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Using live Density and Feather

From: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery

Video: Using live Density and Feather

All right, I want to show you a couple more functions that are available to you in the Masks palette that have no corollaries in previous versions of Photoshop. They're absolutely brand new as you're about to see now. They're not necessarily the most essential functions in a program but I find them to be highly interesting and possible harbingers of wonderful things to come. So I've gone ahead and saved out my progress so far as this document called Maniacal despot.psd because he is indeed a maniacal despot with his sight set on our beloved earth right there. Just because I felt like he wasn't scary enough, I went ahead and gave him the teeth. Now he is just frightening I believe.

Using live Density and Feather

All right, I want to show you a couple more functions that are available to you in the Masks palette that have no corollaries in previous versions of Photoshop. They're absolutely brand new as you're about to see now. They're not necessarily the most essential functions in a program but I find them to be highly interesting and possible harbingers of wonderful things to come. So I've gone ahead and saved out my progress so far as this document called Maniacal despot.psd because he is indeed a maniacal despot with his sight set on our beloved earth right there. Just because I felt like he wasn't scary enough, I went ahead and gave him the teeth. Now he is just frightening I believe.

In the Layers palette, not only do I have the duckbill layer selected, but I also have its layer mask active. That's very important so that you have access to the functions that you need to have access to, here inside the Mask palette. But you may recall if the image itself is active, all you have to do is then click on this little icon right there in the Mask palette to switch over to the pixel-based mask. We've got these two sliders, Density and Feather, and they are altogether parametric. So these other guys make permanent modifications. They actually change the pixels inside the mask. But these guys here make no permanent modifications whatsoever.

So we have Density and what Density does is it reduces the opacity of the mask thereby increasing the opacity of the layer. Let me show you what I mean. So if I reduce the Density value to 50%, for example, I'm graying out the mask so that the black becomes gray, the white remains white and as a result, we're making the layer itself more opaque so that we can see through less of it. This is basically the antithesis of the standard opacity value.

So instead of making the layer more translucent, we're making the layer more opaque by making the mask itself more translucent because we have an inverse relationship between the image and its mask. This can be useful for previewing; sometimes I'll use it to get a sense of what my original edges look like, in case I'm trying to paint around the edges. For example, if I zoom in here, I'm able to see that I have some edges that go beyond the edge of my mask. So let's see if I take the Density value up a little bit, let's say to 70% and I can see that I have a little wiggle room left right there, then with the mask active, as it is of course, I press the B key in order to get my brush, reduce the size of my brush a little bit, make sure that's set to white, which it is, foreground color that is to say. Then I can paint some of these edges back into place.

So that's one use for that Density option here, as you can see where the real edges are. Now I've gone ahead and paint it too far as you can see in both cases, here and here. So I'll press the X key in order to switch the foreground color to black and then I would paint this away, paint this here away, and paint this region right there. I've gone too far. Once again, this is not uncommon they have to go back and forth and so I'll just go ahead and paint that back after pressing the X key, of course, to reinstate a foreground color of white. Anyway, so that's one way to work. Other things that you can do with Density if you want to be able to see through a mask and reinstate some of the original background, you can do it that way as well. All right, so I'm going to now reinstate the density back to 100% and the beauty, of course, is that was a non-destructive modification, totally parametric and I can change my mind any time I want.

This one's even more remarkable and it's very easy to get a sense of how you might use it. If you want to feather the edges of your mask, whether to create halos or to fudge a few transitions or to match the soft focus of the foreground image, then you can increase the feather value. Notice as I increase that feather value, I'm blurring the mask on the fly and so I could increase that value as much as I want, and of course, at this stage, I'm going to get some very blurry edges indeed which is great if I want ghost dinosaur, but I don't. But still, it is an entirely parametric modification and then I can change my mind later and you can see it reflected. If I Alt-click or Option-click on the layer mask, you can see that the layer mask is getting blurred on the fly and then I can un-blur it as well.

Now the reason I think this is so remarkable, in addition to the fact that it's just convenient, in case you want to apply mask blurs on the fly and by the way, both Density and Feather are applicable to either pixel-based masks or vector-based masks, meaning path outlines, which we'll examine in more detail in the later chapter. These three buttons right here are only applicable to pixel-based masks. Now the reason I think this is such a remarkable function is because where else can you apply on the fly blurring inside of Photoshop? With Glows. Without the Glows, Inner Glows, Drop Shadows, that kind of thing, you can apply blurs on the fly and you can come back and change your mind where layer effects are concerned. But where blurring imagery is concerned, you really don't have that option; you have to resort to smart object and then apply the Gaussian Blur filter and so on. Wouldn't it be great if we have this sort of Blur function or Sharpen function, a slider right there on the fly that was available for all of our layers? I think it might happen because this is here. They did it for masking. If they did it for a pixel-based mask, they can do it for a pixel-based layer. So I remain ever hopeful that one day that will be available to us.

