Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery
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Editing a layer mask


Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery

with Deke McClelland

Video: Editing a layer mask

In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to clean up some of this layer mask in much the same way as we cleaned up the mask inside of the Quick Mask mode a few exercises back, but we are going to get better feedback, and we have a lot more flexibility as well. We can paint away details, we can paint in details, and so on without any penalty whatsoever. So I've gone ahead and save my progress so far as an image called Bad duckbill bad, so-called, because he has a bad duckbill, he isn't masked very well that's just not acceptable. So we need to fix the mask.
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  1. 21m 20s
    1. Welcome
      1m 21s
    2. Installing the DekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      5m 38s
    3. Resetting the Function keys on a Mac
      3m 51s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 37s
    5. Setting up the CS4 color settings
      5m 53s
  2. 2h 31m
    1. Introduction to masking
    2. Introducing color range
      4m 22s
    3. Adding base colors and adjusting fuzziness
      4m 46s
    4. Localized color clusters
      6m 12s
    5. The Quick Mask mode
      7m 33s
    6. Viewing a quick mask by itself
      6m 40s
    7. Testing the quality of edges
      3m 55s
    8. Introducing the Masks palette
      7m 45s
    9. Editing a layer mask
      6m 18s
    10. Choking a mask with Gaussian Blur and Levels
      6m 44s
    11. Choking a mask with Mask Edge
      7m 43s
    12. Adding a Gradient Overlay shadow
      4m 23s
    13. Using live Density and Feather
      6m 12s
    14. Journeyman masking
      5m 44s
    15. Creating an alpha channel
      7m 6s
    16. Increasing contrast
      7m 15s
    17. Overlay painting
      8m 28s
    18. Cleaning up whites and blacks
      5m 48s
    19. Soft light painting
      5m 47s
    20. Selecting in style
      6m 55s
    21. Employing masks as selections
      5m 2s
    22. Scaling and compositing layers
      6m 30s
    23. Compositing glass
      5m 10s
    24. Selecting glass highlights
      8m 41s
    25. Working with found masks
      5m 46s
  3. 1h 34m
    1. Introduction to vector-based shapes
      1m 10s
    2. Vector-based type outlines
      7m 23s
    3. The benefits of vectors
      6m 27s
    4. Upsampling vs. nondestructive scaling
      7m 35s
    5. Vectors and effects
      8m 7s
    6. Fill Opacity and clipped layers
      4m 24s
    7. Basic shape creation
      3m 15s
    8. Drawing interacting shapes
      6m 21s
    9. Power-duplicating paths
      3m 12s
    10. Combining pixels and vector masks
      5m 19s
    11. Line tool and layer attributes
      7m 5s
    12. Copying and pasting path outlines
      3m 28s
    13. Drawing custom shapes
      3m 59s
    14. Drawing with the Pen tool
      7m 48s
    15. Creating cusp points
      7m 28s
    16. Defining a custom shape
      3m 34s
    17. Assigning a vector mask to an image
      2m 38s
    18. Adding a vector object to a composition
      5m 40s
  4. 1h 24m
    1. Introduction to Vanishing Point
      1m 11s
    2. Creating and saving the first plane
      8m 9s
    3. Creating perpendicular planes
      5m 16s
    4. Healing in perspective
      8m 47s
    5. Cloning and scaling in perspective
      8m 34s
    6. Patching an irregularly shaped area
      6m 59s
    7. Healing between planes
      3m 35s
    8. Importing an image into a 3D scene
      5m 46s
    9. Adding perspective type
      5m 37s
    10. Removing and matching perspective
      5m 36s
    11. Applying a reflection in perspective
      5m 1s
    12. Creating a perspective gradient
      6m 11s
    13. Converting a gradient to a mask
      2m 58s
    14. Swinging planes to custom angles
      4m 32s
    15. Wrapping art around multiple surfaces
      5m 49s
  5. 1h 15m
    1. Introduction to Smart Objects
    2. Placing a Smart Object
      5m 7s
    3. Saving a PDF-compatible AI file
      4m 27s
