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Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques
Illustration by John Hersey

How to make a path


From:

Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques

with Deke McClelland

Video: How to make a path

In this exercise, I am going to show you how to make a path inside of Photoshop and let me make sure the distinction is clear. So you know what to expect from this exercise. I am not talking about drawing a path. We are not going to see how to draw with the Pen tool quite yet instead, I want to show you how to make a path in the Paths palette. How to create an entry in the Paths palette, because by default the Pen tool and the other Shape tools are set up to draw a Shape layers which is all very well and good. But it's not what you want if you are trying to select or mask an image using the Pen tool.
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  1. 2h 13m
    1. The Odyssey Continues
      2m 39s
    2. Mapping one image onto another
      7m 12s
    3. Making a custom contrast mode
      7m 10s
    4. Luminance blending
      8m 40s
    5. Forcing the visibility of underlying layers
      4m 4s
    6. Adjusting the appearance of clipped layers
      4m 34s
    7. Selecting a Blend If channel
      6m 12s
    8. Enhancing highlights by hiding them
      5m 9s
    9. Smart Object first, layer mask second
      7m 22s
    10. The Fill Opacity Eight
      4m 30s
    11. Blending Smart Filters
      7m 24s
    12. Cleaning up edges
      7m 39s
    13. More fun with luminance blending
      6m 22s
    14. A first peek at the Calculations command
      12m 11s
    15. Masking a softly focused model
      11m 46s
    16. Moving layers and masks between images
      7m 35s
    17. Matching colors
      9m 13s
    18. Building transitional blended layers
      6m 33s
    19. Restoring normal colors
      6m 50s
  2. 2h 33m
    1. Layer masks, clipping masks, and knockouts
      1m 20s
    2. Rotating and stretching
      7m 54s
    3. A jet of motion blur
      9m 18s
    4. Keyboard tricks
      5m 4s
    5. Merging sky and landscape
      6m 3s
    6. Masking an adjustment layer
      6m 37s
    7. Creating two windows into an image
      7m 42s
    8. Whitening teeth and adding other highlights
      3m 46s
    9. Mapping a texture onto an image
      4m 1s
    10. Isolating a texture with a layer mask
      6m 44s
    11. Welcome to the glass composition
      3m 18s
    12. Balancing shadows and highlights
      5m 51s
    13. Masking the glass
      7m 24s
    14. Masking the text
      9m 23s
    15. Adding and blending the goldfish
      8m 45s
    16. Assembling the perfect group photo
      5m 12s
    17. Aligning photographs automatically
      5m 26s
    18. Masking in each person's best shot
      5m 18s
    19. Masking densely packed people
      6m 17s
    20. Crafting the perfect final poster
      5m 16s
    21. From the improbable to the impossible
      1m 56s
    22. The fantastical "world of clones" effect
      10m 0s
    23. Upsampling and blurring a background
      8m 39s
    24. Adding a knockout mask
      8m 3s
    25. Choking edges with Gaussian Blur and Levels
      3m 46s
  3. 2h 27m
    1. The corrective power of masking
      1m 6s
    2. The amazing luminance mask
      7m 22s
    3. Brightening and neutralizing the eyes
      8m 22s
    4. Adjusting a nondestructive composition
      5m 52s
    5. Creating a corrective mask
      6m 4s
    6. Averaging away irregular flesh tones
      3m 52s
    7. Modifying specific colors
      7m 46s
    8. Initiating the color mask
      6m 0s
