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Masking with arbitrary maps


Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques

with Deke McClelland

Video: Masking with arbitrary maps

All right gang, in this exercise we're going to try to create a mask using a single Arbitrary Map and then in the next exercise, we'll take a more realistic approach that involves several applications of Arbitrary Maps. I want to let you know, we're not necessarily going to follow every single one of these masking techniques to its ultimate conclusion because that would get a little tedious to select this bird over-and-over again. We will make Arbitrary Maps work, but the other is not necessarily so, and we're not going to be taking this bird and compositing it against a different background because we've already done that ad-nauseam by now. We're just going to be focusing on masking techniques for the rest of this chapter.
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  1. 2h 12m
    1. The Odyssey Continues
      2m 39s
    2. Mapping one image onto another
      7m 12s
    3. Making a custom contrast mode
      7m 9s
    4. Luminance blending
      8m 39s
    5. Forcing the visibility of underlying layers
      4m 3s
    6. Adjusting the appearance of clipped layers
      4m 33s
    7. Selecting a Blend If channel
      6m 11s
    8. Enhancing highlights by hiding them
      5m 8s
    9. Smart Object first, layer mask second
      7m 22s
    10. The Fill Opacity Eight
      4m 30s
    11. Blending Smart Filters
      7m 24s
    12. Cleaning up edges
      7m 38s
    13. More fun with luminance blending
      6m 22s
    14. A first peek at the Calculations command
      12m 11s
    15. Masking a softly focused model
      11m 46s
    16. Moving layers and masks between images
      7m 34s
    17. Matching colors
      9m 12s
    18. Building transitional blended layers
      6m 33s
    19. Restoring normal colors
      6m 49s
  2. 2h 32m
    1. Layer masks, clipping masks, and knockouts
      1m 20s
    2. Rotating and stretching
      7m 54s
    3. A jet of motion blur
      9m 17s
    4. Keyboard tricks
      5m 4s
    5. Merging sky and landscape
      6m 2s
    6. Masking an adjustment layer
      6m 37s
    7. Creating two windows into an image
      7m 42s
    8. Whitening teeth and adding other highlights
      3m 46s
    9. Mapping a texture onto an image
      4m 0s
    10. Isolating a texture with a layer mask
      6m 44s
    11. Welcome to the glass composition
      3m 18s
    12. Balancing shadows and highlights
      5m 51s
    13. Masking the glass
      7m 24s
    14. Masking the text
      9m 23s
    15. Adding and blending the goldfish
      8m 44s
    16. Assembling the perfect group photo
      5m 12s
    17. Aligning photographs automatically
      5m 26s
    18. Masking in each person's best shot
      5m 18s
    19. Masking densely packed people
      6m 17s
    20. Crafting the perfect final poster
      5m 15s
    21. From the improbable to the impossible
      1m 56s
    22. The fantastical "world of clones" effect
      10m 0s
    23. Upsampling and blurring a background
      8m 39s
    24. Adding a knockout mask
      8m 3s
    25. Choking edges with Gaussian Blur and Levels
      3m 46s
  3. 2h 26m
    1. The corrective power of masking
      1m 6s
    2. The amazing luminance mask
      7m 21s
    3. Brightening and neutralizing the eyes
      8m 21s
    4. Adjusting a nondestructive composition
      5m 52s
    5. Creating a corrective mask
      6m 3s
    6. Averaging away irregular flesh tones
      3m 52s
    7. Modifying specific colors
      7m 46s
    8. Initiating the color mask
