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Masking and compositing the foreground

From: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

Video: Masking and compositing the foreground

I've saved the most recent version of my file as Alpha channels abound.psd, again found inside the 26_masking folder. I'm viewing the flesh & dress Alpha channel along with my RGB image. Just in case you are curious what's happening on screen here. All right, let's go back to the RGB composite and I'm going to turn off flesh & dress. That is, I am going to turn off its eyeball. Switch to the Layers panel, turn off the Saturation and Dodged layers, we don't need them anymore. You could throw them away I suppose, but the Dodged layer in particular took a fair amount of work to create, so I say keep it.

Masking and compositing the foreground

I've saved the most recent version of my file as Alpha channels abound.psd, again found inside the 26_masking folder. I'm viewing the flesh & dress Alpha channel along with my RGB image. Just in case you are curious what's happening on screen here. All right, let's go back to the RGB composite and I'm going to turn off flesh & dress. That is, I am going to turn off its eyeball. Switch to the Layers panel, turn off the Saturation and Dodged layers, we don't need them anymore. You could throw them away I suppose, but the Dodged layer in particular took a fair amount of work to create, so I say keep it.

Anyway, I am going to switch down to the Background layer, and in order to isolate it, here is two different ways we could work. We could select the image by loading the mask, the final mask channel as a selection outline, and then we could drag the selected image into a new background, but then our ability to edit that image would be fairly limited, because we would only have the pixels we selected in the first place. The better way to work is to go ahead and convert this image to its own independent layer and then assign a layer mask to it based on that final mask channel, and then we'll have the entire unmodified image along with its layer mask giving us all the flexibility in the world.

All right, so to convert this Background image to a layer, we double-click on it. That brings up the New Layer dialog box, and I'll just go ahead and call this one Model, and perhaps I'll give it a capital M, because the other layers have capital letters, click OK. And now go back to the Channels panel and there is a couple of different ways to load a channel as a selection outline. One is to click on it to make it active and then to drop-down to this little icon, that's next door, so we've got these two icons to serve opposite purposes, right? This guy there saves the selection as a channel, this one converts a channel to a selection.

So you can go ahead and click on it, and then you've got a selection outline as we can see if I zoom on out here a little bit. But I prefer to work with that shortcut I've mentioned a few times now, but I am going to mention again, I'll press Ctrl+D, Cmd+D on the Mac to deselect the image, and if you press the Ctrl key or the Cmd key on the Mac and click on a channel, so Ctrl+Click on the PC, Cmd+Click on the Mac, you load it as a selection outline. Now that's not the biggest shortcut on earth, because it's not all that difficult to get down here to this icon. However, what I really like about that shortcut is it works in the Channels panel.

It works in the Paths panel. It works in the Layers panel. So you can convert layers, channels, and paths to selection outlines across the board. Now we've got a selection outline which is every bit as good as the mask, and when I say that, of course, I don't mean the marching ants are particularly useful to us and it's not as editable as an Alpha Channel is. However, it's just as representative of the selection as the final mask is. So a selection outline contains that wealth of information including all these various levels of gray, all that softness is built into it.

All right, I am going to switchover to the Layers panel, and now I'll click on the Model layer to make it active so that we switch back to the RGB image and I'll drop down to the Add layer mask icon and I will click on it, and that goes in and converts the selection outline to a layer mask, and if I Alt+Click on the layer mask or Option+Click on it, I can see it independently of the image, and you'll see it is pixel for pixel identical to that final mask channel we saw just a moment ago. All right, the next step is to go ahead and add this Model layer. I am going to go ahead and click on the Model thumbnail once again, add this layer with its layer mask to a new background, and that background is this one right here.

It's Clouds & blue sky.jpg. It comes to us from Louise of the Fotolia Image Library and you'll find it inside the 26_masking folder. Now it is exactly the same size, these two images have been sized to match each other, so one will register into place with the other. You can perform the standard, if you want to, the standard drag-and-drop. That is you press the Ctrl key or the Cmd key on the Mac to get the Move tool, you drag the image onto the Title tab right there, and then you wait for the image to switchover, move your cursor back into the Image window and Shift+Drop it into place, which is a lot of work come to think of it.

