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Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals is the introductory installment of Deke McClelland's four-part series on making photorealistic compositions in Photoshop. The course shows how to make selections, refine the selections with masks, and then combine them in new ways, using layer effects, blend modes, and other techniques to create a single seamless piece of artwork. Deke introduces the Channels panel and the alpha channel, the key to masking and transparency in Photoshop; reviews the selection tools, including the Color Range tool , Quick Mask mode, and the Refine Edge command; and shows how to blend masked images so they interact naturally.
The best selection tools in Photoshop aren't tools, they're commands. In this chapter I talk about one that goes unnoticed by most Photoshop users, the Color Range command. I'll also introduce you to the Quick Mask mode which is helpful for editing selections especially those made by color range. Found under the Select menu, Color Range is a much needed upgrade to the Magic Wand. The command works like a specialized magnet that you instruct to pick up areas of specific color and fold them into an ever expanding selection.
It's dynamic, it recognizes gradual organic edges, and it serves as a fantastic introduction to the larger world of masks. To this day there are things I can select with the color range command that take way more effort if approached using any other masking technique. Color Range is one of the few simple automated functions that produces reliable high-quality results on a regular basis. Yes, it's that good as you're about see.
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