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The amazing luminance mask

From: Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques

Video: The amazing luminance mask

In this exercise, we are going to explore the power of Luminance masks. And all luminance masks are is found Luminance information inside the image. At their most basic you are just taking one of the color channels, either red, green or blue and re-purposing it as a mask, that's it. And yet even though Luminance masks are insanely easy to create, they can be very, very powerful. I am looking at an image from photographer Sharon Dominick of istockphoto.com. The name of the image is Close-up.jpg and it's find inside the 12 Specialty folder. I just love this image because the model has a straight on look, the lighting is great. The only tiny issue that I have, is we have got a little color modeling going on inside of the skin, a little surface action and let's say that we wanted to smooth that away using a layer of digital make up essentially.

The amazing luminance mask

In this exercise, we are going to explore the power of Luminance masks. And all luminance masks are is found Luminance information inside the image. At their most basic you are just taking one of the color channels, either red, green or blue and re-purposing it as a mask, that's it. And yet even though Luminance masks are insanely easy to create, they can be very, very powerful. I am looking at an image from photographer Sharon Dominick of istockphoto.com. The name of the image is Close-up.jpg and it's find inside the 12 Specialty folder. I just love this image because the model has a straight on look, the lighting is great. The only tiny issue that I have, is we have got a little color modeling going on inside of the skin, a little surface action and let's say that we wanted to smooth that away using a layer of digital make up essentially.

That we are going to apply using the Gaussian Blur filter set to the Overlay mode. Pretty common technique inside of Photoshop, not only smooths away surface details but also enhances the contrast of the image and the color inside the image as well. So here is what I am going to do. I am going to start things off because I want to apply a filter and because I want to be able to blend that filtered effect, I am going to go ahead and apply the filter, I am going to apply Gaussian Blur as a Smart Filter here inside Photoshop CS3. So working inside the Layers palette, I'll go to the Layers palette menu and choose Convert to Smart Object, or press Ctrl+, or Command+, on the Mac, if you loaded my Deke Keys shortcuts.

Also another way we could work here if we wanted to, the more traditional way if indeed there is such a thing as tradition where smart filters are concerned. You can go up to the Filter menu and choose this command Convert for Smart Filters which will do exactly the same thing, it will convert that layer into a smart object. So it's now an independent layer as well, and I am going to go ahead and name this new layer makeup because that's the purpose it's going to serve. Then I am going up to the Filter menu, I am going to choose Blur and I am going to choose the Gaussian Blur filter, or if you loaded my Deke Keys shortcuts you can press Shift+F7 and I am going to take the Radius value pretty high actually, I am going to take it up to a whopping 20 pixels and then press the Tab key in order to preview that effect, and you can see that it not only pretty well obliterates any surface details but it also gets rid of rather important details, facial details such as eyes, nostrils, lips and so on.

That's okay because we are -- as I say we are going to be applying the Overlay Blend mode which will bring the image back. So I am going to click OK in order to accept that modification. Now, let's apply the Blend mode by double-clicking on this little Slider icon to the right of the word Gaussian Blur and that will bring up the Blending Options and I am going to change the Mode to Overlay. Now if that's too much, you could switch the Blend mode to Soft Light instead. Hard Light is not really going to prove to be too much different than Overlay because I was telling you that Overlay and Hard Light are kind of opposites of each other. If you were to set image A that's on top of image B, if you were to take image A and set it to Overlay, it is the same as turning the layers around putting image B on top of image A and setting it to Hard Light.

And in our case, the only difference that we are going to see is that the highlights are a little muted in the Hard Light mode where they are nice and shinny in the Overlay mode. So I suggest we go with the Overlay mode for this effect, a 100% Opacity is fine, go ahead and click OK in order to accept that modification. So this is what the image looks like without the Gaussian Blur effect set to the Overlay mode, this is what it looks like with Gaussian Blur set to Overlay mode. So definitely a more vibrant, smoother image all the way around.

Now the thing is though, the effect pretty well takes over the entire image. You can see I am going to go ahead and turn the effect off again. Notice her hair, she actually has hair in the original image whereas when I turned the Smart Filter on, the hair goes away. We are just basically darkening the hair well into the shadows. So I would like to go ahead and just apply the Gaussian Blur effect inside of the lightest details, inside of the highlights of the image and we are going to do that using a Luminance mask. So I want you to turn the Smart Filters off for a moment, go ahead and click the eyeball in front of Smart Filters in order to deactivate them. Then I want you to switch to the Channels palette, and the idea here is we want to see the channels that are associated with the original version of the image.