Let's go ahead and Alt-click or Option- click to escape the mask and reinstate the Feather value of 0 in order to get those nice sharp edges right there. You know what I'm going to do? Press the F key a couple of times in order to hide all that interface fodder also. We're seeing the image by itself. This is the image as it appeared when we first got done masking it. Beautiful impeccable mask but a little light on the credibility, of course. This is the final version of our composition. Thanks to a couple of extra layers, of course, and that Gradient Overlay layer effect that really sells that composition, creates that sort of cast shadow effect. The entire process facilitated by the new Masks palette inside of Photoshop CS4.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery
Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery

147 video lessons · 27725 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
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  1. 21m 17s
    1. Welcome
      1m 21s
    2. Installing the DekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      5m 38s
    3. Resetting the Function keys on a Mac
      3m 51s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 34s
    5. Setting up the CS4 color settings
      5m 53s
  2. 2h 31m
    1. Introduction to masking
      51s
    2. Introducing color range
      4m 22s
    3. Adding base colors and adjusting fuzziness
      4m 46s
    4. Localized color clusters
      6m 12s
    5. The Quick Mask mode
      7m 33s
    6. Viewing a quick mask by itself
      6m 40s
    7. Testing the quality of edges
      3m 55s
    8. Introducing the Masks palette
      7m 45s
    9. Editing a layer mask
      6m 18s
    10. Choking a mask with Gaussian Blur and Levels
      6m 44s
    11. Choking a mask with Mask Edge
      7m 43s
    12. Adding a Gradient Overlay shadow
      4m 23s
    13. Using live Density and Feather
      6m 12s
    14. Journeyman masking
      5m 44s
    15. Creating an alpha channel
      7m 6s
    16. Increasing contrast
      7m 15s
    17. Overlay painting
      8m 28s
    18. Cleaning up whites and blacks
      5m 48s
    19. Soft light painting
      5m 47s
    20. Selecting in style
      6m 55s
    21. Employing masks as selections
      5m 2s
    22. Scaling and compositing layers
      6m 30s
    23. Compositing glass
      5m 10s
    24. Selecting glass highlights
      8m 41s
    25. Working with found masks
      5m 46s
  3. 1h 34m
    1. Introduction to vector-based shapes
      1m 10s
    2. Vector-based type outlines
      7m 23s
    3. The benefits of vectors
      6m 27s
    4. Upsampling vs. nondestructive scaling
      7m 35s
    5. Vectors and effects
      8m 7s
    6. Fill Opacity and clipped layers
      4m 24s
    7. Basic shape creation
      3m 15s
    8. Drawing interacting shapes
      6m 21s
    9. Power-duplicating paths
      3m 12s
    10. Combining pixels and vector masks
      5m 19s
    11. Line tool and layer attributes
      7m 5s
    12. Copying and pasting path outlines
      3m 28s
    13. Drawing custom shapes
      3m 59s
    14. Drawing with the Pen tool
      7m 48s
    15. Creating cusp points
      7m 28s
    16. Defining a custom shape
      3m 34s
    17. Assigning a vector mask to an image
      2m 38s
    18. Adding a vector object to a composition
      5m 40s
  4. 1h 23m
    1. Introduction to Vanishing Point
      1m 11s
    2. Creating and saving the first plane
      8m 9s
    3. Creating perpendicular planes
      5m 16s
    4. Healing in perspective
      8m 47s
    5. Cloning and scaling in perspective
      8m 33s
    6. Patching an irregularly shaped area
      6m 59s
    7. Healing between planes
      3m 34s
    8. Importing an image into a 3D scene
      5m 45s
    9. Adding perspective type
      5m 37s
    10. Removing and matching perspective
      5m 36s
    11. Applying a reflection in perspective
      5m 1s
    12. Creating a perspective gradient
      6m 11s
    13. Converting a gradient to a mask
      2m 58s
    14. Swinging planes to custom angles
      4m 32s
    15. Wrapping art around multiple surfaces
      5m 49s
  5. 1h 15m
    1. Introduction to Smart Objects
      58s
    2. Placing a Smart Object
      5m 7s
    3. Saving a PDF-compatible AI file
