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Photoshop is the tool of choice for most creative professionals and has quickly become household name synonymous with computer art and image manipulation. In Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics, internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland teaches such digital-age wonders as masking, filters, layers, blend modes, Liquify, Vanishing Point, and vector-based type. Along the way, Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, trimming away jowls and fat, and wrapping one image around the surface of another. Plus, the training teaches how to construct and organize the elements in a composition so you can edit them easily in the future. Exercise files accompany the tutorial.
Ready for more Photoshop CS3 training with Deke? Check out Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Advanced Techniques.
Note: Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials is a recommended prerequisite to Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
Now, the Color Range command is an excellent introduction to the topic of masking but it's just that. In the introduction, masking is much, much larger than that is we are about to see. Over the course of these next exercises, I am going to show you how to create what I call a full-blown mask, by which I mean we are going to examine the colors inside the image and we are going to generate an alpha-channel-based mask from those colors. We are going to use the image to select itself.
And to that end, I want you to open up three images in all. We have faceinthedark.tiff, desertbackdrop.jpeg and winswept.psd, all available to you inside of the 10 masking folder. I am going to go ahead and press the F key in order to enter the Maximize mode so that we can check out each one of these images. This first one here, this portrait of this woman with all the hair and stuff, comes to us from photographer Pascal Genest, and it's an amazing image from a masking vantage point.
Notice that we have a couple of things going on, not only do we have some very tiny tendrils of hair that are sharply focused here toward the top of the image, but if you scroll down, you will see this Hairsetter outside the focal range and therefore are extremely blurry, which is something you can only accommodate using a mask. You can't select blurry details using standard selection outlines, you have to go for a mask if you want to be able to blend this kind of blurry information with this kind of sharp information especially.
Alright, so I am going to zoom out a little bit here. We are going to take this image and we are going to composite it against this background. This is a desertbackdrop.jpeg file by the way, which comes to us from photographer M. Lenny. He goes by the handle firstname.lastname@example.org. And then, here is the final composition. This is the file that goes by the name winswept.psd and I have managed to convey all of the hair inside of that first image, inside the Pascal Genest image, whether softly focused or sharply focused.
So here is all the soft information, we have a little bit of an edge going over here, but you will have to forgive me that and I'll show you how we got this good, actually how we made things look this good. But these hairs right there, no edge whatsoever, look just totally awesome. And then, finally, go ahead and scroll up and you will see these tiny, tiny little hair tendrils, some hairs of which don't even look to be a single pixel-wide. So we just have this tiny bit of partial selection going right there until we get to the tip of the hair, which is exactly the way the hair looks inside the original image, so it's amazing that we are able to pull that off using masking inside the Photoshop as we are about to learn.
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