Now I could just go ahead and load the luminance data that's associated with the entire RGB composite image. And I would do that by Ctrl+Clicking or Command+Clicking on that RGB thumbnail and you can see that loads the lightest colors as a selection, deselects the darkest color; just as if the image were a mask. Or I could checkout one of the individual channels instead, and that's what I am going to do. I am going to Ctrl+D or Command+D in order to deselect the image, click on Red to check it out that's where we are going to have the most contrast because this is a portrait shot, so any human being has a lot of red in him or her in our case.

Here is the Green channel a little darker, more detail and more of that surface modeling that we are trying to get rid off notice that and then here is the Blue channel which has the most surfacing modeling involved. It's also got some pretty crisp transitions, some sort of jagged edges going on around some of the shadow details like her pupils, and her lips, and so on. So my favorite channel is the Red channel because it's also the smoothest channel, notice that. So we are just going to load the Red channel as a selection outline and we can do that in any number of ways. You can Ctrl+Click or Command+Click on that channel if you want to, or you can press the keyboard shortcut because it's the first channel, you can press Ctrl+Alt+1 or Command+Option+1 on the Mac. And that's what I'll go ahead and do just for laughs.

Now, let's go back to the Layers palette, I want you to turn on the Smart Filters again. Now I could click inside Smart Filters mask. Notice that we have an empty mask going, but hat I want to do is I want to fill the area outside of the selection outline with black. So I would go up to the Select menu and choose Inverse and then fill it with black or here is a kind of different and potentially easier way to go. I want to show you how you can manufacture a mask for your Smart Filters if you want to. I am going to go ahead and take this mask and I am going to throw it away. So click on the mask thumbnail right there, the empty mask thumbnail and Alt+Click or Option+Click on your Trash can icon in order to delete that mask.

Now, you just have the Smart Filters without the mask. This is also great if you are trying to save room inside your Layers palette and you don't want those big galumphing filter masks all over the place. Now I am going to reintroduce the filter mask and I am going to do that by right-clicking on the word Smart Filters and choosing Add Filter Mask and that will go ahead and convert the selection outline into a filter mask as you see right there. So different ways to work. I am going to go ahead and zoom out, so that we can take in the image, this is the way she looks without that mask. This is how she looks with the mask, invoking those two views by Shift+ Clicking on the mask to turn it off and back on and you can see that now we can see more of the information inside of her hair and we are relegating the effect to just the highlights inside of the image, which in this case turns out to the be the flesh tones, a really great use and a very simple use for Luminance masks inside Photoshop.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques
Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques

190 video lessons · 26325 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2h 13m
    1. The Odyssey Continues
      2m 39s
    2. Mapping one image onto another
      7m 12s
    3. Making a custom contrast mode
      7m 10s
    4. Luminance blending
      8m 40s
    5. Forcing the visibility of underlying layers
      4m 4s
    6. Adjusting the appearance of clipped layers
      4m 34s
    7. Selecting a Blend If channel
      6m 12s
    8. Enhancing highlights by hiding them
      5m 9s
    9. Smart Object first, layer mask second
      7m 22s
    10. The Fill Opacity Eight
      4m 30s
    11. Blending Smart Filters
      7m 24s
    12. Cleaning up edges
      7m 39s
    13. More fun with luminance blending
      6m 22s
    14. A first peek at the Calculations command
      12m 11s
    15. Masking a softly focused model
      11m 46s
    16. Moving layers and masks between images
      7m 35s
    17. Matching colors
      9m 13s
    18. Building transitional blended layers
      6m 33s
    19. Restoring normal colors
      6m 50s
  2. 2h 33m
    1. Layer masks, clipping masks, and knockouts
      1m 20s
    2. Rotating and stretching
      7m 54s
    3. A jet of motion blur
      9m 18s
    4. Keyboard tricks
      5m 4s
    5. Merging sky and landscape
      6m 3s
    6. Masking an adjustment layer
      6m 37s
    7. Creating two windows into an image
      7m 42s
    8. Whitening teeth and adding other highlights
      3m 46s
    9. Mapping a texture onto an image
      4m 1s
    10. Isolating a texture with a layer mask
      6m 44s
    11. Welcome to the glass composition
      3m 18s
    12. Balancing shadows and highlights
      5m 51s
    13. Masking the glass
      7m 24s
    14. Masking the text
      9m 23s
    15. Adding and blending the goldfish
      8m 45s
    16. Assembling the perfect group photo
      5m 12s
    17. Aligning photographs automatically
      5m 26s
    18. Masking in each person's best shot
      5m 18s
    19. Masking densely packed people
      6m 17s
    20. Crafting the perfect final poster
      5m 16s
    21. From the improbable to the impossible
      1m 56s
    22. The fantastical "world of clones" effect
      10m 0s
    23. Upsampling and blurring a background
      8m 39s
    24. Adding a knockout mask
      8m 3s
    25. Choking edges with Gaussian Blur and Levels
      3m 46s
  3. 2h 27m
    1. The corrective power of masking
      1m 6s
    2. The amazing luminance mask
      7m 22s
    3. Brightening and neutralizing the eyes
      8m 22s
    4. Adjusting a nondestructive composition
      5m 52s
    5. Creating a corrective mask
      6m 4s
    6. Averaging away irregular flesh tones
      3m 52s
    7. Modifying specific colors
      7m 46s
    8. Initiating the color mask
      6m 0s
    9. Refining the color mask
      6m 40s
    10. Adjusting the edges around fabric
      7m 56s
    11. Perfecting hair
      9m 35s
    12. Sharpening with a High Pass layer
      10m 12s
    13. The also-amazing density mask
      4m 48s
    14. Adjusting the knockout depth
      8m 48s
    15. Fashioning a depth map
      6m 12s
    16. Invoking a depth mask from Lens Blur
      6m 38s
    17. The perfect depth-of-field effect
      6m 25s
    18. Sharpening an archival photograph
      7m 7s
    19. Creating an edge mask
      8m 29s
    20. Making a High Pass sandwich
      7m 46s
    21. Applying the edge mask
      6m 2s
    22. Customizing your sharpening effect
      4m 6s
  4. 2h 3m
    1. Channel Mixer, I am your father!
      1m 39s
    2. Three ways to gray
      7m 49s
    3. Meet the Channel Mixer
      8m 26s
    4. Mixing a custom black-and-white image
      7m 10s
    5. Creating a professional-level sepia tone
      5m 36s
    6. Employing the Black & White command
      8m 1s
    7. Extreme channel mixing
      4m 50s
    8. The infrared photography effect
      6m 43s
    9. Taking shadows to the brink of black
      3m 56s
    10. Elevating highlights, leeching saturation
      5m 58s
    11. Deepening a black-and-white sky
      5m 49s
    12. Infusing luminance levels with color
      5m 44s
    13. Creating an opposing colorization scheme
      4m 58s
    14. Bolstering contrast with the Green channel
      5m 37s
    15. A tiny improvement to a terrific technique
      7m 39s
    16. The simple (but wrong) approach to red-eye correction
      6m 39s
    17. Channel-mixing red pupils
      9m 18s
    18. The expert approach to red-eye correction
      5m 20s
    19. Fixing problem coronas (pupil edges)
      8m 9s
    20. Making pupils match
      4m 8s
  5. 2h 33m
    1. Chops are dead; long live maskops
      1m 37s
    2. The Calculations command
      8m 16s
    3. Blue Screen blending
      7m 40s
    4. Refining the Blue Screen mask
      5m 53s
    5. Brushing away color fringing
      7m 24s
    6. Locking the transparency of a layer
      6m 22s
    7. Nondestructive layer painting
      7m 36s
    8. How the Add blend mode works
      8m 40s
    9. How the Subtract blend mode works
      6m 43s
    10. Focus, noise, and other masking challenges