      5m 59s
    9. Refining the color mask
      6m 39s
    10. Adjusting the edges around fabric
      7m 55s
    11. Perfecting hair
      9m 34s
    12. Sharpening with a High Pass layer
      10m 12s
    13. The also-amazing density mask
      4m 47s
    14. Adjusting the knockout depth
      8m 48s
    15. Fashioning a depth map
      6m 12s
    16. Invoking a depth mask from Lens Blur
      6m 38s
    17. The perfect depth-of-field effect
      6m 25s
    18. Sharpening an archival photograph
      7m 7s
    19. Creating an edge mask
      8m 29s
    20. Making a High Pass sandwich
      7m 45s
    21. Applying the edge mask
      6m 1s
    22. Customizing your sharpening effect
      4m 6s
  4. 2h 3m
    1. Channel Mixer, I am your father!
      1m 39s
    2. Three ways to gray
      7m 48s
    3. Meet the Channel Mixer
      8m 26s
    4. Mixing a custom black-and-white image
      7m 9s
    5. Creating a professional-level sepia tone
      5m 36s
    6. Employing the Black & White command
      8m 0s
    7. Extreme channel mixing
      4m 50s
    8. The infrared photography effect
      6m 42s
    9. Taking shadows to the brink of black
      3m 56s
    10. Elevating highlights, leeching saturation
      5m 58s
    11. Deepening a black-and-white sky
      5m 49s
    12. Infusing luminance levels with color
      5m 43s
    13. Creating an opposing colorization scheme
      4m 58s
    14. Bolstering contrast with the Green channel
      5m 37s
    15. A tiny improvement to a terrific technique
      7m 38s
    16. The simple (but wrong) approach to red-eye correction
      6m 39s
    17. Channel-mixing red pupils
      9m 17s
    18. The expert approach to red-eye correction
      5m 20s
    19. Fixing problem coronas (pupil edges)
      8m 8s
    20. Making pupils match
      4m 7s
  5. 2h 33m
    1. Chops are dead; long live maskops
      1m 36s
    2. The Calculations command
      8m 16s
    3. Blue Screen blending
      7m 40s
    4. Refining the Blue Screen mask
      5m 53s
    5. Brushing away color fringing
      7m 24s
    6. Locking the transparency of a layer
      6m 21s
    7. Nondestructive layer painting
      7m 36s
    8. How the Add blend mode works
      8m 40s
    9. How the Subtract blend mode works
      6m 43s
    10. Focus, noise, and other masking challenges
      5m 32s
    11. The Add mode in action
      7m 51s
    12. The Subtract mode in action
      8m 24s
    13. Comparing two channels with Difference
      5m 23s
    14. Enhancing the contrast with Curves
      9m 10s
    15. Gathering details with Apply Image
      9m 43s
    16. Dodge highlights, burn shadows
      6m 6s
    17. Dodge and Burn in action
      8m 24s
    18. Painting in the scalp
      10m 0s
    19. Painting away the face and chin
      4m 52s
    20. Compositing complementary images
      4m 13s
    21. Multiply, Minimum, Blur, and Apply Image
      6m 40s
    22. Crafting the final composition
      7m 7s
  6. 1h 57m
    1. Mark of the Pen tool
      1m 34s
    2. The big paths project overview
      6m 51s
    3. How to make a path
      8m 24s
    4. Corner points and freeform polygons
      8m 6s
    5. Editing paths with the arrow tools
      5m 2s
    6. Adding and deleting endpoints
      5m 14s
    7. Adding and deleting interior points
      6m 6s
    8. Converting a path to a selection
      3m 35s
    9. Converting a path to a mask
      6m 38s
    10. Smooth points and control handles
      8m 57s
    11. Making cusp points
      5m 59s
    12. Combining paths in a vector mask
      7m 54s
    13. Turning a path into a shape layer
      8m 57s
    14. Combining paths to make a layer mask
