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

Creating an edge mask


From:

Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques

with Deke McClelland

Video: Creating an edge mask

All right gang, in this exercise we are going to create an edge mask inside of Photoshop. Now it's always the same seven steps whenever you are creating an edge mask inside of Photoshop, you always follow these seven steps; you duplicate a channel in order to create an alpha channel, you apply the Levels command, you apply the Find Edges filter, you invert the image, you apply the Maximize filter, you apply the Median filter and then you apply Gaussian Blur. So those seven steps every single time duplicate Levels, Find Edges invert, Maximize, Median and Gaussian Blur, got it, okay, good.
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  1. 2h 13m
    1. The Odyssey Continues
      2m 39s
    2. Mapping one image onto another
      7m 12s
    3. Making a custom contrast mode
      7m 10s
    4. Luminance blending
      8m 40s
    5. Forcing the visibility of underlying layers
      4m 4s
    6. Adjusting the appearance of clipped layers
      4m 34s
    7. Selecting a Blend If channel
      6m 12s
    8. Enhancing highlights by hiding them
      5m 9s
    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 39s
    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 35s
    17. Matching colors
      9m 13s
    18. Building transitional blended layers
      6m 33s
    19. Restoring normal colors
      6m 50s
  2. 2h 33m
    1. Layer masks, clipping masks, and knockouts
      1m 20s
    2. Rotating and stretching
      7m 54s
    3. A jet of motion blur
      9m 18s
    4. Keyboard tricks
      5m 4s
    5. Merging sky and landscape
      6m 3s
    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 1s
    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 45s
    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 16s
    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 27m
    1. The corrective power of masking
      1m 6s
    2. The amazing luminance mask
      7m 22s
    3. Brightening and neutralizing the eyes
      8m 22s
    4. Adjusting a nondestructive composition
      5m 52s
    5. Creating a corrective mask
      6m 4s
    6. Averaging away irregular flesh tones
      3m 52s
    7. Modifying specific colors
      7m 46s
    8. Initiating the color mask
      6m 0s
    9. Refining the color mask
      6m 40s
    10. Adjusting the edges around fabric
      7m 56s
    11. Perfecting hair
      9m 35s
    12. Sharpening with a High Pass layer
      10m 12s
    13. The also-amazing density mask
      4m 48s
    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 46s
    21. Applying the edge mask
      6m 2s
    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 49s
    3. Meet the Channel Mixer
      8m 26s
    4. Mixing a custom black-and-white image
      7m 10s
    5. Creating a professional-level sepia tone
      5m 36s
    6. Employing the Black & White command
      8m 1s
    7. Extreme channel mixing
      4m 50s
    8. The infrared photography effect
      6m 43s
    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 44s
    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 39s
    16. The simple (but wrong) approach to red-eye correction
      6m 39s
    17. Channel-mixing red pupils
      9m 18s
    18. The expert approach to red-eye correction
      5m 20s
    19. Fixing problem coronas (pupil edges)
      8m 9s
    20. Making pupils match
      4m 8s
  5. 2h 33m
    1. Chops are dead; long live maskops
      1m 37s
    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 22s
    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 33s
    11. The Add mode in action
      7m 51s
    12. The Subtract mode in action
      8m 25s
    13. Comparing two channels with Difference
      5m 24s
    14. Enhancing the contrast with Curves
      9m 11s
    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 1s
    19. Painting away the face and chin
      4m 53s
    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 35s
    2. The big paths project overview
      6m 51s
    3. How to make a path
      8m 25s
    4. Corner points and freeform polygons
      8m 6s
    5. Editing paths with the arrow tools
      5m 2s
    6. Adding and deleting endpoints
      5m 15s
    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
      6m 0s
    12. Combining paths in a vector mask
      7m 55s
    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 10s
    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 17s
    7. Roughing in an object mask
      6m 49s
    8. Drawing missing details with the Lasso tool
      4m 7s
    9. Combining flesh and object masks
      3m 53s
    10. Amplifying the cast shadow
      4m 10s
    11. Selectively choking edges
      3m 58s
    12. Power duplication in Photoshop
      7m 9s
    13. Masking blond hair
      5m 48s
    14. Using Levels to mask iterations
      3m 14s
    15. Drawing an iteration boundary
      4m 55s
    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 29s
    19. Pulling from another file with Apply Image
      4m 52s
    20. Blending clipped layers independently
      5m 43s
    21. Building the flame mask
      9m 22s
    22. Amplifying the flame
      3m 53s
    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 25s
    30. Coloring in the outlines
      8m 31s
    31. Mastering Calculations
      7m 29s
    32. Subtracting and merging the beak
      11m 6s
  8. 1h 33m
    1. The meaning of bit depth (and why you care)
      2m 50s
    2. Scanning line art in 8-bit and 16-bit
      5m 9s
    3. Measuring the 16-bit difference
      8m 9s
    4. Correcting 8-bit images in the 16-bit space
      9m 31s
    5. Opening a raw image directly in 16-bit
      6m 13s
    6. Editing in Camera Raw, opening in 16-bit
      8m 22s
    7. 16-Bit/channel vs. 32-bit/channel (HDR)
      8m 18s
    8. Working with auto-bracketed photographs
      5m 6s
    9. Using the Merge to HDR command
      6m 0s
    10. Adjusting the HDR preview
      6m 0s
    11. Building a 32-bit sky mask
      6m 29s
    12. Properly exposing land and sky
      4m 25s
    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 32s
    5. Using a two-channel displacement map
      6m 28s
    6. Creating a rustic edge effect
      8m 21s
    7. Distorting and shading with a DMap
      6m 34s
    8. Moonlight reflecting off water
      8m 48s
    9. Mapping the reflection onto the water
      7m 7s
    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 5s
    14. Making a repeating watermark pattern
      9m 22s
    15. 3D embossing with Lighting Effects
      10m 48s
    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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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
Subjects:
Design Photography Masking + Compositing
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Deke McClelland

