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Establishing a knockout layer

From: Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals

Video: Establishing a knockout layer

In this exercise we are going to come up with a better even more flexible approach, this time using a knockout layer. I've saved my progress as Tepid highlights.psd found inside that 09_layer_masks folder and the first thing I want you to do is Shift+Click on the mask that's associated with that group to turn it off. Then go ahead and click on the screen layer to make it active, because we're to make a new layer and we are going to do so by pressing Ctrl+Shift+N, Command+Shift+N on the Mac and I'll call this new layer knockout and click OK.

Establishing a knockout layer

In this exercise we are going to come up with a better even more flexible approach, this time using a knockout layer. I've saved my progress as Tepid highlights.psd found inside that 09_layer_masks folder and the first thing I want you to do is Shift+Click on the mask that's associated with that group to turn it off. Then go ahead and click on the screen layer to make it active, because we're to make a new layer and we are going to do so by pressing Ctrl+Shift+N, Command+Shift+N on the Mac and I'll call this new layer knockout and click OK.

Notice because I had screen selected I automatically create this new layer inside of the group and that's very important. You generally need a group to successfully pull off a knockout inside Photoshop. Now we need the Gradient tool once again because we are going to draw a gradient. We are going to draw that same gradient we drew before. However, we are going to change the style slightly from foreground or background to instead we need foreground to transparent. So go ahead and select that second item and then press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to accept that change.

This time we are going to drag down in the opposite direction we drew before. So drag even with the top bubbles in the left-hand glass downward while pressing the Shift key to the bottom of that third bubble along the left-hand side of the right-hand glass in order to create this gradient right there. So what we've got is a black to transparent gradient on an independent layer. It looks like it's messing everything up, but it's altogether separate from the rest of the composition. Here is how you create a knockout. Now this is really weird, I have to say.

If you've ever seen this one before it doesn't make a lot of sense, but it's a pretty quick approach. You just have to remember how it works. You start by double-clicking in an empty portion of that knockout layer in order to bring up the layer Style dialog box, and then you change the Knockout style from None to Shallow. Shallow will go ahead and bore to the bottom of the group. If you were to choose Deep you would go all the way down to the background layer, which in our case because we don't have a background, would burrow through to transparency.

So Deep is not what we want. I will go ahead and change it to Shallow once again. Now you may look at this and say, well, Deke obviously you're wrong, because nothing is happening whatsoever. No matter what you set that Knockout to we are not seeing anything knockout. And that's because you also have to turn around and adjust the Fill Opacity value. So I am going to take that Fill Opacity; not the Opacity value, because that will reduce the opacity of the entire layer, including this effect. You want to take Fill Opacity down to 0 % like so and now we have gone ahead and completed the knockout.

So it's a combination of having a group putting the knockout layer at the top of the group, setting the knockout option as shallow, and changing the Fill Opacity to 0%. Then what happens when you click OK is that any portion of the knockout layer that was formerly opaque cuts a hole in the layers below, any portion of that layer that's transparent does not cut a hole. So suddenly we are in this wacky world where opacity translates to transparency and transparency translates to opacity.

But that's the way it works with knockout layer. Now you might say, well, Deke, this is the exact same effect we had before. After all I could now Ctrl+Drag or Command+Drag this gradient up and down in order to achieve the same effect I was showing you in a previous exercise. Here's the difference. I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on Mac to undo that modification. Now rather than let's say erasing into this layer to add transparency which would introduce those highlights that we achieved using those little white fingers inside of the group mask, this time we will create a layer mask for the knockout layer so that the knockout and its mask are independent from each other.

So I'm going to drop down to the Add layer mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and click on it. Now I'll switch to my Brush tool and I want to paint with black because I want to paint transparency into this layer mask. So I will press the X key to make my foreground color black, and then I'll paint up like so in order to introduce the highlights. Now notice that my highlights and my knockout are independent of each other, so I haven't harmed anything. I could click the link icon between the layer mask and the layer itself and now Ctrl+Drag those highlights to a different location without affecting the gradient that is dropping out the gas inside of those glasses.

