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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.
In this exercise, we are going to apply a layer of ghoulish color to this guy's skin. And we are going to do so once again using a combination of Color Range and Refine Edge. And over time, you'll get a sense for just how ideally suited these two commands are, for selecting general Luminance Ranges inside Photoshop. I have saved my progress as Cool composition.psd found inside the 07_refine folder. We are going to create this new layer below the eyes layer, so I want you to go ahead and click on that Dude layer, and just so I can make a point here, select the layer Mask thumbnail.
Now generally speaking, this is not the way you want to work, and I'll show you why? Go up to the Select menu and choose a Color Range command. My last applied Fuzziness value was 20 and all of a sudden my image has totally disappeared. Well I am going to go ahead and click somewhere inside of what's supposed to be the face and maybe Shift+ Drag across his face, like so. And we end up creating this weird selection, and not only that, if I click OK, I have replaced the layer Mask. So that's what happens when you have a layer Mask selected and you choose a Color Range command, you all together get rid of the previous layer Mask and replace it with that New Color Range selection.
Which 99 out of 100 times is not what you want. So I will press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on a Mac, to undo that modification. Now I'll go ahead and click on the Smart Object thumbnail to make it active. That way you'll generate a selection outline. Then go up to the Select menu, choose a Color Range command and I want you to crank that Fuzziness value all the way up to 200 and then click on the guy's cheek, like so. And that's it. Just one click, no Shift+Clicks that will select those midtones and highlights inside the face quite nicely, click OK in order to create that selection outline.
Now I want you to go up to your Color panel, and assuming that you're looking at your H,S,B values, I want you to dial an 180 degrees for the Hue, the Saturation should be 25 and the Brightness should be 75%. Then go ahead and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac to accept those values. Now I want you to press the Alt key or the Option key on a Mac, click the black/white icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and choose Solid Color. And let's go ahead and name this layer ghoul, and click OK. And you create a new solid color layer that automatically uses those exact same color values that you dialed in for the foreground color just a moment ago.
Click OK in order accept that change. Now notice that the colors leak outside of the guys face. In my case, I'm creating a kind of cyan ring around the moon. You may see a vertical stripe of cyan over on the left-hand side of your image. Either way, what you want to do is press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and click the horizontal line between ghoul and dude layers, in order to clip those new colors inside of the face. All right, now obviously we need better integration, so I am going to change the Blend mode from Normal to Screen, which ends up creating a very bright effect.
I am not sure if it's ghoulish or not, but it certainly is overwhelming the image. What we want to have happen is, we want to go ahead and brighten the highlights as well as the midtones inside the image, but we want to leave the shadow details unscathed. And the easiest way to accomplish this is to press the Alt key or the Option key on a Mac and double-click on that cyan swatch, and because you have Alt or Option down, you'll bring up the layer Style dialog box. Now drop down to this Underlying layer slider, which we'll discuss in more detail in the Advanced Blending course.
But for now, I want you to press the Alt key or the Option key on a Mac and drag the right half of this black triangle all the way over until that middle value reads 200. And that goes ahead and covers up the brightest luminance levels from 200 to 255 with this new ghoulish color. And it creates a drop off from the luminance level of 200 all the way down to 0, which is black. We shouldn't be covering up the darkest colors at all. So I drag the left half of this black triangle up to 50. Your Underlying layer value should read 50/200, and then the final one is 255, at which point, go ahead and click OK, in order to accept that change.
All right, now that we have the ghoulish skin, and I guess I really oughtn't to refer to him as a ghoul, because, in fact, this is about my skin coloring. We want to go ahead and add these dark details, so it looks like he's been up for about nine consecutive days, and we will add those dark circles below the eyes and the lips, in the next exercise.
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