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Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals
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How a mask works


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Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals

with Deke McClelland

Video: How a mask works

In this exercise I am going to give you a sense of how masking works inside of Photoshop. Now I am working inside a file called Stencil demo.psd but I don't recommend you open this file. Because I won't be providing you with a kind of hands-on instructions you'll need to follow along. Rather, think of this as a conceptual demonstration of how masking works. Now let's imagine for a moment that I wanted to use a real-world air brush to paint some text onto this photograph. Then I'd go ahead and lay down a stencil or if you prefer a frisket and then paint onto that stencil in order to ensure that I paint inside the lines.
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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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Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals
11h 35m Intermediate Nov 04, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals is the introductory installment of Deke McClelland's four-part series on making photorealistic compositions in Photoshop. The course shows how to make selections, refine the selections with masks, and then combine them in new ways, using layer effects, blend modes, and other techniques to create a single seamless piece of artwork. Deke introduces the Channels panel and the alpha channel, the key to masking and transparency in Photoshop; reviews the selection tools, including the Color Range tool , Quick Mask mode, and the Refine Edge command; and shows how to blend masked images so they interact naturally.

Topics include:
  • Setting up a workspace
  • Working with the seven key selection tools
  • Using the Color Range command
  • Automating masking
  • Matching a scene with Smart Filters
  • Choosing the ideal base channel
  • Converting a channel to a mask
  • Painting with the Overlay and Soft Light modes
  • Using History to regain a lost mask
  • Working with the Calculations command
  • Extracting a mask from a Smart Object
  • Masking and compositing light
  • Masking with black and white
  • Working with path outlines
  • Combining pixel and vector masks
  • Creating and feathering a vector mask
Subjects:
Design Masking + Compositing
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Deke McClelland

How a mask works

In this exercise I am going to give you a sense of how masking works inside of Photoshop. Now I am working inside a file called Stencil demo.psd but I don't recommend you open this file. Because I won't be providing you with a kind of hands-on instructions you'll need to follow along. Rather, think of this as a conceptual demonstration of how masking works. Now let's imagine for a moment that I wanted to use a real-world air brush to paint some text onto this photograph. Then I'd go ahead and lay down a stencil or if you prefer a frisket and then paint onto that stencil in order to ensure that I paint inside the lines.

So having set down my stencil, I'm going to go ahead and switch to the Brush tool here in the toolbox and I want to paint with yellow. So I'll go over to the Color panel and notice that I'm seeing my HSB sliders, those stands for Hue, Saturation and Brightness, which is my preferred way of dialing in colors. If you want to work with the sliders as well, then click the flyout menu icon and choose HSB sliders. For that yellow, I am going to dial in a Hue value of 50 degrees, a Saturation value of 50% and a Brightness value of 100%.

And now I'll go ahead and right-click inside the image window, increase the Size value to 300 pixels, leave the Hardness set to 0% and then press the Enter key or the Return key in order to hide that panel. And now I am going to press the 5 key in order to reduce the Opacity of my brush to 50%, and then I'll turn on this icon that says Enable airbrush mode. That allows me to lay down paint even while I hold my cursor still. All right, I am going to drag down the left side of this text, and then I'll drag up the right side, I am pressing the Shift key as I do it, by the way,.

Then I'll reduce the size of my cursor a little bit by pressing the left bracket key and I'll paint slowly over my text, so I can invoke that airbrush behavior. And I am just going to paint three lines I think, something along those lines, in order to just lay down a few highlights here and there, may be a little bit more down at the bottom of the Z. All right, now I'll press the X key in order to swap my foreground background colors so that the foreground color is white. Reduce the size of my cursor further and just paint some highlights across those previous highlights, like so.

