Join David Mattingly for an in-depth discussion in this video Making selections using the Color Range command, part of Digital Matte Painting: Changing a Scene From Summer to Winter.
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Here is a plate of a mountain chalet that we're going to be using for this tutorial. It is from the Corel stock photo library and it's royalty-free. It's included with the course materials, so please open it up right now and work right along with me. Before we get started, you need to do a little file setup. First, let's duplicate the plate. A lot of times while I'm working, I will accidentally paint on the original plate, and it's good to have a clean copy underneath it to refer to.
Next, let's add a little extra room around the edge of the canvas to use as a workspace. Go up to the top of the interface and choose Image > Canvas Size, and add an extra 300 pixels on each side. Now, press Command or Ctrl and click into the layer icon preview of the copy of the plate and make a new layer. Then select Inverse to select the area around the image. Load black into the foreground color picker, and go up to the top menu and choose Edit and then Fill.
Then fill the selection full of black. Rename the layer Mask. As you start to drop in photo reference, it's useful to turn on and off the mask to see what you have beyond the edge of the image. The first thing you'll want to do when changing a scene from summer to winter is to examine the alpha channels. You'll notice that the alpha channels already look rather wintry because all of the color has gone out of the scene. One of the main things that's making the scene look so summery is this bright green lawn.
So, let's deal with that first. We're going to use several different techniques while we're working on this project, but the first one is select Color Range. So, let's go up to the top, choose Select > Color Range. The Eyedropper tool appears automatically while using the Select > Color Range, and you need to click into the green of the lawn, and then holding down the Shift key, click into several more greens to select more of the lawn. You can also use the Fuzziness slider to select more or less of the green color.
I only want to select the green of the lawn, not the sky, the mountains, or the house, so I'm looking in this little preview to see exactly what I'm getting. I am going to accept that selection. You can see I've got a lot of little speckles in here. I don't want that, so I am going to have to zoom in, and then holding down the Shift key, get this whole lawn nicely cleaned up. It looks like I've got the same thing up here. I want to add to the selection here, so I'm holding down the Shift key and the Option+Alt key to bring up the Polygonal Lasso tool.
I need to hand select all of this up here. That looks pretty good. You can see I'm also getting some of this greenery up here, and that's fine. I will probably have to hand paint a lot of these shrubs. I'm going to try just desaturating and lightening this area first to see how that works. First, I am going to hide this selection, which is Command+Ctrl+H, and then make sure I'm on the copy of the plate. Then I'm going to press Command+Ctrl+U to bring up the Hue/Saturation dialog.
I'm going to pull the Saturation slider all the way to the left and then lighten it quite a bit so it looks more like snow. It's better, but it's completely blown out, and it doesn't look like very realistic snow. In the next lesson, we're going to use some photographic reference of snow to fix that problem.
- Making precise selections using the Color Range command
- Controlling reference material through layer masks
- Creating custom brushes
- Painting snow, icicles, and trees
- Painting through a high-contrast matte
- Replacing the sky in an image
- Animating smoke and falling snow
- Reformatting and rendering a scene in After Effects