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Photoshop CS5 Essential Training

Converting a selection into a layer mask


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Photoshop CS5 Essential Training

with Michael Ninness

Video: Converting a selection into a layer mask

Let's learn the proper way to create a vignette. It gives you a lot of flexibility and then along the way to do that, we will learn a couple of tricks, like how to convert a selection to a layer mask and so forth. To do the classic vignette effect, and a vignette is where you have a soft edge fading out to either a white background or hopefully transparency, so you can control the color of the background separately. Let's go ahead and make our rectangular selection here, like so. And what we want to do is soften those edges, so it's not just a hard edge. Now, again, most people will go to Select > Modify > Feather.
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  1. 6m 10s
    1. Welcome
      1m 47s
    2. What is Photoshop?
      2m 49s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 34s
  2. 28m 29s
    1. What is Adobe Bridge?
      1m 54s
    2. Getting photos from a camera
      3m 39s
    3. A tour of the different workspaces in Adobe Bridge
      4m 58s
    4. Customizing how thumbnails are displayed
      3m 35s
    5. Changing obscure camera file names with the Batch Rename command
      2m 36s
    6. Adding basic metadata to every image with metadata templates
      3m 36s
    7. Creating and applying keywords to images
      4m 6s
    8. Viewing images in Full Screen Preview mode
      4m 5s
  3. 23m 4s
    1. Using Review mode to filter out rejects
      5m 27s
    2. Protecting the keepers by saving them in collections
      3m 18s
    3. Rating images
      3m 15s
    4. Using the Filter panel to view different subsets
      4m 43s
    5. Viewing final choices in a slideshow
      2m 12s
    6. Organizing groups of images into stacks
      4m 9s
  4. 30m 50s
    1. Raw vs. JPEG files
      5m 13s
    2. Why you should start in Camera Raw instead of Photoshop
      5m 9s
    3. A tour of the Camera Raw user interface
      6m 44s
    4. Previewing before and after adjustments
      4m 2s
    5. Toggling onscreen Shadow/Highlight clipping warnings
      2m 37s
    6. Choosing output settings
      2m 45s
    7. Saving a copy without going to Photoshop
      4m 20s
  5. 41m 34s
    1. Eliminating red-eye with the Red Eye Removal tool
      1m 13s
    2. Improving composition with the non-destructive Crop tool
      3m 33s
    3. Correcting a rotated horizon line with the Straighten tool
      3m 5s
    4. Fixing color casts with the White Balance tool
      2m 13s
    5. Fixing blown-out highlights with Recovery
      2m 36s
    6. Revealing hidden shadow detail with Fill Light
      1m 47s
    7. Reducing distracting color noise with Noise Reduction
      5m 37s
    8. Removing color fringes with Chromatic Aberration
      2m 36s
    9. Sharpening the details
      8m 59s
    10. End to end: Taking a so-so photo and making it great
      9m 55s
  6. 39m 5s
    1. Fixing blown-out skies with the Graduated Filter tool
      4m 34s
    2. Retouching blemishes with the Spot Removal tool
      5m 41s
    3. Making local adjustments with the Adjustments Brush
      4m 28s
    4. Quick portrait retouching technique using Clarity
      4m 33s
    5. Converting to black and white
      3m 36s
    6. Editing images directly with the Targeted Adjustments tool
      4m 18s
    7. Easy sepia and split tone effects
      2m 35s
    8. Adding digital film grain texture effects
      2m 46s
    9. Adding vignettes and border effects
      2m 13s
    10. Saving variations within a single file with Snapshots
      4m 21s
  7. 15m 48s
    1. Copying settings from one file and pasting across another in Adobe Bridge
      3m 7s
    2. Processing multiple files in Camera Raw
      2m 28s
    3. Saving and using a library of Camera Raw presets
      5m 33s
    4. Using Image Processor to batch process multiple files
      4m 40s
  8. 30m 39s
    1. Opening files from Adobe Bridge
      3m 1s
    2. Opening files from Mini Bridge
      3m 28s
    3. Customizing the Mini Bridge panel
      2m 57s
    4. Changing Mini Bridge so it auto-collapses
      1m 20s
    5. The Application frame
      2m 16s
    6. The Application bar
      1m 16s
    7. Switching and saving workspaces
      4m 23s
    8. Panel management
      5m 31s
    9. Switching tools using the keyboard
      3m 18s
    10. Customizing the keyboard shortcuts
      3m 9s
  9. 16m 12s
    1. Tabbed documents
      2m 1s
    2. The Arrange Documents widget
      1m 38s
    3. How to stop Photoshop from tabbing documents
      3m 34s
    4. Pan and zoom
      5m 21s
    5. Cycling through the different screen modes
      3m 38s
  10. 36m 59s
    1. File formats
      13m 6s
    2. What resolution does your image need to be?
      10m 15s
    3. Resize vs. Resample
      9m 40s
    4. How big a print can you make with your image?
      3m 58s
  11. 42m 17s
    1. Crop options
      4m 12s
