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

Generating a layer mask with Color Range

From: Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals

Video: Generating a layer mask with Color Range

In this exercise, I'll show you how to use the Color Range command to directly generate a layer mask inside Photoshop. I'm still working inside Vibrant skintones.psd found inside the 09_layer_masks folder. And let's say at this point, I want to go ahead and brighten the midtones inside the image, and I'm going to do so by combining an Adjustment layer along with the Blend mode. So I'll bring up the Adjustment panel, in this case by double-clicking on the Vibrance thumbnail there inside the Layers panel and that will take me to the Vibrance options as you can see. If I want to return to the Adjustments list, then I can click on this left-pointing arrowhead in the lower left corner of the panel.

Generating a layer mask with Color Range

In this exercise, I'll show you how to use the Color Range command to directly generate a layer mask inside Photoshop. I'm still working inside Vibrant skintones.psd found inside the 09_layer_masks folder. And let's say at this point, I want to go ahead and brighten the midtones inside the image, and I'm going to do so by combining an Adjustment layer along with the Blend mode. So I'll bring up the Adjustment panel, in this case by double-clicking on the Vibrance thumbnail there inside the Layers panel and that will take me to the Vibrance options as you can see. If I want to return to the Adjustments list, then I can click on this left-pointing arrowhead in the lower left corner of the panel.

Now let's say at this point, I decide you know I would prefer when I create an Adjustment layer to go ahead and add a layer mask along with, then I'd go up to the Adjustment panel's flyout menu icon there, click on it and then choose this command, Add Mask by Default, and that way from now on I'll get a blank layer mask associated with each one of my Adjustment layers. Now I was telling you way, way back in this set up videos, that's not the way I prefer to work. I actually find that it interferes with my ability to get things done, but regardless of my opinion I want to go ahead and show you a different way to work, so you can decide for yourself.

Now I'm going to Alt+Click or Option+ Click in that first icon in the first row which represents Brightness/Contrast and because I Alt+clicked or Option+Clicked that brings up the New layer dialog box. I'm going to go ahead and call this layer, midtones and then click OK, and notice I've created a new Brightness Contrast layer with a blank Adjustment layer as you can see. All right, eventually I'm going to go ahead and fill up that layer mask, but before I do, I'm going to switch the Blend mode from Normal to Screen and when you apply a blend mode to a blank Adjustment layer, in other words, I haven't changed any of the settings associated with this Adjustment layer yet.

When you apply a Blend mode, then you essentially, in this case, screen the image with itself. So you use the original appearance of the image in order to brighten itself as we've done here. That means I need to compensate of course, otherwise I'm going to have crazy blown highlights. So I'm going to reduce the Brightness value almost as low as it goes down to -125, and then I'm going to crank the Contrast value to its very maximum, which is 100. Make sure the Use Legacy check box is turned off, by the way,.

Now just to give you a sense of what this would normally do to the image, I'll switch the Blend mode back to Normal and notice how very dark the image looks at this point. So in other words, when we apply Screen we're taking the version of the image that you see now and we are screening in into that original. So screening in even such dark colors ends up brightening the midtones fairly considerably. So if I turn the layer off this is what the image looked like before, notice I goes ahead and gives those skintones a little bit of kick.

The problem is it's really kicking the heck out of the highlights, so we are over brightening the highlights in his shirt and in his forehead of course, so we need to add a layer mask and we'll be doing so using the Color Range command. And so you could go up to Select menu and choose Color Range if you like, and then you'll deposit whatever modifications you make inside the Color Range dialog box, directly into that layer mask. But I want to show you different way to work. I'm going to go to the View menu and choose the Masks command and if you've loaded my DekeKeys you'll see that I've given you keyboard shortcuts for the Adjustments panel which is at F10 and for the Masks panel which is Alt+F10 or Option+F10, and note, because the layer Mask is active, all the options are available to me here inside the Masks panel.

Now if I were to click on the Adjustment layer icon instead then those options would become dimmed, and I'd rather have to click on the layer Mask thumbnail to wake up those options, or I could press Ctrl+Backslash or Command+Backslash on the Mac to select the layer Mask from the keyboard, or I'll show you one more way. I'll go ahead and click on that Adjustment layer thumbnail again. You can also click on these little icons next to the words, No mask selected. So notice that this first icon says Select the pixel mask that is the layer mask, by the way, and it does not have a Plus sign next to it, because the layer mask already exists.

Its next-door neighbor says, Vector mask and it's indicated by that little pen, it also has a Plus sign next to it indicating that if you click on that icon you'll actually add a vector mask and we'll see more about vector mask in upcoming exercises, but for now, I'm just going to go ahead and click on that first icon and that selects the layer Mask and goes ahead and wakes up the options. Now I'm going to click on the Color Range button that produces exactly the same effect incidentally as choosing the Color Range command from the Select menu. Now things are going to look awfully wonky at first, especially if you set your Selection Preview to Grayscale.

So go ahead and switch it to None if you want to see the full-color version of the image. Also turn off the Invert check box, so we're not inverting the mask, and then go ahead and click on the woman's forehead, right there in the middle of her forehead like so, and I want you to see something. Notice that not only are we seeing a preview of the mask as we're building it here inside the Color Range dialog box but we're also seeing a preview as we're building the mask here inside the Layers panel and the mask is being automatically applied to the image on the fly. So it's a pretty interesting way to work.

I'm going to go ahead and increase that Fuzziness value to 100 and not only is the preview inside the Color Range dialog box affected, but so is the preview inside the thumbnail, inside the Layers panel and we're seeing a full-color preview of the effects of the layer Mask your inside the Image Window. All right, once your settings match mine, go ahead and click OK and that friends, is how you use the Color Range command to directly generate a layer Mask here inside Photoshop.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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

128 video lessons · 29331 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
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

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.