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

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Video: Perfecting hair

In this exercise, we are going to perfect the transitions between the hair and the newly yellow blouse inside of this image and this image by the way is called Ongoing hair problems.psd found inside of the 12 Specialty folder. As usual where hair is concerned, it's going to turn out to be a little bit easier than we thought and it's down right anticlimactic quite frankly when approached properly, as we will approach it of course. Now, we do have a job ahead of us because we have got not only her brunette hair, the natural color of her hair, but we also have a lot of leftover crimson inside of her hair, and then we have these areas of intense yellow where the hair has been converted over yellow along with the blouse. We want where it possible the hair to look brunette all the way around.
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  1. 2h 12m
    1. The Odyssey Continues
      2m 39s
    2. Mapping one image onto another
      7m 12s
    3. Making a custom contrast mode
      7m 9s
    4. Luminance blending
      8m 39s
    5. Forcing the visibility of underlying layers
      4m 3s
    6. Adjusting the appearance of clipped layers
      4m 33s
    7. Selecting a Blend If channel
      6m 11s
    8. Enhancing highlights by hiding them
      5m 8s
    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 38s
    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 34s
    17. Matching colors
      9m 12s
    18. Building transitional blended layers
      6m 33s
    19. Restoring normal colors
      6m 49s
  2. 2h 32m
    1. Layer masks, clipping masks, and knockouts
      1m 20s
    2. Rotating and stretching
      7m 54s
    3. A jet of motion blur
      9m 17s
    4. Keyboard tricks
      5m 4s
    5. Merging sky and landscape
      6m 2s
    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 0s
    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 44s
    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 15s
    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 26m
    1. The corrective power of masking
      1m 6s
    2. The amazing luminance mask
      7m 21s
    3. Brightening and neutralizing the eyes
      8m 21s
    4. Adjusting a nondestructive composition
      5m 52s
    5. Creating a corrective mask
      6m 3s
    6. Averaging away irregular flesh tones
      3m 52s
    7. Modifying specific colors
      7m 46s
    8. Initiating the color mask
      5m 59s
    9. Refining the color mask
      6m 39s
    10. Adjusting the edges around fabric
      7m 55s
    11. Perfecting hair
      9m 34s
    12. Sharpening with a High Pass layer
      10m 12s
    13. The also-amazing density mask
      4m 47s
    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 45s
    21. Applying the edge mask
      6m 1s
    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 48s
    3. Meet the Channel Mixer
      8m 26s
    4. Mixing a custom black-and-white image
      7m 9s
    5. Creating a professional-level sepia tone
      5m 36s
    6. Employing the Black & White command
      8m 0s
    7. Extreme channel mixing
      4m 50s
    8. The infrared photography effect
      6m 42s
    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 43s
    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 38s
    16. The simple (but wrong) approach to red-eye correction
      6m 39s
    17. Channel-mixing red pupils
      9m 17s
    18. The expert approach to red-eye correction
      5m 20s
    19. Fixing problem coronas (pupil edges)
      8m 8s
    20. Making pupils match
      4m 7s
  5. 2h 33m
    1. Chops are dead; long live maskops
      1m 36s
    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 21s
    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 32s
    11. The Add mode in action
      7m 51s
    12. The Subtract mode in action
      8m 24s
    13. Comparing two channels with Difference
      5m 23s
    14. Enhancing the contrast with Curves
      9m 10s
    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 0s
    19. Painting away the face and chin
      4m 52s
    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 34s
    2. The big paths project overview
      6m 51s
    3. How to make a path
      8m 24s
    4. Corner points and freeform polygons
      8m 6s
    5. Editing paths with the arrow tools
      5m 2s
    6. Adding and deleting endpoints
      5m 14s
    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
      5m 59s
    12. Combining paths in a vector mask
      7m 54s
    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 9s
    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 16s
    7. Roughing in an object mask
      6m 48s
    8. Drawing missing details with the Lasso tool
      4m 7s
    9. Combining flesh and object masks
      3m 52s
    10. Amplifying the cast shadow
      4m 10s
    11. Selectively choking edges
      3m 58s
    12. Power duplication in Photoshop
      7m 8s
    13. Masking blond hair
      5m 48s
    14. Using Levels to mask iterations
      3m 14s
    15. Drawing an iteration boundary
      4m 54s
    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 28s
    19. Pulling from another file with Apply Image
      4m 52s
    20. Blending clipped layers independently
      5m 42s
    21. Building the flame mask
      9m 21s
    22. Amplifying the flame
      3m 52s
    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 24s
    30. Coloring in the outlines
      8m 31s
    31. Mastering Calculations
      7m 28s
    32. Subtracting and merging the beak
      11m 5s
  8. 1h 33m
    1. The meaning of bit depth (and why you care)
      2m 49s
    2. Scanning line art in 8-bit and 16-bit
      5m 8s
    3. Measuring the 16-bit difference
      8m 8s
    4. Correcting 8-bit images in the 16-bit space
      9m 31s
    5. Opening a raw image directly in 16-bit
      6m 12s
    6. Editing in Camera Raw, opening in 16-bit
      8m 21s
    7. 16-Bit/channel vs. 32-bit/channel (HDR)
      8m 17s
    8. Working with auto-bracketed photographs
      5m 6s
    9. Using the Merge to HDR command
      5m 59s
    10. Adjusting the HDR preview
      6m 0s
    11. Building a 32-bit sky mask
      6m 29s
    12. Properly exposing land and sky
      4m 24s
    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 31s
    5. Using a two-channel displacement map
      6m 27s
    6. Creating a rustic edge effect
      8m 21s
    7. Distorting and shading with a DMap
      6m 33s
    8. Moonlight reflecting off water
      8m 48s
    9. Mapping the reflection onto the water
      7m 3s
    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 4s
    14. Making a repeating watermark pattern
      9m 21s
    15. 3D embossing with Lighting Effects
      10m 47s
    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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Watch the Online Video Course 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
Design Photography
Deke McClelland

