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In the all-new Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final installment of the popular series, join industry expert and award-winning author Deke McClelland for an in-depth tour of the most powerful and empowering features of Photoshop CS5. Discover the vast possibilities of traditional tools, such as masking and blend modes, and then delve into Smart Objects, Photomerge, as well as the new Puppet Warp, Mixer Brush, and HDR features. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced.
I've saved my progress as smooth arms.psd, found inside the 26_masking folder, and in this exercise, we are going to go ahead and select the dress, and we are going to do so using our tool of last recourse. Basically, everything else has failed so far. So we are going to fallback on the Quick Selection tool. Now I'm not a big fan of the tool, however I have high hopes for it where the dress is concerned, and I'm going to go ahead and switch over to the RGB version of the image, which is showing me that hyper-saturated layer right now. And the reason I think the Quick Selection tool might work pretty well here, is because we're trying to select this fairly lumpy shape right here, this dress form, and the Quick Selection tool of course excels at lumpiness.
And the other thing to bear in mind is that it's actually good at seeing edges, and this constitutes a pretty dramatic edge between the right-side of the dress and the background beside it as well as the light left-side of the dress, and the background behind it. The only area in which we are going to get into trouble is this little area of the underarm here. That's kind of hard to select, but we'll see how it goes. Anyway, I'm going to zoom in tight here and I am going to switch from the Magic Wand tool to the Quick Selection tool, and then I will drag down the right half of the woman's body, and that works beautifully.
Bang! We have that area selected, super-duper. All right, let's try the left half. It's going to go little more slowly I think, but I'll drag up, and what you need to make sure you do is stay tight to the left side of the body, so you don't too dramatically expand the selection outline, because you don't want it to go up into her face and into the hair and so on. The Quick Selection tool by the way cannot select hair. You can sort of eek the selection into the hair using the Refine Edge command, but that's a horrible way to work in my opinion. Anyway, I've gone ahead and expanded the selection into many portions of the dress.
The one area I have not selected so far is right here under the arm. So I'm going to drag again and you may recall the Quick Selection tool automatically adds to the selection outline, and I get this effect here, which is less than smooth, so let's try to smooth it out just a little bit by dragging again in this area. Now, if you end up getting this number where the Quick Selection tool expands underneath the arm, like so, then just go ahead and Alt+Drag or Option+Drag in that area in order to deselect that region. With any luck, after, you know, maybe three or four or five drags, you'll get the entire dress selected.
Now it's not well selected. You don't want to rely on a selection outline drawn with the Quick Selection tool without doing something to it, you have to refine it, because otherwise you are going to have very choppy edges that, at the very least, are going to be out of keeping with the rest of your excellently rendered mask. But also of course, it's going to look terrible. So here is what I would like you to do. Go up to the Select menu and choose the Refine Edge command or press Ctrl+Alt+R, Cmd+Option+R on the Mac, and you can see what a lumpy nightmare this selection is.
This tool, man, it could be so much better than it is. But fortunately, we have the Refine Edge options, which are quite powerful. So I am going to take that smooth value up to 20 this time around, because we need a heaping helping of smoothing, where this image is concerned. Look at that lumpiness, over there on the left-hand side of the dress. It's actually going to work out just fine but that's what I meant about the Quick Selection tool excelling at lumpiness. It does a terrific job at that. Now I am going to take the Shift Edge option down. So I am going to take that value down not quite to -100 I don't think, maybe to negative like 55, let's try this, let's try -75 why don't we.
That actually looks pretty darn good. And that will take care of that. I don't think we need to do anything else. There is no reason to do any edge detection because we don't have any filigree details that we are trying to grow into, we just want a crisp, smooth selection outline that looks organic to fabric, which I think this one does. All right, I'll go ahead and click OK in order to accept that modification, then we'll switch over to the hair & arms channel, and currently white is my background color so I am going to press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac to fill the selection with white.
All right, we are almost there. I will go ahead and grab my Lasso tool, click in the image in order to deselect it. I am going to Alt+Click around this region, like so. Up into the shoulders and down into the neckline and make sure that you do not select this little detail, this little bit of background above the shoulder, that should remain deselected. There is however a little bit of gook right there for me. So I will go ahead and Shift+Drag around it to select it as well and then I will press the Backspace key to get rid of all that garbage, and then finally, let's go ahead and zoom in here on this detail.
Notice that we have some rounding at the bottom of the dress. So I am going to switchover to the Smudge tool once again, and reduce the size of my Cursor by pressing the Left Bracket key a few times and drag down right there and then drag down on the left side of the dress as well. And if there is anything else that bugs you why then you can work on it, you can press the Tilde key so that you can see the dress as you make modifications to it. Certainly there is some lack of accuracy here and there. For example this location right there, the selection outline ought to go out a little bit to contain those edges of the belt, but really, honestly, I'm not convinced that it's worth the effort.
So I am just going to leave it alone, because otherwise if I did start smearing that portion of the mask, it's going to get soft. So, I could visit that area using the Liquify command and that's a thing. The Warp tool inside of the Liquify dialog box, that allows you to move areas around, areas of your Alpha Channel for example, without introducing softness, but you'd be working a little bit blind inside that dialog box as well. All right, so that's it gang. We've done, I think, a swell job of creating a mask. Let's go ahead and check out what the mask looks like by itself by pressing the Tilde key once again, and there is the hair & arms channel, you know what, I really think I ought to call it something like Final mask because that's what it is.
And this is what it looks like by the way, I'll go ahead and zoom out so that we can see the mask in all of its glory here. In the next exercise, we'll apply the mask to our image and we'll bring it into a new background.
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