Here is another way to accomplish the exact same thing. Go ahead and press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, and then I want you to drag the Model layer down onto this little Page icon at the bottom of the panel, and because you have the Alt or Option key down, you force the display of this dialog box which allows you to duplicate the layer either inside of the same composition or in another open composition. So if you go ahead and change document from Alpha channels abound.psd to Clouds and blue sky.jpg, then you will put the model and its mask, because they are linked together, into the other image window.

All right, I will click OK and it will seem as if nothing happened. Well, that's because Photoshop doesn't automatically switch you over to the other image. It just does what you asked it to do. If I now press Ctrl+Tab or Cmd+ Tilde to switch to the other image then I will see the model in place as you do as well. All right, so, we have now managed to mask the image and we've composited it against a different background. However, does it look right? The answer is, well it looks pretty good actually. I don't think it looks horrible, but it does have a few problems here and there.

Notice that we have some grays surrounding these hair details, and that gray fringing is even more noticeable in the upper left-hand corner where the small hairs are concerned, and I will show you how to absolutely make this hair look like its endemic to this image, like it absolutely belongs, in the next exercise.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

192 video lessons · 43725 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 40m 45s
    1. Welcome
      2m 45s
    2. Making Photoshop your default image editor
      7m 43s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 10s
    4. Remapping OS shortcuts
      7m 37s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 31s
    6. The color settings explained
      6m 54s
    7. Loading the CS5 color settings in Bridge
      3m 5s
  2. 1h 11m
    1. Your creative range continues to expand
      1m 46s
    2. The Avatar project so far
      2m 38s
    3. Painting on a photograph
      7m 50s
    4. Adding texture and depth
      6m 14s
    5. Simulating chalky white paint
      7m 23s
    6. Masking and placing an image
      7m 20s
    7. Upsampling and Lens Blur
      5m 9s
    8. Blending blurry elements
      3m 48s
    9. Making a Smart Object
      6m 46s
    10. Placing an image as a Smart Object
      3m 22s
    11. Blending away a background
      5m 56s
    12. Applying Smart Filters
      4m 34s
    13. Creating a glow with Lens Flare
      3m 45s
    14. Blending and masking a glow
      5m 3s
  3. 1h 26m
    1. Using the image to select itself
      1m 53s
    2. Introducing masking
      6m 32s
    3. Making an alpha channel
      6m 54s
    4. Using the Calculations command
      6m 48s
    5. Add, Subtract, Offset, and Scale
      5m 54s
    6. Prepping an image with the Dodge tool
      6m 55s
    7. Fixing mistakes before they get too big
      6m 32s
    8. Painting in the Overlay mode
      5m 51s
    9. Exaggerating and selecting flesh tones
      7m 39s
    10. Smudge, Median, and the Blur tool
      6m 59s
    11. Masking low-contrast details
      6m 7s
    12. Creating a flesh-and-clothing mask
      5m 45s
    13. Masking and compositing the foreground
      5m 27s
    14. Finessing the final composition
      7m 39s
  4. 2h 24m
    1. Connecting the dots
      1m 40s
    2. The Pen tool and the Paths panel
      6m 32s
    3. Drawing a straight-sided outline
      6m 25s
    4. Editing a path outline
      6m 36s
    5. Adding and editing smooth points
      5m 35s
    6. Creating vector masks with the shape tools
      4m 59s
    7. Building a complex outline from shapes
      4m 26s
    8. Subtracting and transforming shapes
      6m 45s
    9. Cloning, flipping, and combining shapes
      8m 58s