Perfecting hair

In this exercise, we are going to perfect the transitions between the hair and the newly yellow blouse inside of this image and this image by the way is called Ongoing hair problems.psd found inside of the 12 Specialty folder. As usual where hair is concerned, it's going to turn out to be a little bit easier than we thought and it's down right anticlimactic quite frankly when approached properly, as we will approach it of course. Now, we do have a job ahead of us because we have got not only her brunette hair, the natural color of her hair, but we also have a lot of leftover crimson inside of her hair, and then we have these areas of intense yellow where the hair has been converted over yellow along with the blouse. We want where it possible the hair to look brunette all the way around.

Now, we are going to have a little bit of residual red and a little bit of newly yellowed pixels here and there, but it will actually look organic to the image. So here is what we are going to do. I want you to start by getting the Lasso tool, so we are going to define the area that we want to work with generally, using the polygonal lasso as usual. I want you to turn the Anti-alias check-box off in order to generate nice jagged transitions because we are going to be copying part of one channel and bringing it over into the layer mask. Make sure the Feather value is set to 0 as well.

If you have a selection active as I do, I still have this area of the shoulder selected, then press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac in order to deselect it. Then, I want you to do as follows here. I want to go ahead and select the region that I am about to show you. So the easiest thing is to just show you as I do it. I am Alt+Clicking or Option+Clicking with the Lasso tool. So I have the Alt or Option key down the entire time. I am clicking to define the selection. I am going to come down here into this good region of this hair and stop shy of the bad region like so. So I am just generally defining the portion of the hair that needs work, is essentially what's going on.

I am going to select these red hairs as well. Notice, this region of hair is red. So I am going to select it as well, and then I am going to come down into this hair over into the yellow zone, over there back like so. Then, down along this hair into the yellow region. Actually, I want to make sure that I select that yellow region of hair there and now, I can be fairly lose. So I will just go ahead and go down the body until I get back to the original starting point there, and now I will release the Alt key or the Option key in order to complete the selection outline.

So you can see I have selected well down into this area, so that I have every bit of yellowise hair down toward the lower portion of the image. So this selection outline represents our problem hairs. I am now going to turn off the adjustment layer. I am going to click on the background layer to make it active. I will go to the Channels palette and I am going to click on the Red channel because it contains the best definitions between the hair and its formerly crimson background. The idea is that I do want the hairs to be black and the background to be white, and the Red channel as closest, is essentially what it comes down to.

Now, I will press Ctrl+C or Command+C on the Mac to copy that selection to the Clipboard. Go back to the RGB image, go to the Layers palette, turn on the adjustment layer, click on the Layer mask. So a lot of little micro steps here. Now, what you would like to be able to do, since the layer mask is active, you'd figure you can just paste it right into there by pressing Ctrl+V or Command+V on the Mac. You are going to paste an independent layer if you do that. So you don't want that. Go ahead and Undo that modification. Here is what you have to do instead, Alt+Click or Option+ Click on that layer mask to isolate it from the rest of the image. Now, press Ctrl+V or Command+V in order to paste the selection into place.

