Mastering Photoshop Channel Masking | Robin Whalley | Skillshare

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Mastering Photoshop Channel Masking

teacher avatar Robin Whalley, Landscape Photographer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

19 Lessons (2h 20m)
    • 1. Channel Masking Trailer

    • 2. Section 1: Introduction to the Course

    • 3. Section 1: Masks and masking

    • 4. Section 1 : The Photoshop Interface

    • 5. Section 2: Your First Channel Mask Introduction

    • 6. Section 2: Creating Your First Channel Mask

    • 7. Section 2: Refining Your Mask

    • 8. Section 2: Switching Mode for More Channels

    • 9. Section 3: Saving and Loading Masks Introduction

    • 10. Section 3: How to Save a Mask

    • 11. Section 3: How to Load a Saved Mask

    • 12. Section 3: Selections, Masks and Channels

    • 13. Section 4: Refining Your Masks Introduction

    • 14. Section 4: Painting a Mask

    • 15. Section 4: Expanding and Contracting Masks

    • 16. Section 4: Calculations Dialog 1

    • 17. Section 4: Calculations Dialog 2

    • 18. Section 5 Basic Example

    • 19. Section 5 Advanced Example

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About This Class

Why Photoshop Masking

Masking is a cornerstone skill in Photoshop. Using masks, you can adjust targeted areas of a photograph rather than the entire image. To create work of the highest quality this is essential. It’s a skill that can be applied in so many different situations.

Whilst being able to use masks is important, the real value is in creating them, quickly and with precision. This course equips you with the tools and techniques of the professional, allowing you to create and refine complex masks.

What We Cover

The course is organised into five sections:

  • Section 1 introduces you to masks, what they are and how they work. We also cover the essential Photoshop tools used in the course.
  • Section 2 has you create your first channel mask, taking a landscape photograph and separating the sky from the ground. You then learn simple techniques to enhance and refine this mask for better results.
  • Section 3 explains how to manage the masks you create. How you save them within your images as well as move them between different images. It also explains the close relationship between masks, selections and channels allowing you to easily switch between all three when needed.
  • Section 4 explains more advanced techniques used to create and refine masks. You learn how to easily fix problems such as halos to achieve perfect results.
  • Section 5 demonstrates two full length projects which you will work through. The first basic example shows how to replace the sky from once image with the sky from another, blending it seamlessly with objects in the scene. The second more advance example combines the image of a woman’s face with the background of a beach. Here you see how the simple techniques from the course are applied to make complex selections such as hair.

Follow the lessons and learn the masking techniques of the professional.

Previous Experience

You don’t need any experience with masking to take this course. Everything you need to generate and refine complex masks, is covered in the lessons. What is required is a level of familiarity with Photoshop. You should know how to open, save and close images as well as adjustments such as Levels and Brush tools.

This course uses Adobe Photoshop and is not suitable for Adobe Elements. The lessons show Photoshop CC 2017, but the techniques can be applied using Photoshop CS3 or even earlier.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Robin Whalley

Landscape Photographer


I’m a Landscape Photographer based in the UK. Over the years my work has sold around the world, appearing in advertising, magazines, calendars, greetings cards and the popular photographic press. Some of my photography has also appeared in several exhibitions, including The Landscape Photographer of the Year.

Whilst I spend a lot of time photographing great locations in the UK and around the world, I also spend a lot of time teaching. In fact, since 2011 I’ve spent much of my time teaching other photographers how to do what I do, through my books, courses, and club presentations. I especially like to take complex, technical software and make it accessible, helping everyone to improve their photography.

