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The third part of the popular and comprehensive series Photoshop CS6 One-on-One follows industry pro Deke McClelland as he plunges into the inner workings of Adobe Photoshop. He shows how to adjust your color, interface, and performance settings to get the best out of your images and the most out of Photoshop, and explores the power of Smart Objects, Shadows/Highlights, and Curves for making subtle, nondestructive adjustments. The course dives into Camera Raw to experiment with the editing toolset there, and returns to Photoshop to discuss toning, blur, and blend modes. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details and reducing noise, as well as creating quick and accurate selections with Quick Mask, Color Range, and Refine Edge commands.
In this movie, we will evaluate the selection that we created in the previous one, and then we'll refine it inside the Quick Mask mode. So, assuming that you went ahead and saved your selection as an alpha Channel, make sure you are seeing the Channels panel onscreen, and then click on that alpha channel, which I called base selection, and you will see your selection outline represented as a mask. So anywhere you see a white pixel, that's a 100% selected pixel. Anywhere where you see a black pixel, that pixel is 0% selected, and any shade of gray is some degree of selection in between.
Now, you might ask, well, does that mean that a selection outline is resolution dependent, the way the image is? And the answer is yes. Each and every pixel has a selection value associated with it. Now, to put the mask in play, you need to convert it back to a selection outline, and you do that by pressing the Control key, or the Command key on the Mac, and clicking on that alpha channel, and that goes ahead and selects each and every pixel based on it's Luminance, from black for deselection, to white for absolute selection.
Now you can switch back to the RGB image, and the marching ants remain intact. Now, just in case you have any concern about converting from a selection outline to an alpha channel, and then back to a selection outline, because after all, normally these kinds of things inside Photoshop are destructive modifications potentially; in this case, that's not so. The selection outline and the mask are exactly the same thing, because when you create a selection outline, Photoshop is calculating the selection as a mask in the background.
All right, now let's go ahead and move the selection into its final composition, and I'll do that the easy way by pressing Control+C, or Command+C on the Mac, to copy the dinosaur, then I'll switch over to my Planets file here, and I'll press Control+V, or Command+V on the Mac, in order to paste that selection as a new layer. So you can see if you switch over to the Layers panel, that indeed we do have a new layer at the top of this stack, which is great. Unfortunately, it's not a great layer. We have got all this bright green fringe around the edge of the skeleton, and then we are missing whole sections of skeleton up here along the bridge of the nose, and the top to the cheekbone, and then finally, we still have this darn line, and a bunch of junk over here on the left-hand side, and the bottom of the image as you can see here if I scroll down as well.
So we need to do some work. So press Control+Z, or Command+Z on the Mac, to undo the addition of that layer, and I will switch back to my selected dinosaur, and now let's make some modifications to the selection in the Quick Mask mode. You can you get to the Quick Mask mode by clicking on this icon toward the bottom of the toolbox, or you can press the Q key. So the icon takes you in, the icon takes you back out; pressing the Q key takes you in and out as well. Now, when you first enter the Quick Mask mode, you are going to see the mask represented as what's know as a rubylith overlay, and then everything about the image that's selected will appear normally.
Well, the problem with the ruby overlay for our purposes is that our image already contains a lot of warm colors. So if we are going to get any work done here, we need to change that overlay color, and you can do that in one of two ways. You can double-click on the Quick Mask mode icon here at the bottom of the toolbox, but if you do that, you will end up exiting the Quick Mask mode, which is a pain in the neck. I am going to show you an alternate way to work. Switch over to the Channels panel, and you'll see Quick Mask represented as a temporary alpha channel.
Double-click on its thumbnail to bring up the Quick Mask Options dialog box, then click on the color, and let's choose a Hue value that's complementary to what we have so far. I recommend 180 degrees, which is Cyan, and then click OK, and you can change the Opacity level as well, but I think 50% is fine. Then click OK, and now we can really see what we were doing. So anything that's lighting up bright blue here is masked, or deselected, and anything that's looking like normal dinosaur skeleton is unmasked, or selected.
All right, now let's go ahead and paint away some obviously bad details. I am going to switch to my Brush tool, which I can get by pressing the B key, and then I will right-click inside the image window, and I am going to raise the Size value, let's say, to 30 pixels maybe. I definitely want the Hardness to be 100%, and then I will press the Enter key, or the Return key on a Mac, to hide that panel. Now, you may think that you need to paint in blue, or transparency, and somehow those would appear as colors at the bottom of the toolbox. Instead, you paint with black and white.
When you paint with white, which is currently my foreground color, you paint in selection, meaning that you paint transparency into this Quick Mask overlay. I don't want that, so I will press Contrl+Z, or Command+Z on the Mac, to undo that change. If I press the X key, so my foreground color is black, and I start painting in the image, you can see I am now painting in the mask. That is to say, I am painting in the Quick Mask overlay. All right, so I will press Control+Z, Command+Z on the Mac, to undo that change as well. Here is what I want to do.
I want to paint a straight line along this crease, or whatever it is right here, in order to mask it away. So I will click on one side of the line, right next to the skeleton, like so, and then I will press the Shift key, and click right under the jaw in order to paint a straight line between those two points, and then I will click at this location above the jaw, and I will press Control+0, or Command+0 on the Mac, to zoom out just a little bit, and I will press the Shift key, and click over here on the far left side of the image.
All right. Finally, we want to get rid of some of this garbage along the left-hand side, and at the bottom of the mask as well. So go ahead and select the Lasso tool, which you can get by pressing the L key, and press the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac. Keep that key down, and just go ahead and surround the image, like so, and then come back in from the pasteboard around like this, and click your way around the nose of the dinosaur, and up to about here, and then, when you are done, release the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, and Photoshop will go ahead and generate the polygonal selection outline.
And now, because black is my foreground color, I will press Alt+Backspace, or Option+Delete on the Mac, in order to fill the selection in with that Quick Mask overlay. And now I will press Control+D, or Command+ D on the Mac, to deselect the image. And now, if you like, you can convert the temporary mask back to a selection outline by pressing the Q key in order to exit the Quick Mask mode. And just so we can keep track of our work here, I am going to save off another alpha channel by dropping down to the Save selection as channel icon, and Alt+Clicking or Option+Clicking on it, and then I will call this selection QM refinement, and click OK, and now we have managed to, once again, back up our work. And that's how you go about loading an alpha channel as a selection outline, and then refining that selection in the Quick Mask mode.
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