Here is the thing though, now I am looking at this thinking those highlights are way too thick. Alright, fine! Let's go ahead and restore the layer mask to white by pressing Ctrl+Backspace or Command+Delete on the Mac, because white is my background color. That went ahead filled the layer mask with white, got rid of my former highlights, and I am going to right- click inside the image window and take the size value down to 100 pixels let's say and press the Enter key a couple of times or the Return key couple times on the Mac in order to hide that panel and now I'll click right there, right at that location, and I will Shift+Click upward in order to brush in a straight line and now I'm in the click at this location down in the bubbles in left- hand glass and I will Shift+Click up and slightly to the right in order to create a straight line of highlight at this location.

So I have all the flexibility in the world. Now problem is even though these highlights look thinner they still don't look as good as the one inside the file called The perfect evening.psd, but the beautiful thing is I have almost everything I need to pull off this effect at this point, because I have such a fundamentally flexible composition to work with in the first place. So what we are going to do is take the mask associated with the knockout layer and we're going to convert it into a couple of brushstrokes that we will then clip inside of another layer and we will ultimately achieve the effect that you see before you in the very next exercise.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals
Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals

128 video lessons · 28923 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
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  1. 15m 25s
    1. Welcome
      1m 12s
    2. Loading my custom dekeKeys shortcuts
      3m 45s
    3. Adjusting the color settings
      4m 29s
    4. Setting up a power workspace
      5m 59s
  2. 1h 0m
    1. The channel is the origin of masking
      1m 54s
    2. The Masks and Channels panels
      4m 48s
    3. How color channels work
      7m 7s
    4. Viewing channels in color
      3m 24s
    5. How RGB works
      4m 12s
    6. Single-channel grayscale
      5m 12s
    7. Mixing a custom "fourth" channel
      5m 15s
    8. The other three-channel mode: Lab
      5m 45s
    9. A practical application of Lab
      4m 55s
    10. The final color mode: CMYK
      7m 5s
    11. Introducing the Multichannel mode
      5m 56s
    12. Creating a unique multichannel effect
      5m 18s
  3. 44m 27s
    1. The alpha channel is home to the mask
      1m 40s
    2. The origins of the alpha channel
      3m 40s
    3. How a mask works
      7m 10s
    4. Making an alpha channel
      4m 2s
    5. Using the new channel icons
      6m 27s
    6. Saving an image with alpha channels
      4m 23s
    7. Loading a selection from a channel
      4m 7s
    8. Putting a mask into play
      3m 55s
    9. Loading a selection from a layer
      4m 27s
    10. Loading a selection from another image
      4m 36s
  4. 1h 0m
    1. The mask meets the composition
      1m 8s
    2. Viewing a mask as a rubylith overlay
      6m 13s
    3. Changing a mask's overlay color
      5m 34s
    4. Painting inside a mask
      6m 3s
    5. Cleaning up and confirming
      5m 18s
    6. Combining masks
      5m 10s
    7. Painting behind and inside a layer
      5m 27s
    8. Blending image elements
      6m 1s
    9. What to do when layers go wrong
      6m 3s
    10. Hiding layer effects with a mask
      4m 22s
    11. Introducing clipping masks
      5m 29s
    12. Unclipping and masking a shadow
      3m 50s
  5. 1h 35m
    1. The seven selection soldiers
      52s
    2. The marquee tools
      6m 31s
    3. The single-pixel tools (plus tool tricks)
      6m 48s
    4. Turning a destructive edit into a layer
      5m 34s
    5. Making shapes of specific sizes
      7m 7s
    6. The lasso tools
      5m 49s
    7. Working with the Magnetic Lasso tool
      7m 19s
    8. The Quick Selection tool
      8m 13s
    9. Combining Quick Selection and Smudge
      4m 52s
    10. The Magic Wand and the Tolerance value
      6m 55s
    11. Contiguous and Anti-aliased selections
      6m 58s
    12. Making a good selection with the Magic Wand
      6m 34s
