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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.
The final phase of this project is to mitigate the shine on that guy's forehead so we are going to go from where we are now, to this final effect here. You can see that his forehead is in a way better shape. But before we venture into that step, we need to sharpen the details inside the image and reduce some noise as well. And that means, applying a couple of smart filters. So I'm going to switch back to my image in progress, it's called Both eyes masked.psd. Found inside that 09_ layer_mask folder. And I'm go ahead and zoom in on the image.
Let's start things off by switching to the background image here in the Layers panel .I am going to double-click on it to convert it to a layer and call it couple and then click OK. Then go up to the Layers panel Flyout menu and choose Convert to Smart Object or if you loaded Dekekeys press Ctrl+, Command+, on the Mac. And the next step is to sharpen the image and because this is a portrait shot the best sharpening tool is the High Pass filter. And you apply it by going up to the Filter menu, choosing Other and then choosing the High Pass command, once again if you loaded Dekekeys, I've given you a shortcut of Shift+F10.
And I want you to go ahead and take the High Pass value from 10, which is the default setting, all the way down to 1. And what that's going do is it's going to send all of the non-edges inside the image to gray and it's only going to keep those edges that are about 1 pixel wide. So it's going to retain these very slight halos that you can barely see on screen. Then go ahead and click OK. We don't need the filter mask so right -click on it and choose Delete Filter Mask to get rid of it. We do however need to switch to a different Blend mode.
So double-click on a slider icons to the far right of the words High Pass and change the Blend mode to the highest impact of the contrast modes which is Linear Light. And that'll go ahead and give you this effect here. So all the grays drop out and all those edges burn into the highest degree that they can. Go ahead and click OK in order to accept that change. So to give you a sense of what we've done I will zoom even farther and focus in on a woman's eyes here. And I'll turn off High Pass, the High Pass filter here inside the Layers panel.
This is the Before version of the image. And this is the After version. So we are bringing out all kinds of detail. The problem is if you look very closely, especially inside this region of hair, you'll see that we are also bringing out a lot of color noise. So we need to eliminate as much of that noise as possible using the Reduce Noise filter. So go to the Filter menu, choose the Noise command and then choose Reduce Noise. Inside the Reduce Noise dialog box, I would like you to dial in some new settings. First of all, we are going to take the Strength value down to zero, and the reason is we don't have any problems with luminance noise where this image is concerned, it's all color noise.
So I am going to scoot this dialog box over a bit so we can see what's going on. Notice all of the color noise has disappeared at this point. And that's because I have my Reduce Color Noice value too high, I am going to take it down to about 25%. You want to essentially go as low as you can go and get rid of that noise, and then we'll take Sharpen Details down to zero. We certainly don't need to be sharpening on top of the High Pass Sharpening Effect. Just so that we don't ruin our Default settings, let's go ahead and Save out these settings. So I will click on that little floppy disk icon and I will call these settings Low color noise and then click OK, and then what you have to do.
This as a two-parter here. You have to go the Settings pop-up menu and switch it out to Low Color Noise, otherwise you will override those defaults. Then click OK in order to apply that effect. So just to give you sense of what's going on here, I'll zoom in even farther. This is the version of the image without reduce noise. You can see all kinds of color noise. It's pretty rampant throughout the image actually. Then if I turn it back On, the Color Noise goes away. And typically when you're working on Noise and Detail inside of an image, you want to reduce the noise first and sharpen the image second.
Right now, we have our filters in opposite order. So I am going to grab Reduce Noise and drag it below High Pass, like so. That way Photoshop applies Reduce Noise first and High Pass second. That takes care of the smart filters. I will go ahead and zoom back out by pressing Ctrl+ zero, Command+ Zero on the Mac. In the next exercise, we are going to get rid of the shine on this guy's forehead and we are going to do it, by the way, using a combination of layer and vector masks.
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