Skip to main content

Select and Mask

Lesson 72 from: Adobe Photoshop: The Complete Guide Bootcamp

Ben Willmore

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

72. Select and Mask


Class Trailer

Introduction To Adobe Photoshop


Bridge vs. Lightroom


Tour of Photoshop Interface


Overview of Bridge Workspace


Overview of Lightroom Workspace


Lightroom Preferences - Saving Documents


How To Use Camera Raw in Adobe Photoshop 2020


Overview of Basic Adjustment Sliders


Developing Raw Images


Editing with the Effects and HLS Tabs


How to Save Images


Using the Transform Tool


Making Selections in Adobe Photoshop 2020


Selection Tools


Combining Selection Tools


Using Automated Selection Tools


Quick Mask Mode


Select Menu Essentials


Using Layers in Adobe Photoshop 2020


Align Active Layers


Creating a New Layer


Creating a Clipping Mask


Using Effects on Layers


Using Adjustment Layers


Using the Shape Tool


Create a Layer Mask Using the Selection Tool


Masking Multiple Images Together


Using Layer Masks to Remove People


Using Layer Masks to Replace Sky


Adding Texture to Images


Layering to Create Realistic Depth


Adjustment Layers in Adobe Photoshop 2020


Optimizing Grayscale with Levels


Adjusting Levels with a Histogram


Understanding Curves


Editing an Image Using Curves


Editing with Shadows/Highlights Adjustment


Dodge and Burn Using Quick Mask Mode


Editing with Blending Modes


Color Theory


Curves for Color


Hue and Saturation Adjustments


Isolating Colors Using Hue/Saturation Adjustment


Match Colors Using Numbers


Adjusting Skin Tones


Retouching Essentials In Adobe Camera Raw


Retouching with the Spot Healing Brush


Retouching with the Clone Stamp


Retouching with the Healing Brush


Retouching Using Multiple Retouching Tools


Extending an Edge with Content Aware


Clone Between Documents


Crop Tool


Frame Tool


Eye Dropper and Color Sampler Tools


Paint Brush Tools


History Brush Tool


Eraser and Gradient Tools


Brush Flow and Opacity Settings


Blur and Shape Tools


Dissolve Mode


Multiply Mode


Screen Mode


Hard Light Mode


Hue, Saturation, and Color Modes


Smart Filters


High Pass Filter


Blur Filter


Filter Gallery


Adaptive Wide Angle Filter


Combing Filters and Features


Select and Mask


Manually Select and Mask


Creating a Clean Background


Changing the Background


Smart Object Overview


Nested Smart Objects


Scale and Warp Smart Objects


Replace Contents


Raw Smart Objects


Multiple Instances of a Smart Object


Creating a Mockup Using Smart Objects






Focus Stacking




Light Painting Composite


Remove Moire Patterns


Remove Similar Objects At Once


Remove Objects Across an Entire Image


Replace a Repeating Pattern


Clone from Multiple Areas Using the Clone Source Panel


Remove an Object with a Complex Background


Frequency Separation to Remove Staining and Blemishes






Puppet Warp


Displacement Map


Polar Coordinates


Organize Your Layers


Layer Styles: Bevel and Emboss


Layer Style: Knockout Deep


Blending Options: Blend if


Blending Options: Colorize Black and White Image


Layer Comps


Black-Only Shadows


Create a Content Aware Fill Action


Create a Desaturate Edges Action


Create an Antique Color Action


Create a Contour Map Action


Faux Sunset Action


Photo Credit Action


Create Sharable Actions


Common Troubleshooting Issues Part 1


Common Troubleshooting Issues Part 2


Image Compatibility with Lightroom


Scratch Disk Is Full


Preview Thumbnail


Lesson Info

Select and Mask

we're going to talk about advanced masking. Advanced masking just means advanced selections because selections and masking really mean the same thing. If I ever say selection, all I mean is that I've isolated in the area, and when I did, the result had little dash lines around it. That's a selection. If I take that same selection and attach it to something or save it somewhere, well, then it no longer looks like little dash lines. Instead, it looks like a grayscale image. The same width and height is your document, where an area that is white indicates what used to be selected in an area that is black indicates what was not selected. And that's a mask. But it's just a stored selection or a selection attached to something like a layer mask. So selections and masking go together. Well, let's jump in in start masking things and Futter shop. Now this session is called advanced masking, and therefore I'm going to attempt to do some images that you might not consider to be easy. For instance...

