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The elusive alpha channel remains one of the most misunderstood yet powerful tools in Photoshop. Alpha channels are collections of luminance data that control the transparency of an image, and they inform just about every aspect of Photoshop. As he builds transitional blended layers, fashions a depth map, makes edge adjustments, and takes on extreme channel mixing, Omni Award-winning expert Deke McClelland teaches Photoshop users that where there's a will, there's a way. Photoshop CS3 Channels and Masks: Advanced Techniques covers mapping texture on an image, turning flesh into stone, using vector masks, working with all different channels, creating a rustic edge effect, and much more. Exercise files accompany the tutorials.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts for Channels and Masks from the Exercise Files tab."
Well the hallmark of a good mask is to take a foreground image from one background and move it into another. More of your time will probably be spent using masks in more subtle ways. For example, you might use the mask to correct the colors in one portion of an image independently of another or you might want to selectively adjust the focus of say just the edges in an image, or blur away just the background. In these chapters, we explore a whole category of masking that's designed specifically for day-to-day image adjustments. These include Luminance masks, Corrective masks, Color masks, Depth masks, Density masks and of course Edge masks, all of which I put under the heading of Specialty Masks. Whatever you call them, they are of the most part easy to create and extremely powerful when put to proper use.
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