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Learn how to use selections and layer masks in Photoshop to create composite images and apply targeted adjustments. After covering the key concepts behind selections and exploring Photoshop's selection tools, Tim Grey delves into a variety of advanced techniques that will help you make accurate selections, create seamless composite images, and apply adjustments that do exactly what you want them to do.
I love finding ways to mix and match various tools and techniques in Photoshop to create an interesting result. And one situation where I'll use that type of approach is when I want to add an artistic edge to an image. In this case I'm going to use the Brush tool with some special properties. In order to create an interesting edge effect for my image. I'll start off by creating a new image layer. So I'll click on the Create New Layer button at the bottom of the layers panel. And I'm going to fill this layer with white. And that's because I essentially want to have a white border around the image.
It's just going to be a border with an interesting textured shape to it. So I'll go to the Edit > Fill. And then choose White from the use pop up, and click OK in order to fill this layer with white. Of course, all those white pixels are now covering up my image. So I want to block all of these pixels from view. And then I'll use an interesting technique to reveal some of those pixels. To block all those pixels I'm going to use a layer mask and in this case what I really want is just a layer mask filed with black. By default, a layer mask is filled with white so that all of the pixels on the layer that we've added that mask to are revealed, but But we can also add a black layer mask. I don't even have to add a white layer mask and fill it with black. I can simply hold the Alt key on Windows or the Option key on Macintosh, while clicking on the Add Layer Mask button at the bottom of the Layers panel, and that will add an inverted mask.
So now I have a layer mask filled with black. So now I have a white layer covering up my image but that white layer has been completely hidden from view. But now I'm going to reveal portions of it. To do that I'll choose the Brush tool and then I'm going to click on the Brush Panel button on the options bar in order to bring up the Brush panel. And I'm going to change some of the attributes for the Brush in order to create a very random and interesting textured shape. I'll start off by going down the list of brushes here. And finding one that has an interesting shape to it, perhaps this one here might work nicely. And then I'll go to Shape Dynamics, and here we can adjust the jitter controls. In other words, some variation for the brush.
So I can have the brush size jitter. In other words, to vary between large and small. You'll notice in the preview stroke down below that we get a bit of a random shape, here, because of that. I can also adjust the angle jitter so that the brush essentially rotates on the fly as I'm painting with it. Next, I can adjust the roundness jitter. And I sort of think of this as a three dimensional type of effect for the brush. We're randomly turning the brush on edge to some extent. I can also adjust the controls for scattering so that I can scatter those brush strokes around a little bit.
Usually a fairly small value works out pretty well, and I can adjust the number of brush strokes, effectively. Essentially this is the same as painting over the same area multiple times, and then I can jitter that effect. But at this point, I think I have a pretty good result. I can go back and fine-tune, as I'd like, the various settings. Notice, also, by the way, that we have minimum values for some of these controls, so I can have a minimum roundness setting or a minimum diameter, so the size can't get too small for some of the brush strokes.
But I think this randomness is looking pretty cool. I'll go ahead and close my brush panel and then we can take a look at the results. I'll adjust the brush size here... And I'm going to use a large brush size just so that we can see the effect a little bit better. More often than not, I would use a relatively small setting here. And in fact, I'm going to also change one other setting for the brush. I want to reduce the opacity for the brush down to 50%, so I'll simply press five on the keyboard to set the opacity on the Options bar to 50%.
I'll also make sure that my blend mode for that brush is set to Normal. And then I'll press the letter D on the keyboard to make sure that my colors are set to their default values with white as my foreground color and black as the background color. I can press X as needed to switch the foreground and background color. And I'll also click on the layer mask thumbnail on the layers panel just to make sure that's active so that I'm painting on my mask, not on my pixel layer. And then at a 50% opacity I'm just going to paint across the image and you'll see that I get this sort of random texture, this random shape because the brush is jittering all over the place.
I can paint back and forth a couple times if I'd like to and naturally if I was creating a border effect I would paint all the way around the outside of the photo blocking the underlying image as it were by revealing portions of my white frame. At this point, I'll go ahead and reduce the size of the brush and then press the 0 key on the keyboard to set my opacity for the brush to 100% and now I'll go around 1 more time with the second pass, this time actually revealing that white border.
So I have this sort of tiered effect. I've got part of the image being blocked just a little but by that white layer. And then I'm coming back around with a smaller portion adding a full effect, so painting it 100 percent opacity so that I'm completely revealing that white border. And so, I can continue working around the image in order to clean up the edge, so that I have a nice white border but a white boarder with a very interesting shape to it. So again, in this case, I'd use the much larger brush than I normally would, but you can see the effect can be a lot of fun to apply, adding an interesting and random border around an image.
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