New Feature: Playlist Center! Pick a topic and let our playlists guide the way—like a learning mixtape.

Start learning with our library of video tutorials taught by experts. Get started

Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals
Illustration by
Watching:

The Masks and Channels panels


From:

Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals

with Deke McClelland

Video: The Masks and Channels panels

In this exercise, I'm going to introduce you to the Channels panel and explain how it compares to the Masks panel just so that you have a sense of where you stand right from the start where masking is concerned inside Photoshop. I'm working inside an image called Toucan with swatches.psd and it's based on a photograph from the Fotolia Image Library, about which you can learn more at fotolia.com/deke. But, I've made a few modifications to the image. If you go to the Layers panel and Alt+ Click or Option+Click on the eyeball in front of the Background layer, you will see the original photographic image.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 15m 25s
    1. Welcome
      1m 12s
    2. Loading my custom dekeKeys shortcuts
      3m 45s
    3. Adjusting the color settings
      4m 29s
    4. Setting up a power workspace
      5m 59s
  2. 1h 0m
    1. The channel is the origin of masking
      1m 54s
    2. The Masks and Channels panels
      4m 48s
    3. How color channels work
      7m 7s
    4. Viewing channels in color
      3m 24s
    5. How RGB works
      4m 12s
    6. Single-channel grayscale
      5m 12s
    7. Mixing a custom "fourth" channel
      5m 15s
    8. The other three-channel mode: Lab
      5m 45s
    9. A practical application of Lab
      4m 55s
    10. The final color mode: CMYK
      7m 5s
    11. Introducing the Multichannel mode
      5m 56s
    12. Creating a unique multichannel effect
      5m 18s
  3. 44m 27s
    1. The alpha channel is home to the mask
      1m 40s
    2. The origins of the alpha channel
      3m 40s
    3. How a mask works
      7m 10s
    4. Making an alpha channel
      4m 2s
    5. Using the new channel icons
      6m 27s
    6. Saving an image with alpha channels
      4m 23s
    7. Loading a selection from a channel
      4m 7s
    8. Putting a mask into play
      3m 55s
    9. Loading a selection from a layer
      4m 27s
    10. Loading a selection from another image
      4m 36s
  4. 1h 0m
    1. The mask meets the composition
      1m 8s
    2. Viewing a mask as a rubylith overlay
      6m 13s
    3. Changing a mask's overlay color
      5m 34s
    4. Painting inside a mask
      6m 3s
    5. Cleaning up and confirming
      5m 18s
    6. Combining masks
      5m 10s
    7. Painting behind and inside a layer
      5m 27s
    8. Blending image elements
      6m 1s
    9. What to do when layers go wrong
      6m 3s
    10. Hiding layer effects with a mask
      4m 22s
    11. Introducing clipping masks
      5m 29s
    12. Unclipping and masking a shadow
      3m 50s
  5. 1h 35m
    1. The seven selection soldiers
      52s
    2. The marquee tools
      6m 31s
    3. The single-pixel tools (plus tool tricks)
      6m 48s
    4. Turning a destructive edit into a layer
      5m 34s
    5. Making shapes of specific sizes
      7m 7s
    6. The lasso tools
      5m 49s
    7. Working with the Magnetic Lasso tool
      7m 19s
    8. The Quick Selection tool
      8m 13s
    9. Combining Quick Selection and Smudge
      4m 52s
    10. The Magic Wand and the Tolerance value
      6m 55s
    11. Contiguous and Anti-aliased selections
      6m 58s
    12. Making a good selection with the Magic Wand
      6m 34s
    13. Selecting and replacing a background
      6m 55s
    14. Resolving edges with layer effects
      7m 52s
    15. Adding lines of brilliant gold type
      7m 28s
  6. 1h 11m
    1. Selections reign supreme
      55s
    2. Introducing "selection calculations"
      4m 19s
    3. Combining two different tools
