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In the all-new Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final installment of the popular series, join industry expert and award-winning author Deke McClelland for an in-depth tour of the most powerful and empowering features of Photoshop CS5. Discover the vast possibilities of traditional tools, such as masking and blend modes, and then delve into Smart Objects, Photomerge, as well as the new Puppet Warp, Mixer Brush, and HDR features. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced.
I've saved my progress as Flesh selection.psd found, inside the 26_masking folder. And I am at looking at the contents of the Hair mask channel, and you know what, now it includes not only hair but also the arms. Now I'll go ahead and rename this channel hair & arms, and the very simple reason was that adding the arms didn't really harm anything about the hair. So we didn't really need to have both versions of that channel. We do need to make some modifications to these arms though, because they do need some help. For example, the arms are rounded off at the bottom of the image and the underarms are rounded as well, so we need to tighten those up, and then finally, this lumpy arm here just isn't glamorous, and I think we should fix it up.
And we are going to use a combination, incidentally, of a handful of tools, mostly the Smudge tool, but also we'll bring median into the picture. All right, so I am going to go ahead and switch over to the Smudge tool. It's located in the same tool slot as the Blur tool and the sharpen tools, so I'll go ahead and select it. And then I am going to drag down, like so, and by the way, the Mode is set to Normal and the Strength is 50%, those are both default settings. Now, I am just going to drag down at the bottom of the arm, like so, and that just goes ahead and extends those arms tied to the bottom of the image, so we don't have that rounding.
I am going to increase the size of my Brush here, and bear in mind that you can look at your image at the same time you are modifying your mask and you do that by turning on the eyeball in front of RGB and then I could drag up on the underarm, like so, just to make sure that I'm filling in that gap. Let's go to the other side of the image I'll drag down on this arm, I'll drag down here just a little bit, on the left side of the left arm, and then I'll go ahead and zoom in on this underarm, so that I can see what I am doing and I will carefully fill in that area. Notice, by the way, you can drag multiple times if you want to, in order to smear the pixels in various directions, but do bear in mind that you are smearing.
So you are not just warping an edge the way you do inside the Liquify dialog box. You are softening the pixel transitions, as you work with this tool. All right, I am going to take advantage of that keyboard shortcut that allows me to turn the RGB image On and Off, which is the Tilde key, the one that's directly above the Tab key and to the left of the 1 key on an American keyboard. And now we can see the softening that I have applied. The next theory to fix is this guy over here, this lumpy arm stuff that's going on here and I'll go ahead and zoom into this part of the image as well.
Now it's tempting to attack this area with the Smudge tool some more, and I could drag over, like so, in order to smear it ever so slightly. But now it looks like there is some kind of - I don't know what. Some kind of squarish-detail that's gotten lodged in the skin. So that's not really working out for us. Another thing we could do by the way is, you could go up to the Filter menu and you could choose the Liquify command or press Ctrl+Shift+X, Cmd+Shift+X on the Mac, and you can apply liquify to alpha channels if you so desire.
I am going to go ahead and zoom in on his detail just a little bit. And I can go ahead and tighten this detail up if I wanted to, by dragging over it with the Pucker tool, remember that trick, and that will go ahead and smooth out that detail, like so, and that does a pretty darn good job. The only thing is I can't really see what I'm doing vis-a-vis the original image. And if you do want to see a grayscale version of the image then go ahead and turn on Show Backdrop and it appears like so. Now there is an option that's hidden on this screen. Down below the Mode option there is an Opacity value and you can adjust that Opacity value in order to more easily see the image in the background.
So it's entirely up to you if you decide to work this way. I am going to show you an alternate technique. So I am going to go ahead and cancel out of this dialog box, and I am going to zoom out, and what I am about to show you works out brilliantly, incidentally. So I'll select the Lasso tool, which you can get by pressing the L key, and then I'll drag around this area, like so. So notice that I am cutting off the top and bottom edges perpendicularly. That's pretty important by the way. And you don't want to drag too far up into the hair or else you'll integrate the hair in the calculation to mess things up. So with roughly this area selected, I want you to go up to the Filter menu and I want you to choose Noise and then choose the Median command, and if you have loaded dekeKeys, you've got a keyboard shortcut of Shift+F8.
Now the Median command is your method for smoothing out masks, by the way. It's analogous to what the Smooth command does for a selection outline. And I went ahead and raised this value to 24 pixels as you can see here, and just to get a sense of what we were able to do, I'll click and hold inside of my In Image Preview, and that's the original lumpy area of the arm. Now that I release, notice how smooth it is. It still has a little softness built into it, thanks to the modification I applied with the Smudge tool, but I actually like that. I think that's going to work out pretty nicely, and then I'll go ahead and click OK in order to accept that effect.
Now make sure if you are working along with me that you are not seeing any integration of this hair into the top of the selection outline because what can happen is you get a little bit of a wave at the top of the selection, if you have that cancel out of this dialog box, clip the selection a little bit, cut it down and then try again. Anyway, I am going to click OK because this works out beautifully for me. Then I will click off the selection outline. Another way you can work if you like, if you want to introduce some softness or some blurriness to a selection outline, because after all this arm is not sharply focused in the original photograph, so the edge of the selection outline should be blurry as well.
And if you want to blur it up, then one way to work is to go grab the Blur tool from that same fly-out menu right there, and notice that none of these tools have keyboard shortcuts by default. And then I will increase the size of my cursor by pressing the Right Bracket key a few times and the Strength is 50%, the Mode is Normal. I am just going to drag along the selection outline in order to fuzz it up a little bit and I might do the same thing to the other side of it as well. So you can add more blurriness if you like, totally up to you what you decide to do there. Now one other weirdness inside of my mask is this bit of gunk down here in the bottom right corner.
And you know what I am going to do? I am going to select the Magic Wand tool, and remember that trick where you set the Tolerance to 0 and you turn Off the Anti-alias checkbox, and what that allows you to do is click in the image and see where the black begins and ends. So I just clicked in the black region and I can see that this area is not quite black and then this area down here is obviously not black. All right, so I am going to grab my Rectangular Marquee tool now and then I will Shift+Drag around the bottom-right corner of the selection, and because black is my foreground color, I will press Alt+ Backspace here on the PC or Option+Delete on the Mac in order to fill that area with black.
Then I could burn this up a little bit more if I wanted to, by brushing in some black with the Overlay Mode. But I don't think it's going to be necessary. So I am just going to leave that alone. All right, I will zoom out, so those are the arms, they're looking good, I think. The thing that's left to select, quite obviously, is the dress. And every masking technique that we have attempted so far has absolutely failed. So, we're going to fall back on a tool that I don't like very much, but it happens to work great for this dress, and that's the Quick Selection tool.
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