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Combining paths into a single vector mask

From: Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals

Video: Combining paths into a single vector mask

In this exercise, we are going to select that left eye, using Path outlines once again. And then we will combine the two eye outlines inside of a single vector mask. I have saved my progress as Right eye masked .psd found inside the 09_layer mask folder. I am going to scroll over just a little bit, so I can keep an eye on that left eye. As I was saying, this gets pretty tricky when we are trying to mix and match a bunch of path outlines together. So we are best of, isolating that left eye inside the Paths panel. So I am going to go ahead and hide the Adjustments panel for now.

Combining paths into a single vector mask

In this exercise, we are going to select that left eye, using Path outlines once again. And then we will combine the two eye outlines inside of a single vector mask. I have saved my progress as Right eye masked .psd found inside the 09_layer mask folder. I am going to scroll over just a little bit, so I can keep an eye on that left eye. As I was saying, this gets pretty tricky when we are trying to mix and match a bunch of path outlines together. So we are best of, isolating that left eye inside the Paths panel. So I am going to go ahead and hide the Adjustments panel for now.

And then switch over to the Paths panel and let's create a new path By Alt or Option+Clicking on the little page icon at the bottom of the panel and because, I Alt or Option+Clicked that brings up the new path dialog box and I'll go ahead and call this one left eye and then click OK. And now because left eye is selected in the Paths panel, we will automatically draw our outlines into that path container. All right, I am going to start things off using the Ellipse tool once again. I am going to drag around the left portion of that left eye and of course, I'm using the spacebar for alignment purposes.

After I have laid down the first path outlines I will press and hold the Shift and Alt keys with the Shift and Option keys on the Mac. I will begin drawing that's going to create a circle from the center outward, so I will go ahead and release the keys, now that I've told Photoshop I am looking for an intersection. And that will allow me to create a free form ellipse and I will use the spacebar in order to align the ellipse more or less into place, like so. Go ahead and release in order to set that path down, have faith that we are finding the intersection because we have the Shift and Alt key down.

Now press the Shift and Alt keys again, or the Shift and Option keys on the Mac. And then go ahead and begin drawing. With your mouse button still down, go ahead and release the Shift and Alt keys in order to draw free form ellipse and let's go ahead and move that guy into place by pressing the spacebar. And I need a pretty slim ellipse as you're seeing here. That doesn't quite select everything that I'm looking for, I am going to zoom in a little bit farther. Notice that the corner of the eye remains deselected or at least it's not surrounded by a path outlined at the moment.

This time I want to add an ellipse. So I will just draw with a tool like so, and I can go ahead and sort of align it into place with the spacebar, but I'm looking at this ellipse and it seems to me that it wants to be a bit rotated. So after I get done drawing it, I will switchover to my black your tool, which allows me to select Path outlines here inside Photoshop. And then I will click on the outline to make it active, it will go up to the Edit menu and notice the Free Transform command now reads Free Transform Path, it still has the same keyboard shortcut Ctrl+T, Command+T on the Mac and I am going to drag outside the ellipse to rotate it slightly, and then I am going to drag it into place.

And I want to make sure that the top edge of that ellipse, as very nearly as possible exactly aligns with the intersection of the two ellipses around it. Now I will press the Enter key or Return key on the Mac in order to accept that rotation and it looks like, I am a little bit far away, it's really going to serve my purposes if I am right on. So I will zoom way in. I have got the image zoom to 600% at the moment. And then I will use the arrow keys to nudge that ellipse around, bearing in mind that you have more precision when you are farther zoomed in because when you press an arrow key, you're always nudging in screen pixels as opposed to actual pixels inside the image.

All, right that looks pretty good now I am going to go ahead and center my zoom, actually I want to zoom back in a little tighter there. Now let's take those path outlines and add them to our existing vector mask and I will do that, once again armed with the Path Selection tool, you need to marquee all of the path outlines and you only need to partially marquee them, by the way, you don't have to completely surround them. All right, I have got all of the left eye path selected, I am going to go up to the Edit menu and choose the Copy command or press Ctrl+C on the PC or Command+C on the Mac and now go ahead and click on that bottommost path that's italicized, that's your Vector mask, by the way,.

So just as you see pixel-based layer masks as temporary Alpha channels inside the Channels panel, you also see Vector masks as temporary path outlines, here inside the Paths panel. Go ahead and click on it to make it active and you'll see your right eye paths, the ones you drew in the previous exercise. Now go up to the Edit menu and choose the Paste command or press Ctrl+V on the PC or Command+V on the Mac. Now thing to bear in mind, those of you who are familiar with Adobe Illustrator, what you would normally do in this case is you would choose Paste in front, right because that way you register the paths in the place.