    9. Refining the color mask
      6m 40s
    10. Adjusting the edges around fabric
      7m 56s
    11. Perfecting hair
      9m 35s
    12. Sharpening with a High Pass layer
      10m 12s
    13. The also-amazing density mask
      4m 48s
    14. Adjusting the knockout depth
      8m 48s
    15. Fashioning a depth map
      6m 12s
    16. Invoking a depth mask from Lens Blur
      6m 38s
    17. The perfect depth-of-field effect
      6m 25s
    18. Sharpening an archival photograph
      7m 7s
    19. Creating an edge mask
      8m 29s
    20. Making a High Pass sandwich
      7m 46s
    21. Applying the edge mask
      6m 2s
    22. Customizing your sharpening effect
      4m 6s
  4. 2h 3m
    1. Channel Mixer, I am your father!
      1m 39s
    2. Three ways to gray
      7m 49s
    3. Meet the Channel Mixer
      8m 26s
    4. Mixing a custom black-and-white image
      7m 10s
    5. Creating a professional-level sepia tone
      5m 36s
    6. Employing the Black & White command
      8m 1s
    7. Extreme channel mixing
      4m 50s
    8. The infrared photography effect
      6m 43s
    9. Taking shadows to the brink of black
      3m 56s
    10. Elevating highlights, leeching saturation
      5m 58s
    11. Deepening a black-and-white sky
      5m 49s
    12. Infusing luminance levels with color
      5m 44s
    13. Creating an opposing colorization scheme
      4m 58s
    14. Bolstering contrast with the Green channel
      5m 37s
    15. A tiny improvement to a terrific technique
      7m 39s
    16. The simple (but wrong) approach to red-eye correction
      6m 39s
    17. Channel-mixing red pupils
      9m 18s
    18. The expert approach to red-eye correction
      5m 20s
    19. Fixing problem coronas (pupil edges)
      8m 9s
    20. Making pupils match
      4m 8s
  5. 2h 33m
    1. Chops are dead; long live maskops
      1m 37s
    2. The Calculations command
      8m 16s
    3. Blue Screen blending
      7m 40s
    4. Refining the Blue Screen mask
      5m 53s
    5. Brushing away color fringing
      7m 24s
    6. Locking the transparency of a layer
      6m 22s
    7. Nondestructive layer painting
      7m 36s
    8. How the Add blend mode works
      8m 40s
    9. How the Subtract blend mode works
      6m 43s
    10. Focus, noise, and other masking challenges
      5m 33s
    11. The Add mode in action
      7m 51s
    12. The Subtract mode in action
      8m 25s
    13. Comparing two channels with Difference
      5m 24s
    14. Enhancing the contrast with Curves
      9m 11s
    15. Gathering details with Apply Image
      9m 43s
    16. Dodge highlights, burn shadows
      6m 6s
    17. Dodge and Burn in action
      8m 24s
    18. Painting in the scalp
      10m 1s
    19. Painting away the face and chin
      4m 53s
    20. Compositing complementary images
      4m 13s
    21. Multiply, Minimum, Blur, and Apply Image
      6m 40s
    22. Crafting the final composition
      7m 7s
  6. 1h 57m
    1. Mark of the Pen tool
      1m 35s
    2. The big paths project overview
      6m 51s
    3. How to make a path
      8m 25s
    4. Corner points and freeform polygons
      8m 6s
    5. Editing paths with the arrow tools
      5m 2s
    6. Adding and deleting endpoints
      5m 15s
    7. Adding and deleting interior points
      6m 6s
    8. Converting a path to a selection
      3m 35s
    9. Converting a path to a mask
      6m 38s
    10. Smooth points and control handles
      8m 57s
    11. Making cusp points
      6m 0s
    12. Combining paths in a vector mask
      7m 55s
    13. Turning a path into a shape layer
      8m 57s
    14. Combining paths to make a layer mask
      7m 52s
