New Feature: Playlist Center! Pick a topic and let our playlists guide the way.

Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Extracting a mask from a Smart Object

From: Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals

Video: Extracting a mask from a Smart Object

In this exercise, we're going to mask the kite, that is, the bird, and we're going to move into our larger composition. Working inside the bird image, first thing I want you to do is grab that newest alpha channel, and duplicate it by dropping it onto the little Page icon at the bottom of the Channels panel. And now let's increase the contrast of this channel dramatically, using the levels command. So press Control+L, or Command+L on the Mac. This group of luminance levels here inside the histogram; those represent the darkest colors inside the channel, that is to say the background. And then this little group of very bright luminance levels; those represent the tonal values inside the bird.

Extracting a mask from a Smart Object

In this exercise, we're going to mask the kite, that is, the bird, and we're going to move into our larger composition. Working inside the bird image, first thing I want you to do is grab that newest alpha channel, and duplicate it by dropping it onto the little Page icon at the bottom of the Channels panel. And now let's increase the contrast of this channel dramatically, using the levels command. So press Control+L, or Command+L on the Mac. This group of luminance levels here inside the histogram; those represent the darkest colors inside the channel, that is to say the background. And then this little group of very bright luminance levels; those represent the tonal values inside the bird.

So I'm going to start by dragging that black slider triangle all the way beyond the first group of spikes right there, and that ends up giving us a black point value of 200. And then I'll grab the white slider triangle, and take it down to beyond the second group of spikes, and we end up with a white point value of 225. Then click OK in order to accept that modification, and let's go ahead and rename the channel as well: 200/1/225, so that once again I know how I created the channel.

If you zoom in to 100%, you're going to see that we have some pretty sharp, if not outright jagged transitions. We'll solve that problem shortly once we bring the bird into larger composition, but for now this is going to serve as a great base mask. Control+click, or Command+click, on that alpha channel to load it up as a selection. Then switch to the RGB composite here at the top of the Channels panel, return to the Layers panel, and then double- click in the Background image to convert it to an independent layer, and I'm going to call it kite, and click OK.

And then finally, we need to add the selection as a layer mask by clicking on the Add layer mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. Now we are ready to move the bird into the larger composition. So right-click anywhere inside the image window, and choose Duplicate layer, and then change the Document from, in our case, Bird with base alpha.psd, Composite model.psd, and click OK. Now let's go ahead and switch to that image, and you can see that we end up with a bird right there on the model's face. That, of course, is not what we want.

I'll go ahead and Control+drag, or Command+ drag, the bird off to the side. And notice that he is in front of the model. He really wants to be in the background, because there is no way the kite would be this tiny, and in front of the model. He is, in fact, far in the background. So I'm going to go ahead and scroll to the bottom of the Layers panel, and drag the kite layer down to between the background and the M1 R40 layer, and then he appears behind the model, as well he should. Now, he is way too big, so I want to scale him. I'm also going to want to apply a filter later on, which means that he should be a smart object.

In the past, I've been telling you I don't like to convert layers to smart objects while they contain layer masks. So normally, I would temporarily move the layer mask to a different layer, convert the image to a smart object, and then bring the layer mask back, but that's going to make it tricky to scale the bird and its mask at the same time. So I'm going to take an alternate route. We'll see if this make sense. It's pretty darn clever, by the way, and it's a very useful technique. But step one is, with that current layer selected, go out to the Layers panel flyout menu, and choose Convert to Smart Object. Or, if you loaded my DekeKeys shortcuts, you can press Control+Comma; Command+Comma on the Mac. That goes go ahead and puts both the layer, and it's mask, inside that smart object.

Next go up to the Edit menu, and choose the Free Transform command, or press Control+T; Command+T on the Mac. And then I want you to go out to the Options bar, click that link icon between W and H, and change either the W, or H value to 50%. And we also want to move the bird to a slightly different location. I'm going to kind of drag it around here, but the specific coordinate values I came up with, assuming that that center point inside the Reference point matrix on the far left side of the options bar selected, then I want you to change the X value to 2315, and then Tab to the Y value, and go ahead and change it to 375.

And press the Enter key a couple of times on the PC, or the Return key a couple of times on the Mac, in order to accept that modification. Alright, now let's go ahead and zoom in on the kite, and notice that he has got some very sharp edges around him there. We have a little bit of white haloing over on the right side of this forward wing, which means that I need access to my layer mask, but it's buried inside of the smart object. Here is how to regain it. This is the clever part.

You start by Control+clicking, or Command+ clicking, on the thumbnail for that smart object layer in order to convert it's mask to a selection outline. Then drop down to the Add layer mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, and click on it. Now we have access to the layer mask again, except we're masking a mask that's at work inside of the Smart Object. So I want you to double-click on the thumbnail for the Smart Object layer. You may see a warning that tells you how to work with smart objects inside of Photoshop.

Just go ahead and click OK, and that brings up a separate window for the bird. And notice that it's cropped. I hate that Photoshop does this. I want to give myself a little more wiggle room in case we decide to do something to the edges of the bird. So go up to the Image menu and choose the Canvas Size command, or press Control+Alt+C; Command+Option+C on the Mac. Turn on the Relative check box, and let's go ahead and add 50 pixels to both the Width, and the Height, of this canvas. And you should have that center chicklet selected so that we're going to expand the canvas outward in all directions, and then click OK.

That just gives us a little more room to work, and then I want you to Shift+click on the layer mask thumbnail here inside the Layers panel to turn it off. We don't have to throw the layer mask away, just turn it off, and next go ahead and close the image. On the PC you click the Yes button in order to save your changes. On the Mac you'll click the Save button. And that goes ahead and unmasks the smart object version of the kite, so that the one and only mask that's at work is the layer mask here inside the overall composition.

And that's how we introduce the mask version of the bird into a new sky environment.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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

128 video lessons · 28924 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  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

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.