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The third part of the popular and comprehensive series Photoshop CS6 One-on-One follows industry pro Deke McClelland as he plunges into the inner workings of Adobe Photoshop. He shows how to adjust your color, interface, and performance settings to get the best out of your images and the most out of Photoshop, and explores the power of Smart Objects, Shadows/Highlights, and Curves for making subtle, nondestructive adjustments. The course dives into Camera Raw to experiment with the editing toolset there, and returns to Photoshop to discuss toning, blur, and blend modes. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details and reducing noise, as well as creating quick and accurate selections with Quick Mask, Color Range, and Refine Edge commands.
In this movie, we'll apply some more modifications to the selection outline in the Quick Mask mode, and along the way, I'll show you how to view the Quick Mask along with the image, as we've seen so far, as well as on its own. I have still got my selection outline intact, so I'll press the Q key to enter the Quick Mask mode, and at this point, it's a little bit hard to tell what's going on. I don't really know which areas need to be painted away, and which areas need to stay, so I am going to turn off the RGB image, and view the Quick Mask independently.
So if you're working along with me, switch over to the Channels panel, and notice that the Quick Mask is active, as well as visible, whereas the RGB image, and all of its channels are visible, but inactive. To make them invisible, just click on the eyeball in front of RGB, and that will show you your selection outline as a standard black and white mask. So everything that's masked appears black; everything that's unmasked, and therefore selected, appears white. Now, there is also a keyboard shortcut for showing and hiding the full color image, and that's the Tilde key, which is the key just to the left of the 1 key on an American keyboard.
So Tilde shows me the RGB image, and then pressing Tilde again hides the image. Now, at this point, I obviously need to increase the contrast of my mask, and I'm going to do so using the levels command. So I'll press Control+L, or Command+L on the Mac, in order to invoke a static application of Levels. You can't apply adjustment layers to masks inside Photoshop. I'll click in the black point value, and notice that we've got a kind of spike of dark colors over here on the left-hand side of the histogram.
Let's move the black point to the right of those dark colors by pressing Shift+up arrow a couple of times to set the black point value to 20. Next, I'll select my white Eyedropper tool over here on the right-hand side of the dialog box, and I'll click on one of the darker pixels in the cheekbone there in order to make it white. And if you see some gray values hanging in there, then click again to try and see if you can get rid of them. Ultimately, you should come up with a white point value of 160, so that we are clipping all of this stuff away. Now go ahead and click on the OK button in order to increase the contrast of that mask. All right.
That's a pretty big modification, so I am going to go ahead and save my changes as an alpha channel. Another way to save your Quick Mask edits as alpha channels is to go ahead and drag that Quick Mask item at the bottom of the Channels panel, and drop it onto the little page icon, and that will create an unnamed alpha channel. If you want to name the channel as you create it, then press the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, and drag Quick Mask, and drop it onto the page icon, and you'll see the Duplicate Channel dialog box. And I'll call this channel Levels enhancement, and then I'll press the Enter key, or the Return key on the Mac, to create that channel.
All right, now I am going to press the Q key to exit the Quick Mask mode, and convert the mask to a selection outline, and because I've already backed up the selection, I'll press Control+D, or Command+D on the Mac, to deselect the image, because I want to show you something else. When you're working inside of an alpha channel, for example, I'll go ahead and click on Levels enhancement to select it, you also have the option of hiding or displaying the full-color image, and once again, you do so by clicking in the eye column in front of RGB, or you can just press the Tilde key. So Tilde will show the image, and then pressing Tilde again will hide it.
Now, what's interesting about this is, each one of the alpha channels has its own overlay color associated with it. For example, if I press on the base selection channel, and then press the Tilde key, you can see that I have a red overlay, and that's because I created this channel before I changed my Quick Mask color, whereas if I click on QM refinement, and then press the Tilde key, you can see that by this point, I had switched to Cyan. And you can assign a different color to each one of your alpha channels. I'll switch to Levels enhancement, and then press the Tilde key.
It appears cyan right now, but if I want to change its color, I just double-click on the thumbnail in order to bring up the Channel Options dialog box, and I click on the color swatch, and let's say I decide to make this color a bright green by dialing in a Hue value of 120 degrees. Then I'll click OK twice in order to apply that modification. And that's how you view any kind of mask, with or without the full-color image, here inside Photoshop.
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