Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Creating a more aggressive mask

From: Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals

Video: Creating a more aggressive mask

In this exercise, we are going to start the process of restoring the details inside the model's face and head, and we're going to do so by creating an alternate, and more aggressive mask. That is, we're going to choke away more of the hair, and more of the background. I've saved my progress, where the background image is concerned, as Multiplied model.psd, found inside the 08_everyday folder. I've also saved my changes to the original model file as layer with mask.psd, also inside that same folder.

Creating a more aggressive mask

In this exercise, we are going to start the process of restoring the details inside the model's face and head, and we're going to do so by creating an alternate, and more aggressive mask. That is, we're going to choke away more of the hair, and more of the background. I've saved my progress, where the background image is concerned, as Multiplied model.psd, found inside the 08_everyday folder. I've also saved my changes to the original model file as layer with mask.psd, also inside that same folder.

So however you're working along with me, go ahead and return to that original model file, and let's get rid of the layer mask here inside the Layers panel by right-clicking on that mask thumbnail, and choosing Delete Layer Mask, because it's already served its purpose, right? We've already moved that layer, along with its layer mask, into the base composition, and so everything is ready and waiting for us, completely intact. And eventually, what we're going to need to do is bring this layer over with a new layer mask, so we have to start with the clean slate. All right! Now switch over to the Channels panel, and this time we want to mask away more of the bright details.

And so, instead of starting with the channel that provides us the ultimate degree of contrast, which is Blue, we're going to start instead with the channel of provides us with the ultimate degree of detail, which is Green. So go ahead and grab that Green channel, and drag it and drop it onto that Page icon at the bottom of the Channels panel in order to create a copy of it. And, of course, we still need her to be bright, and the background to be dark, so go up to the Image menu, choose the Adjustments command, and then choose Invert, or press Control+I; Command+I on the Mac.

You can see that we end up with a darker version of the interior of the model this time around. In other words, we're going to end up with a darker mask that chokes inward into the hair and other edge details. All right! Now let's increase the Contrast. In my case, I'm just going to press Control+L, Command+L on the Mac, to bring up the Levels panel. And I'm going to take this black point value up extremely high to 140, and notice how that is encroaching on the details inside the model like crazy.

So we need to go ahead and compensate with a white point value, and I'm going to take it down to 200. So we've got a black point value of 140. We are not changing the gamma value; it's 1. And we have white point value of 200. Click OK in order to accept that modification. Now, she's looking pretty gruesome, but that's okay. We're going to be painting away an awful lot of details inside of the model's face, but let's take a moment to jot down our progress. I'm going to double-click on the Channel name, and change it to G invert, and this time the values are 140/1/200.

Again, that way I know what I did, and if I have to go back and make some modifications, I can duplicate the Green channel, invert it, and then apply, for example, some slightly different Levels values. Anyway, I happen to know this is going to work out well. Now, the next step is to set in painting inside the image, but because that's a manual modification, a destructive one as well, let's go ahead and create a copy of this channel, and I did so by dragging our newest alpha channel, and dropping it onto the Page icon. And I'm going to go ahead and call this one overlay painting, because that's the technique we're going to use this time around. And I'll press the B key in order to switch to the Brush tool.

This time the background is already dark enough. What we need to do is brighten the foreground, and so I'm going to press the D key in order to reinstate white as the foreground color. Right-click inside the image window to make sure I have a big huge brush with 0% Hardness; all looks good. And I'm going to change that mode from Soft Light, to Overlay. And, by the way, that mode has a fairly easy shortcut to remember. I'm going to review these very quickly here. If you press Shift+Alt+N, or Shift+Option +N on the Mac, you switch to the Normal mode. If you press Shift+Alt+O, or Shift+ Option+O on the Mac, then you switch to the Overlay mode. And, just so as you know, if you press Shift+Alt+F, or Shift+Option+F on the Mac, you switch to Soft Light.

So think of the F at the end of the word Soft. All right! So those are the shortcuts you need to know when you're painting inside of a mask. I'm going to press Shift+Alt+O, or Shift+ Option+O, to switch back to the Overlay mode, and then I'm going to paint fairly aggressively here inside this image. And I'm going to back out, too, by pressing Control+Minus; Command+Minus on the Mac. So notice I just applied one brushstroke all over the image, actually. I just painted all over her face, and her hair, and her neck, and so forth. I'm going to do it again, because we didn't get far enough that time around.

