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Preparing a composition for masking

From: Photoshop Smart Objects

Video: Preparing a composition for masking

I have gone ahead and saved my progress as SO versus pixels.psd, found inside the 01_how_they_work folder, and in this exercise we are going to set about masking this model against her background, for a couple of reasons. One is it is a great technique. It is great to be able to take a person against a white background, mask them against another background, and have it look absolutely impeccable, incredible and so on. But also, I want you to have a sense that even though we are working with this container here, these protected pixels, we can still bring the full power of Photoshop to bear.

Preparing a composition for masking

I have gone ahead and saved my progress as SO versus pixels.psd, found inside the 01_how_they_work folder, and in this exercise we are going to set about masking this model against her background, for a couple of reasons. One is it is a great technique. It is great to be able to take a person against a white background, mask them against another background, and have it look absolutely impeccable, incredible and so on. But also, I want you to have a sense that even though we are working with this container here, these protected pixels, we can still bring the full power of Photoshop to bear.

So one of the things I want to emphasize here is a Smart Object acts like a foreign creature inside a Photoshop. Photoshop is a pixel-based image editor. A Smart Object has protected pixels that Photoshop can't directly get to. So that's why it is this foreign object here, and yet we can still mask it, we can still apply Opacity and Blend modes. You are not going to much miss the fact that you can't get to those pixels, as you are about to see. All right, I am going to go ahead and click on this pixels layer right there and I want to get rid of it. Under CS4, I can just press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac in order to get it out of the picture, because it is no good, right? We ruined it.

The only good version of the model is this Smart Object right there. I am going to go ahead and zoom out, and I am going to Ctrl+drag, actually I am Ctrl+Shift dragging her over to the right. That would be a Command+Shift+drag on a Mac, just to situate her generally inside of her new home. Now she is too big for this environment. So I need to scale her some more. So I am going to press Ctrl+T, Command +T on the Mac in order to invoke that Free Transform command. And I am about to scale her for a third time. Now you might think, "Deke, this is just ludicrous, why do you keep scaling this "poor pixel-based image that is going to destroy it, ultimately?" No, it's not.

As long as we are working on a Smart Object, I cannot harm the image, I want to emphasize that. So were my life long enough, I could scale her infinite times without applying any damage whatsoever. So I am going to go ahead and turn on the link here inside the Options bar. And I am going to reduce the Width value to 57% and that is going to reduce her as you can see right there. And then I will press the Enter key a couple of times here on the PC, the Return key a couple times on the Mac, and I am going to Ctrl+drag her down. Notice that she has got this flat edge on her back right there on the right-hand side.

So if I Ctrl+drag her down until that more or less meets the bottom of the image, then I have a lot more flexibility. I don't have to set that edge right there against the right edge of my larger image. She can float some place in between as she is right now, and I can see the top of her hair, which is important, because I really want to see the detail. Now, at this point, I want to set about masking her, as I was saying, I want to create a layer mask, but a couple of things to bear in mind. First of all, she is going to be easier to mask if she is entirely set against the white background, instead of having this blue sky at work behind her as well, and I will take care of that in a moment.

A larger problem is that when you are creating a mask, the mask in only as big as the canvas size. So for example, she is bigger than the canvas, right? She is taller than the canvas right now. She is not as wide. The sky in the background is exactly the same size as the canvas, because it is a background layer. It is a fixed layer, and whatever mask that we set about creating it needs to be the same size of the canvas as well. Now, I want to mask all of her, so I want some more room to work, so I am going to increase my canvas size. So I am going to up to the Image menu and I am going to choose the Canvas Size command, that's Ctrl+Alt+C, Command+ Option+C on a Mac, in terms of the keyboard shortcut, and I am going to turn on the Relative checkbox, just so that I can add X number of pixels.

And in my case, the X number of pixels is going to be 200 pixels to the height. We don't need to add any pixels to the width. We have plenty of room to work horizontally. I just want to add 200 pixels tall. Make sure that center Chiclet is selected, so you are adding a 100 pixels up top and a 100 pixels at the bottom, click OK, and you get this number here. And the reason this is important is because we can now see the full height of the model image. All right. That's a good thing. Now, I am going to add an intermediate layer between background and Smart Object, so I will click on the background layer, I will press Ctrl+Shift+N, Command+Shift+N on the Mac to bring up the New layer dialog box.

I will name this layer White, because I am going to fill it with white. I will click OK, and then white is my background color currently, as you can see here at the bottom of the toolbox. So I am going to press Ctrl+Backspace or Command+Delete on a Mac to fill that entire layer with white. Now I will switch over to the Channels palette. You can see that I have my Masks palette open right now. It is of no use to me quite yet. When you are creating a mask you want to be working inside the Channels palette. We will come back to the masks palette when we are refining that mask. But for now, what we want to do is we want to perform a calculation on the existing channels in this image.