      7m 52s
    15. Mixing layer and vector masks
      10m 14s
    16. Editing character outlines as paths
      8m 39s
    17. Using the Convert Point tool
      7m 8s
  7. 3h 17m
    1. Where there's a will, there's a way
      1m 18s
    2. Masking natural cast shadows
      4m 9s
    3. Applying the cast show
      4m 2s
    4. Creating a difference mask
      3m 7s
    5. Applying an arbitrary map
      3m 50s
    6. Making the flesh mask
      7m 16s
    7. Roughing in an object mask
      6m 48s
    8. Drawing missing details with the Lasso tool
      4m 7s
    9. Combining flesh and object masks
      3m 52s
    10. Amplifying the cast shadow
      4m 10s
    11. Selectively choking edges
      3m 58s
    12. Power duplication in Photoshop
      7m 8s
    13. Masking blond hair
      5m 48s
    14. Using Levels to mask iterations
      3m 14s
    15. Drawing an iteration boundary
      4m 54s
    16. Merging the best of two Levels iterations
      4m 4s
    17. More fun with Dodge and Burn
      6m 14s
    18. Fixing edges with the Pen and Stamp tools
      7m 28s
    19. Pulling from another file with Apply Image
      4m 52s
    20. Blending clipped layers independently
      5m 42s
    21. Building the flame mask
      9m 21s
    22. Amplifying the flame
      3m 52s
    23. Masking an image against a busy background
      5m 15s
    24. The Freeform and Magnetic Pen tools
      6m 52s
    25. Masking with arbitrary maps
      9m 32s
    26. A more deliberate approach to arb maps
      10m 51s
    27. Combining arb maps with paths
      9m 28s
    28. Masking with the help of the History brush
      11m 38s
    29. Creating a High Pass mask
      7m 24s
    30. Coloring in the outlines
      8m 31s
    31. Mastering Calculations
      7m 28s
    32. Subtracting and merging the beak
      11m 5s
  8. 1h 33m
    1. The meaning of bit depth (and why you care)
      2m 49s
    2. Scanning line art in 8-bit and 16-bit
      5m 8s
    3. Measuring the 16-bit difference
      8m 8s
    4. Correcting 8-bit images in the 16-bit space
      9m 31s
    5. Opening a raw image directly in 16-bit
      6m 12s
    6. Editing in Camera Raw, opening in 16-bit
      8m 21s
    7. 16-Bit/channel vs. 32-bit/channel (HDR)
      8m 17s
    8. Working with auto-bracketed photographs
      5m 6s
    9. Using the Merge to HDR command
      5m 59s
    10. Adjusting the HDR preview
      6m 0s
    11. Building a 32-bit sky mask
      6m 29s
    12. Properly exposing land and sky
      4m 24s
    13. Modifying a layer mask in 32-bit
      4m 56s
    14. Converting to and correcting in 16-bit Lab
      12m 7s
  9. 2h 8m
    1. Photoshop flirts with the third dimension
      1m 13s
    2. The displacement map
      8m 24s
    3. Making custom waves
      7m 14s
    4. Creating a Gaussian distribution
      4m 31s
    5. Using a two-channel displacement map
      6m 27s
    6. Creating a rustic edge effect
      8m 21s
    7. Distorting and shading with a DMap
      6m 33s
    8. Moonlight reflecting off water
      8m 48s
    9. Mapping the reflection onto the water
      7m 3s
    10. Dipping the moon into the water
      6m 18s
    11. Turning flesh into stone
      7m 55s
    12. Wrapping the stone around the face
      7m 27s
    13. Softening a displacement map
      8m 4s
    14. Making a repeating watermark pattern
      9m 21s
    15. 3D embossing with Lighting Effects
      10m 47s
    16. The amazing credit card type effect
      6m 56s
    17. Lightening the credit card letters
      6m 16s
    18. Wrapping the background around the text
      6m 27s
  10. 1m 43s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 43s

