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Masking objects against a white background

From: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Masking objects against a white background

All right, so ultimately our goal is to convert this composition right here into a kind of clock face and we are going to do that using this Clock parts.tif image right here. So I want you to turn your attention to this image for a moment and what we are going to need to do is separate out the clock face from its background and also to separate out these hands here. So this guy Nicholas Belton has done a terrific job of dismantling a clock and giving us the pieces we need in order to construct our own clock and set it to whatever time we want. But he gave us no mechanism for selecting these pieces.

Masking objects against a white background

All right, so ultimately our goal is to convert this composition right here into a kind of clock face and we are going to do that using this Clock parts.tif image right here. So I want you to turn your attention to this image for a moment and what we are going to need to do is separate out the clock face from its background and also to separate out these hands here. So this guy Nicholas Belton has done a terrific job of dismantling a clock and giving us the pieces we need in order to construct our own clock and set it to whatever time we want. But he gave us no mechanism for selecting these pieces.

So we are going to have to make our own mask. Well, because the clock is set against the white background, the mask is pretty easy to make. Now we haven't talked about masking at all in this series. We'll in the future chapter when we get to the mastery level stuff in a final portion of this mega series here, this one-on-one series. But consider this a little preview. Do not go looking for either the Quick Selection tool or the Magic Wand tool. Boo to both of those. They are not going to do us a lick of good or I should say they are not going to do us the kind of good we want to be doing here.

They not only don't deliver the results we need, but we can get the results we need much more easily. So here is what you do and this is just masking one-on-one. When you create a mask, you want the area that you are going to select to be white and the area that you don't want to select to be black just as we see it here. So white means selection, black means deselection. Bear that in mind. Now when you are working with channels in the Channel palette, if you are working with an RGB image which is very typical, then you have three channels to work with, right? You got the Red channel, you got the Green channel and you got the Blue channel. Well, who has got the most contrast? Red doesn't have much contrast to start with. Imagine, that we are trying to take one of these channels and convert it, make it into a mask.

Well, Red is not a good place to start because we have very, very little contrast between the clock face, which is very warm, and background, which is white. Whereas, just skipping forward here to Blue, we've got a fair amount of contrast between the clock face and the background and we have got as much contrast as we are going to get and we will go over this in more detail when we get to masking though, flow things down a little bit. But go to that Blue channel, drag it on to the Page icon down here at the bottom of the palette in order to duplicate that channel and there you go. Now you got to duplicate. This is a so- called Alpha channel meaning for our purposes that it's not a color-bearing channel. It doesn't contribute color to the composite image. It's just an extra channel that we can use to create a mask. I'm going to go ahead and call this new channel clock parts or something along those lines, because after all it does represent the clock parts here inside the Clock parts.tif image.

Now if we want the areas that we are going to select to be white and the areas that we don't want to select to be black, then we want the opposite effect that we are seeing on screen right now. So you will press Ctrl+I or Command+I on the Mac to invert the image. Now the background is black, because we are not going to select it and everything else is either white or light and we can make it even lighter by pressing Ctrl+L or Command+L on the Mac to bring up the Levels dialog box and then notice there is big hump right there. That represents these dark colors here inside the clock face and then these guys right there, those are the very light colors that we are seeing in the clock parts like the hands of the clock and inside the numbers and so on.

And then this spike over here on the left-hand side represents the black in the background. So we want to make the blacks a little bit darker. I'm just going to take that up to 3, that black point value and then I'm going to take this white point value all the way down to the other set of the big hump and even farther just to make sure we are getting rid of every little dust and scratch, every little snivel here inside the clock face so that the clock face is completely white. So 3 for the black point value, 12 for the white point value. So we are turning it just a ton of this image white and then we will leave the gamma value alone, Click OK.

All right, that makes the contrast too high. So if you zoom in here, you will see that we have got some wicked jagged edges going. We don't want those. So we are going to soften things a little bit using Gaussian Blur and then we are going to follow up with Levels in order to cheat the edges inward a little bit so that we select to little instead of too much. So go up to the Filter menu and choose Blur and Gaussian Blur and I'm going to enter a value of 1. That just gives us a little wiggle over. Notice that what it's doing is it's creating some grayness around the edges and we can use that grayness to move the edges back and forth. So I'll Click OK after entering a value of 1 where we formally -- this is very important. I'm going to zoom in here. Where we formally had essentially black pixels against white pixels with just the occasional gray pixel in between.