    2. Hide vs. Delete for the Crop tool
      3m 30s
    3. Bringing back hidden pixels with Reveal All
      1m 34s
    4. Making the canvas bigger with the Crop tool
      6m 1s
    5. Making the canvas bigger by a specific amount with Relative Canvas Size
      1m 39s
    6. Correcting perspective with the Crop tool
      3m 5s
    7. Straightening a crooked image
      50s
    8. Scaling, skewing, and rotating with Free Transform
      4m 12s
    9. Nondestructive transformations with Smart Objects
      4m 2s
    10. Warping images
      3m 40s
    11. Preserving the important elements with Content-Aware Scaling
      9m 32s
  12. 54m 42s
    1. The Background layer
      5m 14s
    2. Using a layer mask instead of deleting pixels
      4m 12s
    3. Loading multiple images into a single Photoshop document as layers
      1m 30s
    4. Naming, hiding, creating, and deleting layers
      4m 18s
    5. Changing the stacking order of layers
      2m 51s
    6. Selecting layers without using the Layers panel
      6m 28s
    7. Transforming layers
      7m 16s
    8. Aligning and distributing layers
      3m 51s
    9. Changing the opacity of layers
      2m 57s
    10. Organizing layers into groups
      2m 55s
    11. Saving variations with layer comps
      5m 3s
    12. When to merge and rasterize layers
      5m 0s
    13. Flatten vs. Save As (a Copy)
      3m 7s
  13. 1h 4m
    1. Using the Marquee and Lasso tools
      7m 23s
    2. Transform selections
      2m 40s
    3. Quick Mask is your friend
      4m 31s
    4. Converting a selection into a layer mask
      6m 33s
    5. Using the Quick Selection tool
      3m 1s
    6. Re-selecting a previous selection
      1m 35s
    7. Improving a selection with Refine Edge
      4m 21s
    8. Touching up a layer mask with the Brush tool
      12m 7s
    9. Changing the opacity, size, and hardness of the painting tools
      2m 59s
    10. Blending images with a gradient layer mask
      4m 53s
    11. Swapping heads in a family portrait
      3m 53s
    12. Combining multiple exposures with the Blend If sliders
      6m 26s
    13. Replacing the sky in an image
      4m 19s
  14. 1h 1m
    1. Introducing adjustment layers
      7m 57s
    2. Starting with a preset
      4m 25s
    3. Improving tonal quality with Levels
      10m 28s
    4. Increasing midtone contrast with Curves
      5m 4s
    5. Removing a color cast with Auto Color
      5m 56s
    6. Changing the color temperature with Photo Filter
      2m 55s
    7. Shifting colors with Hue/Saturation
      9m 0s
    8. Making washed out colors pop with Vibrance
      2m 46s
    9. Converting color to black and white
      5m 49s
    10. Controlling which layers are affected by an Adjustment Layer
      7m 28s
  15. 11m 32s
    1. Shadow/Highlight
      9m 3s
    2. Matching color across multiple images
      2m 29s
  16. 34m 12s
    1. Removing blemishes with the Spot Healing brush
      6m 21s
    2. Quick technique for smoothing skin and pores
      8m 23s
    3. Taming flyaway hair
      4m 47s
    4. Making teeth bright and white
      1m 43s
    5. De-emphasizing wrinkles
      4m 41s
    6. Removing unwanted details with Content Aware Fill
      4m 26s
    7. Body sculpting with Liquify
      3m 51s
  17. 21m 6s
    1. Creating panoramas with Photomerge and Auto-Blend
      7m 20s
    2. Combining multiple frames of an action sequence
      8m 30s
    3. Combining group shots with Auto-Align
      5m 16s
  18. 25m 36s
    1. Overview of filters
      4m 6s
    2. Applying filters nondestructively with Smart Filters
      4m 45s
    3. Giving an image a soft glow with the Gaussian Blur filter
      4m 41s
    4. Adding noise to an image with the Add Noise filter
      3m 34s
    5. Sharpening an image with Unsharp Mask
      4m 12s
    6. Giving an image more texture with the Texturizer
      1m 17s
    7. Applying a filter to multiple layers
      3m 1s
  19. 30m 44s
    1. Cycling through the blending modes
      4m 43s
    2. Three blending modes you must know
      6m 41s
    3. Adding a lens flare effect with Screen
      3m 33s
    4. Making a cast shadow more realistic with Multiply
      4m 33s
    5. Creating a diffused contrast glow effect with Overlay
      6m 2s
    6. Sharpening an image with High Pass and Overlay
      5m 12s
  20. 21m 39s
    1. Character (point) type
      8m 19s
    2. Paragraph (area) type
      4m 42s
    3. Type on a path
      2m 54s
    4. Clipping an image inside type
      2m 24s
    5. Warping type
      3m 20s
  21. 20m 35s
    1. Adding a drop shadow effect
      4m 43s
    2. Adding an outer glow effect
      3m 13s
    3. Adding a border around an image
      2m 53s
    4. Copying layer effects and applying them to other layers
      2m 3s
    5. Saving layer styles and applying them in other documents
      2m 42s
    6. How (and when) to scale layer effects
      5m 1s
  22. 16m 6s
    1. Creating PDF contact sheets
      6m 41s
    2. Exporting web photo galleries
      6m 8s
    3. Saving for the web
      3m 17s
  23. 1m 19s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 19s

