Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques
Illustration by John Hersey

Corner points and freeform polygons


Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques

with Deke McClelland

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Video: Corner points and freeform polygons

In this exercise, I am going to show you how to make the most basic path you can using the Pen tool in Photoshop and this most basic that you can make is going to be a free form polygon as you will see. Something that you can do very easily actually using the Pen tool. I am working inside of the original version of the Photographs & paths.psd image that's found inside of the 15 Paths folder. So I went ahead and reverted the image to its original appearance to get rid of all those rectangles I created in previous exercise and I am looking at the Layers palette right now.
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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

Corner points and freeform polygons

In this exercise, I am going to show you how to make the most basic path you can using the Pen tool in Photoshop and this most basic that you can make is going to be a free form polygon as you will see. Something that you can do very easily actually using the Pen tool. I am working inside of the original version of the Photographs & paths.psd image that's found inside of the 15 Paths folder. So I went ahead and reverted the image to its original appearance to get rid of all those rectangles I created in previous exercise and I am looking at the Layers palette right now.

Why don't you go ahead and turn on the Profile layer because what we ultimately want to do with the Pen tool is we want to trace the contours of this woman's face. So that we can mask away her background and reveal the barracudas in the background that are coming at her. So ahead and turn on the Profile layer and click on it if you want to. Since this layer will ultimately be modifying but it's not essential that you click on any layer in order to draw paths because paths in layers exist independently with each other as you will see. Now let's go ahead and switch over to the Paths palette and because we are going to be making a new path, I wants you to get in a good habit of creating a new entry here inside the Paths palette before we begin. So make sure the Paths palette is up. Then Alt+Click or Option+Click on this little Page icon down here at the bottom of the Paths palette and let's call this Free-form polygon or something along those lines, spell it correctly as well. There we go. Click OK in order to create that new entry.

Notice it's blank, we are just seeing grayness and that's it and by the way I am viewing big versions of my thumbnails. If you want to see big versions of yours which is a good idea I think. As otherwise you can't see what's going on with these little ratty thumbnails. You want to right click inside of blank area at the bottom of the Paths palette if you could find it and choose Large. If you can't get to a blank area at the bottom of the palette you know you can collapse a few of the palettes. You can also go over here to the palette menu and you could choose palette Options and then you can select the larger of these little starfish paths right here.

All right, so anyway make sure that you can see large thumbnails. Then I wants you to go over and grab the Pen tool. Now you will notice if you click and hold on the Pen tool, it's look like a little pen nib of course. Now you got a bunch of different tool variations to choose from here. Now the Pen tool allows you to create paths into first place. These guys lower here, Add Anchor Point, Delete Anchor Point and Convert Point those allow you to modify an existing path. We will see how those work and then Freeform Pen tool allows you to draw a free form path which may seem like insanely great thing because how much easier must that be which it is. It's way easier to use a Pen tool. It's quite hard to use because you have to lay down a single time at a time.

The Freeform Pen tool, you just sit there and draw and it makes a path for you. Problem is it's no good. I mean you might will be using the Lasso tool if you are going to use the Freeform Pen tool. It's not any more accurate. It's going to kind of smooth things off for you but that's about it and let me show you what I mean. So I am going to go ahead and grab that Freeform Pen tool and then I will just try to trace her face and we are going to exactly the same experience we would get if we were trying to trace her face using the Lasso tool and the Lasso tool is not the tool I will recommend for doing really careful work inside of Photoshop. So that's simple to do but I mean how useful is that? Not at all in my opinion.

If you want to access the power of paths inside of Photoshop then you need to use a tool that gives you access to that power, which is the Pen tool, which is the standard Pen tool not this one here. Now I can imagine that there is times where this tool might come in handy for just a little path little here or little path there, that kind of thing. If so great, avail yourself of it. All you want I am here to tell you. I never use this tool. Ever I have never used this tool in the history of Photoshop and that's you know. So I am wash, if you want to use it's great, but I am washing my hands of it. You are on your own.

Let's go to the more powerful tool. So I am going to undo the addition of that sticky path there and I am going to switch to the good Pen tool, the Pen tool and now notice that my path entry is still highlighted here. It's still active so it's still going to receive the path that I created. So I will go ahead and press Shift+Tab in order to hide those palettes from view and I am going to use the tool and in the easiest manner you can, which is to create a free form polygon as I say. You just click with a tool. So I wants you to click right there on her forehead if you are following along with me and notice what happened. I just lay down a square. That square is called an anchor point because it anchors the path down at that location and is also called a corner point in this case because it defines a corner between two segments. What's a segment? Well, you will discover that as soon as you click again.

As soon as you click the second time, you create a segment between your two anchor points, between your two corner points in this case and it's a straight segment because we haven't conveyed any curvature with these points here. We have just created the standard corner point and when you have two corner points in a row, you get a straight segment between them. So basically what you are doing as you click along the image you are setting up a kind of dot to dot puzzle and Photoshop is doing the puzzle for you. It's actually connecting the dots for you as you work along and that's all you have to do in order to set up a free form polygon as a path here inside Photoshop.

You just have to click with this tool in order to make it and Photoshop will go ahead and draw straight segments between those click points. So it's very much like Alt+Clicking or Option+Clicking with the Standard Lasso tool. All right, now I am going to press the F key to switch to the Full Screen mode, which allows me to go ahead and move the image over to the left a little here. So I have some more room on the right and notice I did click out here into the pasteboard and that's okay. You can do that if you want to in Photoshop. It allows you to make a path that's bigger than the canvas size.

Now I am going to Shift+Click over here. Way over here on the right side of the pasteboard. Shift+Clicking is going to constrain the angle of the segment to a 45 degree angle. So it's going to be diagonal or perpendicular. In our case, it's perpendicular, specifically horizontal. Now I am going to Shift+Click up here and I am going to get a vertical segment. Then I will Shift+Click over here and I will get a horizontal segment, nice. Now I just did that. There is no reason it has to be horizontal or vertical. It could be totally wacky, like oh, just go ahead and undo the addition of those last points and you can back step by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Z, Ctrl+Alt+Z, Ctrl+Alt+Z like so on. That would be Command+Option+Z a several times in a row to get back to the point. That was last good point inside the path essentially.

It's still active. If you are ever concern that it's non- active. If it feels like you know for some reason all your points went away like that, all of your points went away and you can't see them anymore, then all you need to do is click on that last point once again to reactivate it and then your cursor will change back into a standard pen nib. You won't have any do doodads next to it and that indicates that it's ready to add more segments to your existing path and then I could just click like this, if I am unconcerned about constraining my segments.

So it could be in case we are outside the canvas size, it really doesn't matter at this point. All right, now I am going to move my cursor over the first point in the path and notice that I get a different cursor this time. It's a pen nib with a little O next to it and that O indicates a closed shape, indicates a little circle actually and that tells you that as soon as you click right there you are going up the shape. Notice that all of our anchor points went away and we now have a closed path outline that we can use to mask this layer if we want to. All right, so here is how things are going to work. That's how you draw a free form polygon inside of Photoshop using the Pen tool. That's a simplest way you use the Pen tool. In the next exercise, we are going to see how you can edit a path using the arrow tools.

After that we will see how we can employ the path as a selection outline or a mask and after that we will see how we can use the Pen tool to draw more organic outlines that actually fluidly follow the shape of the image by introducing smooth and Bezier control handles. So a lot of stuff coming in your way. Some exciting stuff I assure you. Stick with me, please.

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