      7m 29s
    4. Selections and transparency masks
      5m 17s
    5. Selecting an eye
      7m 1s
    6. Masking and blending a texture into skin
      5m 1s
    7. Painting a texture into an eye
      4m 19s
    8. Combining layers, masks, channels, and paths
      4m 54s
    9. Moving selection outlines vs. selected pixels
      5m 36s
    10. Transforming and warping a selection outline
      7m 45s
    11. Pasting an image inside a selection
      7m 26s
    12. Adding volumetric shadows and highlights
      6m 54s
    13. Converting an image into a mask
      4m 42s
  7. 1h 5m
    1. The best selection tools are commands
      1m 5s
    2. Introducing the Color Range command
      5m 59s
    3. Working in the Color Range dialog box
      7m 7s
    4. Primary colors and luminance ranges
      4m 12s
    5. A terrific use for Color Range
      4m 57s
    6. Introducing the Quick Mask mode
      7m 43s
    7. Moving a selection into a new background
      5m 43s
    8. Smoothing the mask, recreating the corners
      8m 43s
    9. Integrating foreground and background
      4m 44s
    10. Creating a cast shadow from a layer
      2m 51s
    11. Releasing and masking layer effects
      3m 11s
    12. Creating a synthetic rainbow effect
      4m 30s
    13. Masking and compositing your rainbow
      4m 46s
  8. 1h 17m
    1. The ultimate in masking automation
      1m 6s
    2. Introducing the Refine Mask command
      6m 58s
    3. Automated edge detection
      8m 23s
    4. Turning garbage into gold
      6m 19s
    5. Starting with an accurate selection
      7m 11s
    6. Selection outline in, layer mask out
      7m 48s
    7. Matching a scene with Smart Filters
      4m 29s
    8. Cooling a face, reflecting inside eyes
      4m 45s
    9. Creating a layer of ghoulish skin
      4m 28s
    10. Adding dark circles around the eyes
      5m 20s
    11. Creating a fake blood effect
      5m 38s
    12. Establishing trails of blood
      7m 40s
    13. Integrating the blood into the scene
      7m 3s
  9. 1h 48m
    1. Using the image to select itself
      1m 37s
    2. Choosing the ideal base channel
      5m 7s
    3. Converting a channel into a mask
      6m 34s
    4. Painting with the Overlay mode
      7m 27s
    5. Painting with the Soft Light mode
      5m 55s
    6. Mask, composite, refine, and blend
      4m 40s
    7. Creating a more aggressive mask
      7m 2s
    8. Blending differently masked layers
      7m 0s
    9. Creating a hair-only mask
      6m 0s
    10. Using history to regain a lost mask
      3m 42s
    11. Separating flesh tones from hair
      8m 28s
    12. Adjusting a model's color temperature
      4m 30s
    13. Introducing the Calculations command
      7m 22s
    14. Extracting a mask from a Smart Object
      6m 34s
    15. Integrating a bird into a new sky
      5m 40s
    16. Creating synthetic rays of light
      6m 4s
    17. Masking and compositing light
      7m 39s
    18. Introducing a brilliant light source
      7m 5s
  10. 1h 34m
    1. The synthesis of masking and compositing
      1m 36s
    2. White reveals, black conceals
      6m 45s
    3. Layer masking tips and tricks
      5m 8s
    4. Generating a layer mask with Color Range
      5m 38s
    5. The Masks panel's bad options
      5m 18s
    6. The Masks panel's good options
      3m 50s
    7. Creating and feathering a vector mask
      3m 42s
    8. Combining pixel and vector masks
      3m 50s
    9. Working with path outlines
      7m 10s
    10. Combining paths into a single vector mask
      7m 52s
    11. Sharpening detail, reducing color noise
      4m 27s
    12. Recreating missing details
      8m 49s
    13. Masking glass
      5m 50s
    14. Refining a jagged Magic Wand mask
      5m 53s
    15. Masking multiple layers at one time
      5m 15s
    16. Establishing a knockout layer
      6m 6s
    17. Clipping and compositing tricks
      7m 37s
  11. 1m 17s
    1. Next steps
      1m 17s