      4m 27s
    4. Performing nondestructive transformations
      6m 7s
    5. Editing a Smart Object in Illustrator
      6m 50s
    6. Converting an image to a Smart Object
      6m 50s
    7. Cloning Smart Objects
      5m 24s
    8. Creating a multilayer Smart Object
      5m 51s
    9. Updating multiple instances at once
      2m 54s
    10. Creating a Camera Raw Smart Object
      4m 17s
    11. Editing a Camera Raw Smart Object
      3m 25s
    12. Assembling a layered ACR composition
      5m 54s
    13. Using an ACR Smart Object to effect
      3m 41s
    14. Blending multiple ACR portraits
      6m 56s
    15. Live type that inverts everything behind it
      6m 32s
  6. 1h 48m
    1. Introducing nondestructive Smart Filters
      46s
    2. Applying a Smart Filter
      4m 22s
    3. Adjusting filter and blend settings
      4m 25s
    4. Heaping on the Smart Filters
      5m 19s
    5. Smart Filter stacking order
      7m 23s
    6. Resolution and Smart Filter radius
      6m 12s
    7. Masking Smart Filters
      4m 41s
    8. Employing nested Smart Objects
      5m 5s
    9. Dragging and dropping Smart Filters
      6m 31s
    10. Using the Shadows/Highlights filter
      5m 53s
    11. Regaining access to the pixels
      7m 8s
    12. Parametric wonderland
      5m 52s
    13. Working with the Filter Gallery
      6m 28s
    14. Freeform filter jam
      5m 51s
    15. Swapping filters from the Filter Gallery
      3m 45s
    16. Mixing all varieties of parametric effects
      7m 30s
    17. Addressing a few Smart Filter bugs
      3m 11s
    18. Applying a Smart Filter to live type
      5m 30s
    19. Choking letters with Maximum
      3m 7s
    20. Duplicating a Smart Filter
      2m 38s
    21. Enhancing a filter with a layer effect
      6m 30s
  7. 1h 6m
    1. Introduction to Auto-Align, Auto-Blend, and Photomerge
      1m 2s
    2. Merging two shots into one
      3m 49s
    3. Applying Auto-Align layers
      3m 44s
    4. Masking images into a common scene
      1m 38s
    5. Auto-Align plus Auto-Blend
      8m 11s
    6. Assigning weighted Opacity values
      4m 7s
    7. Employing a Difference mask
      7m 17s
    8. Masking smarter, not harder
      3m 53s
    9. Capturing multiple depths of field
      3m 37s
    10. Auto-blending real focus
      8m 31s
    11. Creating a panorama with Photomerge
      7m 27s
    12. Correcting a seamless panorama
      4m 52s
    13. An altogether nondestructive Lab correction
      7m 59s
  8. 1h 44m
    1. Introduction to new CS4 technologies
      1m 1s
    2. Applying Content-Aware Scale
      7m 18s
    3. What works and what doesn't with Content-Aware Scale
      4m 19s
    4. Protecting areas with masks
      7m 31s
    5. Applying incremental edits
      7m 6s
    6. Protecting skin tones
      7m 12s
    7. Scaling around a model with TLC
      9m 0s
    8. Adjusting the scale threshold
      5m 22s
    9. When Content-Aware Scale fails
      4m 2s
    10. Creating a lens distortion effect
      8m 39s
    11. Layer masking the family
      11m 44s
    12. Installing the Pixel Bender
      3m 42s
    13. Introducing Pixel Bender kernels
      6m 50s
    14. Pixel Bender kernel roundup
      7m 24s
    15. Tube View and Ripple Blocks
      3m 58s
    16. Making a seamless pattern with Kaleidoscope
      6m 13s
    17. Introducing the Pixel Bender Toolkit
      3m 24s
  9. 1h 20m
    1. Introduction to actions
      42s
    2. Creating an action
      5m 45s
    3. Recording operations
      5m 12s
    4. Reviewing and editing an action
      4m 45s
    5. Playing an action (the Button Mode)
      4m 50s
    6. Saving and loading actions
      5m 0s
    7. Copying and modifying an action
      4m 8s
    8. Permitting the user to change settings
      5m 50s
    9. The Best Chrome Effect Ever II
      3m 41s
    10. Recording a fail-safe action
      7m 33s
    11. Rounding corners with a mask
      4m 33s
    12. Cleaning up layers
      3m 51s
    13. Automating layer effects
      7m 1s
    14. Applying chrome with Gradient Map
      6m 24s
    15. Action anomalies
      4m 11s
    16. Rendering effects to layers
      5m 1s
    17. Testing that it works
      2m 0s
  10. 1m 14s
    1. See ya
      1m 14s

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