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Photoshop CS4 for Photographers is an essential course for any digital photographer who wants to master the software's vast array of image enhancement techniques. Professional photographer and instructor Chris Orwig uses his own compelling images to demonstrate how the power of Photoshop can make photographers more passionate about their work. He covers many aspects of the application, such as working with RAW images, using curves and levels, making images snap, and enhancing bland photographs by converting them to black and white. Exercise files accompany this course.
In this movie, we are going to learn how to create what's called the layer clipping mask. Well, we are working on this file brighton_stones.psd go ahead and select it, double click it to open it up inside of Photoshop and then press F to go to Full Screen View mode and then Spacebar to reposition the image. Now here, you will notice that we have a couple of different layers. We have the background layer and then on top of that we have another version of the image called small_rocks. Now I have these two layers to simply show you how we can create what are called layer clipping groups. All right, well let's turn off the icon for the small_rocks. Let's grab our Type tool by pressing the T key on a keyboard or clicking on the Type tool on the Tools panel, let's click in the image and what we want to do here is type out some words. I'm going to type out the words Beach Rocks. I'll then highlight those words and increase their font size quite a bit here; I want real big text here. All right, that looks pretty good. I'm just going to go ahead and modify my type a little bit, press enter or return, grab the Move tool by clicking on it in the Tools panel or by clicking on the icon here and we will go ahead and reposition that text.
Now what I want to do is I actually want to fill this text up with those rocks. Now how can I do that? Well, I can do that with what's called a layer clipping mask. Here is how it works. I'm going to go ahead and reposition this text layer underneath my background layer. We now cannot see it. Hold down that renegade shortcut key, it's the Option key, it's the key that says, you know what, I want to do something a little bit different. Option on a Mac/Alt on a PC, press that key, hover over between your two layers. You will see your cursor change. Once you see that cursor change, click, you will now notice that this rock layer is applied to the layer immediately underneath it.
Now it's kind of interesting, right? I can then click and move the text. I can also click in the rocks layer and reposition that and I can continually modify both these layers in a number of different ways. Let's say for example, click in the type layer. I'll go ahead and click on the fx icon and I'm going to add a Drop Shadow around this. I also want to add a little bit of a brush Stroke, make that Inside and I'm going to make that brush stroke close to white there, click OK and then click OK to apply that, then I decide I don't really like the type there, I don't want the rocks in the mix, I can then delete that and as you can see, you can continually modify what you have created.
So a layer clipping mask is simply a way to say I want the top layer to only affect the layer underneath it. Now in this case, that's just kind of an interesting effect, but how do you really functionally use these layers? Well, let me show you. I'm going to go ahead and trash this type layer by clicking and dragging that to the Trash icon. All right, it's now gone. I'm then going to click on the eye icon to show the small rocks there. Now what I'm interested in doing is changing the color of the small rocks there, but I don't want to affect the color of the background layer. Well, how can I do that? Well, for starters, I need to use what's called an Adjustment Layer.
Now there are a couple of different ways you can access Adjustment Layers. One way is to click on the icon at the bottom of the Layers palette and choose the adjustment that you want to make. In my case, I'm going to Hue/Saturation this will then expand or open the Adjustments panel. Now I could have also selected this by way of the Adjustments panel, but we will talk about the Adjustments panel more later. For now, we have this Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer. I'll click on Colorize and what I'm interested in doing is changing the Color of these rocks and I'm going to make this really saturated again, just so we can kind of see what's happening here and I have a real drastic change.
Okay, well, so far, so good, except the color of the background rocks are also changed. Well, how can I prevent them? Well, there are a couple of different things that we can do. One is hold down the Option key on the Mac/Alt key on a PC and hover over the dividing line between the two layers and then click and now you will see this adjustment is only affecting the layer immediately underneath it. Another way that I could do that is to click in this layer and then click on the icon here in order to create this layer clipping mask. Now you are probably thinking if you are like me, okay, well that's kind of interesting. The rock is filling the type and now we have this one layer that's blue and the other one that is regular, but how am I going to actually use this? Well, you will actually use this in a number of different ways and you will see this throughout the rest of the training. Here, all I want to do is show you this essential skill and teach you that shortcut which is holding on the Option key on a Mac/Alt key on a PC and then hovering over the dividing line or pressing this icon here. Now one of the reasons why I wanted to show you this here is because this is one of those essential skills that you want to have in your bag of tricks as you progress through this training and as you progress beyond this training and start to work more and more in Photoshop.
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