Creating an edge mask

All right gang, in this exercise we are going to create an edge mask inside of Photoshop. Now it's always the same seven steps whenever you are creating an edge mask inside of Photoshop, you always follow these seven steps; you duplicate a channel in order to create an alpha channel, you apply the Levels command, you apply the Find Edges filter, you invert the image, you apply the Maximize filter, you apply the Median filter and then you apply Gaussian Blur. So those seven steps every single time duplicate Levels, Find Edges invert, Maximize, Median and Gaussian Blur, got it, okay, good.

Now of course we are going to walk through those steps here and you will see that the exact values that you apply inside the Levels dialog box and inside the Maximize filter will vary, but otherwise things are pretty darn predictable. So I want you to make sure that you've got Plains dwellers.psd open, it's found inside of the 12 Specialty folder and make sure that only the background layer is visible, but the other two layers inside the Layers palette are turned off, make sure also that the background layer is active. Then I want you to go to the Channels palette here, and let's check out our various color channels that are available to us. Now notice that went ahead and scanned this image from 90 years old print positive, I went ahead and scanned the image as an RGB image, it's a full color image. And I'll frequently -- you'd get this question, I mean basically all of these images -- sufficiently old images are going to be black-and-white images in the first place, it may have a little bit of sepia from the aging process or they may have some other coloring associated with them. But the biggest question I get is, should I scan these as grayscale images or should I scan them as color images? And the answer is, go ahead and scan them in color because you may get different results inside of your red, green and blue channels that way and the results that you get, you may find to be advantageous, especially if you have a lot of color variation going on inside of your photograph.

Now in my case, we don't have a lot of color variation going on. The red channel and the green channel and the blue channel are all pretty darn similar to each other. There is no channel that's in any way, shape or form like obviously better than the other. So what I recommend you do in the case of this image is just go ahead and grab the when in doubt channel which is a green channel and duplicate it. So I am going to grab that green channel, drag it down to the little page icon at the bottom of the of Channels palette in order to create a new alpha channel called Green copy. Then I am going to double-click on its name and I am going to change that name of course to Edge mask because that's what it's going to be. So that's step number one, duplicate the channel.

Step number two, let's go ahead and rule out some of the garbage inside of this image using the Levels command, and this isn't the first time we have used the Levels command in order to go ahead and enhance the contrast of the mask right at the outset, it won't be the last either. Generally speaking a good first step. So I am going to go up to the Image menu, I am going to choose Adjustments and I am going to choose Levels like we just go ahead and press Ctrl+L or Command+L on the Mac as well, and I am going to take the final input levels value down to 170, so I am saying anything with the Luminance level of 170 or lighter becomes white and that ends up getting rid of a lot of those pockmarks inside of the lighter details inside of the image. Now bear in mind we are not harming the original image, we are just creating an edge mask here. So we want to get rid of as much of that bad art effecting inside of the images as we can.

