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Photoshop mastery can be elusive, but in Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery, best-selling author and video trainer Deke McClelland teaches the most powerful, unconventional, and flexible features of the program. In this third and final installment of the popular and comprehensive series, Deke delves into the strongest features that Photoshop has to offer, including scalable vector graphics, Smart Objects, and Photomerge. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, both part of the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
In this exercise, we enter the ever- tricky world of style and we are going to make an aesthetic judgment call about how Russell is going to look best. Do we think he's going to look better, once we get done masking him with these fragile hairs at the top of his head or do we think he's going to look better with the top of his head just shaved, smooth and clean? I'm going to tell you, I'm coming down on the side of shaving, that he's going to look better with a chrome dome right there. Which is why I have gone ahead and name this file as Time to shave.tif. That's how committed I am. It's all toward making our subject look as good as possible, so let's go over to the RGB composite image for a moment. Join me, won't you? And let's analyze Russell for a moment. Good looking guy, older gentleman and in terrific shape. He is balding, however, if not just plain old bald, even somebody who is bald, who is the absolutely the baldest person you ever met in your life, has hair. Everybody has got hair coming out of the top of their head. It's just that the hair is more fragile and you are seeing through the hair to the skin.
Now the way styles are running these days. There is a very low tolerance for straggly hair, so I think what we should do we just get rid of those hairs and that will also make getting rid of the O a lot easier as well. So, let's go to this painting mask that have created so far, let's go ahead and duplicate it once again, because we are going to make a big change this time, and I'm going to call it something like chrome dome or something along those lines. To indicate that, I'm going to polished off the top of his head, move that to the top of the stack, so I can easily switch back and forth between my composite image and now let's zoom in.
Actually you know what; we are probably going to be better off doing this while looking at the RGB image, so let's go back to the RGB image for a moment here. What tool should we used to select the top of Russell's head? If I had to choose my favorite selection tool, it would be the Marquee tools here. Rectangular, which I used all the time, and then Elliptical, which is great, because the world is just filled with ellipses and one ellipse would be the top of Russell's head. So let's go ahead and grab that Elliptical Marquee tool and then I want you to drag across the top of his head like so, and then I'm using the Spacebar in order to locate the selection with respect to the top of his skull here. So select the top of his head like so and just try to get it mostly right. Then how about all these other details? Just more ellipses, so press the Shift key and drag around here like so and then use the Spacebar just to get things more or less in place and then Shift+Drag again. I have got the Shift key down just throughout this whole thing, using the Spacebar, every once in a while in order to get things where I want them to be.
Then Shift+Drag around this area as well, just like right about there with the Spacebar, aiding and assisting me in placement. And this is good, right there, and then Shift+Drag around this area as well, if I want to. And that's good. That's going to serve us very nicely I think. Now, go up to the Select menu, choose Modify, and let's just give it a little bit of a Feather, just to make sure that we are matching the natural organic details inside the image because the top of his head is a little bit out of focus. So, we'll go ahead and choose the Feather command and I'd suggest the Feather radius of 1 and click OK.
All right, now this is going to work pretty nicely for us. Let's go to this chrome dome alpha channel that we're in the process of working on here. We are fine on the inside of this ellipse. Everything is pretty well taking care of. It's the outside of the ellipse that needs to work. So go up to the Select menu and choose the Inverse command and now, we have selected the area outside of this strange sort of blobby form. Now I want you to grab your Brush tool and we don't want a mode, we want no mode at all, Normal, which of course is the no mode, the default mode. I'll press the Escape key, so that Normal is no longer active and I'll make my brush bigger, let's make it harder. Let's go with something like about 75% and going to make my brush smaller again, changing my mind right, left, and center.
Now I had made some decisions that took a little bit of back and fore things to figure out. So I'm going to look at my final mask and notice that I have got a little bit of hair, sort of showing up there and that's so good either, I think we'll do a better job this time around, but it did let the hair sort of drift in, and then I kept this little tuft right there and obviously, I'm keeping these guys because I want this to look nice. We just want it to look, like it was naturally this way. So back to chrome dome. So in other words, right about there is where we need to start painting and painting. And white is not going to do the trick at all folks. So, let's go ahead and undo that modification.
Press the X key to make the foreground color black, in my case, and then I'll paint away this like so and then I'll paint away some of these as well. Let's see, if we are making the kinds of decisions I want to make, I'm just checking my finished mask because I did spend a fair amount of time making decisions about what hairs to keep and which ones to get rid of and see that we are slopping off over here and slopping off over there. Let's go back to chrome dome, I have gotten rid of some of that. That's fine and let's see how that compares once again. I see. All right, so I might sort of cut in a little bit there like so and then at any time you feel like you went too far, why then, what you want to do is click on the History palette guy right here, bring up the History palette and back up just a little bit to like -- let's say where I was creating the Elliptical Marquee tool.
I will go ahead and click right there in order to set the source in front of Elliptical Marquee and then I'll hide the History palette. I'll go ahead and grab my History Brush tool, right there, click on it. Let's make the brush bigger, this is incredibly small brush, I have going right now. It is soft, so that I can bring back some of that natural organic detail right there and I can paint that back in, if I like, but of course I'm painting back in the O. So I don't think I want to do at all, I think I made a good decision, let's just leave that out or maybe just painted in just a little bit right down there at the bottom like so.
Let's go back to the Brush tool, paint that stuff away because I don't like it. And I think we are better off without any of these hairs. You go away to, don't you? All right that looks pretty good to me. Then press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac, just to make sure that we have some nice roundness associated with the top of the head here and it's a little bumpy. And so you know what? Let's go up to the Select menu. Choose Inverse once again. Now let's just go ahead and fill the selected area with white. So I'll press Ctrl+H, Command+H on the Mac, so I can keep track of what I'm doing and I'm going to press the Backspace key, watch it, the selection grows.
But I think it's looking pretty darn nice, actually, and I press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac because my foreground color is white. So that filled that selected area with white, which is exactly what I want. The power of the Elliptical Marquee tool, folks, it's an amazing tool and I think we now have what is going to serve as a wonderful mask. Why don't we just go ahead and call it wonderful mask because it is. In the next exercise, I tell you what. We are going to actually use it to take Russell into the final composition, so that he is part of the martini hour mix-up. Join me, won't you?
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