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What to do when layers go wrong

From: Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals

Video: What to do when layers go wrong

All right! So here we are looking at that blended version of the nameplate which I'm calling Preliminary nameplate.psd. And let's say I'm talking to my boss or my art director or my client, what have you. And they tell me, this is great, but we'd like to see some sort of edge-tracing around the nameplate, either a stroke or an inner glow or something along those lines. So with the nameplate layer selected, go ahead and drop down to the fx icon and choose the Inner Glow command. After all, Inner Glow tends to be the most flexible of the tracing effects.

What to do when layers go wrong

All right! So here we are looking at that blended version of the nameplate which I'm calling Preliminary nameplate.psd. And let's say I'm talking to my boss or my art director or my client, what have you. And they tell me, this is great, but we'd like to see some sort of edge-tracing around the nameplate, either a stroke or an inner glow or something along those lines. So with the nameplate layer selected, go ahead and drop down to the fx icon and choose the Inner Glow command. After all, Inner Glow tends to be the most flexible of the tracing effects.

Now I'll click on the yellow swatch and I'll dial-in a brighter yellow by changing the Hue value to 50 degrees and both the Saturation and Brightness values to 100%. Then I'll click OK. I'll take the Opacity value up to 100%, a Size of 5 pixels is just fine, but I want to set the Technique to Precise so that we fill in those corners. Now I show this to the client, the boss, whomever, if they're ecstatic, they love this effect. Great! I click OK and I don't like it at all. In fact, I have a couple of problems at work.

Notice that I'm tracing a highlight around the boot, one that's also interrupting the shadow and I'm tracing the right edge of the nameplate along with the left edge as well, whereas the effect I want is this one right here which you can check out inside that file called Final Wikked nameplate.psd. So obviously it is possible to avoid tracing the boot and to reinstate the shadow behind the boot and make sure that we don't trace the right and left sides of the nameplate. But how in the world do we do it? The good news is our alpha channels are in great shape, so we don't have the modifier masks and we don't have to redo the layer effects.

We can pick those up later. The bad news is we have to redo everything else. So essentially, we've got to recreate this nameplate. Now the problem arises from an overly hopeful view of layers. In my experience, folks tend to think as long as I'm using layers inside of Photoshop, I'm golden. I won't run into any problems. And so there is sometimes a propensity to put too much on a single layer, and that's a problem that we have. We need to break our effects into multiple layers, always a good idea, by the way,. We also need to introduce a couple of layer masks and a clipping mask in order to get the effect we're looking for.

And for starters, we need to expand the canvas because we've got to create a nameplate layer that's actually wider than the magazine cover itself. So let's start things off by turning off the existing nameplate layer, go ahead and click on the Background layer to make it active, let's press Ctrl+0 or Command+0 on the Mac to back out from the image. Then go up to the Image menu and choose the Canvas Size command, or you can press that keyboard shortcut Ctrl+ Alt+C or Command+Option+C on the Mac. Then turn on the Relative check box, so I'm either adding pixels to or subtracting pixels from the existing canvas size.

And now I'm going to increase the Width value to 100 pixels so we're expanding the canvas 50 pixels to the right as well as 50 pixels to the left, and then go ahead and click OK. Now that's going to create a region of white in the background, assuming of course that your background color is white. Don't worry about that though; we'll get rid of it in a moment. Switch over to the Channels panel and then click on the nameplate layer to make it active. And I want you to go ahead and select this rightmost region of the nameplate using the rectangular Marquee. Don't select any of that D, you just want to make sure you get empty rectangle.

And Ctrl+Shift+Alt+Drag or Command+ Shift+Option+Drag that selection to the right, like so. And because you have the Ctrl key down or the Command key on the Mac, you end up getting the Move tool on the fly. Because you have the Shift key down, you go ahead and constrain the movement horizontally. And then because you have the Alt or Option key down, you create a copy of that selection and you go ahead and extend the nameplate all the way to the right side of the canvas. All right! Let's go ahead and do that same thing over here on the left side of the nameplate.

I'll go ahead and select it and then Ctrl+Shift+Alt+Drag, that would be a Command+Shift+Option+Drag that selection over to the left. Then go ahead and click off the image in order to deselect it. Now I want you to press the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac and click on that nameplate channel in order to convert it into a selection outline. Click on the RGB item up here at the top of the Channels panel in order to switch back to the composite image. And I'm going to switch over to the Layers panel as well and press Ctrl+Shift+N or Command+Shift+N on the Mac to make a new layer, and let's go ahead and call this one newplate and click OK.

