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Smooth points and control handles


Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques

with Deke McClelland

Video: Smooth points and control handles

All right friends, this is when things get interesting, we are going to take a look at how we create smooth points using the Pen tool that allow us to trace organic curves inside of an image and this is the real power of the Pen tool and up the anti of course, it gets a little more complicated here. I am looking at that Polygonal Pen tool outline, that polygonal path that we converted to a Vector Mask for the Profile Layer. I don't like it though looks Okey-dokey, but you know, it's got a lot of very obvious problems I think and it's nothing that we are going to stick with, it was just an experimental path or the sake of learning of course.
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  1. 2h 12m
    1. The Odyssey Continues
      2m 39s
    2. Mapping one image onto another
      7m 12s
    3. Making a custom contrast mode
      7m 9s
    4. Luminance blending
      8m 39s
    5. Forcing the visibility of underlying layers
      4m 3s
    6. Adjusting the appearance of clipped layers
      4m 33s
    7. Selecting a Blend If channel
      6m 11s
    8. Enhancing highlights by hiding them
      5m 8s
    9. Smart Object first, layer mask second
      7m 22s
    10. The Fill Opacity Eight
      4m 30s
    11. Blending Smart Filters
      7m 24s
    12. Cleaning up edges
      7m 38s
    13. More fun with luminance blending
      6m 22s
    14. A first peek at the Calculations command
      12m 11s
    15. Masking a softly focused model
      11m 46s
    16. Moving layers and masks between images
      7m 34s
    17. Matching colors
      9m 12s
    18. Building transitional blended layers
      6m 33s
    19. Restoring normal colors
      6m 49s
  2. 2h 32m
    1. Layer masks, clipping masks, and knockouts
      1m 20s
    2. Rotating and stretching
      7m 54s
    3. A jet of motion blur
      9m 17s
    4. Keyboard tricks
      5m 4s
    5. Merging sky and landscape
      6m 2s
    6. Masking an adjustment layer
      6m 37s
    7. Creating two windows into an image
      7m 42s
    8. Whitening teeth and adding other highlights
      3m 46s
    9. Mapping a texture onto an image
      4m 0s
    10. Isolating a texture with a layer mask
      6m 44s
    11. Welcome to the glass composition
      3m 18s
    12. Balancing shadows and highlights
      5m 51s
    13. Masking the glass
      7m 24s
    14. Masking the text
      9m 23s
    15. Adding and blending the goldfish
      8m 44s
    16. Assembling the perfect group photo
      5m 12s
    17. Aligning photographs automatically
      5m 26s
    18. Masking in each person's best shot
      5m 18s
    19. Masking densely packed people
      6m 17s
    20. Crafting the perfect final poster
      5m 15s
    21. From the improbable to the impossible
      1m 56s
    22. The fantastical "world of clones" effect
      10m 0s
    23. Upsampling and blurring a background
      8m 39s
    24. Adding a knockout mask
      8m 3s
    25. Choking edges with Gaussian Blur and Levels
      3m 46s
  3. 2h 26m
    1. The corrective power of masking
      1m 6s
    2. The amazing luminance mask
      7m 21s
    3. Brightening and neutralizing the eyes
      8m 21s
    4. Adjusting a nondestructive composition
      5m 52s
    5. Creating a corrective mask
      6m 3s
    6. Averaging away irregular flesh tones
      3m 52s
    7. Modifying specific colors
      7m 46s
    8. Initiating the color mask
      5m 59s
    9. Refining the color mask
      6m 39s
    10. Adjusting the edges around fabric
      7m 55s
    11. Perfecting hair
      9m 34s
    12. Sharpening with a High Pass layer
      10m 12s
    13. The also-amazing density mask
      4m 47s
    14. Adjusting the knockout depth
      8m 48s
    15. Fashioning a depth map
      6m 12s
    16. Invoking a depth mask from Lens Blur
      6m 38s
    17. The perfect depth-of-field effect
      6m 25s
    18. Sharpening an archival photograph
      7m 7s
    19. Creating an edge mask
      8m 29s
    20. Making a High Pass sandwich
      7m 45s
    21. Applying the edge mask
      6m 1s
    22. Customizing your sharpening effect
      4m 6s
  4. 2h 3m
    1. Channel Mixer, I am your father!
      1m 39s
    2. Three ways to gray
      7m 48s
    3. Meet the Channel Mixer
      8m 26s
    4. Mixing a custom black-and-white image
      7m 9s
    5. Creating a professional-level sepia tone
      5m 36s
    6. Employing the Black & White command
      8m 0s
    7. Extreme channel mixing
      4m 50s
    8. The infrared photography effect
      6m 42s
    9. Taking shadows to the brink of black
      3m 56s
    10. Elevating highlights, leeching saturation
      5m 58s
    11. Deepening a black-and-white sky
      5m 49s
    12. Infusing luminance levels with color
      5m 43s
    13. Creating an opposing colorization scheme
      4m 58s
    14. Bolstering contrast with the Green channel
      5m 37s
    15. A tiny improvement to a terrific technique
      7m 38s
    16. The simple (but wrong) approach to red-eye correction
      6m 39s
    17. Channel-mixing red pupils
      9m 17s
    18. The expert approach to red-eye correction
      5m 20s
    19. Fixing problem coronas (pupil edges)
      8m 8s
    20. Making pupils match
      4m 7s
  5. 2h 33m
    1. Chops are dead; long live maskops
