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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.
In the real world a composite is something that's made up of a bunch of distinct parts. That holds for Photoshop as well, but the net result is called a composition and it's made up of a bunch of layers. The title of this chapter, The Science of Compositing may seem like a daunting topic, but if you understand some of the scientific logic that Photoshop uses to combine layers, you'll feel more confident when creating your own compositions, and less at the mercy of Photoshop's almost endless array of features.
I start this chapter by showing you how to view both masks and the images they protect at the same time. Then we will combine masks to create the perfect selection. After masking a layer, I'll show you how to paint both behind and inside it. Then I'll show you how to blend independent layers and create a clipping mask, which lets you mask one layer inside another. As you'll see, Channels and layers work hand-in-hand. So whenever you create a mask, you'll need to follow-up with compositing, which is what we're about to do in this very chapter.
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