      5m 33s
    11. The Add mode in action
      7m 51s
    12. The Subtract mode in action
      8m 25s
    13. Comparing two channels with Difference
      5m 24s
    14. Enhancing the contrast with Curves
      9m 11s
    15. Gathering details with Apply Image
      9m 43s
    16. Dodge highlights, burn shadows
      6m 6s
    17. Dodge and Burn in action
      8m 24s
    18. Painting in the scalp
      10m 1s
    19. Painting away the face and chin
      4m 53s
    20. Compositing complementary images
      4m 13s
    21. Multiply, Minimum, Blur, and Apply Image
      6m 40s
    22. Crafting the final composition
      7m 7s
  6. 1h 57m
    1. Mark of the Pen tool
      1m 35s
    2. The big paths project overview
      6m 51s
    3. How to make a path
      8m 25s
    4. Corner points and freeform polygons
      8m 6s
    5. Editing paths with the arrow tools
      5m 2s
    6. Adding and deleting endpoints
      5m 15s
    7. Adding and deleting interior points
      6m 6s
    8. Converting a path to a selection
      3m 35s
    9. Converting a path to a mask
      6m 38s
    10. Smooth points and control handles
      8m 57s
    11. Making cusp points
      6m 0s
    12. Combining paths in a vector mask
      7m 55s
    13. Turning a path into a shape layer
      8m 57s
    14. Combining paths to make a layer mask
      7m 52s
    15. Mixing layer and vector masks
      10m 14s
    16. Editing character outlines as paths
      8m 39s
    17. Using the Convert Point tool
      7m 8s
  7. 3h 17m
    1. Where there's a will, there's a way
      1m 18s
    2. Masking natural cast shadows
      4m 10s
    3. Applying the cast show
      4m 2s
    4. Creating a difference mask
      3m 7s
    5. Applying an arbitrary map
      3m 50s
    6. Making the flesh mask
      7m 17s
    7. Roughing in an object mask
      6m 49s
    8. Drawing missing details with the Lasso tool
      4m 7s
    9. Combining flesh and object masks
      3m 53s
    10. Amplifying the cast shadow
      4m 10s
    11. Selectively choking edges
      3m 58s
    12. Power duplication in Photoshop
      7m 9s
    13. Masking blond hair
      5m 48s
    14. Using Levels to mask iterations
      3m 14s
    15. Drawing an iteration boundary
      4m 55s
    16. Merging the best of two Levels iterations
      4m 4s
    17. More fun with Dodge and Burn
      6m 14s
    18. Fixing edges with the Pen and Stamp tools
      7m 29s
    19. Pulling from another file with Apply Image
      4m 52s
    20. Blending clipped layers independently
      5m 43s
    21. Building the flame mask
      9m 22s
    22. Amplifying the flame
      3m 53s
    23. Masking an image against a busy background
      5m 15s
    24. The Freeform and Magnetic Pen tools
      6m 52s
    25. Masking with arbitrary maps
      9m 32s
    26. A more deliberate approach to arb maps
      10m 51s
    27. Combining arb maps with paths
      9m 28s
    28. Masking with the help of the History brush
      11m 38s
    29. Creating a High Pass mask
      7m 25s
    30. Coloring in the outlines
      8m 31s
    31. Mastering Calculations
      7m 29s
    32. Subtracting and merging the beak
      11m 6s
  8. 1h 33m
    1. The meaning of bit depth (and why you care)
      2m 50s
    2. Scanning line art in 8-bit and 16-bit
      5m 9s
    3. Measuring the 16-bit difference
      8m 9s
    4. Correcting 8-bit images in the 16-bit space
      9m 31s
    5. Opening a raw image directly in 16-bit
      6m 13s
    6. Editing in Camera Raw, opening in 16-bit
      8m 22s
    7. 16-Bit/channel vs. 32-bit/channel (HDR)
      8m 18s
    8. Working with auto-bracketed photographs
      5m 6s
    9. Using the Merge to HDR command
      6m 0s
    10. Adjusting the HDR preview
      6m 0s
    11. Building a 32-bit sky mask
      6m 29s
    12. Properly exposing land and sky
      4m 25s
    13. Modifying a layer mask in 32-bit
      4m 56s
    14. Converting to and correcting in 16-bit Lab
      12m 7s
  9. 2h 8m
    1. Photoshop flirts with the third dimension
      1m 13s
    2. The displacement map
      8m 24s
    3. Making custom waves
      7m 14s
    4. Creating a Gaussian distribution
      4m 32s
    5. Using a two-channel displacement map
      6m 28s
    6. Creating a rustic edge effect
      8m 21s
    7. Distorting and shading with a DMap
      6m 34s
    8. Moonlight reflecting off water
      8m 48s
    9. Mapping the reflection onto the water
      7m 7s
    10. Dipping the moon into the water
      6m 18s
    11. Turning flesh into stone
      7m 55s
    12. Wrapping the stone around the face
      7m 27s
    13. Softening a displacement map
      8m 5s
    14. Making a repeating watermark pattern
      9m 22s
    15. 3D embossing with Lighting Effects
      10m 48s
    16. The amazing credit card type effect
      6m 56s
    17. Lightening the credit card letters
      6m 16s
    18. Wrapping the background around the text
      6m 27s
  10. 1m 43s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 43s

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