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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.
In this movie, we'll take the base selection outline that we created in the previous movie and we'll make it more accurate using a command known as Refine Edge. You will have had to follow along with the previous movie to make this one work. Notice up here in the Options Bar, when any selection tool is active, you'll see a button called Refine Edge. You can click on that button to bring up the Refine Edge dialog box, or if for some reason you don't see it, you can go to the Select menu and choose Refine Edge.
And that brings up the Refine Edge dialog box. I'm going to scoot the tree over a little bit so I can see it better. By default, you see the selected region against the white background, but you can change that by clicking on this View option and switching to some other background such as On Black, which is going to work best for us. Then go ahead and click off that pop-up menu to hide it. This is a fairly complex dialog box; a lot of stuff going on, we're not going to review every option at this point, we will in a future course, but for now, we're going to take advantage of the most powerful feature inside this dialog box, which is this Edge Detection Radius option.
And the idea behind Edge Detection is we're asking the Refine Edge command to trace around the edge of the selection outline and make it better inside of a specific radius. And when I say radius, imagine that we're thickening up a stroke that's going around the selection and that's' the area in which Photoshop will reevaluate. So if I crank up this Radius value to something like 50, we're telling Photoshop to reevaluate a lot of this edge. That's obviously too much because even though we're doing a great job of softening the selection around the leaves, we're bringing back some sky inside the tree and that's not what we want.
So I'm going to take this Radius value down to a mere five and press the Tab key. That still leaves us with some tree and if you want to get a sense for what Radius has done by itself, you can turn on the Show Original check box, that's like turning a preview off. And so this is what the tree look like before, this is what it looks like now. We do have softer more organic edges. However, we have an awful lot of sky showing through which is why I'm going to shift the edge of the selection inward. So this Shift Edge function allows you to either contract or expand the selection.
If you drag to the left, you're going to contract, if you drag to the right, you're going to expand. So I want to take this value down to about -25%, it works pretty darn well. But it's not perfect by any means, as you can see here, but it's going to work great for our rays of light. Having made these changes, so set the Radius value to five, the Shift Edge value to -25 and then click OK to modify that selection outline. Now let's apply the selection as a layer mask.
I'll go ahead and Alt+Click or Option+ Click on the eye in front of Background in order to turn all the layers back on. And then I'll click in the rays layer to make it active and I'll drop down to this icon at the bottom of the panel, which says Add layer mask. If I were to click on it, I'd mask the rays of light inside the tree which is exactly the opposite of what I want. So I'll press Ctrl+Z or Command+ Z on the Mac to undo that change. Then I'll press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and click on that Add Layer Mask icon again, and that goes ahead and masks away the selected region and gives me the exact effect I'm looking for.
One more change we need to make to this mask. I'm going to zoom back out by pressing Ctrl+0 or Command+0 on the Mac. We need to mask the moon away inside of the rays as well. So I'm going to load the moon layer as the selection outline and you do that by hovering your cursor over the thumbnail for the layer. Notice that appears as a hand with the pointing finger, and now you press the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac and you'll get a little Marquee next to that cursor, and you click. So Ctrl+Click or Command+Click on the thumbnail for the moon layer, loads it up as the selection outline.
The layer mask is still selected as you can see here inside the Layers panel. Make sure that your foreground color is set to black down here at the bottom of the toolbox. If it's not do this, press the D key in order to establish your default colors, which will be white as the foreground color, and then press the X key to swap them. And now black is your foreground color. Press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete on the Mac in order to fill that portion of the layer mask with black, which goes ahead and masks away the rays inside the moon.
Then you can press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac in order to deselect the image. All right, now we have some beautifully masked rays thanks to a combination of the Refine Edge command along with a layer mask. In the next movie, we'll better integrate the rays and the moon into the scene.
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