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1. Channel Masking Trailer: do you know I must work? Do you really understand how to make targeted adjustments in photo shop? Precisely and accurately. Perhaps you want to enhance a boring sky, a lift, a meadow way, tricks to clean up fight details in a master like hair. Most people struggle with these common tasks. They find it difficult to create master, isolate complex shapes, and when they munch to create them, it often takes hours. If this sounds familiar, you're probably missing skills of channel masking. Channel masking helps you create precise masks in seconds. These are simple techniques, just like you're watching on screen. Now learn the strategies to clean up must quickly and easily. What you've been watching your examples from this course. You'll learn all these techniques and much more thes air techniques. Transform your work and save your hours of frustration. Take course. Learn to use that way 2. Section 1: Introduction to the Course: welcome to this course on Photoshopped Channel masking. You're about to learn one of most powerful techniques in photo shop for applying precise targeted adjustments. By the end of this course, you'll be able to create complex masks quickly and with a high degree of precision. What you will learn has the power to literally transform your photographer and can be applied in many different situations. Masking is one of the essential skills in photo shop masks. Make it possible for you to target specific areas of an image rather than your adjustments affecting the entire global image. Whilst global adjustments have a part to play in correcting photographs, they could also cause I'm wanted problems. In addition to making targeted adjustments, masks allow you to make other changes, such as replacing a sky or removing an object. These changes require high degree of precision. When creating your masks are the changes become obvious? This is something we want to avoid. Masks like this have a high degree of precision. You can see the detail in the grass and the trees has been retained. But it's also important we don't take hours creating our masks as the effort may not justify the end result. Speed and precision is something that often allude those new to masking. But once you've learned the correct techniques, they can be easily achieved in this course, you're going to learn about the techniques of channel masking. This is a technique that we use to take the color channels in an image on used them to produce a mask such as this. By capturing the color information contained in channels, we can use it to create a mask with a high degree of precision. For example, if we have an image with Blue Sky, we can use this to capture the color information and create our mask off the scary. As I've done here, this could be used to separate the sky from the ground. Allowing goes to apply adjustments to either in isolation. But before we start, there are a few important points worth noting. This courses for Adobe Photo Shop and doesn't apply to adobe elements. Some techniques may work with elements, but generally they don't. The version of Adobe Photoshopped that you're using is largely irrelevant. The basic techniques that the course will work with old version dating back even 20 years, although this course reduces masking toe, a Siris of techniques you can learn. Mustering these and becoming proficient requires practice. You won't develop this skill by watching a video. You need to be practicing on a range of images. You need to approach each lesson by watching it through at least once. You should then watch you through again. What's following and using the example files provided. Don't be afraid to pause the video from time to time that you follow the examples. Once you're happy, you've understood the lesson. Move onto the next lesson. This approach ensures you get the most from the course. In this first section of the course, you learn the foundations of masks and how they work. You will also cover the essential elements of Photoshopped required for masking. Although this course assumes you have a basic Skilling photo shop, you may not be familiar with. All the tools will use is therefore important not to skip any of the lessons, even if you feel you know something already, once you've completed this section of the course, you'll be ready to create your first mask 3. Section 1: Masks and masking: The purpose of a mask is to allow us to apply selective adjustments to our images. When we look at the layers window in photo shop, each layer has the potential to have a musk attached to it. In the example, hear the background layer doesn't have a mask. But there are two curves layers, both of which have masks attached, as indicated by the thumbnails. The curves one layer has a detailed mask. What's the curves to layer? Has a completely white mask. The mask attached to a layer is the same size and shape is the image. The thumb? No. Usually in the layers window is a representation of the mask and its contents. If you see a completely white mask than the mask is empty, where you see white on the mask, it alos the layers. Adjustments to be applied to that area of the image where you see black on a mask. The layer adjustment is hidden from the image. Let's look at a simple example. By adding a saturation adjustment layer, we cannot the new saturation adjustment layer. Using the adjustments window, click the icon to at the new hue saturation layer. When the properties window appears. Reduce the saturation to zero, so the image becomes black and white. You can see that the new hue saturation layer has a white mask attached to it, and this is the same shape as the image. The white area of the mask alos the layer adjustment to be applied to the image as the entire musket white. The hue saturation adjustment is being implied to the entire image. If we were to know paint onto the mask using black paint, the adjustment will be hidden in the areas we paint. Let's take a look at that. Here you can see a box around the mask. This indicates the mask you selected. When we paint on the image, we're actually painting onto the mask. No, select the brush to and set the color black. No, let's paint over the image to reveal the color. Notice that, as I paint color is no being returned to the image. This is because we're creating a black mask on the mask attached to the hue and saturation layer. This means that the adjustments off the layer of being masked or hidden in the areas where we've painted black on this causes the color from the layers below to be revealed. Notice, though, as I'm painting that the mask isn't very precise. If I was trying to reveal the color off the field but hide the sky, there isn't sufficient precision in the mask we're creating. Later in the course, you learn ways to create very precise masks that alos to adjust just the field or just the sky. The important thing to take away from this lesson is that where you paint black, the adjustment is being hidden by the mask. Where there's white on a mask, the adjustment can be seen there to help you remember this. There's a short rhyme you can use black conceals whilst white reveals. If you remember that it will help you in the future. Now, although this example used an adjustment layer, you can have a mask to any lay you want. You can use this to combine elements from two or more images into a single image. This process is known as compositing. When you create a composite image using a precise mask, it helps you to blend images seamlessly together. For example, you may blend the sky from one image with the grown from another, and we'll be looking at an example of how to do this later in the course. Although we've talked here about black and white, you can also paint mast using shades of gray. The darker the gray, the more the effect of the layer is concealed by the mask. The light of the gray, the more the effect of the musket revealed in the image. As you can see when I paint over the image or the mask using light grey, it actually shows the color throat. But it'll s a strange It also can hide the black because I've painted over black with grey in the mask and aloes me to adjust that area off the mask. Now there is an alternative to painting with gray, and that's to reduce the opacity of the brush. This has further ready benefit here. I've set the opacity of the brush to 26%. When I paint on the image, it alos the color to show through in the areas I'm painting, but not to a great strength. If I know paying to gay, you can see each time I placed new brush strokes on here. It builds up the strength off the adjustment to the mask. The first brushstroke doesn't reveal very much just faint color. The second brushstroke reveals more strength. The third worst Roquemore and the fourth brushstroke even more. By forcing myself to create multiple brushstrokes to build up a mask, it helps blend the different brush strokes together. This creates a seamless adjustment because each of my brush strokes tends to follow a different path. Another option for helping blend brushstrokes together is to also set the brush to have a soft edge in the toolbar. Here my hardness is 80%. If I move that No. 20% I have a very soft brush. The edge of the brush is very soft and will help lend different adjustments together. These simple techniques are very valuable in masking, and we'll be looking at these later in the course when you cover how to refine the masks that you've created. The key things to remember from this lesson are black conceals on white reveals on a mask. Gray partially reveals painting with a low pass. A Tikolo Zhu to build up brush strokes on deploying a soft edge to your brush also allows you to blend brushstrokes together once you're happy, you've understood these basic ideas. Please progress to the next section of the course. 4. Section 1 : The Photoshop Interface: the photo shop interface can appear quite daunting at first is being changed many times with different versions of photo shop. It's also highly configurable, so you can organize interface in many different ways. This means your version of photo shop may not look like minders. In these videos. I'm using the latest release of Photo shop, which was 2000 and 72,000 and 18. Creative Cloud to record These Videos Whilst it may look different from your version of photo shop, there are several core components that are common across all the different versions of photo. Shop In this lesson will examine these core components that help us work with masks. Be sure to check your version of photo shopped to ensure you know where these tools are located and how to access them. When you first open an image in photo shop, it's appears in the main preview window when you apply adjustments to the image. Those adjustments are reflected in this preview to the left side of the screen. We have the photo shop tools palette. This contains many useful editing tools, some of which will be using to help us with our masking over to the right side of the screen at the photo shop windows. Which of these is visible in your version of photo shop, and how they arranged will depend on your configuration. These windows can be closed and can be reopened. Using the menu windows can also appear is floating dialogues, which means they can be moved around on screen. As you can see, they can also be duck together on the right side of the screen. As I've just don't. This is useful to help you minimise the clutter in the working space and so, making it easier toe work quickly. Once you have your interface set up the way you want it, you can save this using the menu command window workspace. New workspace By saving your workspace the way you have it set up, you can then return to it at any point in the future. If you find that the layout has changed, this could be a very useful feature. If you become accustomed to a workspace. Well, let's know, examine some of the main windows in photo shop that you'll need to use in this course. If you can't see one of the windows, I mention in your version of photo shop. It's probably closed. You can open windows using the windows menu. Here you see a list of windows. If you click one of these, it will reveal that window. The first window you need to know about is the Navigator window. This allows you to easily navigate around your image. When the main pretty few window assumed the red box in the Navigator window shows the area of the image being displayed in the preview window, you can click on the Navigator window to reposition this viewing area. You can also dragon drop the red box to move it around. The next window is the layers window. This is very important and displays all the layers in the open image. In the example of my screen, you can see the image has three layers. There is the but grown layer on. There are two curves. Adjustment layers. Looking more closely at the layers window, we can see a number of useful features. The I icon on the left will tuggle a layers effect on and off to hide it or make it visible . Moving to the right of this, you can see the layer thumbnail. This indicates the type of layer in this example. I'm showing a curve layer. This is known as an adjustment layer. These layers don't contain images, but rather apply an adjustment to the image. The back grown layer, in contrast, has a thumbnail oven image. This shows that it contains image information moving to the right. We see that some of these layers have masks, a touch to them. These masks and known as Leia masks because