Watch this entire course now—plus get access to every course in the library. Each course includes high-quality videos taught by expert instructors.

Become a member
please wait ...
Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals
11h 35m Intermediate Nov 04, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals is the introductory installment of Deke McClelland's four-part series on making photorealistic compositions in Photoshop. The course shows how to make selections, refine the selections with masks, and then combine them in new ways, using layer effects, blend modes, and other techniques to create a single seamless piece of artwork. Deke introduces the Channels panel and the alpha channel, the key to masking and transparency in Photoshop; reviews the selection tools, including the Color Range tool , Quick Mask mode, and the Refine Edge command; and shows how to blend masked images so they interact naturally.

Topics include:
  • Setting up a workspace
  • Working with the seven key selection tools
  • Using the Color Range command
  • Automating masking
  • Matching a scene with Smart Filters
  • Choosing the ideal base channel
  • Converting a channel to a mask
  • Painting with the Overlay and Soft Light modes
  • Using History to regain a lost mask
  • Working with the Calculations command
  • Extracting a mask from a Smart Object
  • Masking and compositing light
  • Masking with black and white
  • Working with path outlines
  • Combining pixel and vector masks
  • Creating and feathering a vector mask
Subjects:
Design Masking + Compositing
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Deke McClelland

The Masks and Channels panels

In this exercise, I'm going to introduce you to the Channels panel and explain how it compares to the Masks panel just so that you have a sense of where you stand right from the start where masking is concerned inside Photoshop. I'm working inside an image called Toucan with swatches.psd and it's based on a photograph from the Fotolia Image Library, about which you can learn more at fotolia.com/deke. But, I've made a few modifications to the image. If you go to the Layers panel and Alt+ Click or Option+Click on the eyeball in front of the Background layer, you will see the original photographic image.

Now, it's a very colorful image indeed. But, my problem from the vantage point of trying to teach you how channels work is that there's not much contribution from the Blue channel inside this RGB image. So I went ahead and added the next layer up which is a gradient layer, set inside of a layer Mask. That goes ahead and re-colors the background behind the bird by infusing some blues and violets into the image. Then I also have this next layer up which provides us with a few representative color swatches.

Now, I mentioned this just so that you have a sense of how this composition is put together. I also want you to note that this is an example of masking. If I Alt+Click or Option+Click on the layer Mask thumbnail associated with the grad layer, then I'll view that layer Mask by itself. Any portion of the layer Mask that appears white allows the gradient to show through to the background. Any portion that appears black makes that gradient transparent. So what you'll sometimes hear people say is where masks are concerned, white reveals and black conceals.

I also have a Vector Mask associated with the Swatches layer. I'll go ahead, and click on the layer thumbnail in order to switch back to the RGB view of the image. Notice if I click on this Vector Mask thumbnail, I'll see the Vector Mask represented right there inside the image. Its contribution is that it goes ahead and clips away that small corner of the swatch, so it appears behind the toucan's bill. All right! So while all of this is very well and good, what does it have to do with the inherent difference between the Channels panel and the Masks panel? Well, let me explain.

I'll go ahead and click on the Background layer to make it active, and then I'll go up to the Window menu and I'll choose what one would presume to be the primary panel where masking is concerned inside Photoshop. I mean after all, if the Layers panel provides access to layers inside of an image, then one would naturally assume that the Masks panel provides access to masks. If you can hear the slight chuckle in my voice, it's because nothing could be farther from the truth. I'll go ahead and choose Masks, and you'll see that currently, even though there are many masks inside this image, we're not seeing a single one of them and every option inside the Masks panel is dimmed.

I'm going to go ahead and collapse the Color panel, so I have a little more room to work. Now, the problem is that I have the background image selected. We're ready to select one of these other layers. For example, I'll go ahead and click on the grad layer to make it active. It has a layer Mask. I'm still told that no mask is selected. That's because I haven't clicked on the layer Mask thumbnail. As soon as I do, then all of the options inside the Masks panel light up. And therein lies the function of the Masks panel, it's what I call a Facilitation panel because its primary contribution is to allow you to do things that you can do elsewhere inside the program.

You can do those things specifically to layer Masks and Vector Masks as well. But, that's it! Otherwise, the panel has no purpose. I'm going to go ahead, and hide the Masks panel in order to collapse it. Now, I'm not saying it's a bad panel far from it, and we'll spend some time with it when we discuss layer Masks in the later chapter. But, in the meantime, command central where masking is concerned in Photoshop is not the Masks panel, but rather it's the Channels panel. Now notice, if you've loaded my dekeKey shortcuts, I've gone ahead and assigned a shortcut to the Channels panel, and here's my reasoning.

The layers and Channels panels live side-by-side. Adobe has already assigned a shortcut to the Layers panel of F7, so I went ahead and created a shortcut of Alt+F7 or Option+F7 on the Mac, so that you can easily switch back and forth between these two panels. Now, notice here inside the Channels panel, I see the layer Mask for the active layer. I also see this Alpha Channel mask that I've created in advance and then finally, I see the full color composite RGB image with each one of its component color bearing channels.

I'll explain what I mean by all that in the very next exercise.

There are currently no FAQs about Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals.

 
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.
Upgrade now


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

join now Upgrade now

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Notes cannot be added for locked videos.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.