, this one is rather complicated, and if you look at how many openings there are in all these places, we have to think about. How do you you selected isolate something like that or this one? If you look at the the wings that air there they have some areas that are partially blurry. Some areas you can see through. Ah, we're here. You see that tree with every single opening in between the branches or here. Look at this fuzzy, furry arrangement. How do we end up selecting that without shaving too much of this? A way to make it simpler. We're here. We have smoke. I wanna be able to grab that smoke and use it in a different document. So let's jump in and get started. So first I'll start with this image, and I'm gonna pick a background for it to go on to. I want to move it onto this background. Now. I already have that background. It's best to put it in the image to begin with, so it is a layer sitting underneath your subject, so I'll select these two layers Here in bridge. I'll go to the tools menu, choose Photoshopped and choose load files into Photoshopped layers. If you're starting in light room, you'll find the same choice available, but you go to the photo menu and choose edit in to find it. And after doing that, I should end up with a new document in Futter Shop that contains a total of two layers. One for each file now just happened to put the image of the sky underneath. If it had put it on top, all they would have done is drag its name down to change the layer order. And the other thing I might need to do with other images is one image might be a lot larger, smaller than the other. And so I need to click on one of the to go to edit free transform to scale them so they both fit the entirety of the document. But these happen to have already been set up. So I only mentioned that in case you're working with other images now, I want to start off making just a simple selection. And so I'm gonna go over here to the select menu and choose select subject when I do that, it made a selection for me already in. So it seems like this is pretty easy thing to select. But once you have a selection on your screen. There is a way to preview it to get a better idea of how accurate it is. When you have a selection on your screen, you can type a letter Q not command Q or Control Cube Butt Cube by itself. I'm gonna type that right now, and then I'll zoom up and we'll learn how this really isn't a very accurate selection. You see the gaps in between the feathers in the wings, how there's no red in there, and red indicates an area that's not selected Well, I don't want the sky that's in their selected. And if you look over here in this area, I noticed that parts of the feathers from our extending into the red, which means that they're not selected. And so that's not a very good selection in that area on the neck is not bad in up here near the top. It's not bad, but it's where the wings are. That is terrible. Well, there's a feature in photo shop that's great with working with furry fuzzy and Harry objects in this would be on example of when I would use it. I only type the letter Q to turn on quick mask mode to preview this. I didn't actually need to make a change while I'm in that mode, so I'm gonna type of letter Q again to get out of quick mask. The feature that's gonna help us in this case is one I'll find out of the select menu in it's called Select and Mask. When I choose selected Mask, it's gonna pretty much take over my screen. And when you first get into it, you might not see a result that looks like this. It's all going to depend on what setting you used last for the preview that's here in the upper left of my screen, you'll see a small thumbnail image of the layer were working on, and right next to it's a little down pointing arrow. If I click on that, you're gonna find options for previews. The default setting, I think, might be onion skin, but it really depends on what you used last. There's a choice in here called Overlay, which will look just like what quick mask modus, And I'm going to use that to start with when you use one of those previews. If it's the one called Overlay or there's another one called black or white. Then there's an opacity setting here, which determines how much you can see through whatever color is being over laid and so feel free to adjust that I mainly mention it, because sometimes people end up coming in and it's turn really far down like a 10%. And so when I turn on a red over light and you do the same, you barely notice it's happened. Well, that would be because you're opacity might be lower. Then you can also change the color of the overlay. That is, if you're in the choice called overlay, then you could click here to change the color. If you're working on a red object than a red overlay, it's not very effective, Uh, and let's see Weaken doing here. There's a bunch of settings that are found down near the bottom here. We're not going to use most of those in this particular case, you can collapse down entire sections of this to simplify if you'd like, and what we're gonna do is first. I'm going to zoom up here and we're gonna tell photo shop where we need some help and when we do photo shop is gonna take over the decision of how the edge should be masked. And the first thing I'm gonna do is come in here to an area called edge detection. If I expand that area, there's a setting called Radius in this means. Should it look around the entirety of the selection in give it control of a certain amount. If I bring this up, usually bring it up about two pixels, sometimes three or four. That gives it control over the edge in just a two pixel width all the way around the edge. And if you want to see what it's doing, just