    13. Selecting and replacing a background
      6m 55s
    14. Resolving edges with layer effects
      7m 52s
    15. Adding lines of brilliant gold type
      7m 28s
  6. 1h 11m
    1. Selections reign supreme
      55s
    2. Introducing "selection calculations"
      4m 19s
    3. Combining two different tools
      7m 29s
    4. Selections and transparency masks
      5m 17s
    5. Selecting an eye
      7m 1s
    6. Masking and blending a texture into skin
      5m 1s
    7. Painting a texture into an eye
      4m 19s
    8. Combining layers, masks, channels, and paths
      4m 54s
    9. Moving selection outlines vs. selected pixels
      5m 36s
    10. Transforming and warping a selection outline
      7m 45s
    11. Pasting an image inside a selection
      7m 26s
    12. Adding volumetric shadows and highlights
      6m 54s
    13. Converting an image into a mask
      4m 42s
  7. 1h 5m
    1. The best selection tools are commands
      1m 5s
    2. Introducing the Color Range command
      5m 59s
    3. Working in the Color Range dialog box
      7m 7s
    4. Primary colors and luminance ranges
      4m 12s
    5. A terrific use for Color Range
      4m 57s
    6. Introducing the Quick Mask mode
      7m 43s
    7. Moving a selection into a new background
      5m 43s
    8. Smoothing the mask, recreating the corners
      8m 43s
    9. Integrating foreground and background
      4m 44s
    10. Creating a cast shadow from a layer
      2m 51s
    11. Releasing and masking layer effects
      3m 11s
    12. Creating a synthetic rainbow effect
      4m 30s
    13. Masking and compositing your rainbow
      4m 46s
  8. 1h 17m
    1. The ultimate in masking automation
      1m 6s
    2. Introducing the Refine Mask command
      6m 58s
    3. Automated edge detection
      8m 23s
    4. Turning garbage into gold
      6m 19s
    5. Starting with an accurate selection
      7m 11s
    6. Selection outline in, layer mask out
      7m 48s
    7. Matching a scene with Smart Filters
      4m 29s
    8. Cooling a face, reflecting inside eyes
      4m 45s
    9. Creating a layer of ghoulish skin
      4m 28s
    10. Adding dark circles around the eyes
      5m 20s
    11. Creating a fake blood effect
      5m 38s
    12. Establishing trails of blood
      7m 40s
    13. Integrating the blood into the scene
      7m 3s
  9. 1h 48m
    1. Using the image to select itself
      1m 37s
    2. Choosing the ideal base channel
      5m 7s
    3. Converting a channel into a mask
      6m 34s
    4. Painting with the Overlay mode
      7m 27s
    5. Painting with the Soft Light mode
      5m 55s
    6. Mask, composite, refine, and blend
      4m 40s
    7. Creating a more aggressive mask
      7m 2s
    8. Blending differently masked layers
      7m 0s
    9. Creating a hair-only mask
      6m 0s
    10. Using history to regain a lost mask
      3m 42s
    11. Separating flesh tones from hair
      8m 28s
    12. Adjusting a model's color temperature
      4m 30s
    13. Introducing the Calculations command
      7m 22s
    14. Extracting a mask from a Smart Object
      6m 34s
    15. Integrating a bird into a new sky
      5m 40s
    16. Creating synthetic rays of light
      6m 4s
    17. Masking and compositing light
      7m 39s
    18. Introducing a brilliant light source
      7m 5s
  10. 1h 34m
    1. The synthesis of masking and compositing
      1m 36s
    2. White reveals, black conceals
      6m 45s
    3. Layer masking tips and tricks
      5m 8s
    4. Generating a layer mask with Color Range
      5m 38s
    5. The Masks panel's bad options
      5m 18s
    6. The Masks panel's good options
      3m 50s
    7. Creating and feathering a vector mask
      3m 42s
    8. Combining pixel and vector masks
      3m 50s
    9. Working with path outlines
      7m 10s
    10. Combining paths into a single vector mask
      7m 52s
    11. Sharpening detail, reducing color noise
      4m 27s
    12. Recreating missing details
      8m 49s
    13. Masking glass
      5m 50s
    14. Refining a jagged Magic Wand mask
      5m 53s
    15. Masking multiple layers at one time
      5m 15s
    16. Establishing a knockout layer
      6m 6s
    17. Clipping and compositing tricks
      7m 37s
  11. 1m 17s
    1. Next steps
      1m 17s

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