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Starting with an accurate selection

Starting with an accurate selection provides you with in-depth training on Design. Taught by Deke Mc… Show More

Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals

with Deke McClelland

Video: Starting with an accurate selection

Starting with an accurate selection provides you with in-depth training on Design. Taught by Deke McClelland as part of the Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals
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  1. 15m 25s
    1. Welcome
      1m 12s
    2. Loading my custom dekeKeys shortcuts
      3m 45s
    3. Adjusting the color settings
      4m 29s
    4. Setting up a power workspace
      5m 59s
  2. 1h 0m
    1. The channel is the origin of masking
      1m 54s
    2. The Masks and Channels panels
      4m 48s
    3. How color channels work
      7m 7s
    4. Viewing channels in color
      3m 24s
    5. How RGB works
      4m 12s
    6. Single-channel grayscale
      5m 12s
    7. Mixing a custom "fourth" channel
      5m 15s
    8. The other three-channel mode: Lab
      5m 45s
    9. A practical application of Lab
      4m 55s
    10. The final color mode: CMYK
      7m 6s
    11. Introducing the Multichannel mode
      5m 56s
    12. Creating a unique multichannel effect
      5m 18s
  3. 44m 27s
    1. The alpha channel is home to the mask
      1m 40s
    2. The origins of the alpha channel
      3m 40s
    3. How a mask works
      7m 10s
    4. Making an alpha channel
      4m 2s
    5. Using the new channel icons
      6m 27s
    6. Saving an image with alpha channels
      4m 23s
    7. Loading a selection from a channel
      4m 7s
    8. Putting a mask into play
      3m 55s
    9. Loading a selection from a layer
      4m 27s
    10. Loading a selection from another image
      4m 36s
  4. 1h 0m
    1. The mask meets the composition
      1m 8s
    2. Viewing a mask as a rubylith overlay
      6m 13s
    3. Changing a mask's overlay color
      5m 34s
    4. Painting inside a mask
      6m 3s
    5. Cleaning up and confirming
      5m 18s
    6. Combining masks
      5m 11s
    7. Painting behind and inside a layer
      5m 27s
    8. Blending image elements
      6m 2s
    9. What to do when layers go wrong
      6m 3s
    10. Hiding layer effects with a mask
      4m 22s
    11. Introducing clipping masks
      5m 29s
    12. Unclipping and masking a shadow
      3m 50s
  5. 1h 35m
    1. The seven selection soldiers
    2. The marquee tools
      6m 31s
    3. The single-pixel tools (plus tool tricks)
      6m 48s
    4. Turning a destructive edit into a layer
      5m 34s
    5. Making shapes of specific sizes
      7m 7s
    6. The lasso tools
      5m 49s
    7. Working with the Magnetic Lasso tool
      7m 19s
    8. The Quick Selection tool
      8m 13s
    9. Combining Quick Selection and Smudge
      4m 52s
    10. The Magic Wand and the Tolerance value
      6m 55s
    11. Contiguous and Anti-aliased selections
      6m 58s
    12. Making a good selection with the Magic Wand
      6m 34s
    13. Selecting and replacing a background
      6m 56s
    14. Resolving edges with layer effects
      7m 52s
    15. Adding lines of brilliant gold type
      7m 28s
  6. 1h 11m
    1. Selections reign supreme
    2. Introducing "selection calculations"
      4m 19s
    3. Combining two different tools
      7m 29s
    4. Selections and transparency masks
      5m 17s
    5. Selecting an eye
      7m 1s
    6. Masking and blending a texture into skin
      5m 1s
    7. Painting a texture into an eye
      4m 19s
    8. Combining layers, masks, channels, and paths
      4m 54s
    9. Moving selection outlines vs. selected pixels
      5m 36s
    10. Transforming and warping a selection outline
      7m 45s
    11. Pasting an image inside a selection
      7m 26s
    12. Adding volumetric shadows and highlights
      6m 54s
    13. Converting an image into a mask
      4m 42s
  7. 1h 5m
    1. The best selection tools are commands
      1m 5s
    2. Introducing the Color Range command
      5m 59s
    3. Working in the Color Range dialog box
      7m 7s
    4. Primary colors and luminance ranges
      4m 12s
    5. A terrific use for Color Range
      4m 57s
    6. Introducing the Quick Mask mode
      7m 43s
    7. Moving a selection into a new background
      5m 43s
    8. Smoothing the mask, recreating the corners
      8m 43s
    9. Integrating foreground and background
      4m 44s
    10. Creating a cast shadow from a layer
      2m 51s
    11. Releasing and masking layer effects
      3m 11s
    12. Creating a synthetic rainbow effect
      4m 30s
    13. Masking and compositing your rainbow
      4m 46s
  8. 1h 17m
    1. The ultimate in masking automation
      1m 6s
    2. Introducing the Refine Mask command
      6m 58s
    3. Automated edge detection
      8m 23s
    4. Turning garbage into gold
      6m 19s
    5. Starting with an accurate selection
      7m 11s
    6. Selection outline in, layer mask out
      7m 48s
    7. Matching a scene with Smart Filters
      4m 30s
    8. Cooling a face, reflecting inside eyes
      4m 45s
    9. Creating a layer of ghoulish skin
      4m 29s
    10. Adding dark circles around the eyes
      5m 20s
    11. Creating a fake blood effect
      5m 38s
    12. Establishing trails of blood
      7m 40s
    13. Integrating the blood into the scene
      7m 3s
  9. 1h 48m
    1. Using the image to select itself
      1m 37s
    2. Choosing the ideal base channel
      5m 7s
    3. Converting a channel into a mask
      6m 34s
    4. Painting with the Overlay mode
      7m 27s
    5. Painting with the Soft Light mode
      5m 55s
    6. Mask, composite, refine, and blend
      4m 40s
    7. Creating a more aggressive mask
      7m 2s
    8. Blending differently masked layers
      7m 0s
    9. Creating a hair-only mask
      6m 0s
    10. Using history to regain a lost mask
      3m 42s
    11. Separating flesh tones from hair
      8m 28s
    12. Adjusting a model's color temperature
      4m 30s
    13. Introducing the Calculations command
      7m 22s
    14. Extracting a mask from a Smart Object
      6m 34s
    15. Integrating a bird into a new sky
      5m 40s
    16. Creating synthetic rays of light
      6m 4s
    17. Masking and compositing light
      7m 39s
    18. Introducing a brilliant light source
      7m 5s
  10. 1h 34m
    1. The synthesis of masking and compositing
      1m 36s
    2. White reveals, black conceals
      6m 45s
    3. Layer masking tips and tricks
      5m 8s
    4. Generating a layer mask with Color Range
      5m 38s
    5. The Masks panel's bad options
      5m 18s
    6. The Masks panel's good options
      3m 50s
    7. Creating and feathering a vector mask
      3m 42s
    8. Combining pixel and vector masks
      3m 50s
    9. Working with path outlines
      7m 10s
    10. Combining paths into a single vector mask
      7m 52s
    11. Sharpening detail, reducing color noise
      4m 27s
    12. Recreating missing details
      8m 49s
    13. Masking glass
      5m 50s
    14. Refining a jagged Magic Wand mask
      5m 53s
    15. Masking multiple layers at one time
      5m 15s
    16. Establishing a knockout layer
      6m 6s
    17. Clipping and compositing tricks
      7m 37s
  11. 1m 17s
    1. Next steps
      1m 17s

