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Photoshop mastery can be elusive, but in Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery, best-selling author and video trainer Deke McClelland teaches the most powerful, unconventional, and flexible features of the program. In this third and final installment of the popular and comprehensive series, Deke delves into the strongest features that Photoshop has to offer, including scalable vector graphics, Smart Objects, and Photomerge. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, both part of the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
All right, we've seen how to select an articulated object such as a skeleton using the Color Range command that's one of your tools that's available to you when you're masking images inside of Photoshop. Before we're done with this chapter, I'm going to show you how to select hair and how to select glass. We're going to be selecting these images not using a command but rather by building a mask from scratch. We're going to building our own alpha channel here. And this is journeyman masking. This is the kind of stuff that once you start masking in Photoshop, you'll be doing on a routine basis. Masking is an enormous topic. I've already mentioned this before, but if you really want to immerse yourself in it and find out just virtually everything there is to know about masking, then you can check out Photoshop CS3 Channels and Masks series.
There is an Essentials portion of the series and there is an Advanced portion. So it comes in two parts, 18 chapters. I dare say that it is the most detailed examination of masking in video form at least. Anyway, we're going to just hit the Essentials right now. This is Russell Preston Brown.tif and we're going to select him and isolate him from his background. The reason is, if you know Russell, he is an industry expert, great guy, and very, very knowledgeable, always on the cutting edge. We decide to have him on our show. I have this audio-only podcast that I do with my web editor. It' called Martini Hour and I had created this logo right here. That's available on a variety of different colors; here's an emerald version, down here I have this coffee colored version. So I wanted to embellish the logo with Russell sort of peeking out over the back of it and covering up the microphone, of course, I didn't want that to show up.
So this is what I was going for right here. With Russell's head poking at the background, his hands sort of grabbing the logo element and then he's got some words that he's saying. What he was discussing was lenticular imagery, which is where you create a 3D effect that doesn't require glasses because the lens is actually built into the image itself. You've seen lenticular images. You may not have heard of this term before, but it's sort of children's art. Like the kind of stuff that you get in a box of cereal where you start to twist it back and forth and you watch the character on the card, for example, move. The lens is a reticulated layer of translucent plastic.
So I wanted this 3D version of logo and he's wearing 3D glasses, of course, which are completely unnecessary when creating lenticular imagery. But still, this is the effect I wanted. So that meant, of course, masking out Russell's head right there and masking some of the hair along with it. No sense in getting all this hair up here. I decide not to worry about that but I did want the hair along the sides and I did want it to look nice and natural and have a little bit of edge. Notice that I went ahead and left the edge in here because he's showing up against the white background.
So how in the world do you achieve such a thing? Well, that's what I'm going to be showing you here inside Photoshop. So what I've got open Russell Preston Brown.tif and I've also got this image called martniHour_GuestSpot.psd, which is the layered version of the image, just so you can get a sense of how it's put together. Notice that most of my layers are arranged in groups right here. Why don't we go ahead and zoom in, since this is a tiny graphic, of course, because it's for the web. And I just created a tiny. Sometimes I work really large and then reduce the size of my image but I didn't this time around. Notice the hideous JPEG artifacts around the words, TIME TO UNWIND, and that's because this had already gone through compression and now I'm building all these layered to this flat image that I had on me.
I'm going to go ahead and turn off logo elements because I want you to see what's really going on in the background because it's kind of shocking. We're seeing one hand holding the glasses, another hand holding the sign, but if I go ahead and turn off logo elements, it's much less impressive than that and then I just re-purpose this hand. I grab this hand right there and I rotated it and then built it into this form right here; made it holding this little bit of sign. You can check out how that's put together inside of this left fist grip because it is his left fist even though it is on the right side of the image. There is a few things going on. I had to take this last knuckle of the pinky and I need it to bend it at a different angle as you can see, so that was wrapping around and gripping the sign. It's pretty well done. I dare say. If I turn off some of these layers here, like this guy right there which is little bit of sign that's covering up the pinky and I'll also go ahead and turn off this layer mask for a second. By Shift -clicking on the layer mask, I'll go ahead and make my Layers palette wider so you can see it's the hand layer. You can see that I did a pretty darn good job of rebuilding this knuckle right there.
But I should tell you, it was a fair amount of duplication, a fair amount of cloning with the Clone Stamp tool and I also did some painting. I actually just painted in some details. I even went in with the Pencil tool and just clicked to create some colors at points. So we won't be twirling for that's just kind of tedious artist stuff. Let's go ahead and turn these guys back on so that we have a credible effect to work here. I'll go ahead and close that guy up. What I'm going to show you is how to go ahead and mask the larger Russell out of his background and bring it into this composition. So for now, let's go ahead and return to the Russell Preston Brown.tif image here and switch over to the Channels palette and notice that I do in addition to the RGB composite and the individual red, green, and blue channels here, I have this mask channel that I've created and it is sitting there right ready to go. That's what we're going to be building and we're going to begin to build this very mask starting in the next exercise.
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