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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.
At times I like to add an artistic edge to my images, and I like them to be a little bit random. Just some sort of texture that's interesting. And, to do that, I can utilize a filter in conjunction with a layer mask. Let's take a look at the basic technique. I'll start by utilizing the Rectangular Mark key tool, in order to create a selection of most of the image, just inside from that outer edge. I'll then add a new image layer by clicking on the Create New Layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel, and I'll add a layer mask to this layer based on the selection, by clicking on the Add Layer Mask button. Next, I'll click on the thumbnail for the image layer itself, and I'm going to fill this layer with white so that that will become the border for my image. So I'll go to the Edit menu and choose Fill.
I'll make sure the Use popup is set to white and I'll click OK. And now, of course, I have white, but it's covering up the image. Because my selection was of the interior of the image, not of the border around the edge of the photo and so I needed the opposite selection. Essentially, I should have inverted my selection. But that's okay, because I can actually just invert my layer mask. I'll go ahead and click on the thumbnail for the layer mask so that I can modify the layer mask itself. And then, on the properties panel, I'll scroll down so that I can see the invert button, and I'll simply click invert.
And as you can see, I've inverted my layer mask, reversing it essentially, so that I get the same result as though I had inverted my selection in the first place. So now I have a border, but it's not exactly an artistic border, it's just a white border. It's essentially as though I had cropped the image. But that's because I just used a simple selection. But now I can modify this layer mask utilizing the filter. So I'll go to the Filter menu, and choose Filter Gallery. That will bring up the Filter Gallery. I can add additional Filter layers if I'd like.
In this case I have a pretty good starting point. I have the Ocean Ripple filter, as well as the Underpainting filter. I can turn off the visibility for any of those Filter effects. I can click on the trash can icon if I want to delete the selected layer. I can also add a new Filter Effect layer. Initially the new layer will be a duplicate of the currently active layer. But then, I can apply changes just clicking on a thumbnail representing one of the filters if I'd like and then modifying the overall settings for that Filter effect. And I can even change the order of the Filters.
I'll go ahead and drag the Underpainting filter up to the top of the stack, for example. But as you can see, I'm able to fine-tune the shape of that Edge effect, just by applying as many filters as I'd like, and adjusting the overall settings for those filters. Once I'm happy with the edge effect, I'll go ahead and click the OK button, and you can see that that edge effect, now impacts my image. Because what I've really done is applied a filter directly to my layer mask. So, now the layer mask that is determining which portions of my white layer are blocked versus revealed has been changed in shape to create a rather interesting effect for the photo.
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