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Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques
Illustration by John Hersey

Mastering Calculations


From:

Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques

with Deke McClelland

Video: Mastering Calculations

Our final method for selecting a complex foreground image set against a busy background is to take multiple stabs at the image, poor image using the Calculations command. So for example, we might first try to select the green regions inside of the macaw here using one calculation and then we will select the red area this red tuft using another calculation, and then we will merge those two calculations using a third calculation, and then we will approach the beak using a fourth calculation and then we will try to merge that with the other two using a fifth calculation and so on and so on.
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  1. 2h 13m
    1. The Odyssey Continues
      2m 39s
    2. Mapping one image onto another
      7m 12s
    3. Making a custom contrast mode
      7m 10s
    4. Luminance blending
      8m 40s
    5. Forcing the visibility of underlying layers
      4m 4s
    6. Adjusting the appearance of clipped layers
      4m 34s
    7. Selecting a Blend If channel
      6m 12s
    8. Enhancing highlights by hiding them
      5m 9s
    9. Smart Object first, layer mask second
      7m 22s
    10. The Fill Opacity Eight
      4m 30s
    11. Blending Smart Filters
      7m 24s
    12. Cleaning up edges
      7m 39s
    13. More fun with luminance blending
      6m 22s
    14. A first peek at the Calculations command
      12m 11s
    15. Masking a softly focused model
      11m 46s
    16. Moving layers and masks between images
      7m 35s
    17. Matching colors
      9m 13s
    18. Building transitional blended layers
      6m 33s
    19. Restoring normal colors
      6m 50s
  2. 2h 33m
    1. Layer masks, clipping masks, and knockouts
      1m 20s
    2. Rotating and stretching
      7m 54s
    3. A jet of motion blur
      9m 18s
    4. Keyboard tricks
      5m 4s
    5. Merging sky and landscape
      6m 3s
    6. Masking an adjustment layer
      6m 37s
    7. Creating two windows into an image
      7m 42s
    8. Whitening teeth and adding other highlights
      3m 46s
    9. Mapping a texture onto an image
      4m 1s
    10. Isolating a texture with a layer mask
      6m 44s
    11. Welcome to the glass composition
      3m 18s
    12. Balancing shadows and highlights
      5m 51s
    13. Masking the glass
      7m 24s
    14. Masking the text
      9m 23s
    15. Adding and blending the goldfish
      8m 45s
    16. Assembling the perfect group photo
      5m 12s
    17. Aligning photographs automatically
      5m 26s
    18. Masking in each person's best shot
      5m 18s
    19. Masking densely packed people
      6m 17s
    20. Crafting the perfect final poster
      5m 16s
    21. From the improbable to the impossible
      1m 56s
    22. The fantastical "world of clones" effect
      10m 0s
    23. Upsampling and blurring a background
      8m 39s
    24. Adding a knockout mask
      8m 3s
    25. Choking edges with Gaussian Blur and Levels
      3m 46s
  3. 2h 27m
    1. The corrective power of masking
      1m 6s
    2. The amazing luminance mask
      7m 22s
    3. Brightening and neutralizing the eyes
      8m 22s
    4. Adjusting a nondestructive composition
      5m 52s
    5. Creating a corrective mask
      6m 4s
    6. Averaging away irregular flesh tones
      3m 52s
    7. Modifying specific colors
      7m 46s
    8. Initiating the color mask
      6m 0s
    9. Refining the color mask
      6m 40s
    10. Adjusting the edges around fabric
      7m 56s
    11. Perfecting hair
      9m 35s
    12. Sharpening with a High Pass layer
      10m 12s
    13. The also-amazing density mask
      4m 48s
    14. Adjusting the knockout depth
      8m 48s
    15. Fashioning a depth map
      6m 12s
    16. Invoking a depth mask from Lens Blur
      6m 38s
    17. The perfect depth-of-field effect
      6m 25s
    18. Sharpening an archival photograph
      7m 7s
    19. Creating an edge mask
      8m 29s
    20. Making a High Pass sandwich
      7m 46s
    21. Applying the edge mask
      6m 2s
    22. Customizing your sharpening effect
      4m 6s
  4. 2h 3m
    1. Channel Mixer, I am your father!
      1m 39s
    2. Three ways to gray
      7m 49s
    3. Meet the Channel Mixer
      8m 26s
    4. Mixing a custom black-and-white image
      7m 10s
    5. Creating a professional-level sepia tone
      5m 36s
    6. Employing the Black & White command
      8m 1s
    7. Extreme channel mixing
      4m 50s
    8. The infrared photography effect
      6m 43s
    9. Taking shadows to the brink of black
      3m 56s
    10. Elevating highlights, leeching saturation
      5m 58s
    11. Deepening a black-and-white sky
      5m 49s
    12. Infusing luminance levels with color
      5m 44s
    13. Creating an opposing colorization scheme
      4m 58s
    14. Bolstering contrast with the Green channel
      5m 37s
    15. A tiny improvement to a terrific technique
      7m 39s
    16. The simple (but wrong) approach to red-eye correction
      6m 39s
    17. Channel-mixing red pupils
      9m 18s
    18. The expert approach to red-eye correction
      5m 20s
    19. Fixing problem coronas (pupil edges)
      8m 9s
    20. Making pupils match
      4m 8s
  5. 2h 33m
    1. Chops are dead; long live maskops
