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Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals is the introductory installment of Deke McClelland's four-part series on making photorealistic compositions in Photoshop. The course shows how to make selections, refine the selections with masks, and then combine them in new ways, using layer effects, blend modes, and other techniques to create a single seamless piece of artwork. Deke introduces the Channels panel and the alpha channel, the key to masking and transparency in Photoshop; reviews the selection tools, including the Color Range tool , Quick Mask mode, and the Refine Edge command; and shows how to blend masked images so they interact naturally.
In this exercise, we are going to begin the creation of this Eye world.psd file in which we are wrapping this map around the flesh tones and into the iris as well. We are going to start things off in this exercise by selecting the eye and we will do that using a combination of the Ellipse tool, the Polygonal Lasso, and the Smudge tool. Let me show you how it works. I have saved my progress this Crazy yellow iris.psd and I am going to go ahead and grab the Elliptical Marquee tool and the reason is that you can almost, always select eyes using this tool and let me show you how that works.
Notice that the eyelids are essentially smooth arcs which you can define as ellipses so I am going to start things off by selecting along the bottom eyelid and notice what a great job the Ellipse tool does of getting into that edge. So I am using the spacebar to align the Marquee on the fly and as soon as I have selected this region right here, along this bottom left edge of the eyelid, then I'll go ahead and release. Now I will press the Shift key and draw another Ellipse down here along the bottom right edge and it's going to have to be a pretty wide ellipse in order to select that entire area.
So I will keep increasing the width of the Marquee, it's not very tall as you can see. I will of course use the spacebar in order to align the Marquee along the bottom edge of that eyelid until I have selected this region right there. Alright, now we need to take advantage of that intersect calculation in order to select along the top eyelid, so I'll press the Shift and Alt keys, that would be Shift and Option keys on the Mac, and then I will begin dragging up like so, and I will go little bit too far and then use the spacebar to drop that selection downwards and the reason I'm drawing this selection this way, that is up into the left as opposed to down into the right as I don't want to invoke that auto scroll.
So once I get the top edge of the Marquee, aligned along the top eyelid, I will go ahead and Release and I end up just keeping that portion of the selection that falls inside of the eye. All right, I am going to draw one more whoppingly big selection outline here while pressing the Shift and Alt keys once again. So press Shift and Alt, we are on the Mac and press Shift and Option and I just want to scalp away that far left side of the eyelid, you can see how some of that needs to come away over there and I'll make sure, by the way, you don't want to draw selection like this, that's cutting into the right edge of the existing selection, you want to go ahead and move here new marquees efficiently far outward.
So you're just barely clipping that left-hand side and then release and that left edge will go away. All right, so that takes care of the marquee work. The next step is to select this area in here and I am going to do that by zooming in, by the way, so that I can see it more closely. So I am zoomed into 100%. I want to be able to select this region right there without selecting too much of this sort of pearly skin that's inside the eye and I am going to do that using the Polygonal Lasso tool. Now if you were to grab the Polygonal Lasso tool, all you would have to do is Shift+Click in order to add to the selection or Alt or Option click in order to subtract from the selection.
However, I am going to show you a way to do this using the Lasso tool. So you may remember back in the previous chapter, I was telling you that you can press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac while using the Standard Lasso tool and that will give you the Polygonal Lasso tool, however, if you press the Alt or Option key now while a selection is active then you will get a little minus sign next to your Lasso, telling you that you are going to subtract from the selection. Well here is what we are going to do instead. I want to add to this selection, so I am going to press the Shift key, I get a little plus sign next to my Lasso, and then I will start dragging, like so.
I will keep my mouse button down and release the Shift key because I have already told Photoshop now that I am adding to the selection. Now I will go ahead and press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and with that key down, you have to keep it down. You can now release your mouse button and notice I now get my horned cursor which is telling me that I am drawing a Polygonal Lasso and now I can click. I will have to have that Alt key down, the Option key on the Mac and I am going to go ahead and click all the way around here like so and it's going to be a little polygonal, I am not too worried about that.
We will go ahead and solve that problem in just a moment and then once I get back inside the eye selection, I will go ahead and release in order to add that area. Now I went ahead and selected too much, I didn't want to select this pearly flesh right there, so I am now going to press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac that gives me the minus sign next to the Lasso cursor. Now, I will begin dragging outside the selection like so, so once I start getting close to it. I will keep the mouse button down, release the Alt or Option key and then press and hold the Alt or Option key, so you just release it and then repress it, crazy as that sounds.
Now with the key down, you have to hold it down from this point on. Then you can begin clicking with your mouse and you will create a polygonal subtraction from that selection outline. So I will go back all the way over here, and then I can release the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and I'll go ahead and scalp that area away. All right now this selection has too much corner action going on. So we are going to smooth it out the easy way by going up to the Select menu, choosing to Modify command and then choosing the Smooth command. Once again, I am working blind because I don't have preview check box, but I have been through this image before and I know that a Sample Radius value of 12 pixels works well.
So I will go ahead and click OK and that smoothes out the contours of the portion of the selection that was created with a Polygonal Lasso. All right, things are looking pretty good here. I am going to press Ctrl+0, Command+0 on the Mac to zoom out from the image and I am going to turn on this Map layer and click on it to make it active. Now I want to express the selection as a layer mask and I actually want to drop out the area inside the eye, that is the area inside the selection, if you go down to the Add layer Mask icon and just click on it, while then you will go ahead and mask the map into the eye.
And that's the opposite of what I want. So I will press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac in order to undo that modification. I could have in advance gone to the select menu and chose the Inverse command, I will press Ctrl+Shift+I, Command+Shift+ I in order to reverse this selection and then click on the layer Mask icon, however, you can skip this step if you want by doing the following. Just go ahead and drop down to that icon at the bottom of the Layers panel once again and this time Alt+Click or Option+ Click on it and you will get the reverse effect. So you are masking the map away from the eye and onto the skin.
Now it doesn't look right that's because it's opaque. We need to apply a Blend mode. By going up to the Blend mode pop up menu and changing the setting from Normal to the first to the contrast modes Overlay and you end up getting this effect here. All right, that's a good start but we still have some work to deal on that layer mask as you can see. It's just too harsh around the contours of the eye and it doesn't take into account the eyelashes and we are going to make those adjustments plus a few more in the next exercise.
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