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The third part of the popular and comprehensive series Photoshop CS6 One-on-One follows industry pro Deke McClelland as he plunges into the inner workings of Adobe Photoshop. He shows how to adjust your color, interface, and performance settings to get the best out of your images and the most out of Photoshop, and explores the power of Smart Objects, Shadows/Highlights, and Curves for making subtle, nondestructive adjustments. The course dives into Camera Raw to experiment with the editing toolset there, and returns to Photoshop to discuss toning, blur, and blend modes. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details and reducing noise, as well as creating quick and accurate selections with Quick Mask, Color Range, and Refine Edge commands.
Field Blur and the other Blur Gallery effects work their magic by automatically generating masks. So in this case, we have a mask that's protecting Colleen from the blur that surrounds her. In this movie, I'll show you not only how to view that mask, but how to modify it and export it to the Channels panel as well, and then we'll turn around and mask Colleen against the sharply focused background. So for starters here, because we are going to make some modifications, I am going to turn off the Field Blur layer, click on the background item here inside the Layers panel, and press Ctrl+Alt+J or Command+Option+J on the Mac to make another copy of it.
And I will call this new layer 2nd pass and then click OK. So now that we once again have a copy of the sharply focused version of the image, I will Press Ctrl+Alt+F or Command+Option+F on the Mac to revisit the Filter Gallery, complete with all of my previously applied pins. Now there're two ways to view the mask, and they both involve the M key. If you press and hold the M key, you'll see the mask temporarily, and then you can release the M key in order to return to the full-color image. If you want the mask to remain onscreen so that you can modify it, then tap the M key, and then of course you tap the M key again to return to the image.
I am going to tap the M key in order to bring up the mask. Now, wherever you see black, the image is protected from the blur. And in this case, we have got this big blob of black that's surrounding and protecting Colleen. Wherever you see gray, you're getting partial blurs, and then wherever we have white inside of the mask, we are seeing the full effect of the blur. And in our case, the whiteness surrounds each one of the pins that are set to a radius of 25 pixels. Now in so far as masks going, this is pretty rough, but it's good enough to do the job, except for down here in the area occupied by our model Colleen.
Notice that we have a few gaps in the blackness, meaning that we are slightly blurring the areas inside the subject of our photograph. So what I am going to do here is set some points to eliminate that dark gray. When I first click with a tool, I am going to create some brightness, because after all, the blur is set by default to 15 pixels. If I go ahead and take that blur value down, you can see, that creates blackness inside the mask. Now, I will set another pin at this location and I'll go ahead and dial it down as well to darken the mask, and I will click right about here, which should be the neck region, and I will dial it down as well. And we get these nice solid areas of black, as you can see.
All right, now let's check our work by pressing the M key to switch back to the full-color image, and it looks like we've done a pretty splendid job. Now, the only thing I am uncomfortable with is the fact that the left side of Colleen's face is getting a little too much attention where the blur is concerned, and so it's encroaching on her eye. But we will go ahead and solve that problem inside the larger composition in just a moment. In the meantime, what I would like you to do is go ahead and turn on Save Mask to Channels, which is just a great idea in case you ever have to revisit that mask in the future.
Then, assuming you're comfortable with what you have, go ahead and click on the OK button in order to apply that effect. And you may have to wait a few moments for the progress bar, because this is a pretty processor-intense operation. All right, now if I switch over to the Channels panel, I can see that I have a new alpha channel that's called Blur Mask, and I can load that as a selection outline and use it to mask the image in other ways anytime I like. All right, now I will switch back to the RGB image and return to the Layers panel. What I really want to do is use a layer mask to mask away some of the blurriness associated with this 2nd pass layer.
So I will go ahead and drop down to the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the panel, and I will click on it in order to create a layer mask. And now I will get my Brush tool, which you can get by pressing the B key. I will right- click inside my image, so you can see, I am starting with the Size value of 175 pixels and the Hardness is set to 75%, which will give us a little bit in the way of soft transitions while at the same time allowing us to paint in some focus. So now I will press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to hide that panel. Make sure your foreground color is black by pressing the D key and then the X key, and I am going to paint right about there inside of the caller and down here along the shoulder.
And what we're doing is we are painting down to the background, which is sharply focused throughout. Now I will paint up the side of Colleen's face right there and over the flesh tones, into her eye, and up in to the hair as well. And I might paint slightly into the ear there in order to reestablish some of that focus. And if you feel like you want to go a little farther with this, you can zoom on in, so you can better see what you're doing, and then in my case, I am going to paint down the side of her face, so we get a little of that structure back.
You don't want to go too far, because if you do, after all, you'll unblur the background, which is the great problems. And I have done that, so I will go ahead and reduce the size of my cursor, press the X key so I can now paint with white, and I will paint back in some of that blur, as you see me doing now. So in my experience with the blur gallery by the way, if you're going to go this route, if you want to paint in blurs in some areas and paint them away in others, is that you're best off blurring too much of the image. That way you can paint back in the focus later. All right, I am going to press the X key to switch my Foreground Color back to black, and I might paint back up into the hair a little bit as well, as long as I am zoomed in, and I can see what I am doing.
I don't want to paint too far into the ears, because I want them to sort of decline out of focus there. But I might want to bring back the detail like the earring and the side of the neck, and I will go ahead and paint back in the edge of this collar as well. All right, that looks pretty good to me. I will press Ctrl+0 or Command+0 to zoom on out there and then go ahead and scroll down inside of the image as well. And now I will press Shift+F in order to switch to Full Screen mode. Go ahead and scroll down little more here, zoom in as well. And just to give you a sense of what we have been able to accomplish here, this is the original unblurred version of the scene, and this is our depth-of-field effect that we have created in post using the Field Blur filter, combined with some very basic masking, here inside Photoshop.
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