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Photoshop CS5 Essential Training
11h 15m Beginner Apr 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Photoshop CS5 Essential Training, author Michael Ninness demonstrates how to produce the highest quality images with fantastic detail in the shortest amount of time, using a combination of Photoshop CS5, Adobe Bridge, and Camera Raw. This course shows the most efficient ways to perform common editing tasks, including noise reduction, shadow and highlight detail recovery, retouching, and combining multiple images. Along the way, Michael shares the secrets of non-destructive editing, utilizing and mastering Adobe Bridge, Camera Raw, layers, adjustment layers, blending modes, layer masks, and much more. Exercise files are included with the course.

Topics include:
  • Automating image adjustments with Camera Raw
  • Adding keywords, ratings, and other metadata to images
  • Filtering a large collection of images down to the "keepers"
  • Cropping, correcting perspective, and straightening images
  • Creating, naming, hiding, and deleting layers
  • How to make selections and masks quickly
  • Improving mask quality with Refine Edge
  • Techniques for combining multiple images
  • Non-destructive editing techniques with adjustment layers and Smart Filters
  • Retouching essentials, such as blemish removal and body sculpting
  • Color correcting images
  • Using the essential blend modes, layer effects, and styles
  • Creating contact sheets and web photo galleries
Subjects:
Design Photography
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Michael Ninness

Converting a selection into a layer mask

Let's learn the proper way to create a vignette. It gives you a lot of flexibility and then along the way to do that, we will learn a couple of tricks, like how to convert a selection to a layer mask and so forth. To do the classic vignette effect, and a vignette is where you have a soft edge fading out to either a white background or hopefully transparency, so you can control the color of the background separately. Let's go ahead and make our rectangular selection here, like so. And what we want to do is soften those edges, so it's not just a hard edge. Now, again, most people will go to Select > Modify > Feather.

I don't actually like this technique and I am going to show you why here. I can't really preview this. I have no idea how hard or how soft this feathered selection is going to end up. If I click OK, I just get some indication of rounded corners. I have no real way to preview this as I am creating it using this method. So, I am going to undo this, Command +Z, Ctrl+Z. And instead of making a selection and then feathering it, I am going to go press my friend the Quick Mask by pressing the letter Q and going into Quick Mask mode. Now I can accurately see how sharp the edges are.

The mask is being shown as the green overlay, and the selected area as the clear area. It turns out that if you are in Quick Mask mode, you have all your menu commands available to you and one of them is the Filter menu. So, if I go to Filter and choose Blur > Gaussian Blur, it will bring that up. So, I will move the dialog box up here a little bit. If I mouse outside the dialog box, I get a little rectangle or a square cursor here. If I click somewhere on that image, I can actually see the edge of the mask that I am currently viewing here. So, it turns out, using Gaussian Blur in Quick Mask mode is the exact same thing as feathering a selection outside of Quick Mask mode.