    15. Mixing layer and vector masks
      10m 14s
    16. Editing character outlines as paths
      8m 39s
    17. Using the Convert Point tool
      7m 8s
  7. 3h 17m
    1. Where there's a will, there's a way
      1m 18s
    2. Masking natural cast shadows
      4m 10s
    3. Applying the cast show
      4m 2s
    4. Creating a difference mask
      3m 7s
    5. Applying an arbitrary map
      3m 50s
    6. Making the flesh mask
      7m 17s
    7. Roughing in an object mask
      6m 49s
    8. Drawing missing details with the Lasso tool
      4m 7s
    9. Combining flesh and object masks
      3m 53s
    10. Amplifying the cast shadow
      4m 10s
    11. Selectively choking edges
      3m 58s
    12. Power duplication in Photoshop
      7m 9s
    13. Masking blond hair
      5m 48s
    14. Using Levels to mask iterations
      3m 14s
    15. Drawing an iteration boundary
      4m 55s
    16. Merging the best of two Levels iterations
      4m 4s
    17. More fun with Dodge and Burn
      6m 14s
    18. Fixing edges with the Pen and Stamp tools
      7m 29s
    19. Pulling from another file with Apply Image
      4m 52s
    20. Blending clipped layers independently
      5m 43s
    21. Building the flame mask
      9m 22s
    22. Amplifying the flame
      3m 53s
    23. Masking an image against a busy background
      5m 15s
    24. The Freeform and Magnetic Pen tools
      6m 52s
    25. Masking with arbitrary maps
      9m 32s
    26. A more deliberate approach to arb maps
      10m 51s
    27. Combining arb maps with paths
      9m 28s
    28. Masking with the help of the History brush
      11m 38s
    29. Creating a High Pass mask
      7m 25s
    30. Coloring in the outlines
      8m 31s
    31. Mastering Calculations
      7m 29s
    32. Subtracting and merging the beak
      11m 6s
  8. 1h 33m
    1. The meaning of bit depth (and why you care)
      2m 50s
    2. Scanning line art in 8-bit and 16-bit
      5m 9s
    3. Measuring the 16-bit difference
      8m 9s
    4. Correcting 8-bit images in the 16-bit space
      9m 31s
    5. Opening a raw image directly in 16-bit
      6m 13s
    6. Editing in Camera Raw, opening in 16-bit
      8m 22s
    7. 16-Bit/channel vs. 32-bit/channel (HDR)
      8m 18s
    8. Working with auto-bracketed photographs
      5m 6s
    9. Using the Merge to HDR command
      6m 0s
    10. Adjusting the HDR preview
      6m 0s
    11. Building a 32-bit sky mask
      6m 29s
    12. Properly exposing land and sky
      4m 25s
    13. Modifying a layer mask in 32-bit
      4m 56s
    14. Converting to and correcting in 16-bit Lab
      12m 7s
  9. 2h 8m
    1. Photoshop flirts with the third dimension
      1m 13s
    2. The displacement map
      8m 24s
    3. Making custom waves
      7m 14s
    4. Creating a Gaussian distribution
      4m 32s
    5. Using a two-channel displacement map
      6m 28s
    6. Creating a rustic edge effect
      8m 21s
    7. Distorting and shading with a DMap
      6m 34s
    8. Moonlight reflecting off water
      8m 48s
    9. Mapping the reflection onto the water
      7m 7s
    10. Dipping the moon into the water
      6m 18s
    11. Turning flesh into stone
      7m 55s
    12. Wrapping the stone around the face
      7m 27s
    13. Softening a displacement map
      8m 5s
    14. Making a repeating watermark pattern
      9m 22s
    15. 3D embossing with Lighting Effects
      10m 48s
    16. The amazing credit card type effect
      6m 56s
    17. Lightening the credit card letters
      6m 16s
    18. Wrapping the background around the text
      6m 27s
  10. 1m 43s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 43s

