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In Photoshop CS6 for Photographers, author, photographer, and teacher Chris Orwig explores Photoshop from the perspective of the photographer.
The course details the features and techniques behind enhancing and retouching photos, preparing them for print and online publishing, and much more. Chris demonstrates how to make basic edits in Camera Raw, develop and save color profiles, work with layers and selections, tone and sharpen, and retouch images while retaining their natural character.
Chris also shares some creative tips and project ideas, such as converting a photo to black-and-white and enhancing a portrait with hand-painted masks. The course also covers workflow details, such as organizing images in Bridge and Mini Bridge, optimizing Photoshop preferences, and calibrating your monitor.
Now that we've covered some of the fundamentals of working with Masks, what I want do here is take all of those skills that we picked up in the previous chapter and apply those to adding custom edges or border effects to our photographs. Let's start off with this picture here. One of the first things that we're going to do with this is we're going to use one of our Selection tools in order to build a Mask which gives us the ability to conceal part of the edge of the frame. To do that, let's go ahead and press the M key, or you can just click on your Marquee tool.
Next, let add some Feather to this edge. By adding some Feather, it will create a border or an edge which is little bit more soft. Let's add, say, 15 pixels. Position your cursor near the edge of one of the corners and then click and drag out, and you'll typically want to have the selection pretty equal around these different edges. When you let go, you'll notice this is a bent corner, that's because we added this Feather. Well, the next thing that we need to do here is to simply click on the Add layer Mask icon.
Now when you do that, all of a sudden you'll see this really soft and nice edge effect. What's fascinating about that is because we created that selection with this Feather edge, well, it just kind of drifts off, and this works well, say, with this white background color. Let's say we want to change the color in the background. Well, to do that, you can click in your Background layer, and then in order to have flexibility, you can click on your Adjustment layer icon. Near the top, you can choose Solid Color. This then allows you to choose different colors or brightness values, and we have so many different options that we can choose here.
Let's say we choose something like this bright blue and we click OK and realize this doesn't look any good at all. We'll just double-click this little chip again, and then you can choose something different. And by using these layers, you can control how that background is going to appear. Let's stick with white, because I think that's kind of interesting here. The next thing that we can do is we can modify this mask further. You could go ahead and click into the mask and then use your Brush tool to paint away different parts of the edge to change the shape of that border or edge effect.
Let me show you what I mean here. I'll choose the Brush tool, and then we'll go to our Options bar here and choose a really soft edge brush. Let's make this brush really big. Next, I want to decrease the opacity so I can make some subtle adjustments. Let's try 25%, see how that works. Next, we want to change this so that we can paint with black, which would conceal part of the image. I'll go ahead and paint back and forth over this area, and you can see I'm slowly just kind of changing the shape of this edge effect here so that it's not quite so perfectly rectangular.
You can see how I'm customizing that and I can do this in different ways, and here, you can see you can start off with the Selection tool and then modify that by painting into the mask. Well, let's take a look at another way we can soften or change the edge effect. What I'm going to do is go back to my Layers panel and right-click or Ctrl-click and then choose Delete layer Mask. We're going to get rid of what we just created. Next, let's select the Rectangular Marquee again. This time let's remove all feathers, so there is no feather.
Go ahead and make a selection again, click and drag across your image. Now that we have this really hard edge selection, we're going to click on the Add layer Mask icon. Now when I do that, I can see I have this really distinct white border, or for that matter, we could double-click this icon, and we could change this to any color that we want. Well, this border is distinct. In order to soften it, double-click the Mask icon. That will open up your Properties panel, and here you can see, you have this Feather option.
By increasing the Feather amount, what it's going to do is soften the feather. You can actually preview that and say, "Okay, yes. You know what? I like that amount." Previously, we just kind of guessed, right? e had no idea how it would turn out. So in this way, we have even more flexibility. Let's change the edge effect to white, because I kind of like that with those clouds. Double-click the icon and choose white, and I think it might even become more apparent here. When we go back for mask and we change this, we can really see how we're softening that and how we're controlling that overall effect.
Now once we change this, say, by softening it, we could also paint into this mask and apply even more softening to those edges by simply painting away different parts of them. Let me increase my opacity here, and you can see how I'm controlling these edges. You can use all of the techniques that we've learned in the previous chapters. Those techniques which relate to working with selections and also which relate to working with masks. And by combining those together, we can come up with some really interesting and fascinating edge or border effects on our photographs.
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