Now we have, if I press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z to redo the filter, we have black pixels separated from white pixels by a handful of gray pixels and why that's important is because I can follow it up now with another application of the Levels command by pressing Ctrl+L or Command+L on the Mac and I can actually choke this edge inward which is what I want to do by raising the black values. So notice that's moving that edge inward as I raise the black value and I'm going to raise the black value to 200 like so and we now have -- also by the way we have softer edges, more gentle smooth edges. We are also rounding off the occasional corner; I'm not too concerned with that. Then Click OK in order to accept that modification, and that's how we ended up getting the mask.

So that's how you too can go ahead and mask objects away from light background. So it's a really great technique. All right, so I'm going to go back to the RGB image, to tell you what, in the next exercise we are going to actually put all this stuff to work. We are going to use the mask to select the clock face and we are going to move the clock face into Cardinal i Tondo transformed it into place you will see, it's a wonder to behold.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

218 video lessons · 23865 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
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  1. 22m 32s
    1. Welcome to Photoshop CS4 One-on-One Advanced
      1m 43s
    2. Installing the DekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      6m 17s
    3. Resetting the function keys on a Mac
      3m 51s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 37s
    5. Setting up the CS4 color settings
      6m 4s
  2. 2h 43m
    1. Highlights, shadows, and midtones
      49s
    2. Low contrast, bad meter
      5m 57s
    3. Auto tone, contrast, and color
      8m 1s
    4. Cache levels and the Histogram palette
      7m 16s
    5. How the auto commands work
      10m 15s
    6. A first look at Levels
      6m 11s
    7. Target colors and clipping
      9m 6s
    8. Modifying input levels
      9m 44s
    9. Adjusting the gamma value
      7m 34s
    10. Previewing clipping
      7m 17s
    11. The futility of output levels
      4m 56s
    12. Channel-by-channel edits
      11m 54s
    13. When levels fail
      4m 34s
    14. A first look at Curves
      8m 46s
    15. Static Curves layer tricks
      7m 45s
    16. Dynamic Curves layer tricks
      7m 25s
    17. Correcting the composite image
      8m 30s
    18. Neutralizing a color cast
      6m 52s
    19. The Target Adjustment tool in Curves
      8m 29s
    20. Correcting an image in Lab
      10m 7s
    21. The Shadows/Highlights filter
      4m 18s
    22. Radius and tonal width
      8m 11s
  3. 1h 48m
    1. Edge-enhancement tricks
      1m 13s
    2. How sharpening works
      3m 48s
    3. The single-shot sharpeners
      4m 29s
    4. The Unsharp Mask filter
      7m 57s
    5. Understanding the Radius value
      6m 25s
    6. Gauging the best settings
      7m 47s
    7. Previewing how sharpening will print
      3m 37s
    8. Measuring and setting screen resolution
      6m 56s
    9. Tweaking the screen resolution
      4m 28s
    10. Sharpening the luminance data
      8m 23s
    11. USM vs. Smart Sharpen
      4m 23s
    12. Smart Sharpen's Remove settings
      5m 50s
    13. High-resolution sharpening
      6m 16s
    14. When to leave More Accurate off
      3m 48s
    15. When to turn More Accurate on
      4m 23s
    16. The advanced options
      7m 57s
    17. Saving Smart Sharpen settings
      4m 23s
    18. Accounting for camera shake
      7m 7s
    19. Sharpening with the High Pass filter
      9m 8s
  4. 2h 16m
    1. Why would you blur?
      1m 8s
    2. Fading after an undo
      3m 27s
    3. The "bell-shaped" Gaussian Blur
      5m 43s
    4. The linear Box Blur
      3m 6s
    5. Add Noise vs. Median
      4m 50s
    6. Despeckle vs. Dust & Scratches
      6m 31s
    7. Smart Blur vs. Surface Blur
      8m 13s
    8. The Motion Blur filter
      4m 33s
    9. Radial Blur's Spin and Zoom variations
      5m 48s