they're a touch to a layer, they restrict where the adjustment from that layer is being applied or hidden at the top of the layer window, we have the blending mode drop down. This controls how the layers in the image blend together to produce their effect. The default mold is normal, but there are other modes, such as overlay a multiply. There is also a pass ity adjustment, which could be used to just the strength of the layers effect on the overall image. The image you see in the main preview is the sum of all these layers. Together with the opacity on blending mode settings to the bottom of the layers window, you can see a number of useful icons. These could be used to add new layer masks as well a special effects to the layers moving on. We have the adjustment window. Each of the icons you see here is a type of adjustment layer. You can click one of these to add that layer to your image. For example, a levels adjustment. The final window to be aware off is the Channels window. This shows the channels that comprised the image. In this example, you can see an RGB channel at the top. This means the image is made up of a red, a green and the Blue Channel, which you can see below. If you have a layer selected in the image that has a mask attached to it, you'll also see this mask in the channels window. There's a very close relationship between masks, selections and channels on. We'll be exploring this later in the course to the left side of the screen, we see the tools palette. This contains several tools that we can use for masking, for example, the brush to when you select a tool. By clicking it, you'll see the options for that tool displayed in the context. Sensitive toolbar at the top of the screen. Often you'll need to make changes to these as you work when we come to use any of these tools in the lessons will be looking at how to configure them each time the's air, the main points to be aware off in order to work with masks in this course. Well, no. Continue to examine home ask work in the next lesson. 5. Section 2: Your First Channel Mask Introduction: In this section of the course, you learn fundamental techniques of how to create a channel mask. The lessons in this section of the course are designed to be practical and hands on. Be sure to download the accompanying image. File father lessons, which you will see used in the videos. You can see this image on screen now. Please be sure to watch each of the videos through once initially, then watch the video a second time following the examples on your own computer. Also, be sure to pause the video after each step while she performed the same action on the computer. The first lesson in the section will show you how to create an initial channel mask. The second lesson looks at the techniques you can use to refine the mask. This helps to improve the quality and precision in the mask, so improving the results achieved when using this type of masking. The final lesson in the section examines some alternative you canoes if it's not possible to create the mask you want from the available channels, this section of the course is one of the most important, and you should ensure you understand the information on our comfortable with the examples before continuing to further sections without doing this, you're likely to become confused as we advance to more complex examples later, be sure to download the example Image file and let's create your first channel mask. 6. Section 2: Creating Your First Channel Mask: In this lesson, you will create your first channel mask using the sample image provided the sample image is a typical landscape scene where we might want to use layer mask adjustments. The image shows flowery meadow on a blue sky with white clothes. This would be an ideal landscape photograph, except that the sky is too light. Under sunny in the meadow doesn't create enough contrast or saturation. In situations such as this, we would ideally apply different adjustments to the sky on the ground. The scare requires darkening to make it more intense than the clothes better defined. But the ground requires a contrast adjustment and an increase in the saturation. To achieve these changes, we need to create a mask that will separate the sky from the ground. This enables us to adjust each area independently to create our mask. We require a high degree of precision. If you zoom in to 100% magnification, you can see that the field on the trees on the horizon contain a lot of fine detail where they meet the sky. These areas will require careful masking so that the adjustment we apply to the sky doesn't affect the ground. Trying to separate this guy from the grown by drawing a mask would be very time consuming and difficult. This is where channel masking techniques can be very helpful. We can start by examining the channels When doing photo shop. Here, you can see the image is comprised of three channels. The red, the green and the blue. There's also an RGB channel at the top of the window, which represents the color image. If we click the Red Channel to select it, we can see in the main preview that it's a black and white image. This black and white image tells us how much red is present in each of the areas of the image where you see white, the maximum amount of readies present and where you see black. This indicates there's no red present. Gray areas indicate that the some red present the light of the area, the more red is in there. Whilst the darker areas have let read each of these color channels peers in black and white . When selected, each channel indicates home much or little off that particular color. Red, green or blue is present in area. It's how these color values combine that creates the color in the image. The important element from the perspective of masking is that each of these channels in the image is a different black and white image. If you think back to the introduction of the course, you recall a mask is nothing more than a black and white image. The black areas restrict adjustment. What's the white areas below? The adjustment to be applied in our sample image. We can separate the sky from the ground if we have the right mask. We therefore need a mask where the sky is white and the ground is black as a starting point . If we examine the three color channels in the image we can see, the Blue Channel is quite near to the mask. We want to create the skies white. The ground is black. Although it isn't perfect, it provides a good starting point on which we can build. The technique for creating a channel mask is simply toe load. The chosen color channel. As a selection, there's actually a special icon at the bottom of the channels window that allows you to do this. Click the icon when the blue channels selected and you will load the Blue Channel as an active selection. You can then return to displaying the color image by clicking the RGB channel. Having done this, click the layers window to make it visible. With the active selection in place, we can add a curves adjustment using the adjustment window. Here, click the curves I come. This causes a curves adjustment layer to be added to the image and the curves property window to appear. Notice in the layers window that a new curves layer is displayed with a layer mask attached . Importantly, the new layer mask is identical to the Blue Channel. It was created from the active selection when we added the curves layer, this is an important feature of photo shop. When there's an active selection, it will be converted to a layer mask when you click to add a new adjustment layer. Be sure to remember this feature as we use it a lot in this course. If you want to examine the layer mask itself, it can be displayed. You need to hold down the vault key on your keyboard whilst clicking on the layer mask. When you do this, the layer mask is displayed, click a second time to return to the color image. When you examine the lay, unless closely, you will notice that it's far from perfect and requires some refinement. In the next lesson will examine ways to refine this mask so that the sky becomes pure white on the groan becomes pure black. 7. Section 2: Refining Your Mask: In the previous lesson, we created a layer mask from the Blue Channel in our image. We then attach this to a new curves adjustment layer, which we will later use to adjust the sky in this image. In this lesson, we're going to examine a simple technique you can use to improve the lame ask. The mask we created was far from perfect, as the sky wasn't pure white, and then that's groaned. Area had areas of gray and white mixed in with the black before continuing with this lesson , be sure that you have the image opening photo shop that you created in the previous lesson . If you would like to view the channel mask you created, you can hold only all key on your keyboard and then click the layer mask thumbnail in the layers window. This causes Lamers to be displayed rather in the image preview. Looking at the mask we created, we can see that the sky isn't yet pure white. Also, the groaned and trees aren't pure black. This means any adjustments. Reply to this mask or using this mask will affect the areas where we don't want them to. We need to improve the mass to ensure the scales white on the ground is black and there aren't any gaps. To make this improvement to the mask, we're going to use levels adjustments. Select the layer mask attached to the Kurds layer by clicking on it in the layers window. You'll see that there's a small box appears around the from now when it's active. Open the levels Adjustment dialogue from the photo shop menu by selecting image adjustment on levels. This causes the levels dialogue to be displayed, and any adjustments we make now will be applied to the mask. We no need to adjust the black level by dragging it in towards the center of the hissed a gram. This changes the dark areas of the mask to become pure black. Next we can adjust the white level again, dragging it in towards the centre, off the hissed a gram. Notice how the levels adjustment has caused the match to become almost pure black and white . You can then click OK to apply the adjustment to the mask. If we know, zoom in to magnify the mask it 100% we can see that very fine detail has been preserved in the edges of the trees on the graphs. Unfortunately, there's still a lot of weight present in the ground area. If we use the mask like this is going to cause the image adjustments to affect these areas . We don't want this. So there's an easy fix by painting over these areas with black using the brush tool. This is just a we did in the introductory section of this course. Choose the brush tool from the photo shop tools palette and set the paint color to be black . In the photo shop toolbar configured the brush tohave an opacity and flow of 100%. We should also set the hard edge of the brush to a life of precise work. Use a hardness setting off around 82%. Having configured the brush tool, we can no paint over the groaned area to remove for speckles of white. If you find that you need to change the British size as you're painting, use the square brackets on your keyboard. The left Square bracket key will reduce the size of the brush. Whilst the right bracket key is going to increase it, it's often easier to dynamically change the brush size is your painting. It allows you to better judge the size of the brush in relation to the area you're painting as you paint. Be careful near to these edges because you don't want to paint over any of the fine details straight into the sky. If this happens, use the undo feature in the photo shop menu. That's much better than trying to use switching toe weight and paint over it. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut, which is the control and Zeki Having refined your mask. You can click on the curves layer icon in the layers window to return to displaying the color image. The musk we've just created will restrict our adjustments to the sky area. The enhancement we require for the sky is to make it darker. An easy way to achieve this is by setting the blending mold for the curves layer in the layers window. To do this, we can set the blending mode to multiply. This creates a much stronger sky and improves the appearance of the image. It's also possible to create a second curves layer to adjust the groaned area by duplicating the first curve to do this right. Click on the curves layer and select duplicate from pop up menu. You can call the Nucor's Layer ground adjustment. As you can see, this actually creates fire too strong an effect on the sky. We therefore need to invert the mask attached to the new curves layer so that it hides the effect from the sky. To do this, select the new curves layer mask by clicking it with your mouse. No, hold down the control key and press I on your keyboard, which will invert the mask with the mask inverted, you can see that the grown hairier has become far too dark. This is because the blending mode which we set to multiply is being applied to this area. Instead, we want to create an increase contrast in saturation. We can achieve this by changing the blending mold for the layer too soft light. This improves the saturation and contrast in the ground area, but the effect is a little bit too strong. If you find that this happens, you can reduce the opacity setting for the layer until you achieve the right effect. Something around 70% appears to be good for this image. You can check the improvement against the original image by hiding both curves layers. As you can see, the adjustments created quite a dramatic impact in this section of the cost. We've created two curves adjustments, one that targets the sky on one that targets the ground, both using layer masks. Both masks were created from the Blue Channel in the image using the channel masking technique. You've also seen how to refine these masks, so they're very precise in the areas they target. In the next lesson, we're going to look at other channels that can be used with channel masking technique that you may not have realized were available to you. 8. Section 2: Switching Mode for More Channels: in the previous lesson, we looked at how we could refine the channels mask we created from the Blue Channel. But what can you do if none of the available channels match them? Ask you want to create? Well, there's a couple of options you can consider, one of which will look out later in the course. For this lesson, though, there's a quick and easy option to consider. Return to the starting example image for this section of the course before any adjustments . You can see this on my screen now here. Switched to using the channels window. If this isn't already visible here, you can see the image is in RGB format. This displays the three color channels Red Green on Blue, which you can use for masking. What we'll do know is switched the image to work in the sea. And why came old rather than RGB to switch to another mold Select from the photo shop menu image mode. Andi See him like a No, Don't worry if you get an error message or a warning message, such as the one on screen. Now, this is just telling me about a C M y que profile and hope Photoshopped colors set up Oh, you need to do is click OK, this will switch you into the sea. And why K mode where, you know, have four color channels. If you know, check the channels window, you'll see the image has a cyan magenta yellow on black Channel. You can click on each of these in turn on. You'll see the channel is really a black and white image Justus before, and we can use this for masking. Although these channels may appear quite light, they can be adjusted using the levels adjustment, just as we did in the previous lesson, And this can help you create a usable mask. Let's have a look at an example. Using the Yellow Channel, click on the Yellow Channel to select eight and then click on the load channel as selection icon at the bottom of the channels window. No click on the CME like a channel to return to the color image. Switch to the layers window where you'll see the new layer added when we select a new curves adjustment layer. This has displayed the Curves properties window, which we can no clothes Onda. We can no display the layer mask that's being created by holding down Ault on your keyboard , clicking the mask From now when the mask displayed, we can know. Apply the levels adjustment as we did before we select from the image Adjustments on levels option in the menu. We can no do exactly as we did before adjusting the black on the white level to create our black and white mask in addition to the sea and why K mode. There's also a love mode or L A B mode, which could be very useful. You can switch to the latte mode using the image Mold Menu Command, as we did before on you can see L. A B color listed here. Now. When we do this, we see a warning here which talks about discarding adjustment layers. Now. This is one of the problems that you can come across when changing colon modes. If you want to retain any adjustments to the image, you need to flatten net. But otherwise, if you click OK, it will discard the layer. You can see there in the layers window that the layer we created a minute to go with. The mask has no bean discarded on where, actually in the L A B mold. If you switch noted the channels window, you'll see the channels that make up the L A B mode. In the L. A B mode, you'll see a lightness channel. This could be very useful for channel masking and could be used to target light or dark areas of the image. There's also an A and B channel, but these really out very useful for masking less look it a quick example to create a mask that targets light tones in this image. Start by clicking the lightness channel to select it. No love. The channel was a selection. Using the icon at the bottom of the channels window, click the L A B channel at the top of the channels window to return to the color image. No switch to the layers window. We can now add a curves adjustment layer. Justus. We did using the icon in the adjustments window. Let's no take a look at the layer mask we just created by holding down the Olcay and clicking on the channel mask thumbnail. We can no apply a levels adjustment to this mask using the image adjustment levels option in the menu. In the levels Dialogue, move the black level two, the midpoint. This prevents any adjustments that you're going to apply from being applied to a tone that's darker than this mid tone here of 1 30 Now we can move also the white level halfway towards the midpoint. What this does is to make the mask no target any tone in the brightest areas. So anything above this 207 level will be targeted at full strength. Areas that are darker than that will be targeted as a lesser strength until we get down to this mid tone here, where they're not targeted at all. Now this is a very crude version of the luminosity mask, but with a little experimentation, you could create other masks targeting different tones. If, for example, I was depressed the control I I can invert my mass. I'm no targeting the shadow tones in the image. Don't worry if you find this a little confusing. The important thing to take from this lesson is that if you're ever struggling to create a mask from the RGB image, it's worth taking a look at the C. M. Y que or lab mold to see if any of those channels are useful. The one final word of caution. When you're converting between modes, any layers in your image become flattened or discarded. We saw that earlier, so let's switch that. But no to RGB just to take another look again. So there's the message again. Changing mode will discard any adjustment layer. Do you want to change it? Yes, which is OK, or we can flatten the image on. We don't lose theater, just mints. If I click OK, we've lost the adjustment. Now this may be something that you don't want toe happen, so usually best to work with a copy of your image. When you're changing Moz, you can then create your mask in a temporary working image before copying it to your working image. But in the next section of the course, we're going to look at how you can save masks you've created on and be able to move them easily between different image files. 9. Section 3: Saving and Loading Masks Introduction: in this section of the course, we're going to examine how you can save and load masks. This may sound simple, but it's extremely important. If you're going to work efficiently, please be sure to review this section of the course in full, as it will make your future masking work much easier and probably faster. We will continue to work with the Summer Meadows image we used in the previous section of the course on which you can see on screen moment. So far when we've been creating them, working with masks, these have been attached to adjustment layers. Then, when we save our files using the photo shop PSD format are layers together with their masks are retained. From time to time, though we may need to make changes to our image that will flatten the fail and cause the layers on their masks to be lost, You may recall in the previous section of the course where we converted our image from an RGB format to see m y que the layers in the image were flattened. This can be a problem on one. You will learn how to work around shortly in the first lesson of this section, you're going to look at a way you can save your mask so that they can easily be used in the future. Best of all, these must will still be available. Even when the layers in your image become flattened as well. A saving masks. We will look at how to load them so you can apply them again to new layers. Finally, we'll examine the close relationship that exists between selections, masks and channels. This will help you use the three together when editing your images. Well, let's get started now with the first lesson looking at how to save your masks. 10. Section 3: How to Save a Mask: in this lesson, we'll look at how you can save a mask that you've created. We'll continue to use our sample image from the previous section before this lesson. Be sure to have this opening photo shop before continuing with your starting image open switched to viewing the channels window. Here, you can see the image is an RGB image and has three channels red, green and blue. In addition to the RGB channel, start by loading the Blue Channel is a selection. To do this, click on the Blue Channel in the Channels window. You should know, See the Blue Channel displayed in the main preview. No. Click the icon at the bottom of the Channels window to load the channel as a selection. You can know. See the sky is surrounded by what we call marching ants. This dotted line is used to indicate that there is an active selection loaded in photo sha . In the previous section of the course, we converted this active selection into a layer mask by adding a new adjustment layer. When we do, this photo shop automatically converts the active selection toe a mask and a touches it to the new layer If we know, switch back to using the channels window, you can see the curves mask is shown as a new channel. This only happens when we have the curves layer selected in the layers window. If we selected the background layer, the mask isn't displayed in the channels window. Let's not repeat this and create a new active selection from our blue channel. When you have an active selection in photo shop, it's possible to save. This is a new channel in the image without needing to convert it to a mask. To do this, click on the Save Selection as Channel icon at the bottom of the channels window. This is the second icon from the left and looks like a white square with a black circle on it. Notice when I click the icon that a new channel is created, called Alpha One. This is how photo shop allows you to save masks as channels within the image. These are known as Alfa channels to distinguish them from regular color. Channels are lightness channels. When you save a selection is a channel. It's good practice to name the channel so you can recognize it in the future looking at a list of channels called out for one l for two etcetera isn't going to help you understand their purpose. Let rename our new Alpha Channel to be Skase Election. You can rename the channel by clicking it to select it and then double clicking on the name . It's important that having created our Alpha Channel in the image, you saved the image in a format that supports Alfa channels. If I select save hours from the menu and choose Photoshopped, PSD is format. You'll see the option to save channels. This means if we know close and then reopen our file, the Alfa Channel will still be in place. If, though we were to save the images of J. Peg, you'll see that the option for layers and channels a grade out. The J Pick Former doesn't support saving of alpha channels, so please avoid using it over format such as tiff may supports on features, but it's always best to save your image in the photo shop PSD format. Now, in this example, we used the icon at the bottom of the Channels window to save our selection as a channel. But there's a better, more flexible option. Let's repeat steps to select the Blue Channel and loved this as a selection. No, rather than saving this with the icon at the bottom of the channels Window will use the photo shop menu from the menu. Choose select safe selection. This displays the safe selection Dialog box Noticed. The dialogue gives more options than using the selection icon or safe selection icon at the bottom of the channels window. Let's examine some of the features in the dialogue. The top part of the dialogue relates to where you will save your selection on the bottom half related to the operation to be performed. The operation options are driven by the choices you make in the top section of the dialogue . The first drop down is for the document where you'll save your selection. Using the drop down, you can select any of the documents you currently have open in photo shop, or you can choose to create a new document in the Channel section. You can choose to save the selection as a new channel, or you can combine it with an existing Alpha channel you're working on. Noticed that you can't select any of the color channels that make up the image on Lee Alfa channels. If you select an existing L for channel, the name section becomes disabled. What's the operation? Part of the dialogue is no enabled. When you select to combine a selection with an existing channel, you can use the operation section to control how you effect that channel. For example, we can replace the existing channel mask with the new selection. The other options are to at the existing channel, mask, subtract or intersect. It's rare that you'll need to use thes and later in the course will be looking at an alternative way to achieve the same results or therefore leave you to explore these options . Once you've completed the course on our familiar with its content, the final section of the dialogue is the name option in this example will enter the name sky selection to when you click