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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.
In this exercise we're going to reinstate that brushstroke highlight inside the nameplate and we are also going to reinstate the shadow behind the boot but we are going to do so using independent layers. I've saved my progress as Glow with layer mask.psd. We're going to start things off by pressing Ctrl+Shift+N or Command+Shift+N on the Mac to create a new layer. I'll call this new layer brushstroke, and then I'll turn on this check box. It says Use Previous layer to Create Clipping Mask. That'll ensure that our brushstroke is clipped inside of the nameplate just as if we were painting on the nameplate layer with a transparency lock down.
Now there are kinds of used for clipping masks, all sorts of ways to create them as well. We'll see those uses in ways in future chapters but for now just go ahead and turn on the check box and click OK. Notice that creates a layer that's inset with this little arrow that indicates that our new layer will be clipped inside the layer below it. All right! Now let's switch to the Brush tool which you can get by either clicking on it or pressing the B key. I'm going to right-click inside the Image window to confirm that the Size is 300 pixels and the Harnesses is 0% just as before.
You'll notice that the mode up here in the Options bar is set to Linear Dodge (Add). Well, as I was telling you, the Brush mode only affects the interaction between a brushstroke and the contents of the active layer. Our new layer is altogether transparent so the blend mode isn't going to do us any good, might as well reinstated to Normal although I should say you don't have to, but you might as well. And you can do that by either selecting Normal from this mode pop-up menu up here in the Options bar, or you can just press the keyboard shortcut Shift+Alt+N or Shift+Option+N on the Mac and we'll be discussing those shortcuts in more detail when we look at blend modes in a future course. All right! I'm going to press Ctrl+0 or Command+ 0 on the Mac in order to zoom out and center the image, and then I'll zoom in a little bit and scroll down just so I have a little better view of what I'm doing.
Let's go ahead and dial in that brushstroke color here inside the Color panel. So I'll dial in a Hue value of 25 degrees and Saturation and Brightness values of 100% each and then let's go ahead and create that brushstroke by clicking up into the right of the nameplate like so out here in the gray pasteboard, and then I'll Shift+click down into the left of the nameplate in order to connect those two click points with a straight brushstroke. All right! Now we need to reinstate that Linear Dodge blend mode, but because we are trying to create a layers interaction, we'll do so from the Layers panel.
So click on the word Normal in the upper left-hand corner of the panel and choose Linear Dodge (Add) and that gives us the same interaction that we had before. All right! Now let's create that shadow but we'll do so using a more precise method than brushing. Let me show you what that looks like. I'll press the M key to switch back to the Rectangular Marquee tool. Then I'll switch over to the Channels panel, scroll down the list and Ctrl+click or Command+click on that boot channel in order to convert the mask to a selection. Now switch back to the Layers panel and press Ctrl+Shift+N or Command+Shift+N on the Mac to create a new layer.
Let's call it shadow and we will once again turn on the check box, Use Previous layer to Create Clipping Mask so we cast the shadow exclusively inside the nameplate. I'll go ahead and click OK and notice that the shadow layer is also inset, has a down pointing arrowhead, but it's not clipped inside the brushstroke. It's clipped inside the first layer down that is not inset. So in other words, it will also be clipped inside this newplate later. All right! I'm going to zoom-in even further here all the way to 100% and now let's convert this selection into a shadow by expanding and feathering it.
So I'll go up to the Select menu, choose Modify and then choose Expand and I'm going to dial-in an Expand By value of 10 pixels and that'll scoot the edges outward 10 pixels all the way around the perimeter of the existing selection. Click OK to make it so. All right! Now go back to the Select menu, choose Modify once again and choose the Feather command and I'll go ahead and match the Feather Radius value to the Expand By value by setting it to 10 pixels and clicking OK. All right! Now we want this shadow to darken everything behind it.
So before we even fill the selection, let's go ahead and change the blend mode from Normal to the preeminent darkening mode inside Photoshop which is Multiply. In that way, no matter how we color the shadow, it will darken the background. Now let's dial in that shadow value which happens to have a Hue value of 30 degrees, a Saturation value of 65 % and a Brightness value of 15%. Now that we've made the foreground color dark brown, press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete on the Mac in order to fill the selection with that color. All right! Now you can press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac in order to deselect the image and let's go ahead and nudge that shadow to the left and down a little bit.
So press and hold the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac which temporarily gets you the Move tool and then press the left arrow key 5 or 6 times in a row and press the down arrow key a few times as well till you get the shadow located more or less here. That's really a subjective determination, it's up to you. However, this is not subjective. Even though the shadow is darkening the nameplate, it is failing to darken that Inner Glow. After all this work, we are still plagued by the Inner Glow not behaving properly. Well, fortunately it doesn't take all that much work to solve this problem.
In fact, I'll show you how to get exactly the effect we are looking for in the next and final exercise.
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