      1m 36s
    2. The Calculations command
      8m 16s
    3. Blue Screen blending
      7m 40s
    4. Refining the Blue Screen mask
      5m 53s
    5. Brushing away color fringing
      7m 24s
    6. Locking the transparency of a layer
      6m 21s
    7. Nondestructive layer painting
      7m 36s
    8. How the Add blend mode works
      8m 40s
    9. How the Subtract blend mode works
      6m 43s
    10. Focus, noise, and other masking challenges
      5m 32s
    11. The Add mode in action
      7m 51s
    12. The Subtract mode in action
      8m 24s
    13. Comparing two channels with Difference
      5m 23s
    14. Enhancing the contrast with Curves
      9m 10s
    15. Gathering details with Apply Image
      9m 43s
    16. Dodge highlights, burn shadows
      6m 6s
    17. Dodge and Burn in action
      8m 24s
    18. Painting in the scalp
      10m 0s
    19. Painting away the face and chin
      4m 52s
    20. Compositing complementary images
      4m 13s
    21. Multiply, Minimum, Blur, and Apply Image
      6m 40s
    22. Crafting the final composition
      7m 7s
  6. 1h 57m
    1. Mark of the Pen tool
      1m 34s
    2. The big paths project overview
      6m 51s
    3. How to make a path
      8m 24s
    4. Corner points and freeform polygons
      8m 6s
    5. Editing paths with the arrow tools
      5m 2s
    6. Adding and deleting endpoints
      5m 14s
    7. Adding and deleting interior points
      6m 6s
    8. Converting a path to a selection
      3m 35s
    9. Converting a path to a mask
      6m 38s
    10. Smooth points and control handles
      8m 57s
    11. Making cusp points
      5m 59s
    12. Combining paths in a vector mask
      7m 54s
    13. Turning a path into a shape layer
      8m 57s
    14. Combining paths to make a layer mask
      7m 52s
    15. Mixing layer and vector masks
      10m 14s
    16. Editing character outlines as paths
      8m 39s
    17. Using the Convert Point tool
      7m 8s
  7. 3h 17m
    1. Where there's a will, there's a way
      1m 18s
    2. Masking natural cast shadows
      4m 9s
    3. Applying the cast show
      4m 2s
    4. Creating a difference mask
      3m 7s
    5. Applying an arbitrary map
      3m 50s
    6. Making the flesh mask
      7m 16s
    7. Roughing in an object mask
      6m 48s
    8. Drawing missing details with the Lasso tool
      4m 7s
    9. Combining flesh and object masks
      3m 52s
    10. Amplifying the cast shadow
      4m 10s
    11. Selectively choking edges
      3m 58s
    12. Power duplication in Photoshop
      7m 8s
    13. Masking blond hair
      5m 48s
    14. Using Levels to mask iterations
      3m 14s
    15. Drawing an iteration boundary
      4m 54s
    16. Merging the best of two Levels iterations
      4m 4s
    17. More fun with Dodge and Burn
      6m 14s
    18. Fixing edges with the Pen and Stamp tools
      7m 28s
    19. Pulling from another file with Apply Image
      4m 52s
    20. Blending clipped layers independently
      5m 42s
    21. Building the flame mask
      9m 21s
    22. Amplifying the flame
      3m 52s
    23. Masking an image against a busy background
      5m 15s
    24. The Freeform and Magnetic Pen tools
      6m 52s
    25. Masking with arbitrary maps
      9m 32s
    26. A more deliberate approach to arb maps
      10m 51s
    27. Combining arb maps with paths
      9m 28s
    28. Masking with the help of the History brush
      11m 38s
    29. Creating a High Pass mask
      7m 24s
    30. Coloring in the outlines
      8m 31s
    31. Mastering Calculations
      7m 28s
    32. Subtracting and merging the beak
      11m 5s
  8. 1h 33m
    1. The meaning of bit depth (and why you care)
      2m 49s
    2. Scanning line art in 8-bit and 16-bit
      5m 8s
    3. Measuring the 16-bit difference
      8m 8s
    4. Correcting 8-bit images in the 16-bit space
      9m 31s
    5. Opening a raw image directly in 16-bit
      6m 12s
    6. Editing in Camera Raw, opening in 16-bit
      8m 21s
    7. 16-Bit/channel vs. 32-bit/channel (HDR)
      8m 17s
    8. Working with auto-bracketed photographs
      5m 6s
    9. Using the Merge to HDR command
      5m 59s
    10. Adjusting the HDR preview
      6m 0s
    11. Building a 32-bit sky mask
      6m 29s
    12. Properly exposing land and sky
      4m 24s
    13. Modifying a layer mask in 32-bit
      4m 56s
    14. Converting to and correcting in 16-bit Lab
      12m 7s
  9. 2h 8m
    1. Photoshop flirts with the third dimension
      1m 13s
    2. The displacement map
      8m 24s
    3. Making custom waves
      7m 14s
    4. Creating a Gaussian distribution
      4m 31s
    5. Using a two-channel displacement map
      6m 27s
    6. Creating a rustic edge effect
      8m 21s
    7. Distorting and shading with a DMap
      6m 33s
    8. Moonlight reflecting off water
      8m 48s
    9. Mapping the reflection onto the water
      7m 3s
    10. Dipping the moon into the water
      6m 18s
    11. Turning flesh into stone
      7m 55s
    12. Wrapping the stone around the face
      7m 27s
    13. Softening a displacement map
      8m 4s
    14. Making a repeating watermark pattern
      9m 21s
    15. 3D embossing with Lighting Effects
      10m 47s
    16. The amazing credit card type effect
      6m 56s
    17. Lightening the credit card letters
      6m 16s
    18. Wrapping the background around the text
      6m 27s
  10. 1m 43s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 43s

