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Combining paths to make a layer mask


Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques

with Deke McClelland

Video: Combining paths to make a layer mask

In this exercise, we are going to add the super suit layer and we are going to do so by combining our paths into a layer mask, this time, as opposed to a vector mask. The reason we are going to work that way is it's just going to simplify the approach and it's also going to give me the opportunity to share with you some new techniques. The big reason is simplification because otherwise, we would have to combine these paths down here with this zigzag path that constitutes the costume hem. Then we would have to figure out another path in order to surround her face to take it out of the equation because the super suit should only cover this area, to the right of the hem, not her face.
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  1. 2h 12m
    1. The Odyssey Continues
      2m 39s
    2. Mapping one image onto another
      7m 12s
    3. Making a custom contrast mode
      7m 9s
    4. Luminance blending
      8m 39s
    5. Forcing the visibility of underlying layers
      4m 3s
    6. Adjusting the appearance of clipped layers
      4m 33s
    7. Selecting a Blend If channel
      6m 11s
    8. Enhancing highlights by hiding them
      5m 8s
    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 38s
    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 34s
    17. Matching colors
      9m 12s
    18. Building transitional blended layers
      6m 33s
    19. Restoring normal colors
      6m 49s
  2. 2h 32m
    1. Layer masks, clipping masks, and knockouts
      1m 20s
    2. Rotating and stretching
      7m 54s
    3. A jet of motion blur
      9m 17s
    4. Keyboard tricks
      5m 4s
    5. Merging sky and landscape
      6m 2s
    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 0s
    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 44s
    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 15s
    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 26m
    1. The corrective power of masking
      1m 6s
    2. The amazing luminance mask
      7m 21s
    3. Brightening and neutralizing the eyes
      8m 21s
    4. Adjusting a nondestructive composition
      5m 52s
    5. Creating a corrective mask
      6m 3s
    6. Averaging away irregular flesh tones
      3m 52s
    7. Modifying specific colors
      7m 46s
    8. Initiating the color mask
      5m 59s
    9. Refining the color mask
      6m 39s
    10. Adjusting the edges around fabric
      7m 55s
    11. Perfecting hair
      9m 34s
    12. Sharpening with a High Pass layer
      10m 12s
    13. The also-amazing density mask
      4m 47s
    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 45s
    21. Applying the edge mask
      6m 1s
    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 48s
    3. Meet the Channel Mixer
      8m 26s
    4. Mixing a custom black-and-white image
      7m 9s
    5. Creating a professional-level sepia tone
      5m 36s
    6. Employing the Black & White command
      8m 0s
    7. Extreme channel mixing
      4m 50s
    8. The infrared photography effect
      6m 42s
    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 43s
    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 38s
    16. The simple (but wrong) approach to red-eye correction
      6m 39s
    17. Channel-mixing red pupils
      9m 17s
    18. The expert approach to red-eye correction
      5m 20s
    19. Fixing problem coronas (pupil edges)
      8m 8s
    20. Making pupils match
      4m 7s
  5. 2h 33m
    1. Chops are dead; long live maskops
      1m 36s
    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 21s
    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 32s
    11. The Add mode in action
      7m 51s
    12. The Subtract mode in action
      8m 24s
    13. Comparing two channels with Difference
      5m 23s
    14. Enhancing the contrast with Curves
      9m 10s
    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 0s
    19. Painting away the face and chin
      4m 52s
    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 34s
    2. The big paths project overview
      6m 51s
    3. How to make a path
      8m 24s
    4. Corner points and freeform polygons
      8m 6s
    5. Editing paths with the arrow tools
      5m 2s
    6. Adding and deleting endpoints
      5m 14s
    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
      5m 59s
    12. Combining paths in a vector mask
      7m 54s
    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 9s
    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 16s
    7. Roughing in an object mask
      6m 48s
    8. Drawing missing details with the Lasso tool
      4m 7s
    9. Combining flesh and object masks
      3m 52s
    10. Amplifying the cast shadow
      4m 10s
    11. Selectively choking edges
      3m 58s
    12. Power duplication in Photoshop
      7m 8s
    13. Masking blond hair
      5m 48s
    14. Using Levels to mask iterations
      3m 14s
    15. Drawing an iteration boundary
      4m 54s
    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 28s
    19. Pulling from another file with Apply Image
      4m 52s
    20. Blending clipped layers independently
      5m 42s
    21. Building the flame mask
      9m 21s
    22. Amplifying the flame
      3m 52s
    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 24s
    30. Coloring in the outlines
      8m 31s
    31. Mastering Calculations
      7m 28s
    32. Subtracting and merging the beak
      11m 5s
  8. 1h 33m
    1. The meaning of bit depth (and why you care)
      2m 49s
    2. Scanning line art in 8-bit and 16-bit
      5m 8s
    3. Measuring the 16-bit difference
      8m 8s
    4. Correcting 8-bit images in the 16-bit space
      9m 31s
    5. Opening a raw image directly in 16-bit
      6m 12s
    6. Editing in Camera Raw, opening in 16-bit
      8m 21s
    7. 16-Bit/channel vs. 32-bit/channel (HDR)
      8m 17s
    8. Working with auto-bracketed photographs
      5m 6s
    9. Using the Merge to HDR command
      5m 59s
    10. Adjusting the HDR preview
      6m 0s
    11. Building a 32-bit sky mask
      6m 29s
    12. Properly exposing land and sky
      4m 24s
    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 31s
    5. Using a two-channel displacement map
      6m 27s
    6. Creating a rustic edge effect
      8m 21s
    7. Distorting and shading with a DMap
      6m 33s
    8. Moonlight reflecting off water
      8m 48s
    9. Mapping the reflection onto the water
      7m 3s
    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 4s
    14. Making a repeating watermark pattern
      9m 21s
    15. 3D embossing with Lighting Effects
      10m 47s
    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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Watch the Online Video Course 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
Design Photography
Deke McClelland