the OK button. The new Alfa Channel is created. You can know save this image file in the PSD format for future use and then close it in. The next lesson will examine hotel load a selection from an Alfa Channel so you can create a new mask 11. Section 3: How to Load a Saved Mask: in the previous lesson you learned how to save a mask is an Alpha Channel. In this lesson, we'll look at Hota Loden Alfa Channel so you can use it to create a new mask. We'll continue to use the same image files previous lesson. Be sure to open the P S D. Photoshopped file that you saved that contains your Alfa Channel from the previous lesson. Having opened your file, you should be able to see the Alfa Channel you saved previously displayed in the channels window. Select the Sky Selection Alpha Channel by clicking on it in the Channels window. You can then load the Alfa Channel as a selection, using the icon at the bottom of the window. This is the one that looks like the dotted circle. When you click this icon, you'll see the matching grants appear in the main image preview, indicating an active selection us before you can create a layer mask from this by adding a new adjustment layer. Let's do this now by clicking the curves adjustment icon in the adjustments window. Notice how my image preview has changed to display part of the image with the red mask over it I wanted to show you this because it can be quite confusing when it first happens to you . Don't worry. There's nothing wrong, and it's very easy to fix. If you'll look at the channels window, you'll see that all the channels are now active and visible, with the exception of the new curves layer that we added. If you switch to the layers window, you'll see the new curves layer has been added together with its lay a mask. To avoid displaying the red mask, you should always click the RGB Channel in the channels window before creating a new layer and mask. You can then switch to the layers window and add your new adjustment from the adjustments window. The reason you see the red mask is because you have an Alfa Channel selected at the same time as the other color channels. Clicking the RGB channel removes this selection and low just the color image channels to be displayed. If you were, just click on the Sky Selection Channel to make this visible at the same time as the color channel, a red mask is displayed, reflecting what the Alpha Channel will select and hide the red mask shows that nothing will be selected in these areas where the musk isn't explained, those areas will be affected by any adjustments. Think of this feature is displaying a red mask for you based on your Alfa Channel. Well, let's no repeat the exercise of loading Sky Selection Channel, but this time we'll use the menu command. We'll use select load selection. Noticed this displays the low selection dialog in the dialogue. Noticed that it split into two parts the source on the operation. Just as with save selection dialog whistle earlier in the source selection, we have three options. First, we have the documents section, which you can choose where to load your channel from. Displayed in the drop down list are the images that you currently have open in photo shop. This feature lows you to work on multiple copies of the same image. The channels dropped down displays a list of channels in the image you selected. Notice that one of the curves layers in the open images also displayed. This is because the curves layer is selected in the layers window. If you were to switch to the layers window and select the background image instead would find that the curves layer is no longer available in the channels window. If you have your selection saved as a layer mask but not an alpha channel, you will need to select the layer in the layers window before trying to load it as a selection. The end of the tick box is useful as it could be used to invert the mask our channel when you load it. We did this in the previous section, using the keyboard shark cut control and I had We saved our masters and health the channel . We could have loaded it. Andi inverted it at the same time. Using this option. Take the inverse option now and click OK to load the inverse of the Alpha Channel. You may have noticed that we didn't discuss the operation section off the dialogue. This is because you need an active selection already loaded to use these operations, as we now have an active selection loaded weaken, go to open the window again by choosing select load selection from the menu. When did load selection dialog is displayed, you'll see the operations and no available. You can use these operations to create new selections, replacing the existing active selection. These operations allow you to have to subtract from or intersect with the existing active selection again. I'll leave you to explore these later. But for this example, let's choose the at two selection option and click OK. Noticed. This causes the entire image to become selected. This is because you created an inverse of your channel when you loaded it first time, and then you loaded it a second time without inverting it. This creates a selection of the entire image. Don't worry too much. If you don't understand this at this moment with a little practice, it's going to become second nature to you. We've no covered How to Save Your Mask is an Alfa Channel as well as how to load these again in the future. In the next lesson will explore the close relationship between channels, musts and selections 12. Section 3: Selections, Masks and Channels: In the two previous lessons of this section, we looked at how to save and load masks using Helfer channels. As you've been working through these lessons, you may have realized there is a very close relationship between selections, channels and masks in photo shop. Each of these essentially holds information about which areas of an image target when we make adjustments. By understanding this relationship between the three were ableto work much more quickly when editing images. This lesson is intended to reinforce your understanding of the three components, selections, masks and channels. Before you start close any open files in photo shop and reload the starting image your first channel mask start. When we create a selection in an image, we're selecting the area where any adjustments will be applied. Let's look at an example by adding a new black and white adjustment layer. Toe our image in the adjustments window, click the black and white adjustment layer icon. When you want this layer, the entire image is converted to black and white. You'll notice that the black, um, white layer adjustment has a white layer mask attached to it. By default. This mask alos the adjustment to be applied across the entire image. No areas are being must to restrict the effect. Let's know, switch to the channels window where we'll use the blue channels. Collect Blue Channel to select it, then load. This is a selection using the icon at the bottom of the window. You know, see the marching ants indicating there's an active selection. Click on the RGB Channel at the top. This ensures were working on the color image and not just one of the channels you can know . Switch to the layers window where you'll see the black and white image layer. Double click. No black and white adjustment layer to display its properties. Dialog in the properties window reduced the blue and cyan in the image. Notice how disguise intensified, but the other areas of the image room changed. This is because we still have an active selection, and the adjustments were making our only applied to the areas that are being selected. In this example. A selection is being used to target an adjustment, but it hasn't been converted into a layer mask. This means wants the active selection is removed. We risk not being able to use it to gain. We've made what we call the destructive adjustment, as it's not possible to refine our changes later as a general rule of thumb, destructive adjustments are to be avoided. This is an important reason to convert selections to either channels or layer masks as their life of future reuse. To convert our current selection toe a layer mask, all we needed to do is add a new layer when the selections in place the moment ago, we added our black and white adjustment layer before we made our selection. Thea Order, in which we do things is important to avoid problems and mistakes. Try to make any selections before adding new adjustment layers so that they're converted into Leia masks. Having no added a new black and white adjustment layer. What's there's an active selection we can see this is being converted to a layer mask. This time, only the sky has been converted to black and white, and the rest of the image remains in color. If we again just the blue and san in the image, the black and white areas become intensified as before. If we had 1/3 of black and white adjustment, layer, the rest of the image is no converted to black and white. The result is the same as the first example. But this time, with the adjustment is nondestructive. We can open and further adjust either at the black and white layers. If you find you have a layer mask that you want to save, as a channel is possible to load Damascus a selection and then save it there a couple of easy ways to load a layer mask. First, you can right click on the mask and select the option to load it from the menu. Alternatively, you can hold down the control key on your keyboard and click with the mask thumbnail in the layers window with your mouse. Once the mess being loaded as a selection switched to the channels window, you can know Save the selection is an Alfa Channel, using the icon at the bottom of the channels window when switching between a mask and a channel. In both cases, we load the information is an active selection. It's then possible to either save this as a channel are converted toe a mask. The key points you need to know from this lesson our hotel load a mask as a selection on how to load a channel is a selection how to convert a selection toe, a mask and how to convert a selection to a channel. The golden rule is always to save your selections as either a mask or a channel. That way, you always have a way to easily recreate your selection in the next section of this course will examine techniques you can use to help refine your musts still further. 13. Section 4: Refining Your Masks Introduction: in this section of the course. We're going to take a look at some of the techniques you can use to refine the masks you creating. When we talk about refining masks, what we're really saying is that you're improving the accuracy or blending off the mask. This may involve limiting the adjustments so that they only affect certain areas and very specific areas. Alternatively, it could mean changing a mask so that the adjustments we apply blend better with the rest of the image. These factors are important. Andi. They determine the quality of the finished image. If a viewer can easily identify adjustments as having being made, it condemn is their perception of the image. What we want is views to enjoy our images and suspend any judgment over the validity we want them to believe or accept the images being riel. In the earlier lessons, we've been using the same image to illustrate the techniques of channel masking. This image was chosen because it was easy to work with In this section of the course. We're going to use a different, more challenging image. Please be sure to download the new image provided in this section of the course. This is called refining Your masks on it can be seen on screen. Now we're going to use this image throughout this section of the course. If you know, open this image and examine the channels in the channels window, you'll notice that the red, green and blue channels are all quite similar. If we want to create a mask that separates the sky from the ground in this image, it's going to be a little bit more challenging, using one of thes channels. Typically, in a situation like this, we need to use additional techniques. These techniques are going to be covered in this section of the course to prepare the image for the lessons in this section, we need to create a channel mask from the Blue Channel. Ultimately, we want to produce a mass to separate the sky from the ground, and the Blue Channel is going to be our starting point. Let's create the mask neck start by selecting the Blue Channel in the channels window by clicking it. No load. The channel is a selection using the icon at the bottom of the window. Save this new selection that you've made a Zanele for channel called Guy Selection. We're going to work on this Alpha Channel shortly as it's a good practice when masking you can save the selection is a mask using the icon here that's no created the new Alfa Channel . Having created the Alfa Channel, be sure to de select the active selection. You can do this by using the menu options. Select on de Select. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut control on D or commanding Deal. No Mac. Next, we're going to apply a levels adjustment to the Alfa Channel to improve the mask. Start by selecting the Alfa Channel. We can no out a levels adjustment to this by choosing image adjustment levels from the menu . That's image adjustment. Andi levels in the levels dialogue that's displayed set the black level to a value of 80. Then we can set the white level to a value of 175 This improves the Alfa Channel, but it doesn't make it perfect. Be sure to save this image now as a photo shop PSD format, because we're going to be using this image and the channel in the remaining lessons. With our initial mass created, we can no move onto our next lesson where we'll look at how to improve this mask 14. Section 4: Painting a Mask: In the introduction to this section, we prepared our image, saving an Alpha channel which will use to create our mask. The mask we want to create will separate the sky from the ground, allowing girls to adjust each area independently. Be sure to open this image before proceeding with the rest of this lesson. In this first lesson, we'll look at the way to refine our mask. Using a simple painting technique. We can use this technique to adjust large areas of the image easily and quickly. But there are some areas of the image. Sir Charles around the inside of the church spire, where we're going to need more precision will therefore start by Onley painting the simple areas of the mask. Once this is complete, we'll look at an alternative technique to refine the more difficult and complex areas. Start by selecting the brush tool from the tools palette. Next, set the four grown paint color to be black. Now you may not realize it, but the default paint color in photo shop is black for the four grown on Dwight for the background at the moment, my screen is set to beef white for the foreground Andi Black For the background, you could easily switch between the two by pressing X on your keyboard. Or you can returned to the default setting of black and white by pressing D on your keyboard. No, we'll configure the brush tool using the context. Sensitive toolbar set the opacity to 100% in the flow to 100%. The other setting to use is the hardness for the brush on will set this to 80%. This is going to create a reasonably precise brush for painting with which we can quickly cover large areas of the image. Let's start by painting over the large area that we want to be black as you paying to be sure to keep away from the edges so we don't spill over those areas on ruin them. This is especially true in areas such as around the trees and inside the church spire. It's often a good idea to reduce the size of your brush to paint finder areas. - As you can see, it's not possible to get too close to the edge is otherwise, you can easily spill over on damage. The mass that we're creating you should know have a mask that separates the ground from the sky. But there's areas of a church spire on the road, the trees that requires a little refinement. Notice how the still areas of gray inside a church spire, which need to be black. There's also some light areas of gray around the sky surrounding Aspire. This needs to be painted with white, but again we risk painting over the spire before we come to that. Let's just paint the rest of the sky now white. - No , we need to actually refine the edges of our mask. Unfortunately, there's an easy solution to this. We need to change the blending mode of the brush to overlay rather than normal. The overlay blending mode combines the color your painting with together with the color being painted over to determine a new color. When you paint with white, anything you paint over that's lighter than a mid tongue gray will become white. If you're painting with black anything that's darker than mid tone, grey becomes blood. If you look at the church spayr, you can see the Skase surrounding it. It's a light gray. Inspire itself is dark. If we paint over this area of the sky with white, with the Brits set to overlay, the gray is turned white, but the church spayr is untouched. Let's take a look at this now. Switch no to painting with black by pressing X on your keyboard are using the icon here. No paint over the inside of the church tower to turn the area black. You can see a couple of brush strokes on the mask is no complete. Having made these adjustments, you now have an almost perfect mask that divides the sky from the ground. You can no load this mask as a selection is you've done before and use it to create a layer mask. Let's do that now. No, we'll switch to the lays window. I'm well out the new curves adjustment layer you can see the new mask has Bean added here, attached to the curves layer in the layers window. We can no change the blending mode of the curves layer to multiply, and that causes the sky to be darkened under enhanced. If we zoom into 100% magnification on, examine the areas around the church spire in the tree line. What we're looking for here a signs of any halos around the edges or edges that look unusual because the mask isn't accurate. If you see a halo created by the mask, it's actually because the musk is too large or too small and you may need to contract or expand. The mask would be looking at an easy technique for doing this in the next lesson. 15. Section 4: Expanding and Contracting Masks: in the previous lesson, we looked at how to improve our last using a painting technique by applying black or white paint. We can fill in the gaps in the mask on remove areas we don't require. We also then refined the delicate areas by painting over them with the brush to set to overlay mode. In this lesson, we're going to explore further refinement techniques on. I'll show you a way to refine the edges in the mask further now. A common problem you encounter when you're masking is that the mask is either too small or too large, and things can cause the adjustment you apply, using the mask to become visible. When this happens, you start to see light or dark halos appearing round the edges of the mask. To resolve this, it may be necessary to expand or contract a mask. You may need to do this across the entire image or in selected areas This adjustment is often referred to is choking the mask in this lesson. Well, look, A two techniques you can use one allows you to apply an adjustment globally across the entire image, and the other allows you to apply the adjustment locally. If you look at the image on my screen now, this is the image from the previous lesson. And if you look closely around the church spire, you'll see there is a faint, bright area, and this is where the mask hasn't lined up exactly with the church. Spire in this lesson will explore ways to expand the mass or contract a mask to hide these sorts of areas. Start by opening the image you were adjusting in the previous lesson. If you say this with the curves layer in place that we created, you can hide that now. Before we actually start making adjustments in the channels window, you should be able to see the RGB channels together with the Alfa mask you created. The first thing we'll do is created duplicate of the Alpha Channel toe work with. You can do this by right clicking on the channel and selecting duplicate channel from the menu called the New Channel Sky Selection Blur. If you zoom in to view the steeple of the church at 100% magnification, you can see the area around. This is quite jagged. This can lead to a mask not precisely aligning to the edge of the steeple on. When we apply the adjustments, a halo could be created. We can correct this by applying a small amount of blur to the channel. Using the photo shop Gatien Blur Filter from the menu. Choose filter, blur. Gatien blur. When the Gatien Blur, dialogue is displayed just the radius. As you do this notice, the edge of the steeple has become softened. Typically, a setting a blur off between not 0.6 and two pixels radius is sufficient. The amount of radius you need is going to depend on the adjustment you're making. You'll see the sharply, but for no. We're going to use a setting of 1.5 pixels and click OK. Having blurred the Alfa Channel load. It is a selection using the load as selection icon at the bottom of the channels window. You'll see this causes the marching ants to be displayed, indicating we know have an active selection. Click the RGB channel in the channels window to display the color image. Switch now to the layers window and add a new curves adjustment layer in the adjustments window. The Nucor's layers added with the layer mask now attached. No. Set the blending mode to multiply as we did before notice. There's a faint halo now around the spire of the church, as we saw before. This has happened because we expanded the mask slightly by blurring it. The mask no covers part off the sky, causing the multiply a fact to be masked or hidden slightly. This is what's creating the halo. Halos usually are a sign of poor masking techniques. I intend to be evident around areas of high contrast when you apply strong adjustments, let's know. Switch to viewing the layer mask by holding. Don't hold on the keyboard and clicking on the layer mask. Thumbnail in the layers window Noticed the slightly blurred edge that we created using negation blur felter Because the edge of the musk is no slightly blurred, the pixels in this area a gray rather than pure black and white. If we were no to paint over these using the black paint under Novalee blending mode, we turn them black, and that would expand our masks slightly. If we know, switch to viewing the color image again, you can see that the halo around the church tower has become more pronounced because we expanded the mask. If we used white paint and the overlay blending mode, the great pixels would turn white, shrinking the masks lightly. Let's have a look at this example. I'm sure you can see that the halos no being completely removed from the left side of the church spire whilst on the right side the halos more pronounced, although in this example we displayed the mask wiles making our adjustments. There's no need to actually do that. It may be preferable once you're used to doing this toe actually paint on the mask while viewing the image. The way to do this is to be sure to click on the mass thumbnail before you start painting. If you look over in the layers window, you can see there's a box around the layer, and that indicates I'm painting onto the layer on the image. If I click the layer mask thumbnail that gets a small box around it, indicating that selected I'm note free to paint over those areas to refine them on, my adjustment is being painted onto the layer mask rather than the image. But I see the effect in the image. If you find you make a mistake and need to correct it. It can be tempting to switch color and try to paint over the error. For example, you might be painting with black and decide you want to paint over it again with white. Sometimes this works, but usually it doesn't. It's better to use the undo option in the edit menu or press control shift and said on your keyboard. Another alternative to what we've just looked at involves making localized adjustments to the mask weaken. Do this to even refine or correct it. In the example, we just looked up. We applied a Gatien Blur effect to the entire mask on, then painted over sections to refine them. In the next technique, we're going to look at blurring areas of the mask very specifically and then adjusting these. Let's switch back to displaying the mask by holding down old and clicking on the curves. Leia Musk Notice how the right side of the church now has a very hard edge to the mask. This is because I was painting over it repeatedly. That can cause the halo to be displayed. So what we want to do know is selectively blur that edge. We can do this using the blur tool in the photo shop tools palette in the tools palette. Select the blood to set both the strength and hardness of the tool to 100%. In the context Sensitive toolbar. We can no paint over the edge of the mask where we want to Blair it as I paint. I'm trying to avoid using multiple brushstrokes as this can cause the blurred edge to become blurred, still further spreading it beyond what I need. It is possible to use multiple brush drugs, but by lowering the strength setting from 100%. If you're going to do this, be sure you understand why multiple brushstrokes become very difficult to control and can lead to problems. Having blurred my edge, we can know switch back to displaying the color image by clicking on the background layer. Here you can see there is a small, faint halo No appeared where I've blurred the edge, possibly because I've softened it too much. To remove this, we can paint over that edge again, using the white brush in an overlay mode. This causes our mask to contract in removing the halo from the sky. Oh dear, I've just painted over my image because I hadn't selected the mask. I can easily undo this now, using the undo feature in the menu. I know need to select the mask, a touch to the curves layoff and now I can return to painting my image. As I paint, you can see that the halo that wasa running this edge of the church has been removed. What was happening is, as I paint onto the mask is causing the mosque in this area to shrink. This means that the curves adjustment applied to the sky is no overlapping very slightly with the edge of the church spire. This is removed the halo. In this lesson. We've looked at two options. We can use the Gatien Blur applied to the entire mask in order to then be able to soften the edges, expanding or contracting Damascus we wanted. We've also looked at using the blur to to selectively blur and then expand or contract areas of the mask. Using these two options, you have a huge amount of control over the edges in your mask, and you can see Muslim blend adjustments into the overall image. In the next lesson, we'll look at examining how you can use the photo shop calculations to to help you create your masks. 