    10. Mixing filtered effects
      3m 56s
    11. The "Captain Kirk in Love" effect
      5m 4s
    12. Diffusing focus with Blur and Overlay
      8m 50s
    13. Simulating Vaseline and film grain
      8m 2s
    14. Filling a layer with a neutral color
      2m 55s
    15. Old-school contrast reduction
      3m 39s
    16. Three steps to diffused focus
      7m 36s
    17. Averaging skin tones
      9m 45s
    18. Addressing the stubborn patches
      5m 26s
    19. Combining Gaussian Blur and Average
      6m 1s
    20. Blurring surface details
      3m 2s
    21. Smoothing blemishes while matching noise
      8m 6s
    22. Reducing digital noise
      8m 47s
    23. Striking a smooth/sharpen compromise
      4m 36s
    24. Smoothing over JPEG artifacts
      7m 38s
  5. 2h 31m
    1. Independent layers of color adjustment
      1m 7s
    2. Undersea color channels
      4m 2s
    3. Inventing a Red channel with Lab
      8m 20s
    4. Mixing color channels
      6m 55s
    5. Making shadows with Levels
      7m 5s
    6. Applying small color adjustments
      6m 0s
    7. Further modifying Levels in Lab
      8m 50s
    8. Creating a dynamic fill layer
      4m 38s
    9. Brushing and blending color
      4m 42s
    10. Working with "found masks"
      7m 31s
    11. Saturation, sharpen, and crop
      8m 9s
    12. Mixing a monochromatic image
      7m 2s
    13. Masking an adjustment layer
      4m 45s
    14. Working with Opacity and blend modes
      3m 39s
    15. Adding a black-and-white adjustment
      5m 53s
    16. The Target Adjustment tool in black and white
      6m 12s
    17. Tinting a monochrome photo
      3m 19s
    18. Introducing Gradient Map
      4m 17s
    19. Adjusting both color and luminance
      5m 44s
    20. Infusing elements with different colors
      6m 22s
    21. Adjustment layers as creative tools
      4m 33s
    22. Inverting and brightening the background
      5m 14s
    23. Blurring live, editable type
      5m 43s
    24. Hue, saturation, and darkness
      6m 51s
    25. Filling type with a color adjustment
      3m 24s
    26. Using one adjustment to modify another
      3m 21s
    27. Breathing color into the title
      3m 38s
    28. The Hue/Saturation humanoid
      3m 44s
  6. 1h 48m
    1. Parametric operations
      1m 23s
    2. The power of blend modes
      6m 16s
    3. Changing the Opacity value
      5m 46s
    4. Opacity vs. Fill Opacity
      4m 37s
    5. Meet the blend modes
      6m 4s
    6. Blend mode shortcuts
      7m 8s
    7. Darken, Multiply, and the Burn modes
      6m 33s
    8. Tempering a Burn effect with Fill
      4m 43s
    9. Saving a blended state
      4m 18s
    10. Lighten, Screen, and the Dodge modes
      8m 22s
    11. Linear Burn = Add minus white
      5m 31s
    12. Overlay and the contrast modes
      6m 52s
    13. Fill Opacity takes priority
      6m 19s
    14. Difference and exclusion
      5m 21s
    15. Using difference for golden highlights
      4m 2s
    16. The composite (HSL) modes
      6m 8s
    17. The brush-only modes: Behind and Clear
      10m 31s
    18. Layer groups and the Pass Through mode
      8m 54s
  7. 1h 53m
    1. It's all about the presentation
      58s
    2. Moving a layer a specific number of pixels
      6m 59s
    3. Adding a pixel mask to a layer
      5m 48s
    4. Editing a layer mask
      7m 19s
    5. Combining layers into a clipping mask
      6m 19s
    6. Introducing the Advanced Blending options
      4m 45s
    7. Using the luminance blending sliders
      7m 26s
    8. Forcing through underlying luminance
      4m 32s
    9. Masking with a path outline
      5m 45s
    10. Refining a mask from the Masks palette
      7m 18s
    11. Creating and modifying a layer group
      3m 29s
    12. Establishing a knockout group
      5m 29s
    13. Fixing last-minute problems
      6m 23s
    14. Introducing layer comps
      6m 40s
    15. Exploring layered states
      6m 43s
    16. Deleting layers and updating comps
      6m 18s
    17. Saving a basic composition
      6m 21s
    18. Assigning and saving appearance attributes
      7m 15s
    19. Layer comps dos and don'ts
      7m 27s
  8. 1h 56m
    1. Type: The great imaging exception