zoom up, maybe up near this head and I'll bring it back down so it doesn't have any control yet. And just look out how the red comes up here and touches the object. Then I'll bring it up. Give it a lot of control when you bring it up to maybe five or six and you see the red changing where it appears. That's because I'm giving Photoshopped control in larger and larger areas of the image. But usually giving at least two pixels of control will make areas that are near Crest BEJ is refined and will look better, But let me zoom out. And then in the upper left, you have some tools and you don't have to start with a selection. You could have made the selection right here in this screen by using the top tool. That's your normal quick selection tool. You could use it, click and drag on your image to make an initial selection. But then the tool directly below that is when I want to use. And that's the refined edge tool. That's the tool I use to give Photoshopped control over what's happening. So I'm gonna zoom up on the wing that's over here and decide where did it not do a good job? And I'm just gonna take this brush in wherever I can see the background and it doesn't have read on it. I'm gonna paint like this now when I painted, all I'm doing is I'm giving Photoshopped control of that area. It's up to photo shop to decide if that red paint should appear or not. So just because I'm painting doesn't mean red paints always gonna show up. It's just that I'm giving Photoshopped control over these areas Ryan painting and therefore it can make the decision in most the time It makes a pretty good decision. If it was a furry fuzzy or Harry Edge, this will usually do a pretty good job. I just need to tell it, Where does it need help? You don't want to give it to large urban area because then it can start messing up almost done with that wing Now that might be where I could see through, and if so, I should give it some control that I'm not sure if it's a highlight or if I'd be able to see through it. But wherever I can see the background and it's not covered with Red is where I'm initially painting, and I think I got most of it may be right there in there. Then I'll go to the other wing and I'll do the same thing. And this one. I'm just gonna be a little bit more sloppy with sister in case we could get a difference in there where you can tell why. It would have been better for me to do it more like I did on the previous wing, uh, where I used a smaller brush and I spent a little bit more time Onley get it where I really needed it. I will get a smaller brush for some of these little internal areas. I'm not sure if some of those air highlights on the wing or if it's the sky showing through. So it's kind of Ah, you have to interpret it as you. I see it. All right, then I'm gonna go to the main body and in here I can see little pieces that I think would be hints of the background that are not covered with red. So I want to cover those to give Photoshopped control over those areas a little bit in there. Then I'm gonna go up top of the head, and I'm just looking for areas where the background is not covered with red. Then I'll do a second pass. In this past, I'm looking for parts of my subject that are covered in red. Anything covered in red is going to be discarded. And so if there's an area that's covered in red blatantly, I want to paint across it to give Photoshopped control over those areas because then it might decide to move the Reddaway. So over here I can see some areas where the bird is covered in red. So I'm gonna click and start painting there, and it's not always gonna perfectly change it. But anywhere where I can see red covering up parts that I might want to keep, I'm going to paint over it now if its partial read, that just means it's partially selected, and that's fine. It's where there's blatant read that I might want to be careful with Link right up there. All right, I think we're doing pretty good, All right. Now, at this point, there's a way to see exactly where you've given Photoshopped control over the image, and therefore you can see if you've given appropriate control. You do that by going to the settings on the left side of your screen. Well, you're gonna find a check box called Show Edge Edge means where you painted or where you gave it controlled by moving up this setting called edge detection. When I turn on show edge, remember, I have this set to overlay wherever red overlay. If you don't have it set to overlay, your view will look quite different. But when I shoot, choose show edge. Now look at the areas that do not have read on top of them. The areas that have no red is where Photoshopped has no control. The area I'm sorry other way around. The areas where there's no red is where photo shop has control in the areas where there is read, it does not have control over what's happening in. So I can look in here and say, Well, maybe it should have some control. The tip of this It may be right there, and I could just decide. Is there any other areas where it might need control? The main thing that I would be looking for here is Are there any areas of these feathers that are extending into the outer red where I might want to paint to give it control? Just looking around here and it's looking relatively good, but that gives me an idea of where does it have control over what's happening? But if you look like maybe upon the neck on the neck, that's mainly from that slider called Radius, it's set to two pixels. That's a to pixel gap right there, But here, do you see how little pieces air sticking out beyond it. Well, that's where it would be useful for me to just come in here and give Photoshopped control of those little parts. Because