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques
20h 48m Advanced Nov 21, 2007

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

The elusive alpha channel remains one of the most misunderstood yet powerful tools in Photoshop. Alpha channels are collections of luminance data that control the transparency of an image, and they inform just about every aspect of Photoshop. As he builds transitional blended layers, fashions a depth map, makes edge adjustments, and takes on extreme channel mixing, Omni Award-winning expert Deke McClelland teaches Photoshop users that where there's a will, there's a way. Photoshop CS3 Channels and Masks: Advanced Techniques covers mapping texture on an image, turning flesh into stone, using vector masks, working with all different channels, creating a rustic edge effect, and much more. Exercise files accompany the tutorials.

Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts for Channels and Masks from the Exercise Files tab."

Topics include:
  • Distorting and shading with a DMap
  • Understanding bits and channels
  • Creating paths with the Pen tool
  • Using blend modes and the Dodge and Burn feature
  • Understanding channel mixing
  • Using layer masks, clipping masks, and knockouts
  • Applying Smart Filters
Design Photography
Deke McClelland

Smooth points and control handles

All right friends, this is when things get interesting, we are going to take a look at how we create smooth points using the Pen tool that allow us to trace organic curves inside of an image and this is the real power of the Pen tool and up the anti of course, it gets a little more complicated here. I am looking at that Polygonal Pen tool outline, that polygonal path that we converted to a Vector Mask for the Profile Layer. I don't like it though looks Okey-dokey, but you know, it's got a lot of very obvious problems I think and it's nothing that we are going to stick with, it was just an experimental path or the sake of learning of course.

So let's get rid of it. I am working inside of the Polygonal vector mask.psd file if you want to catch-up with me. It's found inside the 15_Paths folder. I am going to click on the thumbnail for the vector mask, I would like you to do that as well and then come down here to the trash can icon at the bottom of the Layers palette, make sure by the way that this vector mask is active, that's the whole point you should see the vector outline. Move down to the trash can icon at the bottom of the Layers palette and Alt+Click or Option+Click on it; so Alt+Click on a PC, Option+click on a Mac that gets rid of the vector mask, can leaves you with just a Profile Layer.

Now if you go back to the Paths palette, you will see that you are free form polygon path is still intact because I was telling you the vector mask and the original path are independent of each other which is actually a really good thing. In this exercise, we are going to build her shoulder, this path right here, it's called the shoulder path at the top of the Paths palette. You can see that I have also given you this path called face that traces her entire face. These are both very accurate paths, you can check out how they were put together by switching to the black arrow tool here and clicking on them and you can see that I have got plenty of points going on here with lots of little control handles as well, we will see how those work.

Here's the shoulder path, it's simpler. It's a much more simple path and it's got basically two corner points along the bottom and then three smooth points along the top here. And these bottom corners points are actually what we called cusp points because they have curve segments going in and out of them. So let's go ahead and put this relatively simple path together. The first thing I want you to do is go down to the bottom of the Paths palette and Alt+Click or Option+Click on the little page icon and let's call this new shoulder or something along those lines and click OK. You will create a new path entry here, a new empty path entry, no paths will show up inside of the image window now.

