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After you've perfected your perspective drawing, the next step in the matte painting process is to layer in tone: the master tool in the matte artist's arsenal for establishing a fully formed structure. David Mattingly, a matte artist for many groundbreaking motion pictures, takes a black-and-white drawing and shows how to use the five elements of light—dark sides, light sides, cores, cast shadows, and final darks— to paint the surfaces and create a realistically shaded environment in Adobe Photoshop.
This course is part 3 in David's Digital Matte Painting Essentials series. Go back to part 2 to recreate the castle drawing he uses in this course, or if you simply want to learn more about form, you can use the example provided in the exercise files.
Here are all the mask holding layers, so now we need to organize them and learn how to load them for use. First, select all the mask holding layers, and then holding down the shift key, click on the group icon that looks like a little file folder. That puts everything that's selected into a new group, And let's call it Mask Holding layers, open up the group to reveal all the layers. You can load any selection you want by Cmd or Ctrl clicking into the layer thumbnail preview, but it can be hard to remember what mask contains what selection.
Let me show you a cool feature in Photoshop that you may not be aware of. If you Cmd or Ctrl right-click on any area inside of your work area, Photoshop shows you all the visible layers that have pixels beneath where you're clicking. If you select a layer from the drop down menu, Photoshop selects that same layer in the layers window. And you can swing over in Cmd or Ctrl click on that layer to load the selection from it. Obviously, you can't work with these brightly colored masks turned on but if you turn off the visibility of a layer, it no longer shows up in the drop down menu when you Cmd or Ctrl right click on it.
So what you need to do is, set the opacity of the mask holding layers group to zero. But leave the visibility on for all of the layers. Now whenever you want to load a mask, Cmd or Ctrl right click on the area of the mask. Select the layer and then Cmd or Ctrl, click on the layer in the Layers window to load it. And of course you can use all of the other commands add, subtract, intersect to create very specific area selections as you do the toning of your castle.
Unfortunately, the keyboard shortcuts for loading selections from Layers are slightly different from those for the marquee tools. It would be nice if Photoshop would make the add, subtract and intersect shortcuts the same for the two functions, but for now you need to memorize these also. You might want to, once again, print out this chart to use as a reference until these become part of your muscle memory. You should notice that you can load a selection without selecting the layer by Cmd or Ctrl clicking on the layer but not selecting it.
With our selection mass set up we're ready to add the light and dark sides to our towers and domes, which we'll do in the next lesson.
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