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Smudge, Median, and the Blur tool

From: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

Video: Smudge, Median, and the Blur tool

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.

Smudge, Median, and the Blur tool

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.

Stay tuned!

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

192 video lessons · 43721 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 40m 45s
    1. Welcome
      2m 45s
    2. Making Photoshop your default image editor
      7m 43s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 10s
    4. Remapping OS shortcuts
      7m 37s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 31s
    6. The color settings explained
      6m 54s
    7. Loading the CS5 color settings in Bridge
      3m 5s
  2. 1h 11m
    1. Your creative range continues to expand
      1m 46s
    2. The Avatar project so far
      2m 38s
    3. Painting on a photograph
      7m 50s
    4. Adding texture and depth
      6m 14s
    5. Simulating chalky white paint
      7m 23s
    6. Masking and placing an image
      7m 20s
    7. Upsampling and Lens Blur
      5m 9s
    8. Blending blurry elements
      3m 48s
    9. Making a Smart Object
      6m 46s
    10. Placing an image as a Smart Object
      3m 22s
    11. Blending away a background
      5m 56s
    12. Applying Smart Filters
      4m 34s
    13. Creating a glow with Lens Flare
      3m 45s
    14. Blending and masking a glow
      5m 3s
  3. 1h 26m
    1. Using the image to select itself
      1m 53s
    2. Introducing masking
      6m 32s
    3. Making an alpha channel
      6m 54s
    4. Using the Calculations command
      6m 48s
    5. Add, Subtract, Offset, and Scale
      5m 54s
    6. Prepping an image with the Dodge tool
      6m 55s
    7. Fixing mistakes before they get too big
      6m 32s
    8. Painting in the Overlay mode
      5m 51s
    9. Exaggerating and selecting flesh tones
      7m 39s
    10. Smudge, Median, and the Blur tool
      6m 59s
    11. Masking low-contrast details
      6m 7s
    12. Creating a flesh-and-clothing mask
      5m 45s
    13. Masking and compositing the foreground
      5m 27s
    14. Finessing the final composition
      7m 39s
  4. 2h 24m
    1. Connecting the dots
      1m 40s
    2. The Pen tool and the Paths panel
      6m 32s
    3. Drawing a straight-sided outline
      6m 25s
    4. Editing a path outline
      6m 36s
    5. Adding and editing smooth points
      5m 35s
    6. Creating vector masks with the shape tools
      4m 59s
    7. Building a complex outline from shapes
      4m 26s
    8. Subtracting and transforming shapes
      6m 45s
    9. Cloning, flipping, and combining shapes
      8m 58s
    10. Roughing in non-symmetrical paths
      7m 41s
    11. Finessing a complex outline
      9m 15s
    12. Masking a layer effect
      8m 26s
    13. Isolating an image element
      6m 8s
    14. Smooth points and control handles
      9m 3s
    15. Stretching curved segments
      7m 49s
    16. Using the Rubber Band option
      9m 33s
    17. Drawing smooth points with the Pen tool
      6m 59s
    18. Shading an isolated object
      3m 45s
    19. Drawing cusp points
      7m 14s
    20. Setting points in the pasteboard
      9m 57s
    21. Using the Convert Point tool
      6m 42s
  5. 2h 57m
    1. Everything you need to know about blending
      1m 45s
    2. Photoshop CS5's blend modes
      7m 21s
    3. Cycling between blend modes
      6m 15s
    4. Darken and Lighten and their derivatives
      6m 3s
    5. The blend mode shortcuts
      8m 6s
    6. The Multiply and Burn modes
      4m 28s
    7. The Screen and Dodge modes
      6m 0s
    8. How opposite blend modes work
      8m 24s
    9. Why Multiply darkens and Divide lightens
      5m 23s
    10. Cleaning up a client's bad art
      5m 3s
    11. Dropping out a white background
      5m 56s
    12. Blending inside blend modes
      8m 3s
    13. Overlay, Soft Light, and Hard Light
      6m 26s
    14. Vivid, Linear, and Pin Light (and Hard Mix)
      6m 35s
    15. Difference, Exclusion, Subtract, and Divide
      7m 34s
    16. Great uses for the Difference mode
      6m 18s
    17. Promising uses for the Divide mode
      9m 6s
    18. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      7m 0s
    19. Blending an inverted layer
      3m 32s
    20. The "Fill Opacity Eight"
      7m 25s
    21. Making bad blend modes good
      5m 16s
    22. Making a knockout layer
      6m 53s
    23. Blending in the CMYK mode
      8m 3s
    24. Overprinting black text
      8m 29s
    25. Using the Luminance slider
      5m 24s
    26. Parametric luminance masking
      6m 21s
    27. Adjusting the behavior of luminance effects
      10m 8s
  6. 2h 2m
    1. Smart Objects = protective containers
      1m 35s
    2. Placing an Illustrator graphic
      6m 30s
    3. Vector copy and paste options
      6m 56s
    4. Applying Puppet Warp to vectors
      8m 9s
    5. "Gluing" vector art for Puppet Warp
      5m 50s
    6. Warping art onto the surface of an image
      8m 7s
    7. Blending a Smart Object
      4m 30s
    8. Blurring and blending a Smart Object
      6m 8s
    9. Making changes in Illustrator
      5m 57s
    10. Creating "true clones"
      7m 18s
    11. Double-flipping text