Combining paths to make a layer mask

In this exercise, we are going to add the super suit layer and we are going to do so by combining our paths into a layer mask, this time, as opposed to a vector mask. The reason we are going to work that way is it's just going to simplify the approach and it's also going to give me the opportunity to share with you some new techniques. The big reason is simplification because otherwise, we would have to combine these paths down here with this zigzag path that constitutes the costume hem. Then we would have to figure out another path in order to surround her face to take it out of the equation because the super suit should only cover this area, to the right of the hem, not her face.

So a layer mask, easier solution. Now I am working inside of a catchup document called Costume hem.psd, found inside of the 15_paths folder. I tell you what? I keep noticing some problems with the shoulder here, that new shoulder path that I drew a few exercises ago, and I am going to fix it now, while the fixing is good because after we get done creating a layer mask, it's going to be a little more difficult to fix it. So let's go ahead and click on the vector mask thumbnail associated with the Profile layer here inside the Layers palette. I am going to press the A key to get my white Arrow tool because it's the last arrow tool I used and I am going to move this line down a little bit. I am going to move that point down in order to drag the segment down slightly and it was just a little movement, not much.

Now I will press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac, just to check my work. It still could go down a little farther than that, I think. So I am going to move it over, like this, to take it down farther, like so, and then press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to check out how things look and I think that's looks pretty darn good. Let's just make sure things are as smooth as they should be by taking that control handle down, making sure we are not revealing anything over here on the left side of the shoulder, and so on. Those paths, they are infinitely flexible, I said it before, I say it again.

All right, so we fixed everything. I fixed it again, I am just obsessing about details but that something that paths allow you to do, for a better or for worse. Incidentally, in our previous exercise, when we took that zigzag vector mask, that represents the hem of her super suit and we added it to the dynamic fill layer, we manually created a traditional shape layer here inside of Photoshop. If you want to learn about more standard ways, simpler ways to create shape layers in Photoshop, then you can check out my full Photoshop CS3 one-on-one training series available to all of you, who are subscribers to the Online Training Library. You would want to check out the Advanced Techniques portion of the series, that would be Chapter 20 Vector Based Shapes, is what you are interested in.

