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Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals is the introductory installment of Deke McClelland's four-part series on making photorealistic compositions in Photoshop. The course shows how to make selections, refine the selections with masks, and then combine them in new ways, using layer effects, blend modes, and other techniques to create a single seamless piece of artwork. Deke introduces the Channels panel and the alpha channel, the key to masking and transparency in Photoshop; reviews the selection tools, including the Color Range tool , Quick Mask mode, and the Refine Edge command; and shows how to blend masked images so they interact naturally.
I've saved my progress as Big vector oval.psd found inside the 09_layer_mask folder. So far we've created this layer of desaturation that's masked by this big vector oval. However, I need to somehow paint away the effect inside the man's face and along the woman's neck as well, which means I need to add a pixel-based layer mask and you can combine both pixel-based layer masks and vector-based shape masks inside a single layer and here's how it works. I am going to go ahead and choose the Color Range command which you might feel like by now is a little bit dangerous, but in fact because we do not have a pixel-based layer mask selected it's going to generate a standard selection outline.
So I'll go ahead and choose the command and I'm going to click on that formerly blue portion of the man's collar, and then I'll Shift+Drag around into the other regions of t-shirt, including that over the woman shoulder. Now that ends up selecting too much of the image, because the Fuzziness value is cranked up to 100. So I'll take the Fuzziness down to 20, and then I'll click OK. Because no layer mask is selected the Color Range command goes ahead and generates a selection outline. Let's convert that selection into a layer mask by clicking on the Add layer mask icon down here at the bottom of the Layers panel.
You can see now that we have both a pixel-based layer mask and a vector-based shape mask associated with the same layer. Problem is we're still doing a number on this guys jaw. If you zoom in, you can see that I'm leaching the saturation out of his whiskers. So I'm going to go ahead and Alt+ Click or Option+Click on that layer mask thumbnail so I can see what I'm doing. I'll switch to the Brush tool, which I can get of course by pressing the B key, and I'll right-click inside the image window so you can see that I have the Hardness value cranked all the way up to 100%.
My size value is also 150 pixels for what that's worth. I'll go ahead and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac to hide that panel. Notice also that the mode is set to Normal up here in the Options bar. Make sure that your foreground color is set to black and then just go ahead and click around these regions. You can drag across his face as long as you're safely away from that edge. Once you come closer to the edge so you're better off just clicking along it, like so. Then I'll go ahead and paint away his face, scroll upward a little bit as well, paint away some of his forehead there, paint into this region.
Now I don't have to paint outside of the Vector mask. The Vector mask is active. So if I press Ctrl+H or Command+H on a Mac I should be able to see it and I'm seeing it once again. So I'm just using that as a guideline so I know where I have to paint and where I don't have to paint around this region and I might paint up beyond it just a little bit, because that is a feathered mask as you may recall. Let's zoom out here. There are portions of the woman's face and neck that need to be painted away and I'll go ahead and paint those away just using the Normal mode once again and this region needs to go as well.
That takes care of it. Now if I go ahead and center my zoom, zoom back in as well, and then Alt+Click or Option+Click in the layer mask thumbnail to reveal the full-color image, I'll also click on the Vector mask thumbnail to turn it off so that I'm no longer seeing that path outline and I'll press the M key to switch back to the Rectangular Marquee tool. You can see we're no longer impacting the whiskers inside of the man's face or any of the regions inside the woman's neck. So this is the effect of that adjustment layer, by the way,. If I turn it off we can see those bright blue shadows inside the gentleman shirt and then if I turn it back on we can see that the shadows are neutralized when.
You turn a layer on and off that contains a Vector mask, the Vector mask will appear once again to make it go away. Just go ahead and click on the Vector mask thumbnail to turn it off. That's how you combine both pixel-based layer masks and vector-based shape masks on a single layer whether it's an adjustment layer or any other kind of layer here inside Photoshop.
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