    4. Performing nondestructive transformations
      6m 8s
    5. Editing a Smart Object in Illustrator
      6m 50s
    6. Converting an image to a Smart Object
      6m 50s
    7. Cloning Smart Objects
      5m 24s
    8. Creating a multilayer Smart Object
      5m 51s
    9. Updating multiple instances at once
      2m 55s
    10. Creating a Camera Raw Smart Object
      4m 17s
    11. Editing a Camera Raw Smart Object
      3m 25s
    12. Assembling a layered ACR composition
      5m 55s
    13. Using an ACR Smart Object to effect
      3m 41s
    14. Blending multiple ACR portraits
      6m 56s
    15. Live type that inverts everything behind it
      6m 33s
  6. 1h 48m
    1. Introducing nondestructive Smart Filters
    2. Applying a Smart Filter
      4m 22s
    3. Adjusting filter and blend settings
      4m 25s
    4. Heaping on the Smart Filters
      5m 19s
    5. Smart Filter stacking order
      7m 23s
    6. Resolution and Smart Filter radius
      6m 12s
    7. Masking Smart Filters
      4m 42s
    8. Employing nested Smart Objects
      5m 5s
    9. Dragging and dropping Smart Filters
      6m 31s
    10. Using the Shadows/Highlights filter
      5m 53s
    11. Regaining access to the pixels
      7m 8s
    12. Parametric wonderland
      5m 52s
    13. Working with the Filter Gallery
      6m 28s
    14. Freeform filter jam
      5m 52s
    15. Swapping filters from the Filter Gallery
      3m 45s
    16. Mixing all varieties of parametric effects
      7m 30s
    17. Addressing a few Smart Filter bugs
      3m 11s
    18. Applying a Smart Filter to live type
      5m 30s
    19. Choking letters with Maximum
      3m 7s
    20. Duplicating a Smart Filter
      2m 38s
    21. Enhancing a filter with a layer effect
      6m 30s
  7. 1h 6m
    1. Introduction to Auto-Align, Auto-Blend, and Photomerge
      1m 2s
    2. Merging two shots into one
      3m 49s
    3. Applying Auto-Align layers
      3m 44s
    4. Masking images into a common scene
      1m 39s
    5. Auto-Align plus Auto-Blend
      8m 11s
    6. Assigning weighted Opacity values
      4m 7s
    7. Employing a Difference mask
      7m 17s
    8. Masking smarter, not harder
      3m 53s
    9. Capturing multiple depths of field
      3m 37s
    10. Auto-blending real focus
      8m 31s
    11. Creating a panorama with Photomerge
      7m 27s
    12. Correcting a seamless panorama
      4m 52s
    13. An altogether nondestructive Lab correction
      7m 59s
  8. 1h 44m
    1. Introduction to new CS4 technologies
      1m 1s
    2. Applying Content-Aware Scale
      7m 18s
    3. What works and what doesn't with Content-Aware Scale
      4m 19s
    4. Protecting areas with masks
      7m 31s
    5. Applying incremental edits
      7m 6s
    6. Protecting skin tones
      7m 12s
    7. Scaling around a model with TLC
      9m 0s
    8. Adjusting the scale threshold
      5m 22s
    9. When Content-Aware Scale fails
      4m 2s
    10. Creating a lens distortion effect
      8m 39s
    11. Layer masking the family
      11m 44s
    12. Installing the Pixel Bender
      3m 43s
    13. Introducing Pixel Bender kernels
      6m 50s
    14. Pixel Bender kernel roundup
      7m 24s
    15. Tube View and Ripple Blocks
      3m 58s
    16. Making a seamless pattern with Kaleidoscope
      6m 13s
    17. Introducing the Pixel Bender Toolkit
      3m 24s
  9. 1h 20m
    1. Introduction to actions
    2. Creating an action
      5m 45s
    3. Recording operations
      5m 12s
    4. Reviewing and editing an action
      4m 45s
    5. Playing an action (the Button Mode)
      4m 51s
    6. Saving and loading actions
      5m 0s
    7. Copying and modifying an action
      4m 8s
    8. Permitting the user to change settings
      5m 50s
    9. The Best Chrome Effect Ever II
      3m 41s
    10. Recording a fail-safe action
      7m 33s
    11. Rounding corners with a mask
      4m 33s
    12. Cleaning up layers
      3m 52s
    13. Automating layer effects
      7m 1s
    14. Applying chrome with Gradient Map
      6m 24s
    15. Action anomalies
      4m 11s
    16. Rendering effects to layers
      5m 1s
    17. Testing that it works
      2m 0s
  10. 1m 14s
    1. See ya
      1m 14s

