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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.
I have saved my slide change as Independent iris.psd. In this exercise, we are going to apply that effect to the iris but before we do we are going to travel backward in time by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Z or Command+Option+Z on the Mac and that goes ahead and back steps to that point before we jump the iris and I want you to note that we had a selection outline but as soon as we jumped it and I'll do that step again by pressing Ctrl+Alt+J or Command+Option+J on the Mac and the reason I am pressing the Alt key is to bring up the New layer dialog box, I will call it iris, click OK and as soon as I made that modification, notice that the selection outline disappeared.
Now you also may see the iris shift a little bit on screen, that's just a function of the zoom ratio. If you actually zoom into 100% which gives you the best view of your image. Turn the layer off, turn it back on, you'll see no change take place. But we did lose the selection outline. Now that may seem fairly alarming because after all it wasn't like it didn't take any time to create that outline, it did take a few minutes and we just potentially lost that work. Well not true, the selection outline is now built into what's known as the Transparency mask for this layer, so you can regain that selection outline any time you like by pressing the Ctrl key or Command key on the Mac and clicking on the thumbnail for the iris layer and you will get back that exact same selection outline that you created just a moment ago, just in case you ever need it again.
So the selection outlines are actually built into layers inside Photoshop. All right, but we don't need that selection, so click off the eye to deselect it. I am also going to zoom out a little bit here, zoom back in, I just need to center the image inside the Image window and we are going to be using the Radial Blur filter for this effect, you may really from the first chapter that you have to select a center point for the radial blur and the best way to do that is really not to do it, to go ahead and create a selection in advance and that helps Photoshop figure out where the center needs to be.
So I have gone ahead and switched back to the Elliptical Marquee tool. I am going to press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and draw from the center of the eye outward. I will also go ahead and press the Shift key, so I have got both the Shift key and Alt keys down, Shift and Option on the Mac. It's not like the Iris is exactly circular, but I want to go ahead and align my selection with it and then once I have done that using the spacebar, I will go ahead and release the spacebar, keep the Shift and Alt key down, or the Shift and Options keys down on the Mac and scale my selection outward so that it encloses the entire iris and then some and the iris is centered inside the selection, that's very important so we get the right effect.
Alright, next, I will go up to the Filter menu, choose the Noise command and I will choose Add Noise. So we are going to apply static filters here. And I have set the Amount value to 10 %, I have set Distribution to Gaussian and I have turned on the Monochromatic check box, we end up getting a ton of noise inside the iris. We are going to blur it away in just a moment, so it will create of streaks inside the eye. Alright, go ahead and click OK, then go up to the Filter menu, choose Blur and choose Radial Blur and make sure that your Blur Center is set to the exact center of this box right here, or it's near to the center as possible and because we are working inside of a selection outline, that will give us the effect we are looking for.
Crank the Amount value up to 50, set Blur method to Zoom and the Quality should be Good. Actually that's going to give us a little bit of grain which is what we want, go ahead and click OK and you end up getting this affect here. All right at this point, you can abandon a selection outline. We don't need it anymore. So just go ahead and press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac and I want to elevate the colors and the saturations values, again I am going to make this changes to Static Modification by going up to the Image menu, choosing the Adjustments command and choosing Hue/Saturation, or I could press that keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+U or Command+U on the Mac, and I am going to modify the Hue value a little bit by sending it to 15, so I'm rotating the Hue slightly into the Yellow, Green zone and they I'll press the Tab key to advance to the Saturation option and I'll take it all the way up to +50.
So we have got a lot of brightly colored hues inside of this iris. Then click OK. Now these have all been static destructive modifications to this independent iris layer. At this point you may say, all right, we had the selection outline just a moment ago before we started applying these modifications but now we've actually changed the shape of this layer and that is true, by the way,. So if you're to Ctrl+Click or Command+ Click on the thumbnail for that iris layer, you would now get a different selection outline because you have modified the shape of that selection using those Add Noise and especially that Radial Blur filter.
So that is something to bear in mind. Anyway I am going to click off the eye to deselect it and finally I am going to change the Blend mode, up here in the upper left-hand corner of the Layers panel from Normal to Screen in order to produce this effect here. All right, I am going to press Ctrl+0, Command+0 on the Mac in order to center my zoom. Now that's a pretty fun and easy effect. In the next exercise, we are going to take our skills for combining selections up a notch and we are going to wrap a map into the flesh tones in iris in order to create this effect here.
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