And I might even go at it with a smaller brush. So I'll press the left bracket key a few times, and revisit these details around her shoulders, and that's going to do quite the number on the contrast. Notice that I'm painting all over the place, actually. That is going to increase the contrast along the edges. In other words, we're going to get some pretty jagged transitions, as you can see here. Very, very ratty indeed. That's okay. We're going to end up restoring those details in a subsequent exercise. But for now, I want you to reduce the size of your cursor a little bit, bring up of the Brushes panel, increase the hardness to 100%, because now we need to go ahead and paint some details away using the Normal mode.

Press the Enter key a couple of times, the Return key a couple of times on the Mac, in order to hide that panel. Press Shift+Alt+N, or Shift+Option+N on the Mac, to restore the Brush mode to Normal, and then I'm going to go ahead and paint, like so, inside this lower region of her shoulder. I'm trying to stay in from the edge, as you may notice. So I'm just sort of painting along this edge a little bit. We're going to get some sharp transitions right there, as you can see. If you don't want those, and actually they are a little bit nasty, then you can undo your modifications and just paint sort of slightly lower.

No matter what, you're going to get some harsh transitions in that region. As I was mentioning, that doesn't really matter, because we're going to have to restore her necks, and cheeks, and shoulders using a third layer, as you'll see in an upcoming exercise. All right! I'm going to click to get rid of that little bit of the chin over there, then I'll paint up into this region. That little thing needs to go away. So let's click, like so. So the more you can click instead of drag, especially along the edges, the better your outcome is going to be. All right! This little area we want to leave in place, so I'm not painting; I'm just showing it to you.

Now I'll go ahead and zoom out, increase the size of my cursor like crazy, and then paint in these big details that I want to get rid of, like so. And we end up with this very aggressive, very jagged mask. Now this would not work if it were the only mask that we're employing to create the composition, but because it's a support mask, it's going to work out brilliantly, as we'll see in the very next exercise.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals
Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals

128 video lessons · 30302 viewers

Deke McClelland

Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 15m 25s
    1. Welcome
      1m 12s
    2. Loading my custom dekeKeys shortcuts
      3m 45s
    3. Adjusting the color settings
      4m 29s
    4. Setting up a power workspace
      5m 59s
  2. 1h 0m
    1. The channel is the origin of masking
      1m 54s
    2. The Masks and Channels panels
      4m 48s
    3. How color channels work
      7m 7s
    4. Viewing channels in color
      3m 24s
    5. How RGB works
      4m 12s
    6. Single-channel grayscale
      5m 12s
    7. Mixing a custom "fourth" channel
      5m 15s
    8. The other three-channel mode: Lab
      5m 45s
    9. A practical application of Lab
      4m 55s
    10. The final color mode: CMYK
      7m 5s
    11. Introducing the Multichannel mode
      5m 56s
    12. Creating a unique multichannel effect
      5m 18s
  3. 44m 27s
    1. The alpha channel is home to the mask
      1m 40s
    2. The origins of the alpha channel
      3m 40s
    3. How a mask works
      7m 10s
    4. Making an alpha channel
      4m 2s
    5. Using the new channel icons
      6m 27s
    6. Saving an image with alpha channels
      4m 23s
    7. Loading a selection from a channel
      4m 7s
    8. Putting a mask into play
      3m 55s
    9. Loading a selection from a layer
      4m 27s
    10. Loading a selection from another image
      4m 36s
  4. 1h 0m
    1. The mask meets the composition
      1m 8s
    2. Viewing a mask as a rubylith overlay
      6m 13s
    3. Changing a mask's overlay color
      5m 34s
    4. Painting inside a mask
      6m 3s
    5. Cleaning up and confirming
      5m 18s
    6. Combining masks
      5m 10s
    7. Painting behind and inside a layer
      5m 27s
    8. Blending image elements
      6m 1s
    9. What to do when layers go wrong
      6m 3s
    10. Hiding layer effects with a mask
      4m 22s
    11. Introducing clipping masks
      5m 29s
    12. Unclipping and masking a shadow
      3m 50s
  5. 1h 35m
    1. The seven selection soldiers
    2. The marquee tools
      6m 31s
    3. The single-pixel tools (plus tool tricks)
      6m 48s
    4. Turning a destructive edit into a layer
      5m 34s
    5. Making shapes of specific sizes
      7m 7s
    6. The lasso tools
      5m 49s
    7. Working with the Magnetic Lasso tool
      7m 19s
    8. The Quick Selection tool
      8m 13s
    9. Combining Quick Selection and Smudge
      4m 52s
    10. The Magic Wand and the Tolerance value
      6m 55s
    11. Contiguous and Anti-aliased selections
      6m 58s
    12. Making a good selection with the Magic Wand
      6m 34s
    13. Selecting and replacing a background
      6m 55s
    14. Resolving edges with layer effects
      7m 52s
    15. Adding lines of brilliant gold type
      7m 28s
  6. 1h 11m
    1. Selections reign supreme
    2. Introducing "selection calculations"
      4m 19s
    3. Combining two different tools
      7m 29s
    4. Selections and transparency masks
      5m 17s
    5. Selecting an eye
      7m 1s
    6. Masking and blending a texture into skin
      5m 1s
    7. Painting a texture into an eye
      4m 19s
    8. Combining layers, masks, channels, and paths
      4m 54s
    9. Moving selection outlines vs. selected pixels
      5m 36s
    10. Transforming and warping a selection outline
      7m 45s
    11. Pasting an image inside a selection
      7m 26s
    12. Adding volumetric shadows and highlights
      6m 54s
    13. Converting an image into a mask
      4m 42s
  7. 1h 5m
    1. The best selection tools are commands
      1m 5s
    2. Introducing the Color Range command
      5m 59s
    3. Working in the Color Range dialog box
      7m 7s
    4. Primary colors and luminance ranges
      4m 12s
    5. A terrific use for Color Range
      4m 57s
    6. Introducing the Quick Mask mode
      7m 43s
    7. Moving a selection into a new background
      5m 43s
    8. Smoothing the mask, recreating the corners
      8m 43s
    9. Integrating foreground and background
      4m 44s
    10. Creating a cast shadow from a layer
      2m 51s
    11. Releasing and masking layer effects
      3m 11s
    12. Creating a synthetic rainbow effect
      4m 30s
    13. Masking and compositing your rainbow
      4m 46s
  8. 1h 17m
    1. The ultimate in masking automation
      1m 6s
    2. Introducing the Refine Mask command
      6m 58s
    3. Automated edge detection
      8m 23s
    4. Turning garbage into gold
      6m 19s
    5. Starting with an accurate selection
      7m 11s
    6. Selection outline in, layer mask out
      7m 48s
    7. Matching a scene with Smart Filters
      4m 29s
    8. Cooling a face, reflecting inside eyes
      4m 45s
    9. Creating a layer of ghoulish skin
      4m 28s
    10. Adding dark circles around the eyes
      5m 20s
    11. Creating a fake blood effect
      5m 38s
    12. Establishing trails of blood
      7m 40s
    13. Integrating the blood into the scene
      7m 3s
  9. 1h 48m
    1. Using the image to select itself
      1m 37s
    2. Choosing the ideal base channel
      5m 7s
    3. Converting a channel into a mask
      6m 34s
    4. Painting with the Overlay mode
      7m 27s
    5. Painting with the Soft Light mode
      5m 55s
    6. Mask, composite, refine, and blend
      4m 40s
    7. Creating a more aggressive mask
      7m 2s
    8. Blending differently masked layers
      7m 0s
    9. Creating a hair-only mask
      6m 0s
    10. Using history to regain a lost mask
      3m 42s
    11. Separating flesh tones from hair
      8m 28s
    12. Adjusting a model's color temperature
      4m 30s
    13. Introducing the Calculations command
      7m 22s
    14. Extracting a mask from a Smart Object
      6m 34s
    15. Integrating a bird into a new sky
      5m 40s
    16. Creating synthetic rays of light
      6m 4s
    17. Masking and compositing light
      7m 39s
    18. Introducing a brilliant light source
      7m 5s
  10. 1h 34m
    1. The synthesis of masking and compositing
      1m 36s
    2. White reveals, black conceals
      6m 45s
    3. Layer masking tips and tricks
      5m 8s
    4. Generating a layer mask with Color Range
      5m 38s
    5. The Masks panel's bad options
      5m 18s
    6. The Masks panel's good options
      3m 50s
    7. Creating and feathering a vector mask
      3m 42s
    8. Combining pixel and vector masks
      3m 50s
    9. Working with path outlines
      7m 10s
    10. Combining paths into a single vector mask
      7m 52s
    11. Sharpening detail, reducing color noise
      4m 27s
    12. Recreating missing details
      8m 49s
    13. Masking glass
      5m 50s
    14. Refining a jagged Magic Wand mask
      5m 53s
    15. Masking multiple layers at one time
      5m 15s
    16. Establishing a knockout layer
      6m 6s
    17. Clipping and compositing tricks
      7m 37s
  11. 1m 17s
    1. Next steps
      1m 17s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Mark all as unwatched Cancel


You have completed Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.

Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.