16. Section 4: Calculations Dialog 1: in an alias section of this course, we looked at how to change the mode of an image. For example, rgb two c m y que. By doing this, we could access additional channels that could be used for masking. This is a useful technique where the RGB channel can't be used to create the mask we need in this lesson. We're going to look at a further technique you can use if you encounter this problem, and that's using the calculations. Dialogue in photo shop. We're also going to be using a new example image for this. Be sure to download the calculations. Dialogue JPEG image from the course on Open It in photo shop, you can see this image open on screen. Now. This image was shot inside a cathedral and as a high dynamic range. Often in these situations, you find you need to make adjustments based on the tones in an image. An example of this is where we want to apply an adjustment to the shadows toe. Lighten them, for example. This would require a mask where the shadows of white on the lighter areas in the image up like we can create a channel mask from the RGB image. But when we do this, we're really using color information. It's quite possible the color information won't map correctly to the tones we want to target for our adjustment. One alternative to this would be to use the lightness channel in the image when we convert it to L. A B mode, but we're going to ignore that for this lesson. Another alternative would be to use luminosity masking techniques, but that's actually a different course. What we're going to do instead is to use the calculations dialogue this can provide you with a high degree of flexibility in order to create new channels and masks with your image open switched to the channels window where we can examine each of the color channels noticed that none of the color channels meets our needs, although the Blue Channel is quite close. What the calculations dialogue aloes is to do is blend multiple channels together to produce a new channel. But it doesn't just merge the channels together. It provides blending modes, which we can use to create further effects on enhancements. Sometimes we can use this to arrive at a completely new channel. That's not otherwise possible. Select the Blue Channel from your image in the channels window by clicking it next. Open the calculations dialogue, selecting the option image calculations from the menu. When the dialog appears, it will automatically load the Blue Channel. Because we have that selected, you can see that there are three main areas to the dialogue. The first alert you to define a source for selecting a channel to blend. You can select either the current image or another open image in photo shop. An example of this might be where you want to blend the Blue Channel from this image with, say, the Lightness Channel from an L. A B version that the same image as I only have one image open at the moment of photo shop. I have to work with that image. The next area is a second source for blending on. This works in just the same way as the first section of the dialogue. By default, it has the same channel loaded as the first section. The third area of dialogue allows you to select the blending mode. Currently, this is set to multiply, but there are other modes you can use. You may be familiar with some of these modes from working with the layers in the layers window. The multiply blending mode has a darkening effect on the resulting image. When two channels emerged, the pixels in the two channels air compared and everything is made darker except where to whites are being blended or to blacks are being blended. Typically, when using blending modes, you will either be using Multiply, which darkens screen, which lightens or you can use overlay overly will darken areas that are darker than the mid tone enlightened areas that's a lighter than mid term. These are the blending modes, which tend to be most helpful when trying to create masks at the bottom of the dialogue. You can specify how you want the results of the blending to be saved. For this example, we're going to be creating a new channel in the current image. It is, though possible toe also create a new selection from the results off the blending Oh, you can create an entirely new document over to the right of the dialogue is a helpful preview option. When this is checked, the results of the blood ning are visible, blending modes can be difficult to understand, So using preview option helps with this. It allows you to see the blending mode results as you change them. In this example, we're going to blend the Blue Channel with itself using the multiply mode. The results of this are going to be created as a new channel in our image. You could know. See, the new Alfa Channel is being created in the channels window. Our next step is to invert the channel by pressing control on eye on your keyboard. That's command and I on a Mac. No rename the Alfa Chunnel to be shadows selection. Load the new Alfa Channel as a selection, using the icon to the bottom of the channels window. You can know. Switch to the layers window. Add a new curves adjustment layer by clicking on the curves. I come in the adjustment window. You will see the new curves layer has been added with a lame ass created from our active selection. Because property dialogue is also displayed, we know want toe light in the image using the curves adjustment layer. This could be done by adjusting the curve in the properties window. Alternatively, you can change the blending mode of the curves later to be screened in the layers window. Notice that the adjustments were applying are restricted to the shadow areas by our layer mask. If you find the adjustments too strong, you can reduce the opacity off the layer whilst it's possible to create this same lay a mask or at least a similar one using techniques from earlier in the course. This isn't always the case. In the next lesson, we're going to look a situation where the mask is created, using the calculations dialogue because it's very difficult created in any other way. 17. Section 4: Calculations Dialog 2: in the previous lesson. We looked at a simple example where we use the calculations dialogue to create a mask, which targets are adjustments onto the shadow areas. The image In this lesson. We will take the use of the calculations dialogue a step further. Let's imagine you wanted to create a mask to target adjustments onto the mid tone areas of an image. This means we want to mask areas that are either highlights our shadows. Typically, you'd use luminosity masking techniques to achieve this. Instead, I'm going to show you how to do this. Using calculations, Dialogue for this example will continue with the image from the previous lesson. You can see this open on my screen now. The mask we want to create is black in the shadows on blacking the highlights. But the mid tone areas of the image are going to be white. In the channels window. Select the Blue Channel by clicking it. Open the calculations dialogue from the photo shop menu by clicking image calculations in the first source section of the dialogue, Check that the blue Channel is selected. Set the second source to use the Red Channel. No for source to in the dialog, Click the invert option. How did you do this? You'll notice that the highlights in the image have no term black. No change the blending mold to darker. This produces a mask where the shadows the dark on the highlights of dark. But the mid tones are light. I suspect, you know, wondering how on earth did he know to do that? The first thing is that with a little repetition and experimentation, you quickly learn what results will be produced by what blending modes and channel combinations. But before you get to this point, you need to know a second secret. At the start of this lesson, I explain the mask we needed to create on what it looked like providing you do this before you start to use the calculations dialogue, you can then experiment with the different options until you achieve the result you want. Once you've created your desired mask, click OK to create a new channel. Our new channel is near to what we need, but it looks a little dark in the mid tones. We could lighten these by applying the levels adjustment to the Alfa Channel, as we have previously but I'm not going to do that on alternative to this is to use the calculations dialogue a second time in the channels window. Be sure you've got the new offer. Channel selected. No. Open the calculations. Dialogue from the menu, selecting image calculations both source one and source to should know be set to the new Alfa Channel, then set the blending mode to screen. You will see this lightens the mid tones in the channel. Click OK to create the new Alfa Channel. We can no load the new Alfa channels a selection by clicking the icon at the bottom of the channels. When those you have before, click on the RGB Channel at the top of the channels window to return to the color image. No switch to viewing the layers window and create a new curbs. Lay by clicking the icon in the adjustments window. When the new curves layer is added, the curse property dialogue is displayed. You'll also see the new curves layer in the layers window with a layer mask that's being created from our active selection Notice. Also in the curves dialogue that you can see the hissed a gram only has information from the mid tones in the image. The history Graham is showing on Lee the total information being targeted by our mask applying adjustment to the curves layer to lighten the mid tones of the image. You could also change the blending mode off the curves layer to screen. This will also light in the midterms in the image. If the effect is too strong, reduced the opacity of the curve layer until the adjustment looks correct, we can no compared before and after by just hiding the curves layer adjustment. As you can see, it's the mid tones in the image that have bean selected and adjusted. We've no looked two examples of using the calculations dialogue. This dialogue does take a little getting used to, but the efforts could be worth it. I recommend you find some time to experiment further with the calculations, as it can be a very flexible tool. Having no covered a number of ways to create and refine our channel masts will look at a further example in the next section of the course. This is where we put our skills to practical use 18. Section 5 Basic Example: welcome to this final section of the course. By no, you will have learned skills and techniques that can be used in many ways will not put these to use with two specific examples in photo shop in this first example will replace the sky in one image with a sky from another. This is a typical task you might perform using. Chalem asks. The to image we will use in these lessons are provided with the course on a cold sky. Comp one on sky comp to Skype One is the image with sky that will apply to sky come to when undertaking the task such as this, you should ensure that the two images are of the same dimensions. You should also ensure that the area you wish to use from one image covers the area you wish to replace. In this example, I've already chosen and prepared to images, allowing you to concentrate on producing the mask. Start by opening both images in photo shop Switch no to using sky comp to. This is where we'll create the channel mask on is the image you see on screen at the moment . Open the channels window to review the channels. What we're looking for is a channel where the sky is white on the other. Elements of the image are black. Although none of the channels match what we're looking for. The Blue Channel is probably the best starting point. Select the Blue Channel by clicking it with your mouse in the channels window. From the photo shop menu, choose the image Calculations menu option. In the calculations. Dialog Select. Blend the Blue Channel with a copy of itself using the overlay mold and create the results as a new channel will rename this Alpha Channel to be called Remove Sky. This has created a good initial mask, which we can improve using levels adjustments and also painting with the brush to start by using the brush tool to paint in large areas, which need to be black or white, set the hardness of the brush tool to 80% with the opacity on flow set to 100. Switch now to using white paint by pressing X on your keyboard or using the switch icon here. If you need to resize your brush use of square brackets on your keyboard. You can no paint over large areas of the sky using white, but keep away from the horizon on the details around the lamp. Unlike house, don't forget. You can also resize your brush, using square brackets to make it smaller. Un's Zoom in to see the details, which makes it much easier to paint with more precision. - No , I'm going to switch to painting with Black by pressing X on my keyboard on. I'm going to paint in the areas off the image that should be black. - No , some of these areas, they're going to take a little bit more precision and work, which will look out short life for the moment. I'm just going to print as near to the horizon as I can without causing a problem. I know need to paint much finer detail in this area of the sign here in order to be able to musket out, prevents guy from appearing behind it. - Try to be very precise, but it doesn't matter if you're not exactly spot on with your adjustments. I'm not going to clean up the image using the brush in overlay mode. I'm going to start by painting with White to clean up the sky. - Now , as