They both give you the same result, but the advantage of doing it in Quick Mask mode is that you get a preview. So, you remember, our Feather Radius was 30 when we were using the Feather command. I am going to take the Radius of Gaussian Blur to the same amount. I get the exact same result, except here I get a live preview. I can actually see how hard or soft that vignette is going to be. If I go ahead and click and drag on the slider, I have a lot of control. I have a way to preview this before I commit to it. So, I am going to settle on say 20. I will just type in 20 there and click OK. Great! Now I have got the exact vignette I want.

It's got the edge quality I want, because I was able to preview that in advance. I am going to go ahead and press the Q key to go back out to Normal mode. If I press the Delete key on the keyboard, it actually brings up the Fill command, where I can choose to fill this with a particular color. If I choose let's say white and click OK, that's not exactly what I wanted, right? I wanted the opposite of that. So, I am going to undo it. I set that up to show you that you can inverse your selection. Sometimes it's easier to select what you don't want and then flip it around to get what you actually wanted or vice versa.

So, before I actually fill this with that white background color, I am going to go to the Select menu and choose Inverse. Now it has selected everything but the center of that flower. I press the Delete key again on my keyboard. That brings up the Fill command. It remembers the last setting I had, so it's white. I click OK. I have got my classic vignette effect here. Now, the problem here is that I don't have a lot of flexibility to reposition the flower within that vignette, because I have actually filled those original pixels with that white background color. So, I am going to undo this, Command+Z, Ctrl+Z. What I want to do is convert this selection into a layer mask.

Now, before I can do that, the background layer has to be converted. You will note at the bottom of the Layers panel there is a button here to create a layer mask, but it's not available to me, because a background layer cannot be masked to transparency. We need to convert this layer into just a regular layer. The way you do that is just simply double-click on the name of the layer. We can call it layer 0. I can call it Vignette. Type in that name and press Return. Now I have a layer that can support transparency. If I go back to the bottom of the Layers panel and click on the layer mask icon, I have converted my selection into a mask.

So, instead of seeing white pixels here, I see transparency. I see a checkerboard. Right now, on the layer mask, black means selected. White means protected. What I want to do is reverse this layer mask, so I get the opposite of what I am currently viewing. A mask can be inverted at any time. So pixels can be inverted; selections can be inversed. Same concept, but again, one you are acting on a selection. The other one you are actually acting on pixels. This layer mask is actually a grayscale image being used to mask this layer.

So, I am going to go ahead and make sure the layer mask is targeted. You can see there is a border around that thumbnail. If I click on the image, it has the border. If I click on the layer mask, it has the border. I am going to use the keyword shortcut to Invert, which is Command+I or Ctrl+I. I now have the opposite of the mask, so you can always flip a mask anytime you want. Now, I have a lot more flexibility, because if I want to have a background color behind the flower, I can use a different layer to do that. I am going to go click on the New Layer icon to create a new layer.

It's a new layer, just called Layer 1. It's filled with transparency. I am going to move Layer 1 below the Vignette layer, and just by doing the clicking and dragging until it's below that layer and letting go. Now I want to fill this layer with a color. I'll go to the Edit menu and choose Fill. Let's go ahead and choose white and fill it with white and click OK. The advantage of this technique though is that I can always change the color of that layer to anything I want after the fact. And because this flower is on its own layer with a layer mask, I can reposition the flower within the masked area.

By default, the image and the mask are locked together. They are linked. So, I am going to unlink them. So, if I get my Move tool- I will just press V for the Move tool- if I were to click and drag anywhere in this flower, you will see the flower and the mask move together because they are linked. I am going to click on the little link icon between the image and the layer mask. And now when I click on the flower, you can see I can move that freely around within that mask to reposition it. So, I have a lot more flexibility of creating the custom vignette look I am looking for. Make your selection, type Q to go to Quick Mask.

Use Gaussian Blur to soften the edge. Get out of Quick Mask mode. Convert that selection to a layer mask. If your layer is a background layer, convert the background layer first. Then add the layer mask. That converts your selection to a layer mask and now you have this flexibility to change any part without it being destructive.

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