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Photoshop CS5 for Photographers provides comprehensive Photoshop training targeting the needs of photographers. In this course, author Chris Orwig demonstrates the fundamental skills used to enhance digital photos, including managing and correcting color, sharpening, making selections and adjustments, retouching, and printing from Photoshop. In addition to teaching the techniques that enable photographers to refine and publish their photos, the course includes live-action segments that encourage thinking photographically and shooting with Photoshop’s capabilities in mind. Exercise files are included with the course.
Let's go ahead and take a look at the Masks panel. In particular, let's take a look at some of the slider controls and deconstruct how those work, so we can begin to think about how we can use these controls in order to improve our images, and in order to improve our masking skills. Well, here I have a portrait of my sister Amanda. While I really like this portrait, one of the things that I'm noticing is that the image is a little bit too bright. What I would like to have happen is I would like to darken up the ambient light, I want to darken up the background, and also Amanda, but I want to darken these two areas a little bit differently.
Well, let's take a look at how we can do this. Press the W key in order to select Quick Select, and then go ahead and click and drag around the image. Let's just make a rough selection. This can be a rough because we're actually going to diffuse this selection quite a bit here in just a minute. Hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt key on a PC to subtract anything that you don't want. And then, you can change your Brush Size as well, if you need to get into smaller, little detail areas. But for the most part, we have a decent rough selection simply just clicking and dragging around the photograph.
At this juncture, what we're going to do is we're going to use Levels in order to change the brightness value of this selected area. So while we haven't fully covered Levels yet, let's go ahead and take a look at the dialog briefly. We'll click on the Levels icon in the Adjustment panel. Then what we can do is we can click and drag to the right in order to darken, or to the left in order to brighten. One of the things that we notice here is that the white area is allowing this adjustment through on my sister Amanda.
Well, that's exact opposite of what I want to do. So I need to invert this mask. I can do so by going to the Masks panel, and by clicking on Invert, or by pressing Command+I on a Mac, or Ctrl+I on a PC. Now at this juncture, we can see that if we click on this layer icon before and then after, it's only affecting the background. Well, that's a little bit too intense, but let's leave that there in order to deconstruct how some of these controls work. Our first slider is Density.
Density is really fascinating. What this allows us to do is to set the density or the brightness value of the mask. So if I decrease the Density, what's going to happen is that there is going to more darkening effect applied to my sister, or to the middle area of the image. So again, that's without anything. Then we can bring a little bit more on here. Another way to view this would be to hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt key on a PC, and then to click on the layer mask. Here, you can see that as we go to a brighter shade of gray, it's going to let more and more of this through.
Remember, black conceals and white reveals. Every tone in the middle conceals to a lesser or greater degree. Greater degree of concealment when it's black, and then lesser as it gets brighter and brighter. All right, what about this next control here, Feather? What this can do for us is just diffuse what we've selected. Sometimes when working with light, you want that diffusion, so there is a little bit of a soft transition. We can make that transition really soft, and even just affect a large area as well.
All right.Well, let's go back to the regular view. We're going to do that by Option or Alt+Clicking on the Mask icon. All right next, let's double-click on this Levels Adjustment icon here, and then let's just brighten up the background a little bit. So here is our before and then after. All right, great! Well, Amanda is a little bit too bright. How can we change that? We go to our Masks panel. We click in the mask, and now that we know about the Density slider, we can go ahead and decrease this amount, so that we're bringing a little bit more of the darkening effect in on her.
Then we can diffuse that as well. So, we're going to diffuse this out. Then now we have complete control of all of these different variables. We have that control because we were able to turn our selection into a mask and then use these controls in order to dial in the exact effect that we are interested in creating.
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