      56s
    2. Establishing default formatting attributes
      4m 5s
    3. Saving formatting attributes as a preset
      8m 5s
    4. Making a point text layer
      6m 18s
    5. Editing size and leading
      6m 44s
    6. Working with vector-based text
      6m 12s
    7. Formatting area text
      4m 16s
    8. Creating a layer of area text
      3m 20s
    9. Resizing the text frame
      4m 34s
    10. Changing the anti-aliasing setting
      3m 58s
    11. Obscure but important formatting options
      6m 31s
    12. Text editing tricks and shortcuts
      8m 44s
    13. Creating a cast shadow
      6m 1s
    14. Blurred shadows and beveled text
      7m 16s
    15. Drawing a path outline
      4m 51s
    16. Creating type on a path
      6m 39s
    17. Flipping text across a circle
      3m 18s
    18. Vertical alignment with baseline shift
      4m 16s
    19. Warping text
      4m 57s
    20. Scaling your text to taste
      3m 33s
    21. Applying a custom warp
      6m 24s
    22. Creating an engraved text effect
      5m 11s
  9. 2h 17m
    1. Bending an image to fit your needs
      53s
    2. Creating a canvas texture
      6m 48s
    3. Masking objects against a white background
      5m 42s
    4. Scaling an image to fit a composition
      8m 9s
    5. Aligning one layer to fit another
      3m 51s
    6. Changing the Image Interpolation
      8m 10s
    7. Merging faces
      5m 32s
    8. Rotating the first clock hand
      7m 17s
    9. Adding hands and pasting styles
      6m 40s
    10. Series duplication in Photoshop
      4m 35s
    11. Masking objects against a black background
      6m 34s
    12. Skews and perspective distortions
      7m 57s
    13. Envelope-style warps
      9m 2s
    14. Old-school distortion filters
      8m 50s
    15. Introducing the Liquify filter
      4m 9s
    16. Reconstructing an image
      6m 55s
    17. Using the Warp tool
      5m 16s
    18. The Pucker and Bloat tools
      5m 53s
    19. Push, Turbulence, and Twirl
      6m 41s
    20. The Freeze and Thaw mask tools
      5m 45s
    21. Saving and loading a mesh file
      3m 59s
    22. Creating and applying a texture layer
      8m 30s
  10. 1h 28m
    1. Effects vs. styles
      1m 11s
    2. Of layer styles and masks
      4m 37s
    3. Everything about drop shadow
      8m 2s
    4. Adding a directional glow
      4m 39s
    5. Colorizing with Color Overlay
      5m 18s
    6. Stroke and fill opacity
      5m 48s
    7. Creating a multicolor Outer Glow
      9m 22s
    8. Introducing Bevel and Emboss
      7m 48s
    9. Contour and Texture
      4m 35s
    10. Simulating liquid reflections
      6m 28s
    11. Saving layer styles
      6m 18s
    12. Applying and appending styles
      4m 36s
    13. Saving and swapping style presets
      3m 16s
    14. The five effect helpers
      3m 47s
    15. Blending the effect before the layer
      5m 1s
    16. Colorizing a signature
      3m 30s
    17. Clipping an effect with a mask
      4m 5s
  11. 1h 50m
    1. Welcome to the digital darkroom
      1m 46s
    2. Opening Camera Raw in the Bridge
      5m 44s
    3. The Camera Raw 5 interface
      4m 39s
    4. Adjusting the white balance
      5m 0s
    5. Finessing and saving changes
      7m 55s
    6. Using the White Balance tool
      2m 43s
    7. Working with the Exposure controls
      7m 34s
    8. Straightening and cropping a raw image
      5m 53s
    9. Applying automatic exposure adjustments
      6m 6s
    10. Exposure warnings
      5m 44s
    11. Clarity, Vibrance, and Saturation
      4m 47s
    12. Using the Graduated Filter tool
      3m 33s
    13. Dodging with the Adjustment brush
      9m 24s
    14. Tone Curve adjustments
      6m 54s
    15. Using the Spot Removal tool
      2m 48s
    16. Removing noise and sharpening detail
      4m 5s
    17. Adjusting HSL values
      4m 18s
    18. Adjusting luminance, color by color
      4m 14s
    19. Black and white and split toning
      5m 16s
    20. Camera Raw tips and tricks
      7m 32s
    21. Correcting JPEG and TIFF images
      4m 42s
  12. 57s
    1. Until next time
      57s

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