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Starting with an accurate selection
Video Duration: 7m 11s 11h 35m Intermediate


Starting with an accurate selection provides you with in-depth training on Design. Taught by Deke McClelland as part of the Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals

View Course Description

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.

Topics include:
  • Setting up a workspace
  • Working with the seven key selection tools
  • Using the Color Range command
  • Automating masking
  • Matching a scene with Smart Filters
  • Choosing the ideal base channel
  • Converting a channel to a mask
  • Painting with the Overlay and Soft Light modes
  • Using History to regain a lost mask
  • Working with the Calculations command
  • Extracting a mask from a Smart Object
  • Masking and compositing light
  • Masking with black and white
  • Working with path outlines
  • Combining pixel and vector masks
  • Creating and feathering a vector mask

Starting with an accurate selection

All right, now we are going to employ the Refine Edge command in order to create a real project. And we are going to do so starting inside this file, it's called Man on moon.psd, it's found inside the 07_refine folder. And it's so called because we've got this image of this guy set against this dark sky background. And both of these images incidentally come to us from the Fotolia Image Library about which you can learn more, and, by the way, get a special deal at And we are going to combine these images in order to create this base composition.

The name of the file, by the way, is Vampire comp.psd; it contains a handful of layer comps. After I get done masking the model against the new background, I figured I might as well integrate the two images by cooling down his skin tones and also adding some reflectivity to the irises. Then I figured, since he's prowling around at night, he might as well look little bit ghoulish and finally, I went ahead and added some blood trickling out of his lips and down onto his chin. So that's where you have look forward to. I am going to go ahead and switch back to my starter file.

You can use Refine Edge in order to take a garbage selection and turn it into something reasonably good. But you are even better off if you start with a good selection in the first place. So we are going to take Photoshop's best selection tool, which is the Color Range command, and combine it with the best selection adjustment tool, which is Refine Edge. So let's start things off by going up to the Select menu and choosing the Color Range command, and then starting with the default Fuzziness value of 40. Go-ahead and click someplace in the background in order to initiate the selection and then Shift+Drag a little bit inside of this blue area, go ahead and Shift+Click inside some of these dark blues.