      4m 44s
    12. Applying effects to multiple layers
      3m 24s
    13. Updating true clones in one operation
      7m 36s
    14. Editing JPEGs as Camera Raw objects
      5m 49s
    15. Creating a double-exposure effect
      7m 15s
    16. Masking and shading transitions
      7m 47s
    17. Applying and repeating Camera Raw edits
      6m 9s
    18. Copying vs. cloning a Smart Object
      5m 18s
    19. Flipping a Smart Object and its mask
      3m 42s
    20. Adjusting multiple Camera Raw clones
      3m 53s
    21. Text that inverts everything behind it
      5m 34s
  7. 1h 59m
    1. This time, "smart" means dynamic
      1m 37s
    2. Introducing Smart Filters
      6m 28s
    3. Traditional High Pass sharpening
      5m 17s
    4. Smart High Pass in the Lab mode
      7m 57s
    5. Sharpening a high-frequency image
      7m 46s
    6. Retroactively reducing noise
      7m 31s
    7. Which filters are Smart Filters?
      6m 20s
    8. Shadows/Highlights as a Smart Filter
      4m 37s
    9. Nesting one Smart Object inside another
      7m 11s
    10. Drawing a mask from a nested Smart Object
      8m 7s
    11. Better Shadows/Highlights inside Lab
      9m 16s
    12. Tempering saturation values in Lab
      7m 0s
    13. Filtering live, editable text
      9m 2s
    14. Enhancing filters with layer effects
      4m 33s
    15. Applying a filter multiple times
      5m 0s
    16. Creating a synthetic star field
      7m 7s
    17. Making a stucco or drywall pattern
      6m 28s
    18. Land, sea, and clouds
      8m 30s
  8. 2h 50m
    1. Photoshop's advanced painting tools
      2m 3s
    2. Canvas texture and brush libraries
      6m 40s
    3. Painting with a predefined custom brush
      9m 21s
    4. Dissecting a custom brush
      11m 9s
    5. Designing and using a custom brush
      4m 54s
    6. Saving and loading brush presets
      5m 27s
    7. The ten styles of bristle brushes
      9m 47s
    8. Size, Spacing, and Angle
      7m 2s
    9. Using the Bristle Brush preview
      7m 53s
    10. Bristles, Length, Thickness, and Stiffness
      6m 53s
    11. Stylus tilt and mouse behavior
      5m 25s
    12. Stroking a path outline with a brush
      4m 0s
    13. Troubleshooting a stylus
      5m 49s
    14. Introducing the Mixer Brush
      7m 22s
    15. The Load, Mix, and Wet values
      5m 1s
    16. Cleaning and loading a brush
      6m 26s
    17. Shading a piece of graphic art
      6m 34s
    18. Shading with color
      7m 53s
    19. Mixing a photographic portrait
      6m 11s
    20. Tracing the fine details in an image
      5m 52s
    21. Crosshatching and brush size
      5m 53s
    22. Covering up and augmenting details
      7m 36s
    23. Painting in hair and fabric
      5m 54s
    24. Painting and scaling very fine hairs
      8m 7s
    25. Adding texture with the Emboss filter
      8m 31s
    26. Exploiting a "happy accident"
      2m 46s
  9. 1h 40m
    1. Artificial intelligence that works
      1m 22s
    2. The Auto-Align Layers command
      7m 25s
    3. The Auto-Blend Layers command
      3m 54s
    4. Masking auto-aligned layers
      4m 50s
    5. The Geometric Distortion setting
      6m 44s
    6. The Seamless Tones and Colors checkbox
      4m 8s
    7. Creating the best possible layer mask
      9m 18s
    8. Auto-blending depths of field
      5m 54s
    9. Finessing masks, accepting imperfections
      6m 29s
    10. Shooting and downsampling panorama images
      5m 54s
    11. Introducing the Photomerge command
      6m 40s
    12. Evaluating the Layout settings
      6m 47s
    13. Loading, aligning, and blending with Photomerge
      5m 36s
    14. Tracing and extracting seams
      7m 18s
    15. Adding a masked element into a panorama
      5m 55s
    16. Simplifying and correcting a panorama
      5m 58s
    17. Smart Filters and nondestructive cropping
      6m 43s
  10. 1h 18m
    1. The most mysterious of mysterious topics
      2m 29s
    2. Introducing HDR Toning
      6m 43s
    3. Reigning in clipped highlights
      5m 54s
    4. The Local Adaptation options
      9m 5s
    5. Nondestructive editing with HDR Toning
      8m 22s
    6. Using the HDR Toning Curve
      7m 2s
    7. HDR Toning vs. Shadows/Highlights
      6m 0s
    8. Merging multiple exposures
      7m 14s
    9. A first look at HDR Pro
      6m 24s
    10. Removing ghosts, correcting backlighting
      7m 11s
    11. Generating and editing an HDR comp
      7m 0s
    12. HDR rendered to completion
      5m 19s
  11. 1h 27m
    1. Processing hundreds of files in no time
      1m 43s
    2. Creating an action set
      6m 37s
    3. Making an action
      7m 7s
    4. Stop, Delete, and Record
      7m 12s
    5. Add, Undo, and Rerecord
      6m 40s
    6. Playing and testing an action
      6m 31s
    7. Playing and editing a specific operation
      6m 39s
    8. Permitting the user to change settings
      4m 58s
    9. Explaining an action with a custom stop
      5m 0s
    10. Batch-processing multiple images
      7m 22s
    11. Adding a Save As operation
      6m 34s
    12. Creating an action to save web graphics
      7m 59s
    13. Batching two actions into one
      7m 15s
    14. Saving and loading actions
      5m 30s
  12. 1m 19s
    1. See ya
      1m 19s

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