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The elusive alpha channel remains one of the most misunderstood yet powerful tools in Photoshop. Alpha channels are collections of luminance data that control the transparency of an image, and they inform just about every aspect of Photoshop. As he builds transitional blended layers, fashions a depth map, makes edge adjustments, and takes on extreme channel mixing, Omni Award-winning expert Deke McClelland teaches Photoshop users that where there's a will, there's a way. Photoshop CS3 Channels and Masks: Advanced Techniques covers mapping texture on an image, turning flesh into stone, using vector masks, working with all different channels, creating a rustic edge effect, and much more. Exercise files accompany the tutorials.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts for Channels and Masks from the Exercise Files tab."
Now I promised in previous exercise, I was boasting about how that was the last exercise in this chapter, but it occurred to me that there is one more thing we might want to do to this image and it's something that I want to pass along to you in case you might want to do this in your images as well. So by way of a public service here, how would you make pupils match, for example, here I'm working inside of an image called Oops one last thing.psd that's found inside of the 13_channel_mix folder and it's the extensively correct version of the image, the boys no longer have red eyes as you can see.
We have wiped it out using this combination of three adjustment layers right here including this max adjustment layer on top that has a couple of glow effects applied to it in order to defeat those nasty coronas that we had around the pupils. But, if I zoom in on Max's eyes here, you can see that one pupil is darker than the other. So the pupil on the right is darker than the pupil on the left. I would like them to match. So there is a couple of different ways to approach it, one would be to try to make the left pupil darker, which would mean essentially compounding the effect of this max layer, so duplicating it presumably in order to sink those shadows even farther.
But I don't want to do that, I like the fact that it's a little light here over in the left, the problem is that's too dark over here on the right, in my opinion. So here's what you are doing. This is going to seem like a strange approach but this is the approach to it. Go ahead and grab some Selection tool, I'm using the Rectangular Marquee tool in order to select roughly around this area and you may recall we're working on the layer mask, when we were working on an adjustment layer. So the max layer is active, I'll go ahead and Alt+Click or Option+Click on this layer mask so that we can see there is a white pupil inside of there. The fact that it's white, it means that we're having maximum impact on the background image, because we're revealing that portion of the pupil, we're revealing that portion of the effect.
If want to tone down the effect, we need to dim down this white and make it a darker color, so make it a darker gray, a light gray will do actually, but something darker than white. We're going to do that, watch this, I'll go ahead and Alt+Click or Option+Click again on that layer mask thumbnail to return to the RGB image, we're going to do that using the Levels command. So go ahead and press Ctrl+L or Command+L on the Mac. Bear in mind we're not affecting the entire image, we're affecting the layer mask, that's why we're seeing a lot of black here in the histogram and a lot of white and not much in the way of gray pixels.
Now, notice this white slider here, the Output Levels slider allows me to darken that white, and as I darken that white, I am reducing the impact of this adjustment layer, because it's sending this area to a darker color, to a darker gray. Now I don't want to go that far with it, if I went all the way down, we wouldn't have any effect on the pupil at all. So I'm going to take this value down to about 215, should do very nicely right there. So I'll go ahead and click OK. So that's all you want to do inside this Levels dialog box. Let's just go to the White Output Level so the fifth of the numerical values here and change it from 255 to 215. Click OK. I'll go ahead and click off of selection in order to deselect it and then I'll Alt+Click or Option+Click inside of the layer mask, here inside the Layers palette and you can see, this was before so it was nice actually, let's back step a couple of steps, there it is.
It was nice and white and this is after, we go ahead and diminish that white just slightly so we set it to a light gray. All right. I'll go ahead and deselect that image again and Alt+Click or Option+Click once again on the layer mask thumbnail in order to return to the RGB image. So this is the way the pupils looked before with the dark pupil, notice that, and this is the way that it looks now, thanks to having made that white pupil inside of the layer mask a little bit darker. Now our two pupils exactly match, and that I think, is the way to go.
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