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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 lynda.com Online Training Library®.
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 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.
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