      1m 37s
    2. The Calculations command
      8m 16s
    3. Blue Screen blending
      7m 40s
    4. Refining the Blue Screen mask
      5m 53s
    5. Brushing away color fringing
      7m 24s
    6. Locking the transparency of a layer
      6m 22s
    7. Nondestructive layer painting
      7m 36s
    8. How the Add blend mode works
      8m 40s
    9. How the Subtract blend mode works
      6m 43s
    10. Focus, noise, and other masking challenges
      5m 33s
    11. The Add mode in action
      7m 51s
    12. The Subtract mode in action
      8m 25s
    13. Comparing two channels with Difference
      5m 24s
    14. Enhancing the contrast with Curves
      9m 11s
    15. Gathering details with Apply Image
      9m 43s
    16. Dodge highlights, burn shadows
      6m 6s
    17. Dodge and Burn in action
      8m 24s
    18. Painting in the scalp
      10m 1s
    19. Painting away the face and chin
      4m 53s
    20. Compositing complementary images
      4m 13s
    21. Multiply, Minimum, Blur, and Apply Image
      6m 40s
    22. Crafting the final composition
      7m 7s
  6. 1h 57m
    1. Mark of the Pen tool
      1m 35s
    2. The big paths project overview
      6m 51s
    3. How to make a path
      8m 25s
    4. Corner points and freeform polygons
      8m 6s
    5. Editing paths with the arrow tools
      5m 2s
    6. Adding and deleting endpoints
      5m 15s
    7. Adding and deleting interior points
      6m 6s
    8. Converting a path to a selection
      3m 35s
    9. Converting a path to a mask
      6m 38s
    10. Smooth points and control handles
      8m 57s
    11. Making cusp points
      6m 0s
    12. Combining paths in a vector mask
      7m 55s
    13. Turning a path into a shape layer
      8m 57s
    14. Combining paths to make a layer mask
      7m 52s
    15. Mixing layer and vector masks
      10m 14s
    16. Editing character outlines as paths
      8m 39s
    17. Using the Convert Point tool
      7m 8s
  7. 3h 17m
    1. Where there's a will, there's a way
      1m 18s
    2. Masking natural cast shadows
      4m 10s
    3. Applying the cast show
      4m 2s
    4. Creating a difference mask
      3m 7s
    5. Applying an arbitrary map
      3m 50s
    6. Making the flesh mask
      7m 17s
    7. Roughing in an object mask
      6m 49s
    8. Drawing missing details with the Lasso tool
      4m 7s
    9. Combining flesh and object masks
      3m 53s
    10. Amplifying the cast shadow
      4m 10s
    11. Selectively choking edges
      3m 58s
    12. Power duplication in Photoshop
      7m 9s
    13. Masking blond hair
      5m 48s
    14. Using Levels to mask iterations
      3m 14s
    15. Drawing an iteration boundary
      4m 55s
    16. Merging the best of two Levels iterations
      4m 4s
    17. More fun with Dodge and Burn
      6m 14s
    18. Fixing edges with the Pen and Stamp tools
      7m 29s
    19. Pulling from another file with Apply Image
      4m 52s
    20. Blending clipped layers independently
      5m 43s
    21. Building the flame mask
      9m 22s
    22. Amplifying the flame
      3m 53s
    23. Masking an image against a busy background
      5m 15s
    24. The Freeform and Magnetic Pen tools
      6m 52s
    25. Masking with arbitrary maps
      9m 32s
    26. A more deliberate approach to arb maps
      10m 51s
    27. Combining arb maps with paths
      9m 28s
    28. Masking with the help of the History brush
      11m 38s
    29. Creating a High Pass mask
      7m 25s
    30. Coloring in the outlines
      8m 31s
    31. Mastering Calculations
      7m 29s
    32. Subtracting and merging the beak
      11m 6s
  8. 1h 33m
    1. The meaning of bit depth (and why you care)
      2m 50s
    2. Scanning line art in 8-bit and 16-bit
      5m 9s
    3. Measuring the 16-bit difference
      8m 9s
    4. Correcting 8-bit images in the 16-bit space
      9m 31s
    5. Opening a raw image directly in 16-bit
      6m 13s
    6. Editing in Camera Raw, opening in 16-bit
      8m 22s
    7. 16-Bit/channel vs. 32-bit/channel (HDR)
      8m 18s
    8. Working with auto-bracketed photographs
      5m 6s
    9. Using the Merge to HDR command
      6m 0s
    10. Adjusting the HDR preview
      6m 0s
    11. Building a 32-bit sky mask
      6m 29s
    12. Properly exposing land and sky
      4m 25s
    13. Modifying a layer mask in 32-bit
      4m 56s
    14. Converting to and correcting in 16-bit Lab
      12m 7s
  9. 2h 8m
    1. Photoshop flirts with the third dimension
      1m 13s
    2. The displacement map
      8m 24s
    3. Making custom waves
      7m 14s
    4. Creating a Gaussian distribution
      4m 32s
    5. Using a two-channel displacement map
      6m 28s
    6. Creating a rustic edge effect
      8m 21s
    7. Distorting and shading with a DMap
      6m 34s
    8. Moonlight reflecting off water
      8m 48s
    9. Mapping the reflection onto the water
      7m 7s
    10. Dipping the moon into the water
      6m 18s
    11. Turning flesh into stone
      7m 55s
    12. Wrapping the stone around the face
      7m 27s
    13. Softening a displacement map
      8m 5s
    14. Making a repeating watermark pattern
      9m 22s
    15. 3D embossing with Lighting Effects
      10m 48s
    16. The amazing credit card type effect
      6m 56s
    17. Lightening the credit card letters
      6m 16s
    18. Wrapping the background around the text
      6m 27s
  10. 1m 43s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 43s

