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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 by this point in time, we have managed to take four different versions of our group shot and each one of these versions of course, represents a best shot of one of our band members. And so, we have got four different shots because we have got four different band members after all. And we've combined them together into a single composition and we have also gone ahead and aligned each one of these four images so that the backgrounds are absolutely in alignment with each other, thus allowing us to mask in the best version of each one of our models.
All right, so I am working inside of an catchup document. If you are just joining me, it's called Alignment at the Aviary.psd found inside the 11 layer mask folder; so called because layers are aligned, and the name of my band here is Tumult At The Aviary. So each one of these Jumper Layers here, you can see that the Layers are automatically named after the original images inside the Jumpers folder. Each one of these layers best captures one of the band members and Jumpers 4, this bottom one is the best version I figured of Melody right here. So I am going to go ahead and call this layer Melody, the bottom layer that is.
And that you can see it's not so great of Jehf because he's got a weird expression on his face, and he has got his elbows hiked in the air, and he is like, maybe a quarter range off the ground here. So he is not at the height of his job. But you know, Melody looks spectacular. The next layer up, this one here Jumpers 3, again not, not so great of Melody or Jehf, so let's give them a break and move over here. It's great though of Megan, let's go ahead and name this one, Megan and then, this is how we spell our names here at lynda.com.
Jumpers 2 is the best version of Jehf. Look at Jehf man, he is way off the ground totally, just got the greatest expression, doesn't he look like, he ought to be a member of Kraftwerk or something. All right, so anyway let's go ahead and call this Layer Jehf. Now here's something unexpected, Jehf spells his name JEHF and here is, this is the best Paavo, over here. This is the best version of Paavo on Jumpers 1, see Paavo. He's like about four feet off the ground and completely like the winds blowing backwards or something awesome. And we will go ahead and call this one, Paavo, of course, which is PAAVO, very standard name of course; we all name Paavo, are we? All right, so we now have if you have been working along with me, you have now dutifully named every single one of these layers after the person who is best captured inside of that layer. I want you to turn-off all the layers except the Melody. Actually, let's go ahead and mask Megan and Melody together.
So I want you to turn-on the Megan Layer over here, so both Megan and Melody are turned-on. I want you to click on the Megan Layer in order to make it active. Let's go ahead and scotch over here, so that we can see Megan up in the air with her hair blown backwards, looking great. And Paavo not so good, look, he is just standing, what's with you Paavo? All right, anyway now basically only Megan is good on this layer, so most of the stuff on this layer is no good, just Megan, everything else we want to get rid off. So let's add a black layer mask to this layer by Alt+Clicking or Option+Clicking on this circle inside of the rectangle icon at the bottom of the Layers palette. So that goes ahead and wipes out the good version of Megan.
Now we are going to paint her in. So I want you to go grab your Brush tool from the palette, go ahead and click on it and notice that I have got a pretty big brush selected, it's very soft as well. So I have got a soft 250 pixel brush for what it's worth, Mode definitely needs to be set to Normal, Opacity at 100%, etcetera. Now press the D key, D is in default colors, to make sure that the foreground color is white and paint in Megan. Isn't that easy? It becomes a Megan brush. Isn't that awesome? Don't you wish you had a Megan brush all of the time. All right, anyway let's go ahead and paint her in there and it's looking good.
You might want to take this all the way over to the right, so that we paint the surf in properly there, so that the sand looks the way that it ought to be, and you can go ahead and turn Megan off and back on, in order to make sure that things are aligning the way that they should. I actually think that it's a great match. It looks really, really nice. Okay, now let's work on Jehf. Why don't, we actually -- you know what, Jehf is the hardest. We will come back to him last. So let's go to Paavo. Go ahead ad turn-on the Paavo Layer by clicking on it, turning him on, of course, by clicking on the eyeball, Alt+Clicking on the layer mask icon down here at the bottom of the Layers palette, that would be Option+Click on the Mac. And then just paint in Paavo, you now have a Paavo brush.
This is just amazing, the brush is, we didn't know it existed inside a Photoshop, this was a personal favor to us on the part of Adobe, they decided to add brushes for each one of the employees here at lynda.com. Of course I am joking, we are painting this in using Layer, not a funny joke, but still I am painting these layers here in using layer mask. So we have got the best version of Megan combined with the floaty, magical best version of Paavo here along with this beautiful version of Melody in the foreground; got to do something about Jehf with an edge here and we are going to fix Jefh with an edge in the very next exercise.
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