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Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals
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Introducing the Calculations command


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Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals

with Deke McClelland

Video: Introducing the Calculations command

Here we are looking at the final version of the composition. The remaining steps are to add the synthetic rays of sunlight that are coming out of this upper right cloud. We're also going to add the bird, and that will give me a chance to introduce you to the Calculations command, which allows you to use compositing in order to assemble a base mask. I also want you to open Red kite.psd. Notice we've got some text here that tells you all about the animal, but because we're always working from the composite image when we're creating masks, I need you to turn that text layer off there inside the Layers panel.
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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

Introducing the Calculations command

Here we are looking at the final version of the composition. The remaining steps are to add the synthetic rays of sunlight that are coming out of this upper right cloud. We're also going to add the bird, and that will give me a chance to introduce you to the Calculations command, which allows you to use compositing in order to assemble a base mask. I also want you to open Red kite.psd. Notice we've got some text here that tells you all about the animal, but because we're always working from the composite image when we're creating masks, I need you to turn that text layer off there inside the Layers panel.

Then switch over to the Channels panel, and let's take a look at the channels that we have to work with. If I click in the Red Channel, then we have some dark areas inside the bird, as well as some light regions as well. This bird is another warm-blooded animal, so it's going to resonate most brightly inside the Red channel. Then we have the Green channel, which of course is our detail channel; the one that's closest to the grayscale composite. And finally, we've got the Blue channel, which is ultra bright where the background is concerned. After all, this is a bright blue sky, and the bird is darkest in this channel as well.

So if we were to try to work from one channel, and one channel only, this would be the channel that we would duplicate, and then we'd exaggerate its contrast, and so forth. But notice that we don't really have that much definition around the bird's head. So when you run into situations like this, the best thing to do is composite two channels together in order to create a base mask. You want to blend the channels that have the highest degree of contrast between each other, and in that case, that's going to be this Blue channel, with a very bright sky and the dark bird, and the Red channel, which has the best definition around the head.

Notice we have a very bright head against a somewhat dark sky. So here's how it works. Go ahead and switch to the RGB composite there in the Channels panel, and then I want you to go up to the Image menu, and choose the Calculations command, and that brings up this fairly intricate dialog box. It's a little difficult to understand the first time you see it, but the idea is this: you're taking Source 1, which is a channel, one of the color-bearing channels in our case, and you're mixing it along with Source 2, which is another one of the channels inside the image, and you're doing so subject to a Blend mode, and an Opacity value.

Now, where calculations are concerned, you very rarely change the opacity. You do most of your work by selecting the two channels that you want to mix, and then setting a Blend mode. Now, just about any time that you're masking a warm-blooded creature against a blue background, whether it's a blue screen, or a blue sky, as in our case, you want to set the first channel to red, and you want to set the second channel to blue, and then you want to go ahead and turn on the Invert check box for that Blue channel. And this is a fairly wrote recipe where blue screen images, or blue sky images, is concerned.

Now, where these sorts of mixes are concerned -- and I don't expect you to completely understand the Calculations command in one movie; we're going to be visiting this command over and over again in future courses -- but Source 1 is essentially sitting on top of Source 2. So if you want to get a sense of what the Red Channel looks like by itself, you would set the Blend mode from Multiply, which is its default setting, to Normal, and now you see the Red channel. If you want to see the Blue channel inverted by itself, then you would take the Opacity value down to 0%.

So this gives you a sense of the two channels that we're trying to mix, and I am going to take that Opacity value back up to 100%. Now it's a matter of selecting the best Blend mode. In our case, it's going to be one of the brightening blend modes, that is Lighten, through Lighter Color. And most likely it's either going to be Screen, sometimes Color Dodge is useful, and then finally, Linear Dodge. Let's go ahead and check them out. I will start by selecting the Screen mode, and sure enough, we have a bright bird against a not all that much darker sky.

So we don't have a lot of contrast going on. If we want to make that bird even brighter, then we can up the Blend mode. So we'll start with Color Dodge. That looks pretty darn good, and then next we'll try Linear Dodge (Add). In the case of Linear Dodge, we do indeed white out the bird, so it's completely white at this point, which is great. However, the background is pretty darn bright as well. Now, if you want more control over the brightening process, then you switch your blending mode to Add, and I know I'm running through this pretty quickly, and the reason, once again, is that we are going to be coming back to this dialog box over and over again.

I am going to go ahead and set the mode to Add. We're not going to see any difference whatsoever, and that's because Linear Dodge (Add) is actually the same as the Add mode. That's why Add is in parentheses following Linear Dodge. The difference is that the Add mode provides you with a couple of additional values right here, one of which is the Offset value. What you can do is you can reduce the brightness of your overall composite channel here. Bear in mind that by adding a bunch of luminance levels to each other, your resulting luminance Levels go through the roof.

So these areas that appear white are actually much beyond white, where the math of the Blend mode is concerned. So they're going to remain white even if we start taking this Offset value down. So if I reduce the Offset value to -100, I am subtracting 100 luminance levels from each one of the pixels in the composite view of the image. That darkens the sky, but it also ends up darkening the bird considerably. I found that at -25, we ended up keeping the bird nice and bright, and we darken the background as best we can.

So these are the settings I'm going to recommend. So once again, you want Source 1 set to the channel Red, you want Source 2 set to the channel Blue, with the Invert check box turned on. You want your Blend mode set to Add, and you want to set the Offset value to -25. Now, the result will appear in a new channel. So of course, that's going to be an alpha channel, go ahead and click OK in order to accept that result. Now, let's go ahead and rename this alpha channel. Once again, I want to keep track of how I got to this channel in the first place.

So I am going to say R Minus B. The idea is, a positive R would not be inverted, where a negative B would be inverted. That's just a nomenclature that I use. Then I'll go ahead and enter Add, that's the Blend mode, and -25 for the Offset value, and we've now created our base alpha channel from which we will build the mask for this bird. So again, I realize we ran through that pretty quickly, but I just want you to have a sense for not only how you can use masking to create composites inside of Photoshop, but you can use compositing to create base alpha channels as well.

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