    10. Roughing in non-symmetrical paths
      7m 41s
    11. Finessing a complex outline
      9m 15s
    12. Masking a layer effect
      8m 26s
    13. Isolating an image element
      6m 8s
    14. Smooth points and control handles
      9m 3s
    15. Stretching curved segments
      7m 49s
    16. Using the Rubber Band option
      9m 33s
    17. Drawing smooth points with the Pen tool
      6m 59s
    18. Shading an isolated object
      3m 45s
    19. Drawing cusp points
      7m 14s
    20. Setting points in the pasteboard
      9m 57s
    21. Using the Convert Point tool
      6m 42s
  5. 2h 57m
    1. Everything you need to know about blending
      1m 45s
    2. Photoshop CS5's blend modes
      7m 21s
    3. Cycling between blend modes
      6m 15s
    4. Darken and Lighten and their derivatives
      6m 3s
    5. The blend mode shortcuts
      8m 6s
    6. The Multiply and Burn modes
      4m 28s
    7. The Screen and Dodge modes
      6m 0s
    8. How opposite blend modes work
      8m 24s
    9. Why Multiply darkens and Divide lightens
      5m 23s
    10. Cleaning up a client's bad art
      5m 3s
    11. Dropping out a white background
      5m 56s
    12. Blending inside blend modes
      8m 3s
    13. Overlay, Soft Light, and Hard Light
      6m 26s
    14. Vivid, Linear, and Pin Light (and Hard Mix)
      6m 35s
    15. Difference, Exclusion, Subtract, and Divide
      7m 34s
    16. Great uses for the Difference mode
      6m 18s
    17. Promising uses for the Divide mode
      9m 6s
    18. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      7m 0s
    19. Blending an inverted layer
      3m 32s
    20. The "Fill Opacity Eight"
      7m 25s
    21. Making bad blend modes good
      5m 16s
    22. Making a knockout layer
      6m 53s
    23. Blending in the CMYK mode
      8m 3s
    24. Overprinting black text
      8m 29s
    25. Using the Luminance slider
      5m 24s
    26. Parametric luminance masking
      6m 21s
    27. Adjusting the behavior of luminance effects
      10m 8s
  6. 2h 2m
    1. Smart Objects = protective containers
      1m 35s
    2. Placing an Illustrator graphic
      6m 30s
    3. Vector copy and paste options
      6m 56s
    4. Applying Puppet Warp to vectors
      8m 9s
    5. "Gluing" vector art for Puppet Warp
      5m 50s
    6. Warping art onto the surface of an image
      8m 7s
    7. Blending a Smart Object
      4m 30s
    8. Blurring and blending a Smart Object
      6m 8s
    9. Making changes in Illustrator
      5m 57s
    10. Creating "true clones"
      7m 18s
    11. Double-flipping text
      4m 44s
    12. Applying effects to multiple layers
      3m 24s
    13. Updating true clones in one operation
      7m 36s
    14. Editing JPEGs as Camera Raw objects
      5m 49s
    15. Creating a double-exposure effect
      7m 15s
    16. Masking and shading transitions
      7m 47s
    17. Applying and repeating Camera Raw edits
      6m 9s
    18. Copying vs. cloning a Smart Object
      5m 18s
    19. Flipping a Smart Object and its mask
      3m 42s
    20. Adjusting multiple Camera Raw clones
      3m 53s
    21. Text that inverts everything behind it
      5m 34s
  7. 1h 59m
    1. This time, "smart" means dynamic
      1m 37s
    2. Introducing Smart Filters
      6m 28s
    3. Traditional High Pass sharpening
      5m 17s
    4. Smart High Pass in the Lab mode
      7m 57s
    5. Sharpening a high-frequency image
      7m 46s
    6. Retroactively reducing noise
      7m 31s
    7. Which filters are Smart Filters?
      6m 20s
    8. Shadows/Highlights as a Smart Filter
      4m 37s
    9. Nesting one Smart Object inside another
      7m 11s
    10. Drawing a mask from a nested Smart Object
      8m 7s
    11. Better Shadows/Highlights inside Lab
      9m 16s
    12. Tempering saturation values in Lab
      7m 0s
    13. Filtering live, editable text
      9m 2s
    14. Enhancing filters with layer effects
      4m 33s
    15. Applying a filter multiple times