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques
20h 48m Advanced Nov 21, 2007

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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."

Topics include:
  • Distorting and shading with a DMap
  • Understanding bits and channels
  • Creating paths with the Pen tool
  • Using blend modes and the Dodge and Burn feature
  • Understanding channel mixing
  • Using layer masks, clipping masks, and knockouts
  • Applying Smart Filters
Design Photography
Deke McClelland

Masking with arbitrary maps

All right gang, in this exercise we're going to try to create a mask using a single Arbitrary Map and then in the next exercise, we'll take a more realistic approach that involves several applications of Arbitrary Maps. I want to let you know, we're not necessarily going to follow every single one of these masking techniques to its ultimate conclusion because that would get a little tedious to select this bird over-and-over again. We will make Arbitrary Maps work, but the other is not necessarily so, and we're not going to be taking this bird and compositing it against a different background because we've already done that ad-nauseam by now. We're just going to be focusing on masking techniques for the rest of this chapter.

Now then, you may notice that I am working inside of an image called Military macaw.jpg, that's found inside the 16 Tough Stuff folder. And now before we go any farther, I just want to remind you of what an Arbitrary Map is. It's basically a wacky curve that you apply from the Curves dialog box. I am going to press Ctrl+M or Command+M on the Mac. For the moment I am going to go ahead and switch to the Point tool which is selected by default. And an Arbitrary Map is an arbitrary redistribution of brightness values of luminance levels inside of an image, and you can see that if you apply an Arbitrary Map like the one we have here to a full color image, you are going to get something of a psychedelic effect like we're seeing on screen right now. So it's far from a color correction. In fact I would go, so far as to say these are absolutely the incorrect colors for this macaw.

But, if we were to use this kind of arbitrary map in order to formulate a mask, then we could set the colors that appear inside of the bird to white and the colors that appear outside the bird to black thereby constructing a mask. Now you can use the Point tool for this purpose if you want to, but the better tool to use to create Arbitrary Maps is this guy right here which is the Pencil tool. So that's the tool we'll be using. Anyway, go ahead and cancel out of this dialog box for now, because we're not going to get too far trying to modify the full color image, we need to work from a single channel. So let's check out what channels we have to work with.

Here's the Red Channel, not too promising. It's okey-dokey over here on the far right-hand side. We have some clear distinctions between the feathers which are dark and the background which is light. But this area is for beings really -- that's not going to help us out too much. This area is lukewarm, this is okay, it is tuft at the front of the bird, it is red after all against just about any background it's going to show up light. The bill is in kind of rough shape, sometimes it's lighter than the background, sometimes it's darker than the background, and then this area of the bird, not too good.

All right, so let's check out the Green Channel, this is it right here, and again the back of the bird is good. It's good in all the channels actually. The top of the bird is in pretty good shape. This area right here is not quite as good as it was inside the Red Channel because now it's darker than its background and not quite as much contrast going on. The bill is in very similar shape because the bill is fairly gray actually if you take a look at the Full Color image. And then this area down here is actually handled better -- this area right there, it's handled better in the Green Channel than it is anywhere else. But, this area down here is not too good.

All right, now let's check out the Blue Channel, and of course you remember the keyboard shortcuts for these which is Ctrl+1+2+3, red, green, blue, that's Command+1+2+3 on the Mac. This area, very good contrast, the best contrast we've seen so far. This area, pretty darn good contrast we would say. This area, great contrast, dark against light. This area, same darn build we've been seeing over-and-over again. This area is muddled, look at the banding that's going on inside of there, and actually this Blue Channel is a very noisy channel in general. So you have to be aware of that.

And then this area down here is good. It's actually pretty darn good. We have a high degree of contrast. The only problem is, who is inside the bird and who is outside, there is a little bit of confusion right around this area. But overall, I have to say that the Blue Channel is probably our best channel. It's not super-great channel because it's so noisy, there is so much posterization going on, but it's as good as it get. So we're to start from a single channel, this is the one we work with. So let's start from here. Let's go ahead and grab that Blue Channel, drag it onto the little New Page icon and I am going to go ahead and name it Mask of course because that's what it is.

Now then let's try out an Arbitrary Map. I am going to go ahead and Shift+Tab away my palettes and I am going to switch to the Full Screen mode so I can move the bird over just a little bit, so I can see all of it. I am going to press Ctrl+M or Command+M on the Mac to bring up the Curves dialog box. Now, here's what you want to do. First of all, you want to switch to the Pencil tool, that's your first step. Secondly, you want to just sort of drag around and watch the bouncing ball, see the bouncing ball down there in the lower left quadrant of the Curves dialog box, and I am watching as it moves along and obviously that lower quadrant is inside bird territory. So I am going to go ahead and take that lower quadrant and I am going to set it to white, like so, because we want everything in the bird to be white.

