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Photoshop is one of the world’s most powerful image editors, and it can be daunting to try to use skillfully. Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, follows internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland as he dives into the workings of Photoshop. He explores such digital-age wonders as the Levels and Curves commands, edge-detection filters, advanced compositing techniques, vector-based text, the Liquify filter, and Camera Raw. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, and enhancing colors without harming the original image. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisite: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
In this exercise I'm going to show you how to edit a layer mask, thereby revealing more of the layer to which the layer mask is assigned. And what we are going to be revealing is the mountaintops that were sort of missing right here. I have gone ahead and saved my progress so far to an image called Earth is round.psd. A little bit of a breaking news item for you. And if were to Shift+Click on this layer mask icon that's associated with Badlands, Badlands layer, I would turn the layer off for a moment. And you can see that the mountaintop actually sort of goes upward here, a little bit. It exceeds the boundaries of that layer mask, which is much lower. And actually quite exaggerates the curvature of the earth. I dare say. And what I'm going to do, and you are going to do it too if you are working along with me.
I am going to go ahead and paint into those mountains in the layer mask. So first thing I need to you do is click on the Layer Mask icon to make sure it's active. And another way to do this, you can switch back and forth between the layer mask and the layer from the keyboard, if you have a mine too. It's not the most memorable keyboard shortcut at our disposable, but you can see it right here inside the Channels palette. So if you go over to the Channels palette, you will see to switch back to the layer is Ctrl+2 or Command+2 on the Mac. And then the switch over to the layer mask is Ctrl+Backslash or Command+ Backslash on the Mac. So it's just an FYI.
Whether you ever end up taking advantage of that, I don't know. I find it just as easy just to click on these items here, but you can watch it happen now in a Layers palette, Ctrl+2 or Command+2 is going to switch you. Did you see that switch? I didn't click; it just happened because I pressed the keyboard shortcut and then watch. You can see me not clicking here, Ctrl+Backslash or Command+Backslash, to switch over to the layer mask. And Backslash on an American keyboard is the key that's also got the Bar key that's underneath the Backspace or Delete key. All right, so it's very important though that the layer mask is active, so that we are painting into the layer mask. Now get the Brush tool, and what I would like you to do is work with the small hard brush. So my Diameter is 40 pixels right now. Not too big, and I'm going to increase the Hardness value to 100%.
And then this is very important, to make sure that the foreground color is not black, but rather white, and you can do that by pressing the Deke key. Now it will get you the default colors for masking, which are white is foreground, black is background. And the reason that that's the default setting is because by default Adobe figures, you'll want to paint an Opacity, and you would want to erase away with Transparency of course. Anyway, I'm going to paint like this into the mountains. Now how do I know where to paint? Well, I don't. I don't really know what I'm doing. I guess that's not a good thing for a trainer to say to his trainees. I don't really know what I'm doing, those words should never come out of my mouth, but I don't really know what I'm doing, because I don't really know where the mountain range is. And you can see I'm making some sky appear up there. Now let's go ahead and zoom in on this image, why don't we? So we can see, notice that I'm going from a blurry edge of the world, but that's because, it's really far away to a more sharply focused mountain range.
Now optics doesn't really work that way, but it's going to work that way for us. This is a comic illustration after all, and we wanted to emphasize certain details over others. Now I'm going to decrease the size of my brush a little bit to something like 20 pixels, and I'm going to paint some more. So what I'm really saying is I'm just kind of feeling my way through this mountain range, and I'm making imaginative choice as I paint. Now if I end up exposing some sky, I'll show you what to do about that in just a moment. We'll come back to that in a race of the way. But actually let's increase the size of the brush by pressing the Right Bracket key and there and just painting this mountain range stuff right there. I just want to make sure we get this stuff established.
Now if you want to be able to see the mountain range as you painted in. So you want to see the mountain range as it appears on mask, so that you can see all of the mountains here. Then here's what you need to do, go ahead and Shift+Click once again on that layer mask to hide it like so. It's still active though, note that, so now you can see the mountains as they were before, and you can just go ahead and paint into them. So I'm painting into the mountains for like so. Now this is what I call blind layer masking, because you are not seeing what you are doing. You are just painting it, and it's like looking at the keyboard as you type, which is something I'm very comfortable with doing, because, I don't know how to touch type. But you can't see the letters up here, right? You are just seeing that you are typing the right keys. And that's what you are doing when you are blind masking. You are just kind of painting in here, and you are hoping for the best, and then when you get done, I'm done now. I just painted all over that area.
Now, I'll Shift+Click on this mask again, and that turns the mask back on, and I can see what I have done, and I have done at darn fine job. It worked out really actually very nicely. Gosh! I'm pretty pleased with the result there. So I was working blind, but it worked well, and then I can just filling this area I think, pretty nicely there. And oops, I exposed some sky, a little bit of sky right there. Okay, what you do in that case? Well, then you press the X key, and pressing the X key is going to swap your foreground and background color. It makes the foreground color black. And now I'll paint away that little sliverous sky. And if you paint away too much sky that's okay. You don't have to exactly follow the top of the mountains, because nobody is going to know where those mountaintops were. And as we'll see in our future exercise, we are going to actually come in and darken up the tops of those mountains, so nobody will be the wiser, it will look really, really great, I assure you.
And besides I'm riding on a dinosaur, so realism isn't necessarily what we are going for. Press the X key again to make the foreground color white, and then I'm going to paint in the tops a little bit, I want a little bit of that darkness at the top of the mountain range if I can keep it, which I can, because I just did. Excellent, all right, so there is that, just a couple of last techniques if you want to know about them. You can view the mask and the image at the same time by going over to the Channels palette. Notice that we were working on the mask, even though we are seeing the image. And that's indicated by the eyeballs. The eyeballs are showing that's what we were seeing. Blue area right here is showing us what's selected. It might be a different color for you.
If you want to view the mask at the same time, you click in this eyeball in the front of the Badlands mask like so. And then if you want to see just the mask and not the image, you turn of the eyeball for the RGB image. See how that works? All right, here's another way to work, I'll go ahead and reset things the way they were before. You can also take advantage of these top secret hidden keyboard shortcuts. If you press Backslash, not Ctrl+Backslash, just Backslash, then you see both the mask, that goes and turns the mask on, and the image right there, then if you want to hide the image you press the ~(tilde) key.
Tilde key, not 2, but Tilde, and Tilde is the key that's under the Escape key above the tab key, next to the one key on an American keyboard. And then if you want to bring the RGB image back, you press the Tilde again. And then if you want to hide the layer mask, you press Backslash again. So both Tilde and Backslash are what are known as toggles. Because they toggle the option on and off. So there is everything you ever wanted to know about editing a layer mask, at least where this particular image is concerned. I'm going to switch back to my Rectangular Marquee tool there. In the next exercise I'm going to show you how to work with clipping masks, how to clip one layer inside of another.
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