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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.
In this exercise we're going to make the foreground and background further match each other, by cooling down the colors in models face and adding some blue reflections inside the irises. I've saved my progress as Smart filter comp.psd found inside the 07_refine folder. And the first step is to cool down the models face by applying a layer Effect. With the Dude layer selected here are at the top of the Layers panel, go ahead and click on the fx icon down here at the bottom of the panel and choose Color Overlay.
By default, that'll make him entirely red, we want to dial in the shade of blue, click on the color swatch and you can lift a shade of blue by clicking inside the background with the eyedropper, and that'll go ahead and give you representative color. I'm going to go ahead and enter a Hue value of 210 degrees, which is roughly equivalent to the color I clicked on, and then I'm going to take the Saturation value up to 100 and the Brightest value up to 100 as well, then click OK. Next, change the Blend mode from Normal to the most subtle of the contrast modes, which is Soft Light, and finally, I'm going to dial down the Opacity value to a mere 25% and then click OK.
And now, just to give you a sense of what we were able to achieve, if I turn Color Overlay off, these are the original warm colors inside the man's face, then I'll turn the effect back on, and you see that cool things down significantly. It looks as if he's actually integrated into a night scene. It struck me that his eyes should be reflecting some of the colors in the sky, so I created a new layer by pressing Ctrl+Shift+N or Command+Shift+N on the Mac and I went ahead and called this layer eyes and clicked OK. Now let's dial in a color here inside the Colors panel, I'm looking at my HSB values.
So I'm going to change the Hue value once again to 210 degrees, I'll take the Saturation value down to 25% and I'll take the Brightness value up to 100%. Next, go ahead and grab the Brush tool, you want to right-click inside the Image window and take the Hardness value down to 0%, then press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac a couple of times, in order to accept that modification. Now press the right bracket key until the size of your cursor more or less matches the size of that left-hand iris, and in my case I'm looking at the size value of 175 pixels over here on the left-hand side of the Options bar, and now click on top of one of the irises, and then click on top of the other one as well.
All right now I'm going to press the M key to switch back to the Rectangle Marquee tool, and I'm going to change the Blend mode in the top left corner of the Layers panel from Normal to the most common of the contrast modes, which is Overlay, and we end up achieving this effect here, which looks just absolutely great in my opinion, with one exception, and that is that the blue is spilling out from the irises into the top and the bottom of the eyelids. So we need to go ahead and mask the eye and we're going to take advantage of that same eye masking trick that I showed you couple of chapters ago.
Switch from the Rectangle Marquee to the Elliptical Marquee tool, go ahead and draw on an ellipse that more or less matches the top of his eyelid, and you'll need to press the spacebar in order to get things more or less right, you don't have to create an exact match in this case, we're just trying to mask off the top of that iris and the bottom of the iris as well, press the Shift and Alt key, so the Shift and Option keys on the Mac and draw a new ellipse, use the spacebar in order to get everything aligned, and once you get a selection that looks more or less like this one here, then go ahead and release in order to create this lossy shape selection outline.
Now notice that it cuts into the white of the eye a little bit, again, that's not a problem, we're just interested in masking the iris. Now drop down to the bottom of Layers panel and click the Add layer Mask icon in order to mask that left-hand eye that goes ahead and masks the way the right-hand iris. So we need to draw a selection outline for it as well, go ahead and draw selection that more or less matches the top eyelid, then press the Shift+Alt keys or the Shift+Option keys on the Mac and draw another selection along the bottom eyelid and release.
Now we need to fill that area inside the layer mask with white, make sure the layer Mask thumbnail is selected. In my case white is a foreground color, so press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete on the Mac in order to reveal that right-hand iris and that's all there is to it, I'll press Ctrl+0, Command+0 on a Mac in order to centre my zoom. And we now have a color scheme that integrates both the foreground and the background, I'll press the F12 key in order to show you the before version of the image, notice how dissimilar things are, then I'll press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on a Mac, so we can see our progress.
In the next exercise we're going to create the fellow's ghoulish skin.
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