All right I've made some additional modifications to this file. For starters I've gone ahead and renamed the layer. So I have rope 01 down here near the bottom, and then I have rope 02, 03, 04, 05, 06 all the way up the list until I get to rope 14. I went ahead and re-created actually rope 14 because it needed to be skewed slightly, and it needed its layer mask. So all I did was I took rope 13 layer, and I once again pressed Ctrl+Shift+Alt+T or Command+Shift+Option+T on a Mac in order to duplicate it.
I also went ahead and added this heart shape layer, which is turned off currently. I want to leave it off if you are working along with me, and the name of this file incidentally is called Elongated rope.psd. So again if you're working along with me, you will need to open this file, and it's inside the 23_distort folder. All right so what we are going to do in this exercise is we are going to take this elongated bit of rope, we are going to mash it onto a single layer, so we are going to merge all the visible layers together, and then we are going to go ahead and mask the rope so that we can separate the hands and the rope from the background, just like we did with that jumping dude in the previous project.
All right so here's what I want you to do. Make sure, again, heart shape, that heart shape layer right there is turned off. We don't want to be able to see it. We should be seeing all the other layers, however. Now go up to the Layer menu, and I want to choose Merge Visible. It's dimmed, however, because my heart shape layer is active. So you need to make sure that one of your visible layers is active. I will click on hands left and then go back to Layer menu and choose Merge Visible. You've got a keyboard shortcut Ctrl+ Shift+E, Command+Shift+E on the Mac, and that's going to go ahead and merge all those visible layers on to one.
So it's called hands left. That's not accurate. Let's go ahead and call it tug of war like so, and then that takes care of the layer. Now we need to mask it. And we are going to create the mask by going over to the Channels panel. This is the easiest way to work incidentally. Go the Channels panel. We will be discussing masking in more detail in a chapter inside the Mastery portion of the series, but what I would like you do for now is just check out the channels we have to work with. This is the Red channel. Very bright as you can see here. We are looking for as much contrast as possible.
So bright is not good, because if we have bright hands against a white background, why then that's not a heck of a lot of contrast. If we switch to Green, things darken up. That's good, because the background is going to remain white inside all of these channels, and then Blue darker still. So I am just going to take that Blue channel right there and I'm going to duplicate it by dragging it onto the page icon at the bottom of the Channels palette. That creates a copy of the Blue channel. I am going to on go ahead and rename it mask, like so. Having duplicated and named this new channel, I will press Ctrl+I or Command+I on a Mac to invert it and the reason there is to create an effective mask we need the hands in the rope to be white against the black background, because white indicates the selection and black indicates a deselected region of the image.
All right now I'm going to press Ctrl+L or Command+L on the Mac to bring up the Levels dialog box, and I'm going to drag this white slider triangle over to left and I am going to take it all the way down to 30, like so. So I'm saying anything with a luminance level 30 or brighter is going to become white and anything in between is going to remain some kind of gray value so that we have a little bit of softening around the edges. That's it! That's all I am going to do. So you leave the black point at 0.
Don't touch the gamma value, change the white point to 30, and then click OK. Now that doesn't entirely take care of the problem. I will go ahead and zoom in on these right side hands, and you can see that the sleeves are a little bit dingy, a little bit too gray. So at this point, you know what? I am going to actually-- check this out. I might have a nice avenue of white around this region, which would make it a lot easier to select and get rid of it, as opposed to resorting to any even mildly complicated techniques. So I am going to switch over to the Magic Wand tool and I'm going to enter those settings that allow us to test the black-and-white regions inside the image.
So I am going to change the Tolerance value to 0 and I am going to turn off Anti-alias. I want Contiguous to remain on. I don't care about Sample All Layers, because I'm working in a flat channel. All right now I click in this area that looks to be white and sure enough, look at that. I've got a nice avenue around this gray area of the sleeve. So with the selection still intact, I am going to switch over to my Lasso tool, and I could do that by pressing the L key of course. And now I am going to Shift+Drag around this region that I want to add to the selection. It's very important that you press the Shift key and drag around this area and then if you're concerned about these little snivels down here in the lower region of the rope, you can Shift+ Drag around them as well in order to add them to the selection.