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Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques
20h 48m Advanced Nov 21, 2007

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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."

Topics include:
  • Distorting and shading with a DMap
  • Understanding bits and channels
  • Creating paths with the Pen tool
  • Using blend modes and the Dodge and Burn feature
  • Understanding channel mixing
  • Using layer masks, clipping masks, and knockouts
  • Applying Smart Filters
Subjects:
Design Photography Masking + Compositing
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Deke McClelland

Mastering Calculations

Our final method for selecting a complex foreground image set against a busy background is to take multiple stabs at the image, poor image using the Calculations command. So for example, we might first try to select the green regions inside of the macaw here using one calculation and then we will select the red area this red tuft using another calculation, and then we will merge those two calculations using a third calculation, and then we will approach the beak using a fourth calculation and then we will try to merge that with the other two using a fifth calculation and so on and so on.

So basically you might end up applying a dozen calculations to a single image in order to select it. Now it does take a some more reasoning skills. You have to gain some comfort with the Calculations command, but as you will see it is the most automated approach, and it also tends to deliver better results than High Pass, because you are asking Photoshop to do the work for you instead of making the decision on your own. So instead of going brain dead like with and High Pass and laborious like with High Pass you are going intelligent using Calculations and you are saving yourself some time and effort and maybe making a better mask as a result. But you've got to be able to reason your way through it. Now it's not rocket science. And I am just going to ask you to use three different blend modes here over the course of next couple of exercises.

So here I am, I am working inside of Military macaw.jpg. It's found inside of the 16 Tough Stuff folder. We are back to the original military macaw. It doesn't alpha channels or any paths. And the reason is that we are going to be filling this image up with new channels. As I said, let's start with the green, that's the best place to start because he has got so much green. After all he or she I don't really know the gender of this animal. So let's check out the channels, control one red, fine. It's kind of the blend channel, although it's bright where the tuft is concerned and obviously it's bright where the white area is concerned, but not a lot of contrast elsewhere.

