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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.
I have saved my progress so far as One difference.psd because so far I have set one of the layers to the Difference mode and this dude right here in the middle is blending with his very own bottom down here at the bottom of the stack. What do we do with that? Well, we would come back to it in just a second. Now I want you to go to Stunt cyclist-2.jpg, turn it on and set it to the Difference mode and that's Shift+Alt+E by the way or Shift+Option+ E on the Mac. You have got Difference, on top of Difference, on top of Difference, which is pretty close to what we want, but we also have all this garbage down here.
So it's not really going to be the thing we are looking for. And then if we do another Difference by going up here to the Stunt cyclist-1 and turning it on and then setting it to the Difference mode by pressing Shift+Alt+E or Shift+Option+E on the Mac, then we have another one of these just completely weird combinations of images. And you know what? I'm going to tell you something. I'm not going to use Stunt cyclist -1 anyway. So we might as well turn him off. He is just too near to the Stunt cyclist-2 right there. So what's the point? These three guys tell the story. But as I say, even though they are looking closer to the final scene that I want, not only do we have this weird stuff going on underneath but the first cyclist is looking good. This guy that's associated with Stunt cyclist-2.jpg, that layer. But the next guy has got some psychedelic groovy coloring going on and so does his friend with the bottom.
So what do we do about all that? Well, we use this information in order to create a mask. So I'm going to turn off Stunt cyclist-2 for a moment and this is going to be great for masking the rear end of this dude, not the front where we have the bottom problem but the rear end of this middle guy. Let's go to the Channel palette for just a moment and let's go to the Blue channel because that's where we have the most difference. I mean you can check him out. Here is Red and here is Green and here is Blue and Blue has the highest degree of contrast. That's what I mean by that.
So let's go ahead and select this region right here like so, just a general selection with the Marquee tool that gets very close to but does not touch this other fellow's rear end. All right now, what I want you to do is just create a new alpha channel by clicking on the page icon, not the Save selection as channel icon, because that just saved the rectangle. But rather you want the New Channel icon. So go ahead and Alt-click or Option-click on it and we'll call this center because he is right there in the center of the image and I'll click OK.
And then oops! Forgot something. Let's go back to Blue and I want to copy this information there. So I'll go to the Edit menu and I'll choose Copy Merged or press Ctrl+Shift+C. That's what you got to do because it's merging your multiple layers. Command+Shift+C on the Mac and I know, I told you there are no layers in channels. Channels are always flat. That's still true, but that's command you have got to select. Now go to center like so and press Ctrl+V or Command+V on a Mac in order to select that area. All right, so far so good. Let's go back to the RGB composite image and go back to Layers palette, turn off this bottom dude right there, Stunt cyclist-4 and because Stunt cyclist-3 has nothing to interact with, it looks normal now.
Now turn on Stunt cyclist-2 like so and guess what? He is good for the forward part of the image. Is he not? Because the bottom guy is missing. So now let's go to the Channels palette. Let's go actually to the Blue once again, very important. Press Ctrl+Shift+C, Command +Shift+C on a Mac in order to copy a merged version of the information. Go to center and press Ctrl+V or Command+V on the Mac to paste in the front of the bicycle and if you click off, there is virtually no seam at the intersection of those two Rectangular Marquees.
Looks pretty darn good and what the heck? Let's just go ahead and press Ctrl+L, Command+L on the Mac in order to bring up the Levels dialog box and we'll increase the heck out of the Contrast here by lightening the highlights. Now it looks like he is jumping in front of the surface of the moon, which is totally awesome. So let's take some of that lunar landscape away by moving up the black point value and if you think you are getting too jagged results, as you might, let's ease off the white point value, take it up to 50.
Now notice that we are not selecting everything exactly right and that's okay as you will see. It works up pretty nicely. Go ahead and click OK at this point. And then we have a nice center mask. Ctrl-click on it or Command-click on that center mask in order to load it as the selection outline. Go back to the RGB composite, go to the Layers palette and this is the mask for Stunt cyclist-3. So go ahead and click on it to make it active. Turn off Stunt cyclist-2 right there and let's go ahead and assign the mask and we are going to actually restore the blend mode of Normal and I'll turn on Stunt cyclist-4, so that we can see him up here on the background.
And now I'll click on my little Mask icon. Again, for Stunt cyclist-3, very important. That's the layer that we are working on. And I'll click on the tiny layer mask icon and there we have it. We have now masked him into place. Now we could have done it the other way around where the bottom is covering up the wheel. I just didn't like the way that looked. This one implies the motion of the scene much better. All right, so now at this point you are looking at it going "well he is missing some of his face, Deke and we can see blue through this shoes and this shoe is kind of missing and we have got some problems inside the wheel." No we don't. Watch this.
We will go ahead and switch over to the Brush tool and then make sure the Foreground color is set to white. If not switch it around. I'm sick of this Normal mode being active. So I'm going to press the Escape key so that goes away and then I can make my brush bigger by pressing the Right Bracket key and I also have a very fuzzy brush and watch this. I'll just paint him into place. Isn't that awesome? I'm just sang it because it's so simple and watch it though. Don't get too near to the bottom or you are going to make it fade out a little bit like I did. So why don't we go ahead and undo that. Because I can't just now paint in black, because I paint that wheel away so undo that modification. I got too into my little tune. So I'm going to paint this away once again, but because we have auto-aligned everything, we should have no problems with revealing weird details. You just don't want to paint too high, so that you paint in the edge.
Or maybe your do, you can just crop that away later. But if you don't want to crop that area away, then you would the X key to paint with black and go ahead and paint that edge away like so. And it looks awfully darn good. Now, the only thing to be done at this point is do the other guy, in other words, oops! That's wrong. Press the X key, paint closer along the wheel. I do want to get some of that wheel in there. This area here we are going to keep it the way it is. We are not going to try to do a better job in masking along the wheel that's next to his bottom, because it's really just not worth it. You can just really go crazy in that area if you want to, but I'm going to leave it the way it is because I think it looks great.
The other thing to do now is to go ahead and merge Stunt cyclist-2 in to the picture, because we need that 3rd cyclist in order to complete the composition. But you know what? We are out of time. So in the next exercise we are going to have a chance to do the exact same thing we just got done doing. I'm not sure I have anything new to impart. But it's always a great idea to try out those techniques again so that you remember them the next time around and this is a really swell technique. So stay tuned.
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