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Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques
20h 48m Advanced Nov 21, 2007

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

The elusive alpha channel remains one of the most misunderstood yet powerful tools in Photoshop. Alpha channels are collections of luminance data that control the transparency of an image, and they inform just about every aspect of Photoshop. As he builds transitional blended layers, fashions a depth map, makes edge adjustments, and takes on extreme channel mixing, Omni Award-winning expert Deke McClelland teaches Photoshop users that where there's a will, there's a way. Photoshop CS3 Channels and Masks: Advanced Techniques covers mapping texture on an image, turning flesh into stone, using vector masks, working with all different channels, creating a rustic edge effect, and much more. Exercise files accompany the tutorials.

Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts for Channels and Masks from the Exercise Files tab."

Topics include:
  • Distorting and shading with a DMap
  • Understanding bits and channels
  • Creating paths with the Pen tool
  • Using blend modes and the Dodge and Burn feature
  • Understanding channel mixing
  • Using layer masks, clipping masks, and knockouts
  • Applying Smart Filters
Subjects:
Design Photography Masking + Compositing
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Deke McClelland

How to make a path

In this exercise, I am going to show you how to make a path inside of Photoshop and let me make sure the distinction is clear. So you know what to expect from this exercise. I am not talking about drawing a path. We are not going to see how to draw with the Pen tool quite yet instead, I want to show you how to make a path in the Paths palette. How to create an entry in the Paths palette, because by default the Pen tool and the other Shape tools are set up to draw a Shape layers which is all very well and good. But it's not what you want if you are trying to select or mask an image using the Pen tool.

You want a path instead. So let me show you what that's about. I am working inside of an image called Photographs & Paths.psd that's found inside the 15 Paths folder and you can see that these are the core images, the base images here inside the Layers palette. We've got the Baracuda layer which is the image from photographer Tammy Peluso and then we've got the Profile here. If I were to turn it on of that lovely woman from Alexandra Alexis. And then we have the text layers as well that you can check out if you want to. Now you are going to have to have the right fonts installed otherwise you're going to get a font warning. These are fonts that ship along with the full Creative Suite 3. They don't ship with Photoshop by itself. But I had to use some fonts so that's what I decided to go with. And the fonts in question are Nueva Standard and Adobe Garamond.

So just so you know if you don't have those fonts if you get a font warning, you are going to have to make do with some other fonts on your system and you can play around with those if you like. Anyway, I am going to turn off all but the Baracuda layer for now. And I am going to move over to the Paths palette that's in the same neighborhood as the Layers and the Channels palette right next door because it is another way of creating items. Basically these are your items palette and they all kind of have some common elements like a Trash can. And you can convert them all to selection outlines by Ctrl or Command+Clicking on them. So you'll see, but anyway there is a Paths palette. You can also get to it by going up to the Window menu and choosing the Paths command.

And I've created a total of four paths for you in advance that we'll be using throughout this chapter. I am going to encourage you to actually draw many of these paths. But they are there just in case you reach a certain level of frustration and you want to be able to call on them and get sense of how they are crafted and so on. And this is the way to go. If you are going to select a mask an image using the Pen tool or one of the other Shape tools, you do want to create paths you are inside the Paths palette. So let me show you what's going on there. I am going to go ahead and bypass the Pen tool for now because it's the same thing where this exercise is concerned. It works the same way, but obviously it's a tougher tool to master. So we're going to come to it in the exercise, I'll start showing you how it works.

But let's bypass it for now and go to the Shape tools. Just because they are easier to work with and you know how to work with them already essentially. Especially, if you just select the Rectangle tool right here and notice that the Shape tool brings up a fly-out menu. So if you click-and-hold on the tool icon you'll see this fly-out menu. Go ahead and choose the Rectangle tool and I want to turn your attention to these guys right here. Notice these three icons up here in the Options bar. By default, you can see that this button that says Shape layers is selected. But you can also have this guy selected which is Paths. Or you could have this guy selected which is Fill pixels. Let me show you the difference. I am going to go ahead and go over to the Layers palette for a moment here. And I am going to draw a rectangle. Just by default, this is the way things work. As soon you get done drawing that rectangle, it goes ahead and appears as an independent Shape layers, you can see right there.

Now it's not necessarily going to come in as 70% Opaque as mine did. It'll probably come in as a 100% Opaque like this. It also probably be filled with black like this. So I'll go ahead and switch things around so it's filled properly. So that would be your Shape layer. It's an independent layer. It happens to be a dynamic fill layer which is one of these guys that you can create by choosing this command right here. Solid color from that black/white icon. That's how you make a dynamic fill layer normally. And it has what's called a vector mask around it in the shape of a rectangle. Now we'll come back to that how vector masks work and so on in later exercises. But just so you have an idea right now that's what's happening by default. Now that's not really any good when you're trying to select an image.

