Join Bryan O'Neil Hughes for an in-depth discussion in this video Masking layers, part of Photoshop Insider Training: Rethinking the Essentials.
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- Let's talk about masking, and let's use this same colorful image again. What I want to do is show you not just how to mask an individual color, but how to change it. The workflow is actually pretty straight-forward. We're gonna use the Quick Select tool. Same idea as earlier, where we wanna choose the right brush size, sort of a mid-sized brush. Quick-select is great, you just start dragging and you paint, and if it selects the wrong area, you hold the Option or Alt key, and you paint that area out. In order to do a really good job, we should come into Refine Edge.
If nothing else, just to preview it, and in most cases, switching to Smart Radius and expanding that is gonna clean it up just enough. If you wanted to feather it, you could do that a little right there, as well. And if you really wanna get technical, you could preview it on different backgrounds, just to see exactly how it's gonna look. It looks pretty good. Click "OK", and with that selection, I'm going to come into my Hue Saturation adjustment layer. What I can do here, is I can grab that same on-image tool, and if I click on this and drag to the right, I'm gonna saturate it.
If I drag to the left, I'm gonna de-saturate it. That's great, I'm not affecting the rest of the image, but where this gets more interesting is if I hold down the Command key. Now, instead of adjusting the saturation, I'm adjusting the hue, and I can actually change the color of his shirt. In the cases where you see 20 images in a catalog, that's actually just one image, which has had the hue changed in all of them. Combination of changing the hue, the lightness and the saturation, I can yield any color that I want.
Let's look at a different example of masking, which is these two guys right here. I'm gonna hold my spacebar to see these full-screen. In the first image, I like the lion in the middle, it's looking right at me. In the second image, I like the lion on the right, it's more or less looking at me. So, I want to combine them both, and this is one of those things that happens more with children than with lions, but you bump into it all the time. You have multiple images that you want to combine together. There is a workflow from Bridge, but I'm gonna show you the workflow from Photoshop, just because I know all of you are working from within Photoshop.
The way that this works, is, we come down here to a sub-menu that you probably have not wandered into, which is Scripts. I know it sounds a little bit scary, it's really powerful. What we're gonna do, is, we're gonna load files into Stack. What you want to do is just navigate to your folder. I'm gonna go into Layers, and then I'm just gonna shift-click to select those two files, and click "Open". I'm gonna get this dialog that is capable of doing all sorts of powerful things. Automatically aligning my images, creating a smart object.
Those might be beneficial, but I'm gonna show you the manual way to do this. I'm just gonna click "OK". Essentially, what a stack is, is those two images will come in as layers in the same document. If I toggle the first one, I'm gonna notice that, "Okay, these are the correct images, "but there's another problem. "In addition to needing to combine two images, "they're at different zooms." I zoomed in a little bit on the second one. I'm just gonna shift-click to combine those two, and I'm gonna come to the Edit menu, and I'm going to align them both.
Now, key here, is don't worry about any of the different options, just trust in "Auto". I can tell you, it works all of the time, it works really, really well. It's been years and years since I've had to try any of the manual modes. If I toggle this now, I'll see that the content is perfectly aligned. With only the top one selected, that's the one I wanna cut through, I want to get to the guy on the right, there. I'm going to choose "Mask", and with that mask focused, I'm gonna grab a paintbrush, and I'm gonna make sure that I've got black, which is going to allow me to cut through that.
I'm just gonna choose whatever size I want. What I would urge you to do here, is go with a mid-size with a nice, soft edge. The idea here is that, by painting on the right, I'm gonna expose the lion that was turned a little bit more towards me. Because the content is perfectly lined up, I'm able to see right through there. This is one of those tricks you use again and again. It works with multiple layers. Just remember, think it terms of cutting through one layer to the layer beneath it, so you wanna put the mask on the layer that you're cutting through, and you can do some really neat things with this.
This course, from Adobe's own principal product manager of digital imaging, Bryan O'Neil Hughes, is here to help. Bryan details various Photoshop features, many of them relatively new, that can help photographers and designers alike streamline their work.
- Exploring Photoshop's evolution
- Passing non-raw files to Camera Raw
- Video editing in Camera Raw and Photoshop
- Refining selections
- Getting the most from layers
- Using Photoshop's new design-oriented features like Typekit
- Working "smarter" with Smart Object and Filters
- Making powerful and nondestructive image adjustments
- Sharpening and resizing