      5m 0s
    16. Creating a synthetic star field
      7m 7s
    17. Making a stucco or drywall pattern
      6m 28s
    18. Land, sea, and clouds
      8m 30s
  8. 2h 50m
    1. Photoshop's advanced painting tools
      2m 3s
    2. Canvas texture and brush libraries
      6m 40s
    3. Painting with a predefined custom brush
      9m 21s
    4. Dissecting a custom brush
      11m 9s
    5. Designing and using a custom brush
      4m 54s
    6. Saving and loading brush presets
      5m 27s
    7. The ten styles of bristle brushes
      9m 47s
    8. Size, Spacing, and Angle
      7m 2s
    9. Using the Bristle Brush preview
      7m 53s
    10. Bristles, Length, Thickness, and Stiffness
      6m 53s
    11. Stylus tilt and mouse behavior
      5m 25s
    12. Stroking a path outline with a brush
      4m 0s
    13. Troubleshooting a stylus
      5m 49s
    14. Introducing the Mixer Brush
      7m 22s
    15. The Load, Mix, and Wet values
      5m 1s
    16. Cleaning and loading a brush
      6m 26s
    17. Shading a piece of graphic art
      6m 34s
    18. Shading with color
      7m 53s
    19. Mixing a photographic portrait
      6m 11s
    20. Tracing the fine details in an image
      5m 52s
    21. Crosshatching and brush size
      5m 53s
    22. Covering up and augmenting details
      7m 36s
    23. Painting in hair and fabric
      5m 54s
    24. Painting and scaling very fine hairs
      8m 7s
    25. Adding texture with the Emboss filter
      8m 31s
    26. Exploiting a "happy accident"
      2m 46s
  9. 1h 40m
    1. Artificial intelligence that works
      1m 22s
    2. The Auto-Align Layers command
      7m 25s
    3. The Auto-Blend Layers command
      3m 54s
    4. Masking auto-aligned layers
      4m 50s
    5. The Geometric Distortion setting
      6m 44s
    6. The Seamless Tones and Colors checkbox
      4m 8s
    7. Creating the best possible layer mask
      9m 18s
    8. Auto-blending depths of field
      5m 54s
    9. Finessing masks, accepting imperfections
      6m 29s
    10. Shooting and downsampling panorama images
      5m 54s
    11. Introducing the Photomerge command
      6m 40s
    12. Evaluating the Layout settings
      6m 47s
    13. Loading, aligning, and blending with Photomerge
      5m 36s
    14. Tracing and extracting seams
      7m 18s
    15. Adding a masked element into a panorama
      5m 55s
    16. Simplifying and correcting a panorama
      5m 58s
    17. Smart Filters and nondestructive cropping
      6m 43s
  10. 1h 18m
    1. The most mysterious of mysterious topics
      2m 29s
    2. Introducing HDR Toning
      6m 43s
    3. Reigning in clipped highlights
      5m 54s
    4. The Local Adaptation options
      9m 5s
    5. Nondestructive editing with HDR Toning
      8m 22s
    6. Using the HDR Toning Curve
      7m 2s
    7. HDR Toning vs. Shadows/Highlights
      6m 0s
    8. Merging multiple exposures
      7m 14s
    9. A first look at HDR Pro
      6m 24s
    10. Removing ghosts, correcting backlighting
      7m 11s
    11. Generating and editing an HDR comp
      7m 0s
    12. HDR rendered to completion
      5m 19s
  11. 1h 27m
    1. Processing hundreds of files in no time
      1m 43s
    2. Creating an action set
      6m 37s
    3. Making an action
      7m 7s
    4. Stop, Delete, and Record
      7m 12s
    5. Add, Undo, and Rerecord
      6m 40s
    6. Playing and testing an action
      6m 31s
    7. Playing and editing a specific operation
      6m 39s
    8. Permitting the user to change settings
      4m 58s
    9. Explaining an action with a custom stop
      5m 0s
    10. Batch-processing multiple images
      7m 22s
    11. Adding a Save As operation
      6m 34s
    12. Creating an action to save web graphics
      7m 59s
    13. Batching two actions into one
      7m 15s
    14. Saving and loading actions
      5m 30s
  12. 1m 19s
    1. See ya
      1m 19s

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