And here is green, lots of contrast between the green of the animal and the background and lots of contrast overall. Then of course blue which is very dark inside of the beast, and I am not sure if you can call a bird a beast. But still, never call him a fish, that's where I draw the line. Now I think we have got the most contrast between green and blue. So the most difference between those channels where the green portion of the animal is concerned so that should make you think difference mask, right? Because the difference mask is going to find the areas of greatest difference.

So let's take advantage of that. I will go ahead and press Ctrl+~ or Command+~ in order to return to the RGB composite image. Let's go up to the Image menu, choose the Calculations command. And I am going to go ahead and change the first channel to green. Your image should of course be Military macaw in both, Source 1 or Source 2 layers background, because that's all we get to work here. Channel one should be green, channel two should be blue and Blend mode should be difference way down here, La Difference. We will get this effect right here which looks great. It's the green of the bird against the black background. We have turned the green of the bird white and everything else, everything that's not green is basically turned black on this, which is awesome. So go ahead and click OK in order to accept that new alpha channel and you can confirm that you have got a new alpha channel by going down here to the bottom Channels palette.

Let's call this green stuff or something along those lines, because it's the green stuff in the bird. Let's press Ctrl+L for the Levels command, Command+L on the Mac because after all we need to increase the contrast and I am going to make the black point something 20, it looks pretty good and let's make the white point something like 90 actually. Let's take it down pretty light. I think this looks very nice. And we've made the area inside the green portion of the bird very bright indeed. We have really highlighted it. It was very easy to select using Calculations. Let's click OK.

Next door to the green portion of the bird is the red tuft right there. So moving counter-clockwise around the bird once again. There is the red tuft. Let's go ahead and try to select it. We are still going to stick with a difference mask I think, because in a Red channel we have got a light tuft and in both the Green channel and the Blue channel, we have a dark tuft. So we should be able to use Red along with either Green or Blue in order to get a nice difference mask, in order to isolate that redness. So let's go back to the RGB image, go up to the Image menu, choose Calculations, it probably will go ahead and show you your last applied settings. Go ahead and change the Source 1 channel to Red and then we've got the Source 2 channel set to Blue. Let's try just for the heck of it. Let's try Green and see how, that looks that's nice.

We only have the tuft selected this time. That's great. Blending should be difference of course. Opacity 100%. All the check boxes are off except Preview. Go ahead and click OK in order to accept that new channel. Let's go ahead and name it red stuff of course and let's go ahead and increase the levels as well by pressing Ctrl+L for the Levels command. That's Command+L on a Mac. I might as well try 90 again. Let's see how that works. That works pretty darn good. We've got a very bright tuft. And I am going to take the black up to like 25 this time around. The exact values aren't all that important and I would just say mess around with until you get a very bright tuft like this. But if you want to follow along with me, this is what I have done 25 and 90.

Click OK and now we need to combine green stuff with red stuff in order to select as much of the bird as possible. So I am going to select Green Stuff alpha channel there. I am going to go up to the Image menu. I am going to choose Calculations yet again, and this time when we are combing two masks we each other, you know the mode. First of all we want to set one channel to Green Stuff, the other channel to Red Stuff. The mode we want to apply ain't Difference, although it doesn't half bad, but what we really want is green. Green is the mask combiner, and look what we get.

Nice, nice bird. Click OK in order to accept that. Grab your Dodge tool friends, make sure that Range is set to Highlights and let's merge these two guys together. So, the seam that is being created here, we want to get rid of the seam. I might as well just go ahead and use Lasso tool. Let's check here. What is this? Is this in or out of the tuft? Let's press Ctrl+~, Command+~ on the Mac. That's inside the bird. All right, let's go back. I think we are working on the sixth channel now. So Ctrl+6 or Command+6 on a Mac and I am going to Alt click round this region to select it. I just want to make sure that we are doing a good job here.

And grab all this garbage. And this area too, go ahead and select this and it's I and stuff like that and fill that with white by pressing Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete. Now we are doing pretty good. We have some massive horrible posterization down here that we can deal with later. We have got a very nicely selected head region. I am going to add to that selection a little bit and press Alt+Backspace again. But the bill, what do we do about the bill? I mean check it out. Here is Red channel, here is the Green channel, here is the Blue channel. It could be the exact same bill, it's just getting darker and darker, but certainly we don't have difference to work with. We can't say wow! We've got light bill in one channel and a dark bill on the other channel. So we are going to have to work with a different calculation this time. I will show you that calculation in the next exercise.

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