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery
13h 7m Advanced May 29, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Photoshop mastery can be elusive, but in Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery, best-selling author and video trainer Deke McClelland teaches the most powerful, unconventional, and flexible features of the program. In this third and final installment of the popular and comprehensive series, Deke delves into the strongest features that Photoshop has to offer, including scalable vector graphics, Smart Objects, and Photomerge. Exercise files accompany the course.

Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, both part of the Online Training Library®.

Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.

Topics include:
  • Defining the essentials of masking
  • Resizing images with content-aware scaling
  • Adjusting perspective with Vanishing Point
  • Applying Smart Filters to create complex effects
  • Using the Auto-Align tool to build composite images
Design Photography
Deke McClelland

Editing a layer mask

In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to clean up some of this layer mask in much the same way as we cleaned up the mask inside of the Quick Mask mode a few exercises back, but we are going to get better feedback, and we have a lot more flexibility as well. We can paint away details, we can paint in details, and so on without any penalty whatsoever. So I've gone ahead and save my progress so far as an image called Bad duckbill bad, so-called, because he has a bad duckbill, he isn't masked very well that's just not acceptable. So we need to fix the mask.

So I'm working on this duckbill layer right there, as you can see that has an image and a layer mask, and we are going to be modified the layer mask. So make sure the mask is selected, make sure to click on that thumbnail, because otherwise, if the image itself is selected and you go and get your Brush tool, and you press the D key to make sure your foreground and background colors are black and white respectively, and you start painting, well then you are actually going to paint black into your image. You don't want that. Press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on a Mac, instead you want to be working on a layer mask, then if you paint black for example, you'll paint holes into the image, Ctrl+Z or Command+Z to undo that. Press the X key to make the foreground color white and if you paint with white, you are adding the background back to the image. So you are painting the image back in to the composition.

All right, I don't want either of those modifications. So Ctrl+Z, Command+Z once again. And I should say you can switch back and forth between these guys from the keyboard. It's pretty crazy but it's Ctrl+2 or Command+2 on the Mac in order to make the image itself active, and then it's Ctrl+Backslash or Command+Backslash on the Mac to make the layer mask active. Let's go ahead and hide the Color palette for a moment here, collapse it so we have a little more room. If you go over to the Channels palette, you'll see that you have this temporary mask right here, or at least it's a mask that Photoshop has gone ahead and created for you. That is an alpha channel.

Go over to the Channels palette and you'll see this italicize mask name duckbill mask, and that shows you that Photoshop has created this alpha channel on the fly for you, and then you can see the keyboard shortcuts as well. So there is Ctrl+2 or Command+2 for RGB, there is Ctrl+Backslash or Command+Backslash on the Mac for the alpha channel, and so you can see them switch on the fly in real time as I press those keyboard shortcuts. Go back to Layers palette. It's up to you if you want to memorize it. You also have the option of viewing the image and the mask at the same time.