So we took the harder approach, the more manual approach but that's because we wanted to work with an existing path. So I just make that clear, it would have been, actually, a lot more work to try to draw that shape layer from scratch; I am clueing you on that. All right, so here is what we are going to do. In order to make the super suit layer, go ahead and click on the blue 1 layer to make it active because we are going to create a copy of that layer, that's going to be called blue 2, that's sandwiched between blue 1 and blue 3. So with blue 1 selected, press Ctrl+ Alt+J or Command+Option+J on the Mac to bring up the New Layer dialog box. Let's change the name to blue 2. I don't know why Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask isn't on, by default, here? Since we are sandwiching it inside of an existing clipping mask but go ahead and turn it on manually, just so that we don't ruin anything here.

Let's change the Mode to Hue. I want to accept the existing luminance levels and saturation values inside of her flesh and just make some new hue values here. So I will select Hue, I will click OK. It creates this new layer. Let's double click on it to bring up the Layer Style dialog box and let's reset the Underlying Layer values here, so that black is 0; I had to drag it a couple of times there; and white is 255 without any slashes. Then click OK and you end up with this result right here.

Now how do we go about masking this layer so that it falls exclusively inside of her flesh? Well, first thing I want you to do and this isn't absolutely necessary because since we are already working on a clipped layer, it would be clipped by this Profile mask down here but I want to give you a better sense of how things work inside the Paths palette. So we are going to do a little bit of extra labor here. Go ahead and click on the Profile layer to make it active and then if you go into the Paths palette, you will see that we have our Profile Vector Mask available to us. I want you to Ctrl+Click on that path inside the Paths palette and that would Command+Click on the Mac.

The reason you have to do it here, is because if you go over to the Layers palette and you Ctrl+Click on the vector mask thumbnail, you will select just the lowest of the three paths and not the rest of them. I don't know why that is, but that just happens to be the way it works. If you Ctrl+Click or Command+Click on the layer thumbnail itself, on the pixel based thumbnail, then you select the entire rectangular region. So you don't observe the mask at all. So let's go back to the Paths palette, Ctrl+Click or Command+Click on that vector mask thumbnail. Then I want to subtract the costume hem from it but just in case, we made any modifications to the layer. Let's go back to the Layers palette and I want you to press the Ctrl and Alt keys or the Command and Option keys on the Mac and click on that blue 3 vector mask thumbnail, like so, to de-select the hem from the selection; I carve it away from the selection.

Now I should mention, you can also add to a selection, you can subtract from a selection, as we just did, and you can find the intersection. That happens just the same way it does with channels. In other words, Ctrl+Clicking or Command+Clicking on the Mac, creates a new selection; Ctrl and Alt or Command and Option on the Mac, subtracts; Ctrl and Shift or Command and Shift on the Mac, adds; and Ctrl+Shift and Alt on a PC or Command+Shift and Option on the Mac, find the intersection of two paths, or of a path and the existing selection outline.

All right, so now we need to go back to the Layers palette here. Click on the blue 2 layer to make it active, and then go down here to the layer mask icon, and just go ahead and click on it. Don't Alt+Click, or Ctrl+Click, or do any of that fancy stuff, just click on it and that's it. You will go ahead and convert the selection to a layer mask. Now I am going to Alt+Click or Option+ Click on that layer mask in order to view it independently of the image and isn't it beautiful? I mean, these smooth edges takes us in a graphics territory, which is, where I really live. I just love graphic art and we have still got the face.

Now go on, we need to get rid of the face. So why don't we just get rid of it? We are going to have to do this manually using the Lasso tool. Now I am just going to Alt+Click or Option+Click with the Lasso tool to take advantage of that polygonal lasso function. I am going to dig my way down here and across in front of face, like so, and then I am going to press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete on the Mac to fill that area with black. Now let's press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac to de-select the image. Alt+Click or Option+Click on that layer mask thumbnail to switch back to the full color image and the deed is done. People, we have now added a super suit to the woman and we have done it by combining paths into a layer mask and quite successfully, I might add.

In the next exercise, we are going to add the waves over her hairline here and we are going to do that by applying a path based vector mask and a pixel based layer mask to the exact same layer. It's incredible, people, we can combine layer mask and vector mask together, if you want to, inside Photoshop. It is that powerful.

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