I've been painting there. I've noticed that the area in the glass here of the light has been removed by the brush stroke. And that's because I'm really painting at too high strength. I've got the brush set to 100%. Ideally, this is a glass shade. I want to leave an element of gray in there so that the sky appears behind it once I paint . So I'm going to undo the brush stroke using the controls, that short cut, and I'm going to reduce the opacity down to around 25%. This means I now have to paint with multiple brushstrokes. - Now , as I've been painting, you may have noticed that ive graduate nibbled away at bits of the light. So I'm going to return to painting with Black in the overlay mode on. I'm going to know strengthen those areas up by painting over them. Finally, I'm going No. Switch back to using white on. I'm going to tidy up the edges. Just noticed the area of light here just needs to be strengthened up a little, and also that I'll know, switch to white and I just cleaned up around the edge of the mask I've noticed. Know also where I painted over the lighthouse here. I've probably being a little bit too aggressive on slipped onto the outside, so I'm just gonna quickly repair that. Now just zoom in to give me more precision. We're gonna paint with white, but I'm going to use the brush tool in normal mode for this. And I'm also going to reduce the made about mistake there. Just control that. I'm going to reduce the size off the brush them to something that's a little bit more precise. - That gives us a reasonable master. Start with Let's try it. No. With the image that we want to blend together and see if it works, I'm going to switch now to the sky comp one. I'm going to select all of the images so you could see the marching ants around the outside . I'm going to know. Copy that. Using edit, copy a note, switch back to the sky to comp image are going to select the RGB channel and apply the copy now has a new layer by selecting edit on paste. So that adds the sky layer over the background layer. I'm know going to go back to the image on used the mask that we created. I'm going to love that there was a selection. Select the RGB image and you can see the marching ants around the shape that we've created before. So that shows me that we'll see this area of the sky once we apply the mask. So now, applying the mask by adding the selection, and there we can see the blended images. If we zoom in on the light, you can see clearly that the clothes behind the glass now are showing through because we had a great area of mask there. Having completed this basic example, let's move on to look at a much more complex, second advanced examples, which will also take a very detailed image. Blend it with another image. 19. Section 5 Advanced Example: for this example. We're going to take this image on. We're going to blend it with this image. I don't load the Bofors. These as free stock from a site called Stock Snap on the Internet on What we're going to do is actually take this image of this lady on. We're going to delete the background on the cup so that we can then blend it with this image off the beach. No, the two images are quite different, so they're not going to blend perfectly. But the trick here is that we're going to be cutting out the background from this image, and that's the important thing. And it's really just to demonstrate the skills that you've learned in this course. I'm also going to show you warmer two of the tricks that you might want to use in your own work later that we haven't covered in the course. So the first thing to do is to examine the channels from this image so we can look first at the different RGB channels. No, none of them are particularly great, but the Green Channel probably gives as a good basis to start with. Two separate the Lady now we're also going to have to clean this image up quite a lot with a lot of brushwork. But we'll come to that shot like now before we progress. I just want to check the over cola modes so that week, and see if any of those channels work better. So let's convert the RGB image now to see him like a first. No, none of those again work particularly well. Let's just check the L. A B mold. Andi again, The Lightness channel doesn't work particularly well, so I'm going to go back to RGB, and I'm going to start with either the Green Channel or the Blue Channel. Now looking at the Blue Channel, we can see the hair is quite well separated here, But within the Green Channel, there's a little bit mawr light in the hair, which will have to then tidy it later. I do feel like the way that the face separates here quite well in the Green Channel, but I'm going to start with I think, the Blue Channel for this purpose, and the first thing I want to do is duplicate the Blue Channel into a new Alpha channel. I'm going to call this delete background and no will select the deleted background. Andi, we'll know just this by playing a levels adjustment to it. And we're doing this to help the contrast in the image to separate the hair here and here on the face from the background. The next thing we're going to do is removed some of the cluttered background on the right side of the image. Still that we know where we working. I'm going to do that using the brush tool and paint with white. Now, I've set the opacity of the brush up here to 100% on. I'm actually going to work with 100% hardness. And the reason I'm doing that is because I don't want tohave to do a number of strokes here . I just want to be able to delete the background. So I'm gonna resize my brush. So this is quite large. I'll simply take out Ah, large amounts off the background that we don't want. They're so it makes it easier no to focus on the person. You'll also notice that I could take the cup because we're going to delete the cup from this image now I'm going to switch now to painting with black so that I can no fill in of the areas here that we want to actually musk out the whilst I'm painting. I'm being careful not to get too near to the edge is because I want to actually make sure that I don't make any mistakes here. And I'm gonna clean those at Jesup afterwards using the techniques in the course. So that's the bulk of the painting done? No, we have to go down to work on some detail in the image. The way we're going to do that is by zooming into certain areas and still painting with the mask underbrush. So let's start with this area up here. Where the Harris No, there has quite scrappy in this area on. We probably can't save too much of it. But the first sound going to do is switch to painting with a white brush. Now I'm going to lower the opacity off the brush this time so that I have to make multiple brushstroke. The reason I'm doing that is I want to take hope, the background area and leave elements of the hair. So I'm gonna paint over now the number of times. Don't worry. If you don't do this perfect lay, it doesn't matter too much because over we're taking out the hair in this area were actually taking up some of the background as well. It doesn't matter. As I say. If you don't get this perfect now, I'm going to switch to painting with Black. I'm gonna strengthen up some of the hair in that this area. No, I've noticed that I've painted over the area that I didn't want paint over with the normal brush mode. So I'm gonna actually used the control Holt said to him, Do rather than trying to paint over it to fix it. And now I'm going to paint in the overlay mold using black paint, so that should strengthen up some of this area. And then I'm going to switch toe white paint in the overlay mode and again, um, using it to clean up those and cheese there, switch back to black. There we go. Now it's a little bit scrappy here a moment as I say, It doesn't matter at this stage because what we'll do is later on. We'll try to fine tune it if we need Teoh For the moment, though, I'm going to actually use the Blur tool in that area. And no, we can continue painting again. As you can see, I'm switching now between black. I'm white painting in the overlay mode. If you notice as I'm painting, I'm not going over too much of the area here. I'm trying to stay reasonably within the dark hair, and then I'll switch by pressing X on my keyboard, painting with white just to clean up those edges a little bit more Now along the edge of the face. We're going to paint with White. I'll still use the overlay mode and try to keep away from the edges. Now I'm going to actually up the opacity now, right back up to 100 so that I don't have to make too many brush strokes and risk making a mistake. Now, when we get down to the cup and thumb Onda around this area where there's a lot of dark colors, I'm actually going to switch away no from being in overlay to normal, and I'm going to make my cursor on my brush much smaller. - Normally , when you do detail work such as this. It's a good idea to be using a tablet and pen I'm actually using, and most for this. So it's actually proving quite difficult if you find that you're struggling to get the detail quite right. Zooming further into the detail of the image often 200 to 300% is what you need to get the detail correct. - I'm going to switch back to painting with Black. I'm just feeling the detail along the edge here of the nose. Now it can be difficult to actually remember what details your painting in and out when you're looking at something like this were very close in, and it's hard to recognize shapes. Here's another trick you can use to actually help you make the details selection correctly , and that's actually to switch your RGB image by cold. No, you can see the red mask, which is where we were painting. We still got delete back grown layers selected down here, and we still painting on it. No, when I paint with black go, we strengthen up the selection Onda. We can paint quite precisely now, and if we paint with white, we delete the red mask those are the areas that will be removing later. You can get a lot of position by zooming in, displaying the image, the RGB image, together with the mask that you're adjusting and that alos you to make fine adjustments. Now I'm just going to finish off painting up this mask and then I'll show you the results. I'm no at the point where I finish created Miami, you can see the mask here iam red, where we will be retaining details when we do eat and replace the background, the cup has bean removed from the model. I have also being round on and with a very fine brush and cut the details out problem on. If we turn off the RGB image, you can see how we've gone for Chris bench around these details. Now, when we put the background image over this, we may need to actually soften up some of the edges. Justus, we did up here in order to blend them. I'm not going to select the RGB image and I'll move back to my layers window. I'm going to return to the other image. I'm going to select all of that, and now I'm going to copy the image and I'll switch back to the other image on now. No taste in that image, which will become a new layer, I'm know, going to duplicate this but grown layer, and I will move that above the image layer that we're going to use is the background. No, I can switch to the must that we created, and I can load that as a selection. No, we cannot that mask to this image. And there you can see the cutout showing through the background layer. No, I'm going to do now is invert my mask by pressing control and I on the keyboard. And there we have the composited image with the model over laid against the new background . No, because of the different lighting situations, it's not easy to believe those two images are one. The other thing is, the edges of the image are also very, very sharp. In a number of cases on, we'd want to soften those up so we can simply work on our mask. Here we can zoom in on those areas and you can see here where the edge doesn't blend very well, I so we can know Blair. Those areas using the blur tool and we'll use this is to fairly low strength, and we use it just to blur over the edge there, where the image is just that a little bit too duck on. Then we can paint with the overlay mode ons use the either the black paint, all the white paint to shrink our mask in those areas. Now I'm just gonna wouldn't do that. We've controls that on the strength of that is a little bit too strong. So I want to make multiple brushstrokes so, and that will help to take the edge off that parts of the image they were gained. I can blur a little bit further on the entire idea with the brush tool, using the old delay blending mode. And that takes off that little bit of shadow there. So that's the process you would use to be able to clean up the rest of the image. Of course, you don't have to use overlay blending mode. You could actually paint over it a using normal mode, but you would have to be a little bit more careful. Then I can be with the mouse and as I mentioned before. It's a good idea when using this doing this sort of very detailed work to actually use a pen armed graphics tablet. If you wanted to blend these images more completely, you could do things such as art an adjustment layer curves adjustment layer to soften the background and make the colors appear very more similar to the model that your blending on you could do other things such as apply a new adjustment layer off, say, a photo filter that helps apply the same coloring to both of the images. So, as you see, those are some of the tools and techniques you can use to create quite complex masks. It just takes time on a little bit of practice.