So currently we're adjusting the image, we are not seeing the mask at all. And again, if I go to the Channels palette you can see that's because the RGB image has an eyeball in front of it, and the mask doesn't have an eyeball in front of it. You could turn on that eyeball if you want to, or turn back off so you get that nice quick mask version of the mask. That's pretty great, or backslash by itself makes the mask visible in the sort of Quick Mask view. Backslash again to make it go away, or when you are viewing the mask, as so, so I'd press backslash again, you can press the Tilde key in order to turn off the RGB image and then Tilde to bring it back. And that's kind of weird, because backslash is always all about that layer mask whereas it's Ctrl+2 or Tilde for the RGB image, and that's because Ctrl+2 or Command+2 on the Mac is the new fangled Photoshop CS4 keyboard shortcut, and Tilde was the old fangled Photoshop CS3, an earlier keyboard shortcut.

What do you we want to do here? Well, we want to go ahead and paint away this line. I'm going to make sure my foreground black, so I'll press the X key to make it black like so. Got my Brush tool selected, wunderbar, Hard Brush 25 pixels fine. Click right about there and Shift-click right about here in order to make that line go away, and then I might tidy up a little bit over on that side. And let's click here and then Shift-click here in order to make that go away, and then sure enough, if I were to view the RGB image, again along with the mask, then you can see that we have indeed painted that line completely away, and you might say, "We got that rubylith overlay, you were telling us that's so bad because it's warm on warm, why don't you care of that problem, how in the world do you do it?" Well, you don't go over here and start double-clicking on Quick Mask, because then you'd enter the Quick Mask mode here inside the layer mask which is something you can do. If you want to, you can mask inside a mask, inside a mask, but if you want to just change the color associated with this layer mask right there, double-click on it, and you can either double-click on it here inside of the Channels palette or I'll cancel, go over to Layers double-click on it there, either way works. Click on the Color Swatch, change the Hue value to 180, click OK, click OK, and there it is. You see the mask overlay represent it as a different color.

All right so we can continue painting -- by the way my friends if you want to bearing in mind, of course that if you paint with white you are going to add dinosaur, and if you paint with black you are going to subtract dinosaur, but of course what you are doing is you temporarily erasing. I mean you are painting with white you are instating the image, so it's all happening on the fly, very flexible. No permanent harm to the image whatsoever, when you are working with layer mask. The only thing you can permanently harm of course is the mask itself since these are pixel level modifications, but you can always come back and change your mind later on if you want to.

Now you may find it more helpful at this point. Let's see if we have any other obvious gaps going on to modify the mask while viewing the image, we are not seeing the mask at all. So I'll go ahead and press the Backslash key in order to hide the mask, so that we are just seeing the image, and as long as the mask is active then we can still modify the mask like so, and that's not the modification I wanted to make. I just painted a hole interestingly, because Photoshop went and switched my foreground and background colors on me without my knowledge. Press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac, press the X Key to make the foreground color white, and then paint those details back into the place, pretty handy way to work. But what about this? I mean if I were making a decision about what I wanted to paint away, I'd be working on these details over here. Yes, you are absolutely right, those are the real problem areas, but I'm going to tell you something about those areas.

So it's a better way to fix them, better than meticulously painting inside the image, which is an ultimately a waste of time after a certain point, we've got some automation that way we can bring to bare here. I'm going to show you how that automation works. So I'm going to show you how to choke the edges in the very next exercise.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery .

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Q: My Polygon tool is locked into a very small size. I can use the Transform tool to increase it's size once drawn, but I must have something set that will not allow me to freely draw it like I can the other shapes. What could be causing this problem?
A: This could be caused by a value associated with the Radius option of the tool. Click the down-pointing arrowhead to the right (a few tool icons over) from the Polygon tool in the options bar at the top of the screen. This brings up pop-up panel. If the Radius option has a number value, select that value and press Delete or Backspace to clear it out. That should fix the problem.
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