-up panel. If the Radius option has a number value, select that value and press Delete or Backspace to clear it out. That should fix the problem.
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