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Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals is a concise and focused introduction to the key features in Photoshop, presented by long-time lynda.com author and Adobe veteran Deke McClelland. This course covers the image editing process from the very beginning and progresses through the concepts and techniques that every photographer or graphic designer should know. Deke explains digital imaging fundamentals, such as resolution vs. size and the effects of downsampling. He explains how to use layers to edit an image nondestructively and organize those edits in an easy-to-read way, and introduces techniques such as cropping, adjusting brightness and contrast, correcting and changing color, and retouching and healing images. These lessons distill the vast assortment of tools and options to a refined set of skills that will get you working inside Photoshop with confidence.
Another advantage to working with Adjustment layers is that you can isolate the adjustment to specific regions of an image using a layer mask. Now we're going to be exploring a few tools that I haven't showed you so far, but it's pretty straightforward stuff as you'll see. So I'm looking at both the corrected dark bug and the corrected light bug. And the corrected light bug's body is so much darker, what I'd like to do is select the formerly dark bug's body and mask that portion of the adjustment away. I'm going to use one of the simpler selection tools inside Photoshop, which is the Quick Selection tool.
If you're seeing the Magic Wand instead, then you can choose the Quick Selection tool from the flyout menu. And by default its brush size is set to 30. And I'm just going to brush down the animal's body, like so, taking care not to brush into the wings. Now that selects some of the shadow details inside the image but not all that much. So to select the others, I'll go out to the Select menu and choose the Similar command. And now I'll go ahead and expand the selected region to include an awful lot of the shadows.
Now in creating a layer mask, you want to select a portion of the image that you want to keep, not the area that you want to mask away. So I need to reverse this selection by going up to the Select menu and choosing the Inverse command. Now I'll convert the selection to a layer mask by making sure that my Brighten layer is selected here inside the Layers panel, then dropping down to this icon, right next toward to the adjustment icon. Notice it says Add layer mask when I hover over it. I'll just go ahead and click, and I've got myself a layer mask. Now the important thing is, by the way--I'll go ahead and undo that for a moment, if you're working along with me and you already have a layer mask associated with your Adjustment layer, here's what you need to do.
You need to bring up your Adjustments panel and click on the flyout menu icon and turn off Add Mask by Default. I'm going to go ahead and Escape out of that menu, hide the Adjustments panel. With the Adjustment layer selected, no layer mask in place, drop down to the add layer mask icon and click on it. Notice we get some pretty, darn, rough edges and that's because the Quick Selection tool, you know, it's pretty easy to use--delivers some rough results. So I'm going to soften that mask, make sure it's selected here inside the Layers panel and then go up to the Filter menu, choose Blur and choose Gaussian Blur, which is one of the best blur functions in the software.
And I'm going to crank that radius value up to 10 pixels and then click OK. We made the body way too dark, so I'm going to back off what's known as the density of the mask by double- clicking on the layer mask thumbnail. That brings up the Properties panel where I can see my mask options and I'm going to take the Density value down to 20% and that backs off of the mask and makes it brighter as you can see here inside the Layers panel. All right, I'm going to hide the Properties panel now. And just so you have a sense of what kind of difference we made here, you can turn on and off a layer mask by Shift+Clicking on it.
So I'll Shift+Click once in order to turn it off, you can see the body brightens up quite a bit. And then I'll press the Shift key and turn the mask back on and the body darkens. Now we'll be seeing lots more of the selection tools and layer masks in the future chapters, but for now, know that you can isolate the area affected by an Adjustment layer with a high degree of control by assigning a layer mask here inside Photoshop.
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