Now at this point of course, I've gotten paint all over the stencil, but the purpose of the stencil after all is not to protect itself, but rather to protect the underlying artwork. So let's go ahead and turn that stencil off and reveal the text that's painted exactly inside those lines. All right, that's pretty much how masking works inside Photoshop with a few exceptions. First of all, it's way more precise. So you never have a problem with paint leaking around the stencil. Also, you can create stencils with an alarming degree of accuracy; it's just amazing what you can do with masking inside Photoshop.

And then finally, you can create all sorts of masks, they don't have to look like text; they can serve entirely different functions. So let's rerun that scenario using a mask. I am going to go ahead and Shift+Click on that Depth layer there, so they are both selected and press the Backspace key or the Delete key on a Mac in order to get rid of them. And I am going to create a new layer by pressing Ctrl+Shift+N or Command+Shift+N on the Mac, and then I'll call this new layer painted text, and click OK. Next I'll switch over to the Channels panel, and notice I've got a couple of alpha channels ready and waiting, one of which is called stencil.

Now when you're working with the stencil, the stencil protects the artwork, and the holes in the stencil allow you to paint inside the artwork. Where a mask is concerned, the black region protects and the white areas select. You might also hear people say that black conceals and white reveals. In any case, you'll be painting inside the white area. But first I need to load the mask as a selection outline. Now I'll explain how that step works in detail in an upcoming exercise, but for now, just know we've got to make the mask a selection in order to put it in play.

Now I'll go ahead and switch back to the RGB image, and I am going to increase the size of my cursor once again, this time by pressing the right bracket key. I'll press the X key in order to swap the foreground and background colors, and then I'll go ahead and paint up the left side of that text, and I'll paint down the right side of that text very much as I did before. And I'll reduce the size my cursor by pressing left bracket key. Go ahead and paint sort of slowly over these letters like so, in order to add highlights. Now note that one of the other great things about working with a mask instead of a stencil, is I can see what the heck I'm doing.

I don't have to wait until I peel the stencil away to get a sense of what I've done. However, these selection outlines are still interfering with my view of the artwork. So I can hide them without deselecting the image by pressing Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac. And now I'll go ahead and paint over my artwork again. And this way I can really get a sense of what's going on there and what additional highlights I need to add. Now I'll press the X key to switch my foreground color to white. I'll go ahead and reduce the size of my cursor a little more, and then I'll go ahead and paint in some white highlights, like so.

All right, so that gives you a sense of how masking works. The thing is you're not going to be painting inside of text very often inside of Photoshop. So what's another kind of modification we can make? Well, notice that her eyes are pretty dark here and her lips are a little bit light. So imagine that we want to lighten the eyes and darken the lips. Well, we could just whip out the Dodge and Burn tools if we wanted to, however; we are going to have a lot more control if we work inside of a mask. Notice, I've got this Alpha channel called Details at the bottom of the list.

I am going to go ahead and load it as a selection, just as I did before, switch to the RGB image once again, switch to the Layers panel as well, and create a new layer called details, and then click OK. Now I'll press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac to hide those selection outlines. I'll turnoff that airbrush icon, because I don't need it anymore, and I'll press the 0 key to increase the Opacity to 100%. And now I am going to reduce the size of my cursor just a little bit and paint across the top of the eyes like so, notice that.

Now you might look at that edit and say, wow, that's really terrible. Well, that's because the blend mode is currently set to Normal. I'll switch the Blend mode from Normal to Overlay, and I end up getting this brightening effect. So here is what the image looks like without that layer, here is how it looks with that layer. All right, now let's try our hands at darkening those lips. I'll press the D key in order to switch the foreground color to black, and I'll press the 3 key to reduce the Opacity to 30%. Then I'll go ahead and increase the size of my cursor a little bit and paint across the top of the lips and then across the bottom of the lips as well.

If you want some more deepening and some more saturation, then you can apply a couple of more brushstrokes. All right, let's get a sense of what we've done, I'll Alt+Click the eyeball in front of the background layer, that's the appearance of the original image and this is the appearance of the modified image. Thanks to our ability to precisely mask and paint inside details, here inside Photoshop.

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