And the reason is because you are obscuring the stuff that you are trying to select as you're drawing inside of the program here. So that makes it a pretty bad way to go. So what I recommend you do instead, there's two ways to create a path instead of creating Shape layer like this. Go ahead and Undo, actually I'll just back step here in order to get rid of that Shape layer that I created. And I am going to go back to the Baracuda Layer to make it active. And I am going to switch over to this guy right here which is Paths notice that. So click on it and now when I draw with a Rectangle tool, notice that I get this rectangular outline but I don't get any new Shape layer this time which is great. And I am not obscuring anything in the background, so I can accurately trace it. Albeit not with the Rectangle tool. I wouldn't really use a Rectangle tool to trace a bunch of fish but you get the idea.

Now I am going to move over to Paths palette. Where does this thing live? It lives inside the Paths palette now and you can see that it appears as Work Path, you would go ahead and rename it in order to make sure that it doesn't go away because watch this, it'll go away really easily if you don't rename it. Right now, if I click off of it down here in the bottom region of the Paths palette. And if you are not seeing a bottom region then you can do this as well. You can just Shift+Click on the item in order to deactivate it and make it go away. Notice it is italicized, so that's Photoshop's way of showing you it's just a temporary item. That it's keeping track up for you. However it's not going to keep track of it anymore if you draw a new path. Watch this, as soon as I draw this new path here and I'll move it down to a different location. I am doing that using the Spacebar you recall that works with the Rectangular Marquee tool as well.

And as soon as I release, notice the old Work Path goes away and we get this new Work Path. So I just lost my previous work. If you don't want to lose your previous work, Undo Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the mac in order to get your original Work Path back and then go ahead and double-click on it in order to name it. So this is both naming it and saving it. Notice that it comes up with this dialog box saying that it's going to save the path for you and you can call it whatever you want them. I'm Just going to call this one Rectangle and click OK. Now this is a saved path. If I click off it to deactivate it and I start drawing something new that becomes a new Work Path. So you can only have one Work Path at a time is the idea. All right, so that's one way to draw a path.

Another way to ensure that you are drawing a path no matter what and this is actually the way I recommend. I am going to switch back over here. Oh by the way, I should show you really quick. There's also this Fill pixels option which you will probably, well hopefully you're never going to use it, it's not very useful. What it does is it actually adds pixels to the active layer. So could go over here select it and I make sure my Opacity set to a 100% I have got. Black is my foreground color, fine and I'll go ahead and notice I just draw a rectangle filled with black pixels. This is the way the Rectangle tool works in other image editors, other lesser image editors that aren't as powerful as Photoshop. Let's go aback to Layers palette. You can see it didn't add a new layer, it just went ahead and polluted my old Layer. That's why I don't like that option. All right, I'll Undo that modification. So I really don't recommend you go with this item I recommend you stick with Shape layers actually.

Because sometimes you are going to want to draw Shape layers inside Photoshop and if you want to draw a path this is the better habit to get into. Go to the Paths palette and say upfront, you know what Joe being the Paths palette, I want to create a new path. So you click on this little new Path icon down here at the bottom of the palette and that creates a new path and notice that it's just named Path 1 but it's not italicized so it's not temporary. So it's not going to get erased accidentally at some point in time. And even better way to work, I'll go ahead and Undo that is to Alt+Click or Option+Click on the little Page icon to bring up the new Path dialog box and say New rectangle or whatever you want to call it. That way you're naming it as you create it. Click OK and now armed with a Shape tool or the Pen tool if you draw notice that Photoshop has gone ahead and switched over to the Path icon up here in the Options bar for you.

Now you are ready to draw inside of this new path that you created and you can add more paths to it if you want to and just have a ball basically drawing path outlines. And then you can use those path outlines to selections and masks as we'll see in future exercises. All right, so just a base boring info that you got to know before we start in using the Pen tool and that's what we're going to do start using the Pen tool in the very next exercise.

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