The Paste command when applied to path outlines inside Photoshop works just like paste in front in Illustrator. So you not only paste the outlines in front, but you register them as well. So I will go ahead and choose a command and there are my new path outlines inside of the vector mask. I am going to switch back to the Layers panel here, so that I can confirm that I am indeed working on the Eyes layer and I am of course working inside the vector mask as well. Now, notice that we have a problem, we are no longer seeing the effect applied to the right eye, and that's because of all these intersections that are going on, for example, if I click off one of these path outlines and let's say, I click on this one right here.

I will notice up in the Options bar that the third icon in intersect shapes areas is selected. Now I could change it to something else if I wanted to, of course I don't I want to leave it that way. But my point is that this path outline is intersecting every thing and so because it doesn't pass through any portions of the right eye, we are no longer seeing the right eye. And so what we have to do and this is where I believe the process gets as gnarly as it can possibly get, where vectors are concerned inside Photoshop, is we need to combine the path outlines associated with each of the eyes independently. And here's how.

Go ahead and partially marquee those three path outlines that are associated with the right eye, make sure none of the left eye paths is selected. Then go up to the Options bar and click on Combine and that will go ahead and fuse them into a single path outlined. Now do the same for the left eye path, so go ahead and partially marquee all four of them and then once again go up to the Combine button and click on it and we've not only fused the left eye paths, but we've also revealed the right eye path because the two path outlines are being added together.

Now what I would like you do is press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac to hide the outlines, and let's soften them a little bit by bringing up a Masks panel and I am going to change the Feather value from 0 to 3 and that will apply a nice degree of softness to the edges of those eyes. Finally, I want to paint away this little corner of the eye, just ever so slightly so that the adjustment fades in and to do that I will need to add a pixel-based layer mask because you can apply the Feather value incidentally, independently to the vector mask and the layer mask.

However, you cannot independently feather path outlines inside of a single vector mask. All right, so what I am going to do is with the Eyes layer selected, I will drop down to the bottom of the Layers panel and click on the Add layer Mask icon which will add a pixel-based mask, and then I will switch to my Brush tool and I will right-click inside the image window, so I can show you that I've changed the settings, the Size now is 45 pixels, the Hardness is 0%, press the Enter key in order to hide that panel, the mode is set to Normal, the Foreground color is black and I'll just go ahead and click right about there and I may click a second time as well to create a little bit of an additional fade.

All right folks, for better or for worse, you've now seen how to combine a bunch of path outlines, inside of a single vector mask here inside Photoshop.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals
Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals

128 video lessons · 30136 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 15m 25s
    1. Welcome
      1m 12s
    2. Loading my custom dekeKeys shortcuts
      3m 45s
    3. Adjusting the color settings
      4m 29s
    4. Setting up a power workspace
      5m 59s
  2. 1h 0m
    1. The channel is the origin of masking
      1m 54s
    2. The Masks and Channels panels
      4m 48s
    3. How color channels work
      7m 7s
    4. Viewing channels in color
      3m 24s
    5. How RGB works
      4m 12s
    6. Single-channel grayscale
      5m 12s
    7. Mixing a custom "fourth" channel
      5m 15s
    8. The other three-channel mode: Lab
      5m 45s
    9. A practical application of Lab
      4m 55s
    10. The final color mode: CMYK
      7m 5s
    11. Introducing the Multichannel mode
      5m 56s
    12. Creating a unique multichannel effect
      5m 18s
  3. 44m 27s
    1. The alpha channel is home to the mask
      1m 40s
    2. The origins of the alpha channel
      3m 40s
    3. How a mask works
      7m 10s
    4. Making an alpha channel
      4m 2s
    5. Using the new channel icons
      6m 27s
    6. Saving an image with alpha channels
      4m 23s
    7. Loading a selection from a channel
      4m 7s
    8. Putting a mask into play
      3m 55s
    9. Loading a selection from a layer
      4m 27s
    10. Loading a selection from another image
      4m 36s
  4. 1h 0m
    1. The mask meets the composition
      1m 8s
    2. Viewing a mask as a rubylith overlay
      6m 13s
    3. Changing a mask's overlay color
      5m 34s
    4. Painting inside a mask
      6m 3s
    5. Cleaning up and confirming
      5m 18s
    6. Combining masks
      5m 10s
    7. Painting behind and inside a layer
      5m 27s
    8. Blending image elements
      6m 1s
    9. What to do when layers go wrong
      6m 3s
    10. Hiding layer effects with a mask
      4m 22s
    11. Introducing clipping masks
      5m 29s
    12. Unclipping and masking a shadow
      3m 50s
  5. 1h 35m
    1. The seven selection soldiers
      52s
    2. The marquee tools
      6m 31s
    3. The single-pixel tools (plus tool tricks)
      6m 48s
    4. Turning a destructive edit into a layer
      5m 34s
    5. Making shapes of specific sizes
      7m 7s
    6. The lasso tools
      5m 49s
    7. Working with the Magnetic Lasso tool
      7m 19s
    8. The Quick Selection tool
      8m 13s
    9. Combining Quick Selection and Smudge
      4m 52s
    10. The Magic Wand and the Tolerance value
      6m 55s
    11. Contiguous and Anti-aliased selections
      6m 58s
    12. Making a good selection with the Magic Wand
      6m 34s
    13. Selecting and replacing a background
      6m 55s
    14. Resolving edges with layer effects
      7m 52s
    15. Adding lines of brilliant gold type
      7m 28s
  6. 1h 11m
    1. Selections reign supreme
      55s
    2. Introducing "selection calculations"
      4m 19s
    3. Combining two different tools
      7m 29s
    4. Selections and transparency masks
      5m 17s
    5. Selecting an eye
      7m 1s
    6. Masking and blending a texture into skin
      5m 1s
    7. Painting a texture into an eye
      4m 19s
    8. Combining layers, masks, channels, and paths
      4m 54s
    9. Moving selection outlines vs. selected pixels
      5m 36s
    10. Transforming and warping a selection outline
      7m 45s
    11. Pasting an image inside a selection
      7m 26s
    12. Adding volumetric shadows and highlights
      6m 54s
    13. Converting an image into a mask
      4m 42s
  7. 1h 5m
    1. The best selection tools are commands
      1m 5s
    2. Introducing the Color Range command
      5m 59s
    3. Working in the Color Range dialog box
      7m 7s
    4. Primary colors and luminance ranges
      4m 12s
    5. A terrific use for Color Range
      4m 57s
    6. Introducing the Quick Mask mode
      7m 43s
    7. Moving a selection into a new background
      5m 43s
    8. Smoothing the mask, recreating the corners
      8m 43s
    9. Integrating foreground and background
      4m 44s
    10. Creating a cast shadow from a layer
      2m 51s
    11. Releasing and masking layer effects
      3m 11s
    12. Creating a synthetic rainbow effect
      4m 30s
    13. Masking and compositing your rainbow
      4m 46s
  8. 1h 17m
    1. The ultimate in masking automation
      1m 6s
    2. Introducing the Refine Mask command
      6m 58s
    3. Automated edge detection
      8m 23s
    4. Turning garbage into gold
      6m 19s
    5. Starting with an accurate selection
      7m 11s
    6. Selection outline in, layer mask out
      7m 48s
    7. Matching a scene with Smart Filters
      4m 29s
    8. Cooling a face, reflecting inside eyes
      4m 45s
    9. Creating a layer of ghoulish skin
      4m 28s
    10. Adding dark circles around the eyes
      5m 20s
    11. Creating a fake blood effect
      5m 38s
    12. Establishing trails of blood
      7m 40s
    13. Integrating the blood into the scene
      7m 3s
  9. 1h 48m
    1. Using the image to select itself
      1m 37s
    2. Choosing the ideal base channel
      5m 7s
    3. Converting a channel into a mask
      6m 34s
    4. Painting with the Overlay mode
      7m 27s
    5. Painting with the Soft Light mode
      5m 55s
    6. Mask, composite, refine, and blend
      4m 40s
    7. Creating a more aggressive mask
      7m 2s
    8. Blending differently masked layers
      7m 0s
    9. Creating a hair-only mask
      6m 0s
    10. Using history to regain a lost mask
      3m 42s
    11. Separating flesh tones from hair
      8m 28s
    12. Adjusting a model's color temperature
      4m 30s
    13. Introducing the Calculations command
      7m 22s
    14. Extracting a mask from a Smart Object
      6m 34s
    15. Integrating a bird into a new sky
      5m 40s
    16. Creating synthetic rays of light
      6m 4s
    17. Masking and compositing light
      7m 39s
    18. Introducing a brilliant light source
      7m 5s
  10. 1h 34m
    1. The synthesis of masking and compositing
      1m 36s
    2. White reveals, black conceals
      6m 45s
    3. Layer masking tips and tricks
      5m 8s
    4. Generating a layer mask with Color Range
      5m 38s
    5. The Masks panel's bad options
      5m 18s
    6. The Masks panel's good options
      3m 50s
    7. Creating and feathering a vector mask
      3m 42s
    8. Combining pixel and vector masks
      3m 50s
    9. Working with path outlines
      7m 10s
    10. Combining paths into a single vector mask
      7m 52s
    11. Sharpening detail, reducing color noise
      4m 27s
    12. Recreating missing details
      8m 49s
    13. Masking glass
      5m 50s
    14. Refining a jagged Magic Wand mask
      5m 53s
    15. Masking multiple layers at one time
      5m 15s
    16. Establishing a knockout layer
      6m 6s
    17. Clipping and compositing tricks
      7m 37s
  11. 1m 17s
    1. Next steps
      1m 17s

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