Now I want you to zoom in a little bit and actually switch over to the full screen mode, won't you, by pressing the F key so that you have some room to work inside of the face board so that you can draw your paths a little bit too big which is always a good idea. Now I am going to grab my Pen tool here inside the tool Box and I can select it, of course by pressing the P key as well. I want you to create the first point more or less in her neck. Right here at the base of her neck here where the neck is joining her jaw, I guess and I am going to click and hold and notice by virtue of the fact I am holding and dragging away from that click points. So this is one operation, click and drag, in order to create a smooth point. It looks square just like a corner points, so an anchor point always looks square with two control handles that are connected to it. And notice that the control handles sort of have a see-saw action going on. I can spin them around in a circle if I want to, so they are kind of a propeller too if you want to think in that way.

Now the see-saw is going up and down at a fulcrum point which is the point itself. So if I drag the control handle down the opposite one moves up, and if I drag up the opposite one moves down, if I drag toward the point the other one comes toward the point as well. So it's always symmetrical, at least when you first create it, it's symmetrical and it's opposite and then ensures the fact that we have this straight line of a lever joining the two round control handles assures that we have a continuous arc through this point or at least we will have a continuous arc once the path is built.

All right, so now I want you to draw another point, Click and hold at this location like so in order to create another point with a control handle extending out of it and notice that now Photoshop goes ahead and joins the two points, these two smooth points here with a curving segment and it's continuously curving as I move those control handles around. All right, I am going to go ahead and release and then I am going to scroll the image over a little bit and I am going to click and hold on her shoulder like so in order to create another point along with control handles. So another smooth point with the pair of control handles.

Notice that I am dragging my control handle in a counter clockwise direction away from my points, so from right to left in this case because I am actually drawing this path in a counter clockwise direction. I could have chosen to draw in the clockwise direction in which case I would be dragging from left to right instead. But my point is that you need to drag away from the path that you are creating, notice that I am not dragging toward it because if I drag toward it I would get a crook at my path. I need to drag away from it so that the opposite control handle, the one that I am modifying indirectly, is controlling the curvature of the segment.

Now if you end up getting something like this where it is just playing wrong, that's okay you can switch back to your white arrow tool and you can move your points around as needed and you can also move your control handles. You can drag your control handles to different locations and now notice they are no longer symmetrical, they are so opposite of each other but one control handle isn't moving back and forth with the other, it's just moving up and down with the other. All right, I will go ahead and drag the control handle to about here and drag this control handle to about here and that looks pretty good to me. Now I am going to zoom in and I want to show you what's going on with this control handle action. Notice that the segments always move into and through the anchor points. They are anchored by the anchor points, in other words, but they don't actually move through the control handles. That's why I call them handles instead of points.

You will see some Adobe literature they called this control points, I call them handles because they are not directly associated with the segments. They allow you to tug at the segments. They have a magnetic attraction, notice what happens if I move the control handle over the segment then the segment becomes straight at that location and as I move it away at any given position for this control handle here, the segment is moving half way, it's basically being tugged toward the control handle and then it starts to be magnetically attracted toward the other control handle and finally back in to the anchor point.

So it has to go into the anchor point and it's always thinking about that as it's preceding along here because paths actually have direction. So you can think of them as flying toward the control handle and then being tugged toward the other control handle magnetically as if this is a comet going through space being attracted to different stars and planets. The stars, the big things with a big attraction would be the anchor points. The small guys, the planets would be the control handles because they have a less attractive quality associated with them. Then it comes back toward this one and then it comes into the anchor points which are always moving half way out of a straight position toward the control handles all the way toward the anchor points, something to bear in mind.

Now if you end up finding yourself getting a crook in your path where it starts to have a little bend associate with it like that and you are thinking how do I make this nice and fluid, nice and smooth. You want to observe something called the one-third rule and the one-third rule says that you want to have each control handle associated with one-third of the path. So notice that this control handle goes out one-third into the segment that is one third into the segment, then there is a third of the segment that's open and the final third of the segment is controlled by the other and opposite control handle that's associated with the opposite anchor points, that is to say.

Now notice that I have moved my anchor points and control handles in segments in general, inside, I am cheating inside of the edge of this woman shoulder and that's what you want to do too. You want to select too little rather than too much and that way you are going to eliminate any edge fringing, any of that stuff which is really great and a wonderful thing about paths is that they are nice and smooth so they have a more accurate appearance in your standard everyday average mask. You are not going to use them to select hair of course, but you are going to use them to select smooth continuous edges, think porcelain, when you want a porcelain effect you want a path outline; when you want to reticulated effect then you go with traditional masking.

All right, so we have manage to create a nice continuous four point path here that's made up, of course, four smooth points, each of which are bound by control handles. I have two control handles extending out from them. In the next exercise, I am going to show you how to lob off a control handle in order to create a cusp point.

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