And I'm going to press the D key to reinstate my default colors and I'll press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete to fill that nameplate with black. Again, this is a placeholder; I'm just filling it with black to determine the opaque pixels inside the layer. All right! Now I'll click off the image to deselect it. Now we are going to reinstate the original canvas size by going up to the Image menu and choosing the Canvas Size command. Now the Relative check box should still be on, go ahead and reduce the Width value this time to -100 pixels, so the same value we entered before, except negative instead of positive, and click OK. All right! Now we get this misleading error message.

It says the new canvas size is smaller than the current canvas size, some clipping will occur. Well, in our case, it's true. Some things will get clipped, some won't. The things that will get clipped are the flat objects like the background image, that will get clipped, or if you prefer, cropped, and so will the alpha channels because Photoshop can't help but crop alpha channels to the existing canvas size. However, this nameplate layer will still be the same size we made it, so it will actually extend 50 pixels to the right and 50 pixels to the left of the new canvas.

So go ahead and click Proceed in order to crop the image. That goes ahead and gets rid of those areas of white around the background image. Now just to prove everything worked the way it was supposed to, Ctrl+Click or Command+Click on the thumbnail for the newplate layer and you'll see that the selection extends out beyond the edge of the canvas. And that will allow us to get the tracing effect we're looking for. In the next exercise, we'll reinstate that gradient, we'll add the layer effects, and I'll show you how to cut the layer effects with the boot.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals
Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals

128 video lessons · 28932 viewers

Deke McClelland

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  1. 15m 25s
    1. Welcome
      1m 12s
    2. Loading my custom dekeKeys shortcuts
      3m 45s
    3. Adjusting the color settings
      4m 29s
    4. Setting up a power workspace
      5m 59s
  2. 1h 0m
    1. The channel is the origin of masking
      1m 54s
    2. The Masks and Channels panels
      4m 48s
    3. How color channels work
      7m 7s
    4. Viewing channels in color
      3m 24s
    5. How RGB works
      4m 12s
    6. Single-channel grayscale
      5m 12s
    7. Mixing a custom "fourth" channel
      5m 15s
    8. The other three-channel mode: Lab
      5m 45s
    9. A practical application of Lab
      4m 55s
    10. The final color mode: CMYK
      7m 5s
    11. Introducing the Multichannel mode
      5m 56s
    12. Creating a unique multichannel effect
      5m 18s
  3. 44m 27s
    1. The alpha channel is home to the mask
      1m 40s
    2. The origins of the alpha channel
      3m 40s
    3. How a mask works
      7m 10s
    4. Making an alpha channel
      4m 2s
    5. Using the new channel icons
      6m 27s
    6. Saving an image with alpha channels
      4m 23s
    7. Loading a selection from a channel
      4m 7s
    8. Putting a mask into play
      3m 55s
    9. Loading a selection from a layer
      4m 27s
    10. Loading a selection from another image
      4m 36s
  4. 1h 0m
    1. The mask meets the composition
      1m 8s
    2. Viewing a mask as a rubylith overlay
      6m 13s
    3. Changing a mask's overlay color
      5m 34s
    4. Painting inside a mask
      6m 3s
    5. Cleaning up and confirming
      5m 18s
    6. Combining masks
      5m 10s
    7. Painting behind and inside a layer
      5m 27s
    8. Blending image elements
      6m 1s
    9. What to do when layers go wrong
      6m 3s
    10. Hiding layer effects with a mask
      4m 22s
    11. Introducing clipping masks
      5m 29s
    12. Unclipping and masking a shadow
      3m 50s
  5. 1h 35m
    1. The seven selection soldiers
    2. The marquee tools
      6m 31s
    3. The single-pixel tools (plus tool tricks)
      6m 48s
    4. Turning a destructive edit into a layer
      5m 34s
    5. Making shapes of specific sizes
      7m 7s
    6. The lasso tools
      5m 49s
    7. Working with the Magnetic Lasso tool
      7m 19s
    8. The Quick Selection tool
      8m 13s
    9. Combining Quick Selection and Smudge
      4m 52s
    10. The Magic Wand and the Tolerance value
      6m 55s
    11. Contiguous and Anti-aliased selections
      6m 58s
    12. Making a good selection with the Magic Wand
      6m 34s
    13. Selecting and replacing a background
      6m 55s
    14. Resolving edges with layer effects
      7m 52s
    15. Adding lines of brilliant gold type
      7m 28s
  6. 1h 11m
    1. Selections reign supreme
    2. Introducing "selection calculations"
      4m 19s
    3. Combining two different tools
      7m 29s
    4. Selections and transparency masks
      5m 17s
    5. Selecting an eye
      7m 1s
    6. Masking and blending a texture into skin
      5m 1s
    7. Painting a texture into an eye
      4m 19s
    8. Combining layers, masks, channels, and paths
      4m 54s
    9. Moving selection outlines vs. selected pixels
      5m 36s
    10. Transforming and warping a selection outline
      7m 45s
    11. Pasting an image inside a selection
      7m 26s
    12. Adding volumetric shadows and highlights
      6m 54s
    13. Converting an image into a mask
      4m 42s
  7. 1h 5m
    1. The best selection tools are commands
      1m 5s
    2. Introducing the Color Range command
      5m 59s
    3. Working in the Color Range dialog box
      7m 7s
    4. Primary colors and luminance ranges
      4m 12s
    5. A terrific use for Color Range
      4m 57s
    6. Introducing the Quick Mask mode
      7m 43s
    7. Moving a selection into a new background
      5m 43s
    8. Smoothing the mask, recreating the corners
      8m 43s
    9. Integrating foreground and background
      4m 44s
    10. Creating a cast shadow from a layer
      2m 51s
    11. Releasing and masking layer effects
      3m 11s
    12. Creating a synthetic rainbow effect
      4m 30s
    13. Masking and compositing your rainbow
      4m 46s
  8. 1h 17m
    1. The ultimate in masking automation
      1m 6s
    2. Introducing the Refine Mask command
      6m 58s
    3. Automated edge detection
      8m 23s
    4. Turning garbage into gold
      6m 19s
    5. Starting with an accurate selection
      7m 11s
    6. Selection outline in, layer mask out
      7m 48s
    7. Matching a scene with Smart Filters
      4m 29s
    8. Cooling a face, reflecting inside eyes
      4m 45s
    9. Creating a layer of ghoulish skin
      4m 28s
    10. Adding dark circles around the eyes
      5m 20s
    11. Creating a fake blood effect
      5m 38s
    12. Establishing trails of blood
      7m 40s
    13. Integrating the blood into the scene
      7m 3s
  9. 1h 48m
    1. Using the image to select itself
      1m 37s
    2. Choosing the ideal base channel
      5m 7s
    3. Converting a channel into a mask
      6m 34s
    4. Painting with the Overlay mode
      7m 27s
    5. Painting with the Soft Light mode
      5m 55s
    6. Mask, composite, refine, and blend
      4m 40s
    7. Creating a more aggressive mask
      7m 2s
    8. Blending differently masked layers
      7m 0s
    9. Creating a hair-only mask
      6m 0s
    10. Using history to regain a lost mask
      3m 42s
    11. Separating flesh tones from hair
      8m 28s
    12. Adjusting a model's color temperature
      4m 30s
    13. Introducing the Calculations command
      7m 22s
    14. Extracting a mask from a Smart Object
      6m 34s
    15. Integrating a bird into a new sky
      5m 40s
    16. Creating synthetic rays of light
      6m 4s
    17. Masking and compositing light
      7m 39s
    18. Introducing a brilliant light source
      7m 5s
  10. 1h 34m
    1. The synthesis of masking and compositing
      1m 36s
    2. White reveals, black conceals
      6m 45s
    3. Layer masking tips and tricks
      5m 8s
    4. Generating a layer mask with Color Range
      5m 38s
    5. The Masks panel's bad options
      5m 18s
    6. The Masks panel's good options
      3m 50s
    7. Creating and feathering a vector mask
      3m 42s
    8. Combining pixel and vector masks
      3m 50s
    9. Working with path outlines
      7m 10s
    10. Combining paths into a single vector mask
      7m 52s
    11. Sharpening detail, reducing color noise
      4m 27s
    12. Recreating missing details
      8m 49s
    13. Masking glass
      5m 50s
    14. Refining a jagged Magic Wand mask
      5m 53s
    15. Masking multiple layers at one time
      5m 15s
    16. Establishing a knockout layer
      6m 6s
    17. Clipping and compositing tricks
      7m 37s
  11. 1m 17s
    1. Next steps
      1m 17s

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