Now, obviously I have set too much stuff to white. So I am going to drag down here. Notice this is what you do with the Pencil tool when you're creating an Arbitrary Map for the sake of masking is you drag along the top of the graph, then you drag along the bottom of the graph. No sense in doing this kind of stuff, this isn't going to do us any good to actually draw a curve. Just go ahead and drag along the top and then drag along the bottom to create some extreme, so you can figure out who is inside and who is outside. I am going to go ahead and drag along the top from 0 to about -- well, I dragged too far. I went ahead and dragged over to about let's say, what is that, that's about 70, and then I am going to start down here at about 60 actually, it works out pretty well and then I am going to drag along the bottom. And then I am going to come up here to about 82 actually, and this is just based on experiments, I have just sort of played around inside of this bird image. Actually 83 is more what I want, and I am going to drag along the top until I come to about 128.

Now, I do need to watch my graph. Okay, I went too far, that's why because I will come down here at 128. Then you need to watch this junk, see how I am not quite along the top of the curve at this point. Go ahead and take it all the way to the top. We want these extremes of course, these extreme brightness values to work with at the beginning anyway, and then I'll show you how to smooth it out. Then I am going to go ahead and drag from an input value of 129 along the bottom, like this. And you can see that, that gets us pretty far there. It's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it's about as good as that we're going to get with a single application of an arbitrary map. So again, I went from 0 to about 59 and sent that to white and then I went from about 60 over to 82 to black, and then I went from about 83 over to 128 for white, and then I went from 129 all the way over to 255 for black once again.

We're taking the darkest colors in making them white and the lightest colors in making them black with some variations in between. Now, you may not figure this is exactly the settings that you want to use, in which case go your own way. Try some different settings, drag around, watch the bouncing ball, see where it is, this is obviously stuff that should be outside the bird, and I have changed it to white. But, if I go black with it, I am going to change a lot of stuff that's inside the bird to black too. You sort of have to pick and choose your battles at this point. Anyway, I am going to go back where I was. I am going to stick with the settings I come up with here, so 83 over. Then, you want to click on the Smooth button at least once in order to create smooth transitions between these extremes, and if you feel like that's not quite enough, you can click on Smooth again. But be careful, be sure you want to smooth before you click on Smooth because you can't undo this button. So once you've clicked on it, it's done and then if you want to back up, like I go, oh, darn, that was too far. Then you've got to re-draw your darn graph. You've got to go back to 59 right here and drag over to the left and then I'd have to go down to 60. You can see how this stuff gets a little involved and if not down right ponderous, it definitely takes some time to work through a successful mask on a difficult image like this one.

That's why it's so much easier to just shoot a good photo in the first place, I have to say. I mean it's almost easy enough that you go, gosh, I think I will get in the car and go find this Macaw again and shoot a picture of it that really works for me. But if not, if you don't have the option to do it, this is the way you work. Then click Smooth once this time around so that I don't over-smooth it. And you might want to go ahead and save out a preset, and you save a preset by clicking on this little button here and choosing Save Preset and then saving a preset to disk so that you can load it up later for a different curve so that you can come back to it. And all of the presets will actually appear. Once you've saved them, they'll appear in this preset pop-up menu here and I will show you that later, actually in the next exercise. But for now I will go ahead and click OK in order to accept this modification and then of course we'd go in with the Lasso tool and the Dodge tool and the Burn tool and fix this mask and make it as good as it can be.

This was a what-if scenario, what if we could pull off a mask using a single arbitrary map? I would say, actually we're not going to be able to do it for this Macaw here. So we're better off approaching the bird with multiple arbitrary maps, and that's what we're going to do in the next exercise.

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