And you want to take it easy, you don't want to just start Shift+ Dragging all over the place where this image is concerned. Let's go ahead and Shift+Click right about there, and then finally, I want to Shift+Click inside the bright region, like so. And that's going to go ahead and select some highlights inside of his face. Once your selection preview looks something like mine, and to give you a better sense of what that is, I'll go ahead and change my selection preview to Grayscale. So we do have some garbage going on inside of his face. You could Alt+Click or Option+Click in order to deselect some of these regions like so, but that means you're going to have to go back and revisit this white stripe manually, which is actually not such a bad thing to do.

I'll go ahead and click the OK button in order to accept that selection. Now let's clean this selection up a little bit, and the reason we need to do this is because, notice, we have all these marching ants inside of his eyes and they are out here in the background as well. Even though the Refine Edge command is brilliant at modifying your selection, it bases its refinements on your existing edges. So it's good that we have the selection edge along the left side of his face. But we are going to end up refining the selection inside of his eyes, and over here on the left-hand side as well.

Press the Q key in order to switch to the Quick Mask mode, and then press the tilde key in order to hide the RGB image, so we are just seeing a mask. I want you now to go ahead and select the Brush tool, which you can get from the toolbox or by pressing the B key, right- click inside the image window and crank the Hardness value up to 100%, a size of 250 pixels woks pretty good. Then I'll press the Enter key or the Return key on a Mac to hide the panel, and I'm going to press the X key, so my foreground color is black, and then, I'll just go ahead and paint away those eyes, I'll paint over here in order to get rid of some of this garbage that's going on.

Paint near to the edge in order to just sort of clean up some of these regions. Now it doesn't matter if you introduce some hard edges here and there. Those will be resolved by Refine Edge. Press the X key now in order to switch the foreground color to white. And I am going to zoom out and then just paint this thing away. Now to make sure that we've got everything selected the way that we want, we don't have any little bits of dark gray over here in the black area or light gray over here in the white area. Go ahead and select the Magic Wand tool, and then I want you to set your Tolerance value to 0 and turn off the Anti-alias check box.

Now click inside the white region to see what's white and what's not. We need to clean up all this nonwhite stuff. So let's go ahead and zoom in, grab the Rectangular Marquee tool and then Shift+Drag around any selections that need to go away. So I am Shift+Dragging all over the place here as you can see. You don't want to Shift+Drag too close to the edges, but you do want to get in there. Just make sure you have a little bit of a margin left over. And we've got a lot of garbage down here. Of course, your results will vary if you're working along with me.

But you want to make sure that you have no tiny areas of selection left over, because those will cause us problems later. Looks like I've got everything selected that I need. There is this little region right there and actually as soon as I zoom in to 100% I see I have some more problems. So I am going to Shift+Drag around this region, Shift+Drag around these guys, these guys as well. Just scroll around a little in order to make sure I've got everything. I have some more problems down here than I need to resolve, so I'll go ahead and Shift+Drag around these regions. It's okay if you have a few little sort of bits of garbage there right next to the edge of the selection, you just don't want have them too far out.

That's good enough, now I'll go ahead and center my zoom by pressing Ctrl+0 or Command+0 on the Mac. My foreground color is white, so I'll press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete to fill that entire selected region with white. Let's run that same test over in the black area. I'll press the W key to switch to the Magic Wand tool, click inside the black area, got the usual big problems here. Go ahead and grab my Rectangular Marquee tool, once again, Shift+Drag around the biggest offenders that are out here in the wider region of the image, right around that area as well.

And I'll go ahead and zoom in here to 100 % might as well, just to make sure that I am seeing everything. And I'll Shift+Drag around this sort of peninsula that I've created. And finally, let's go ahead and check elsewhere inside the image. It looks like I've got some problems right there, that will Shift+Drag around, Shift+Drag around that guy. It's those little tiny selections in the middle of nowhere that are going to end up causing you problems later. Again, you're going to see different stuff as you work through your image. Be as patient as possible, don't you know? I am trying to get rid of this stuff even thought its mind numbingly boring.

All right, let's go ahead and grab that area, you know I am just going to Shift+Drag through this region, even though I was telling you to avoid the edges. But again, we will take care of those using Refine Edge and it looks like I've done a pretty good job. We'll go ahead and press Ctrl+0, or Command+0 on the Mac to zoom out. My background color is black, so I'll press Ctrl+Backspace here on the PC or Command+Delete on the Mac to fill that selected region with black. We really want to select the guy and deselect the background. So let's invert the mask by pressing Ctrl+I or Command+I on a Mac, and then you can press the Q key in order to exit the Quick Mask mode and generate that selection outline.

Now at this point we need to refine the selection using the Refine Edge command and I'll show you what that looks like in the next exercise.

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