All right that looks good to me. I might want to drag inside the rope. I don't really care about all this garbage here. We'd spend a lot of time trying to select it all. So I'm not sure it's really worth it, but here I am doing it. Ha! I just can't help myself. I tell you why. Once I get in the mood where I'm not going to do something, then that's exactly when I do it. Anyway, it's up to you. If you want to follow along with me, even though I said I wasn't going to do it, here I am. And I could go ahead and maybe sort of drag along, or I could reduce my view size. Currently I am zoomed into 200%.
I don't need to be that far zoomed in on the image and I'm about halfway over this rope area right now, and I'll just continue to drag like so and then just encircle that area. I just ended up selecting too much. So I will go ahead and undo that modification. This is the problem with being zoomed out a little bit is it's hard to select these regions. You know what? I am for once and for all just going to ignore the rest of junk. All right then I'll go ahead and scroll over to left side of the image, zoom in like so, Shift+Drag around this bit of sleeve.
I don't have a clear channel right there. I'll take care of that in a moment. I do have a nice clear avenue around this bit of darkness, so I will go ahead Shift+Drag around it, Shift+Drag around this thing as well, and then zoom out a little bit, and I want to fill this selected region, and you know what? I do want to get rid of these little bits of dust and so on at the beginning of the rope trick on the left side of the image here, just so that everything begins and ends quite nicely.
Well, here I am, going ahead and selecting some more of this area inside the rope. I just knew I would do that! Shame on me! Anyway, get out of there and here's what I would like you to do. Go ahead and press Ctrl+Backspace or Command+ Delete on the Mac. Assuming that the background color is white, that will go ahead and fill that selected region with white as well and because we just added to the selection, we are just adding to the region of white. All right now I'll press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac in order to deselect the image and let's go ahead and zoom in on that little bit of sleeve right there, and we are going to fix up that gray area. Notice it's right against the edge.
We are going to fix it up by grabbing the Brush tool, and this is a very common masking technique incidentally, which we will be investigating in more detail when we take a look at masking in the Mastery portion of the series. I am going to increase the size of my brush. I will go ahead right-click actually do bring up this pop-up panel and I will reduce the hardness value to 0%, and then I will go ahead and press the Enter key or the Return key a couple times in order to accept that modification. Now then press the D key in order to establish white as your foreground color, because that's the way it works when you're creating a mask, and I am going to change my mode from Normal to Ooverlay, and that way when I paint against this edge, I don't harm the black, as you can see there.
I am not painting inside the black. The black is respected. I'm just cleaning up any of the light gray pixels and just a single stroke is all it takes. It's all done. Go ahead and switch back to different tool, if you want to. I will go ahead and zoom out from the image as well and if you want to take care of those little bits of gray that were inside the rope, you could do this number. Go ahead and switch back to the Brush tool, and it's still set to overlay. It's still set to white. Increase the size of the brush a little bit and click on one side of the rope like so, just click, and then scroll over to the other side of the rope and Shift+Click, and that will go ahead and connect those two points with a straight line of whiteness, and that should wipe out any of those gray pixels, and that's all there is to it.
Now we've created a mask. Now I am going to switch back to the RGB image and I'm going to load that mask. I will press the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac and click on that mask in order to load it is a selection outline, and I will switch back to Layers panel like so. The tug of war layer is active. Now I am going to press Ctrl+Alt+J or Command+Option+J on the Mac to jump this selection to a new layer, and I'm going to go ahead and call this layer hands and rope so that I know that these items have been extracted from the background and then go ahead and press Enter or Return in order accept the creation of that new layer, and we are ready to go.
I will turn off the tug of war layer so that we can see that the hands are set against a transparent background. That's great. I'm going to turn on this heart shaped layer, because that's the layer that we are going to be tracing in the very next exercise, using of course the Puppet Warp command, and then one more modification that I want to make. I want to create a new background layer. So a background layer of white, and I'll do that by clicking on the little page icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to create a new layer that has a name of Layer 1. I couldn't care less about that, because now I am going to go up to the layer menu, choose new and choose background from layer in order to convert the new layer to a background layer.
We are now ready to take this layer right there, hands and rope, and use the Puppet Warp command in order to trace this heart and we will do that very thing in the next exercise.
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