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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.
Now, over the years, I've gotten quite a few requests to show how to create fake blood inside of Photoshop. If that's your cup of tea, then stick with me for the following movies. If it's not, then go ahead and skip ahead to the next chapter. I'm looking at the file called Vampire comp.psd, and I'm also looking at the final layer comp inside the Layer Comps panel, which is called Blood. Notice, if you're working along with me, you'll see over here in the Layers panel that the Blood effect comprises a total of three layers, two of which are called drips, and one is called lips.
I'm going to go ahead and zoom in on this image here, and scroll down to the mouth. And you can see that the blood effect not only includes this blood that's oozing out of the guy's lips, and down onto his chin as well, but we also have a little bit of scabbing, as if the blood is congealing on his lips. Because after all, if this was a vampire, and he had bitten somebody, then he would naturally have at least a little bit of blood on his lips, even if he was a really tidy guy. We're going to start by creating that lip blood.
I'll switch to my image in progress, which is called Bedraggled ghoul.psd, found inside the 07_refine folder. Notice I've gone ahead and zoomed in on the mouth, and if you'll switch over to the Channels panel, you'll see that I've created a couple of Alpha Channels devoted to the blood effect. One is called blood trails, and we'll visit it in the next exercise, and the other one is called blood lips. For now, I'd like you to select the blood lips channel. What I did to create to this channel is I laid down an initial selection with a very tight Fuzziness value using the Color Range command, so that I could select into the folds of the lips, and then I used the Smudge tool to smear the effect around, and I also brushed in some darkness using the Brush tool.
Now, you can try your own hand at this if you want to, but it's a fairly painterly effect, so I just thought I'd go ahead and do it for you in advance. So let's load up this mask by Control+ clicking, or Command+clicking, on its Alpha Channel here inside the Channels panel. Now I'm going to switch back to the RGB image at the top of the panel, and switch over to Layers panel as well. Assuming that that shading layer is selected, drop down to the Black/White icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, press the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, and click the Black/White icon, and then choose Solid Color.
I'm going to call this layer lips, and click OK. That will bring up the Color Picker dialog box. I'll change the Saturation value to 100%, and the Brightness value to 25%, and then click OK. Photoshop ends up converting that selection outline to a layer mask, so that we're just filling that area of the lips with red. Now, that's way too garish, so I'm going to change the Blend mode from Normal, to Overlay. Now, if you've ever taken a look at a little bit of smear blood, you've noticed that the blood has a tendency to congeal more at the edges than in the center.
So we're going to create that congealing effect using a layer effect. Specifically, I want you to click the fX icon at the bottom of the panel, and choose the Inner Shadow command. I'm going to dial in a slightly brownish color by clicking on the color swatch, and changing the Hue value this time around to 30 degrees. The idea is the blood is aged a little toward the outside. Then I'm going to increase the Saturation value to 100%, and take the Brightness value you up to 25%. Click OK, change the Blend mode from Multiply to the ultimate darkening mode, which is Linear Burn.
So we'll get, in fact, more of a burnt effect. I'm going to take the Opacity value down to 50% to compensate. Notice that the Global Light value is 135 degrees; that's fine. The Distance is 5 pixels, the Choke value is 0%; that's all good. However, right now it looks like we have dents around those edges. That's not what I want. So I'm going to increase the Size value from 5 pixels, to 35 pixels, and that's going to help to blend that shadow effect outward. Now, at this point, it strikes me that the Saturation values are too high, both for the red lips, and for the brown shadows.
I could modify those colors by hand if I wanted to, but I don't, of course. So I'm going to take the Saturation values down by adding a Color Overlay effect. So go ahead and click on Color Overlay, click on the little red color swatch, because otherwise, after all, we end up with these exceedingly garish red lips. I'm going to take the Saturation value down to 10%; that's all that matters. You don't have to worry about the Hue value, or the Brightness value. You get this horrible pale pink; that's fine. Click OK, and then change the Blend mode from Normal, to Saturation, and that way, that 10% Saturation value is all that matters, and that goes ahead and takes down the saturation of the lips and the Inner Shadow effect accordingly.
Finally, I wanted to blend the effect better, because notice it looks like it cuts off pretty abruptly there. So I'll click on Blending Options at the top of this left-hand list. I'm going to eke the effect out of the brightest colors inside the lips by going down to this Underlying layer slider, pressing the Alt or Option key, and dragging the left half of the white slider triangle over to 130. Your value should read 130/255, and that way, notice, we're creating these much more plausible transitions.
Then finally, I just wanted to take some of the color out of the central portion of the lips. So I'll reduce the Fill Opacity to 50%, and that way I'd leave the color of the shadows totally intact. All right! Now, I'll click OK in order to apply those modifications. Now obviously, by itself, that doesn't create the effect of blood; it just kind of gives him chapped lips. However, it does establish an environment for adding the trails of blood, which is just what we'll do in the next exercise.
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