And then I am going to go ahead and raise the Black value, the black point value here to 60. So I am saying anything with a Luminance level of 60 or darker becomes black. And these aren't by no means magic values of course, these just happened to work very well for this particular image. Now I am going to go ahead and click OK, I have enhanced the contrast of the image, that's step number two. Step number three is to find the edges inside of the image, and Photoshop provides a special filter for this very purpose. Go up to the Filter menu, choose Stylize and choose this guy right there, Find Edges which will trace the edges inside of the image. And notice what a fantastic job it does; it doesn't bring up a dialog box, it just goes ahead and applies this effect automatically, and if I go ahead and zoom in on my great grandfather's face here, you can see that it has done a terrific job of tracing those edges, it's also given us some soft transitions, something that we don't get from the Threshold function inside the Unsharp Mask dialog box. We get these nice soft edges which is a really, really great thing.

Now we do get some trash edges, we still get a lot of sort of artifact tracing going on in the background and inside of the cheeks, inside of my great grandfather's face, for example, it makes him look a little bit unshaven, sort of give some Fred Flintstones/Homer Simpson look here, but in fact everybody has got it inside of this image, whether you are a man or a woman, you are still getting a little bit of bearding going on, a few whiskers going on. And that's because the Find Edges filter is tracing the artifacts, not the whiskers but the artifacts inside of the image.

Now we want exactly the opposite of this effect, meaning that we want to go ahead and adjust the edges so they ought to be selected and we want to ignore the non-edges so ought to be deselected so we need to invert this mask by pressing Ctrl+I or Command+I on the Mac, that's step number four. So immediately after you apply the Find Edges filter's step number three then you invert the image, step number four there. Next, we need to enhance these edges. I want to thicken these edges up so I want to expand the edges and I do that using the Maximize filter as you may recall, maximize expands the maximum luminance level which is white. So I will go up to the Filter menu, once again choose Other and then I will choose Maximum.

Now the last Radius value I applied was apparently 40 pixels, that's way too high. I want something in the neighborhood of 2 pixels for this image. Now this is again, by no means a magic value, you are going to want to adjust this setting, to taste, according to the size and resolution of your image. But a Radius of 2 works well for this image. Now here is the problem. Notice as I increase this Radius value, I am tracing square pixels so I am creating larger and larger squares inside of the image, and so I am going to want to round off these squares, hence I will be applying the Median filter in the next step. So, let's go ahead and take this Radius value as I said, I just want to ensure you that the square is going on there.

Let's go ahead and take this Radius value to 2 pixels and click on OK. Now the fact that I just apply 2 pixels of Radius that's not a firm, always do that step. You always will want to apply the Maximize filter but exactly what value you use is up to you. However, the next steps, you are going to want to apply these exact values. Let me show you what they are. Next, I am going to go because I have got all these square pixels going on, I want to round off the pixels and I will do that by going to Filter-Noise-Median which rounds off the edges as you may recall. So I will go ahead and apply Median, and this time, I want to exactly match the Maximize value. Whatever I applied for Maximize, I want to apply it again for Median. This is important, so I did 2 before, I do 2 again. If I had done 3 before, I do 3 again. You get the idea. So I will go ahead and click OK and that gives me exactly as much roundness as I need.

In the best cases, it's going to go ahead and smooth off the edges, worst case scenario, it's going to convert squares to circles. So circles, still better than squares. And finally we want to soften the edges and I am going to do that by applying the Gaussian Blur function. So I will go up to the Filter menu, I will choose Blur and I will choose Gaussian Blur, this guy right there, and this time I want 2x. So whatever values I applied for Maximum and Median, I will now multiply that value times 2, so this time I want a Radius value of 4 pixels for Gaussian Blur. If I had been using 3 I would go 6, if I had been using 4, I would go with 8 and so on, but in our case, we use 2, this time we use 4 of course, 2x and I will go and click OK in order to create the final edge mask.

Now I am going to zoom out so that you can see it, and it doesn't look like anything, any great thing here, any great shakes, it looks pretty gooey, pretty gummy, but this actually will serve as a splendid edge mask as you are about to see starting in the next exercise.

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