We have red, we have green, and we have blue to work with. We are going to apply that calculation and create a base channel in the next exercise.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Smart Objects
Photoshop Smart Objects

95 video lessons · 21563 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
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  1. 17m 13s
    1. Welcome to Photoshop Smart Objects
      59s
    2. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      4m 18s
    3. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 15s
    4. Loading the CS4 color settings in Photoshop and Bridge CS4
      7m 41s
  2. 1h 12m
    1. Nondestructive transformations
      1m 14s
    2. The purpose of Smart Objects
      5m 17s
    3. The trials of destructive transformations
      5m 1s
    4. Creating a Smart Object
      6m 36s
    5. The rewards of nondestructive transformations
      4m 29s
    6. Preparing a composition for masking
      4m 59s
    7. Establishing a base alpha channel
      6m 25s
    8. Masking a Smart Object
      7m 3s
    9. Refining the layer mask
      6m 50s
    10. Multiplying the edges
      4m 17s
    11. Manually adjusting the problem edges
      6m 3s
    12. Free Transform feedback
      5m 14s
    13. The ultimate nondestructive crop
      9m 8s
  3. 1h 19m
    1. Photoshop and its support applications
      1m 45s
    2. Creating a Camera Raw (ACR) Smart Object
      5m 8s
    3. Converting a JPEG image to DNG
      4m 47s
    4. Replacing pixels with Camera Raw data
      5m 27s
    5. Matching image and ACR resolution
      4m 25s
    6. Adjusting ACR Smart Objects
      5m 33s
    7. Importing Illustrator artwork
      6m 13s
    8. Opening placed art in Illustrator
      5m 51s
    9. Examining dynamic effects
      7m 9s
    10. Modifying Illustrator artwork
      5m 20s
    11. Updating an Illustrator Smart Object
      4m 20s
    12. Styling placed artwork in Photoshop
      3m 33s
    13. Combining layer effects and adjustment layers
      5m 14s
    14. Copying a layer from a clipping group
      5m 0s
    15. Scaling vector data beyond 100 percent
      3m 9s
    16. Blending vector data with pixels
      2m 10s
    17. Saving PDF-compatible Illustrator art
      4m 23s
  4. 1h 26m
    1. Many Smart Objects reference a single source
      1m 9s
    2. Smart Objects and file size
      5m 11s
    3. Placing images as Smart Objects
      4m 44s
    4. Creating a basic lens flare
      5m 43s
    5. Turning a flare into a black hole
      6m 2s
    6. Establishing a first true clone
      4m 9s
    7. Finding the exact center of an image
      2m 37s
    8. Reflecting additional clones
      4m 55s
    9. The art of upsampling
      7m 45s
    10. Editing the root image
      5m 37s
    11. Updating all true clones
      3m 29s
    12. Roughing in a polygonal mask
      7m 13s
    13. Parametric Feather and Glow
      7m 12s
    14. Smart sharpening Smart Filter
      5m 36s
    15. Adding highlights and vibrance
      7m 10s
    16. Luminance blending
      8m 18s
  5. 49m 7s
    1. Placing one Smart Object inside another
      1m 9s
    2. Creating a super-massive Smart Object
      7m 9s
    3. Styling a super-massive Smart Object
      4m 29s
    4. Recoloring background regions
      4m 42s
    5. Cloning a super-massive Smart Object
      5m 56s
    6. Finishing off the first draft
      5m 4s
    7. The plasma ball effect
      4m 45s
    8. Applying the Smart Clouds filters
      4m 57s
    9. Converting clouds to lightning
      5m 4s
    10. Updating nested Smart Objects
      5m 52s
  6. 1h 14m
    1. Editable, nondestructive filters
      1m 24s
    2. Applying and modifying creative effects
      6m 54s
    3. Blending filtered effects
      6m 24s
    4. Tweaking filters with adjustment layers
      4m 14s
    5. Restoring halftone highlights
      4m 25s
    6. The price of Smart Filters
      5m 56s
    7. The power of true clones
      7m 13s
    8. Sharing between Smart Objects and comps
      8m 45s
    9. Just click on it
      1m 50s
    10. Applying a corrective filter
      5m 24s
    11. Smart Filters and disk space
      3m 46s
    12. Picking the right blend mode
      6m 36s
    13. Combining multiple Smart Filters
      6m 13s
    14. Editing and previewing filter settings
      5m 27s
  7. 1h 44m
    1. Still more Smart Filters
      1m 3s
    2. Introducing the non-filters
      4m 15s
    3. Reducing luminance contrast
      5m 19s
    4. Faking an HDR portrait effect
      7m 20s
    5. Adding a filter mask
      3m 22s
    6. Editing filter masks and density
      4m 26s
    7. Applying Variations as a Smart Filter
      7m 24s
    8. Establishing independent filter masks
      4m 51s
    9. Painting away unwanted halos
      6m 28s
    10. Creating a wood grain effect
      6m 2s
    11. The luminance-style filter mask
      6m 23s
    12. The downside of independent filters
      5m 11s
    13. Merging the effects of two filters
      4m 38s
    14. Adjusting and merging masked effects
      6m 26s
    15. Introducing the Filter Gallery filters
      4m 39s
    16. Applying a Filter Gallery filter
      5m 57s
    17. Merging two Filter Gallery effects
      7m 16s
    18. Adjusting the colors of Sketch filters
      5m 2s
    19. Adding a third filter to a combo
      4m 58s
    20. The versatility of Smart Filters
      3m 2s
  8. 1m 31s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 31s

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