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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, we are going to employ our mask as a selection outline and that's something that you need to do. Alpha channels are exceedingly useful repositories for masks. But in order to actually use the mask, you need to turn it into a selection outline or a layer mask or something else that Photoshop can use to isolate your modifications. Now, I'm working with two images here, we are going to actually select Russell and move him into a different composition. One of them is Final masks.tif and it contains all of the masks that I have created so far, all the alpha channels, all five of them including wonderful mask, the most recent of the masks, don't you know? And then we also have martiniHour_ GuestSpot.psd. So, here's what I want you to do. Go ahead and switch to the RGB composite image by clicking on RGB here in the Channels palette. And then we are going to load the wonderful mask alpha channel, or if you prefer, you can load your mask or you can load the final mask, whatever you want as a selection.
This is one way to work; you can go to the Select menu and choose the Load Selection command. And then from inside this dialog box right here, you would choose the channel that you want to load, either wonderful mask, whatever you called your mask, the final mask, what have you. Then you click OK and then you have a selection outline. That's all there is to it. How much easier could it be? Well, it turns out, it could be easier and it could be more flexible. Notice which channels are not appearing here, all the alpha channels are appearing, but Red, Green, Blue and the RGB composite are not available to us. So, let's cancel out. And the reason I mention that is because, you can load the color bearing channels if you want to as selection outlines.
All you have to do to load any of the channels as the selection outline is to press the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac and click on it. So, if I Ctrl-click on wonderful mask, I load it as the selection outline, if I Ctrl-click or Command-click on Red, I load it as the selection outline. You can even Ctrl-click or Command-click on the RGB composite in order to load a grayscale version of that image as the selection outline. Any of the channels can be loaded this way. I want you to load wonderful mask or the mask that you created by Ctrl- clicking or Command-clicking on that mask, converts it to a selection outline. Now, the selection outline doesn't look like it's going to be all that great. That's because we are previewing the selection with marching ants.
The selection outline is every bit as good as the mask was. It is exactly the same, pixel for pixel is identical to the mask. So, this is non-destructive transformation when you are converting from an alpha channel to a selection outline. You are not really performing any sort of conversion at all. You are just loading it up. So, it is exactly the same thing. And in fact, Photoshop, when it's working on the selection, this is what it sees. It sees a grayscale version of that selection outline at any given time. You can test that for yourself. Watch this. I'll go back to the RGB image. I'll convert this over to the Quick Mask Mode, like so, just by clicking on the Quick Mask icon. Now, I'm working in Quick Mask. And now if I was to press to Tilde key to hide the RGB composite for just a moment, and I was to switch back and forth between the Quick Mask and wonderful mask, you would see that they are identical to each other.
So, we haven't changed things at all. Now, things get kind of wonky when you switch back to Quick Mask. That's because it's trying to show both Quick Mask and wonderful mask at the same time. If you do that, you will just get a bunch of cyan depending on your color settings. But anyway, let's just go ahead and press the Q key to escape out of the Quick Mask mode, go back to the RGB image and we are now ready to move the selected Russell into the martiniHour composition. And we are going to do that by pressing and holding the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac to get the Move tool on the fly, and dragging inside the selection, go ahead and drag him up.
Notice how well he is selected. Peels right out of his background there. That's awesome. Drag and hold on the title if indeed you are working with the tabbed window view here as I am, wait for the martiniHour composition to appear. Then drag your cursor down into the image window and drop, you will get this Profile Mismatch message if you are working along with me, so irritating, because we already told Photoshop not to bug us with color warnings. But it's still doing it here in this case. It's telling me that the Source image, that is Russell, the Final masks.tif image was set to the Adobe RGB mode, fine. And that the working space is also Adobe RGB. But the Destination that is my martiniHour mash-up right here is sRGB and I set it that way because I'm going to the web with this image.
I didn't absolutely have to do that. But often times, it's a better way to work. So, well there's going to be a color conversion. Well, of course there is. Yes, that's what I want. Photoshop, you are doing good work there. Click OK to tell Photoshop to stop winding and just do its thing and it will go ahead and plop Russell in the background there. Now, it's currently covered up, in my case by a few layers. So, we'll go over to the Layers palette and I'll turn off the logo elements, so that I can see through from little Russell to big Russell. We still have some modifications to make, we need to move big Russell in the place, scale him in the place, and so on. Make sure that he's working with the new composition. And we are going to do that in the next exercise.
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