So we have got the hairs in place, better versions of the hairs as you will see. Press Ctrl+H or Command+H in order to hide that selection outline, so that you can better see what you are doing. Now, Alt+Click or Option+Click on the layer mask icon to return to the composite image, and you can see that things are already actually a lot better. This was before the paste, and this is after the paste. So we have some work to do, a little more work to do, but not all that much. So now, that we are still working inside the layer mask, notice that it's active here, and we still have our selection outline intact. Go ahead and press Ctrl+L or Command+L on the Mac in order to enter the Levels dialog box. I am going to take the White point down to 190, and notice at that point, that we lose those weird red transitions that we were seeing before inside of the blouse.

So this is before I applied Levels. A bunch of pink going on inside that yellow, and this is after I set that White point down to 190. This will just be a matter of trial and error on your part of course. You would just drag this down until you get a nice blend between no red inside of the shirt and some red leftover inside of the hair. So 190 pretty well does it. Now, we have to boost up the blackness of the areas inside the hair a little bit. So I am going to take the Black point value up to about 50. So we get this kind of transition right there, and things are looking pretty darn good. I will now click OK in order to accept that modification. So again, that's 50 for the Black point, 190 for the White point, leave the Gamma value alone. Go ahead and click OK to accept that modification.

Now, we need to paint in some adjustments using an Overlay Brush. So press the B key in order to switch to the Paintbrush tool. Press Shift+Alt+O or Shift+Option+O on the Mac in order to switch to the Overlay mode. I am going to increase the size of my brush a little bit. Make sure you are working with a soft brush, and I am going to reduce the Opacity to 70% by pressing the 7 key and you can see that the Opacity value is dropped up here in the Options Bar. Now, I am going to paint up like so and that pretty much reestablishes the yellows between these two ponytails of hair right there. I am also going to paint along this side of the hair a little bit. I will paint a little right there, and maybe a couple of clicks of paint in this region.

Now, if I click up in this region, I am afraid that I am going to remove too much red. Let's try that again. See if I paint along this region instead of clicking. Actually, that looks pretty good, but if you find that your modifications are too large at any given time, like that modification I made right there was maybe a little bit too much, go ahead and undo that change and reduce the opacity. I suggest you work with either very large opacity values or very small opacity values at this point. So I am going to take this down to 30% in order to make very subtle modifications, and I will paint around here, click here, here, and here. So I just click a few times in order to make whatever changes that you feel are esthetically pleasing to the image.

Now, I am going to go ahead and scroll down a little bit. I have a little bit of an issue with this area of the hair right there. Notice that we have a little bit of a corner showing up. So I am going to press the X key to switch the foreground color to black. I am going to take that Opacity value up to 70%, and I am going to reduce the size of my brush cursor, and I am going to paint in there few times actually in order to paint some of that red back in and get rid of that -- pretty harsh transition we had a moment ago, but now we are still left with a little bit of harshness there. So tell me what I am going to do.

Now, that I am pretty darn happy with these hairs right there, and I could paint along a little more if I wanted to, but I actually think they look pretty darn good in this region. Then, I am going to soften this area a little bit by getting my Lasso tool. I will go ahead and press Ctrl+D or Command+D on a Mac in order to de-select that selected area of the image, and I will just go ahead and marquee around this region right there, and I still have the Anti-alias check-box turned off. It doesn't really matter because our edges are black in this region. So we are just going from black to black, we are not going to see jagged edges.

I am going to now go up to the Filter menu, choose the Blur command and choose Gaussian Blur, and I am going to soften these edges just a little bit. I think Soften value of about 2 pixels looks pretty good actually. Then, I could use the Levels command to scoot things in, or I could paint some more with the Overlay Brush if I wanted to. I can paint some more black in there. But, I am pretty happy with the way that looks actually. I think it will look okay if we zoom out from it, and leave it alone from this point on. So that's it, and actually I think this is looking pretty darn great overall, and if some detail is bothering you a little, like this sort of weird area of yellow over here on the right side of the image. Then, go ahead and compare it to the original.

Turn off the adjustment layer for a moment, and you will see that it was a pretty weird area in the first place. It didn't bother us then. So why should it bother us now. So go ahead and turn it on. You do have to do a reality check every once in a while when you are working inside of an image. So that you stay appropriately sensitive, but you don't want to become overly sensitized to the image. All right. Notice, we also have a little bit of red transitioning at the top of her blouse over here on the left side of her chin. I actually think that's something we should just leave alone because to me, it looks like a reflection that's coming off of the skin. In other words, the skin is informing the color of the blouse at this point. So I think that's just fine.

So this is, my friends, this is the final color mask here inside of Photoshop. We manage not only to select and accurately identify the blouse and change its colors, but we've also managed to create some credible organic transitions around those individual clumps and strands of hair, nicely done.

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