otherwise what happens is anything that's touching the outer red is gonna get deleted in in the process of deleting it. It's just thinks about anything in the inner red. If it looks similar to what's out here, where it's gonna be deleted, then you probably want to be deleted. It gets it confused if we have any part of the subject extending into the outer red. So I'm looking around here for the outer red. Anyone parts where furry stuff is heading out there now usually don't spend anywhere near this much time because I'm not trying to describe things and try to give you a little bit of the logical it's there. And so most of times is a very fast process because I know it's look for. I'm also looking for areas where the background extends into the inner red and doesn't have I need that because that's where photo shop would need some control anyway, Let's just say that that's good enough. I'll turn off the show edge check box. So now we're seeing just this red overlay indicating the area that will be thrown away. Now I'm gonna change my preview. So I'm gonna go to where that little thumbnail images in the upper left I'm gonna click and I'm gonna choose the choice of on layers whose remember I created a layer underneath this that contained the sky. I want to put it in. And as long as there's a layer underneath when I choose on layers, I should get a preview of what it's gonna look like on that new background. And therefore, I can start analyzing what the edge looks like and see if there's any areas that have issues. Now, if you look the areas where you were able to see, um, where there was no read in between, the feathers have been cleaned up now and there's just a few areas that don't quite look right. The main thing I'm noticing is down in here, I see kind of a white halo around the edges of things that usually happens in an area that would end up being partially transparent, usually scenario that was in motion or slightly out of focus or something similar to that, and you're seeing little hints of the old background kind of clinging to your image. Well, you can continue to paint here with that tool. So if you find like like this area you're thinking that could be part of the background will paint over and give Photoshopped control. There's a chance that it is going to make part of it transparent or any of these little white halos. Feel free to paint over him to see a photo shop. Change is what it looks like, but if it's mainly an issue of color like I think it is right now, then you want to head down here to an area called output settings. If you expand the area called output settings, there's a check box. It's called decontaminate colors, and if I turn it on, watch what happens to that area where you can see that kind of grayish white on the edge of the feathers. You notice how it just changed. What it did is it went inside the area that's being kept, and it took whatever color is maybe a two or three pixels inside that object, and it pushed it out towards the edge. So therefore, any areas on the edge that are partially transparent that might have hints of the old background in it are now getting colors from a little bit further inside jammed into those spots. And therefore we no longer see the color from the old background. Now there is an amount slider, and I find oftentimes, having it turned all the way up, which is the default, doesn't always give you the best looking results. So I'm gonna turn it all the way down and we'll see the issue again and then I'll slowly bring it up each time. Bring it up. I let go, and I just pause for maybe 1/4 of a second to make sure it's updated. And I usually go for the lowest setting. That fixes things because he usually looks more natural at lower settings. Put on some images, you'll need to have it cranked really high. If you want to see the difference, just turn off the check box on decontaminate colors. There's without it, and there's with it, so that's gonna fix a lot of your issues. So if you look up near the neck and I turned off and on, you'll see that used to have a little white kind of halo around it. Afterwards is gone. When you're done, there is a choice down here called Output to, and if you click, you have many choices. As long as you have not used the decontaminate colors check box. Then you'll have the choice of just getting back a selection or being able to get it as a layer mask. But if you have decontaminate colors turned on, then you're gonna find that those 1st 2 options are not available. And that's because it doesn't want to do anything that would be permanent to your image in when you turn on decontaminate colors, it's shifting the colors of things in. So now it's limiting my choices so that in general you're gonna want to go with new layer with a layer mask. What that's gonna give you is when you click OK, you're gonna end up with a duplicate layer so the original one is underneath and the duplicate will have a mask on it that is removing the background, and there's a nice reason why it does that. And that's so if any of the color shifting that happens you don't like. Then you could do something with that original layer that's here to bring back the original colors. I'm not going to show you that on this particular image will probably end up using it on other images. So what did I do here? First, I went to the select menu, and I told it to select the subject of the photograph. Then it did a mediocre job of it. Then I went to the select menu and I chose Selected Mask, which gave me that thing that took over my screen and in the upper laughed. I used the second tool from the top to paint and give Photoshopped control over various areas. When it does that, it's thinking about the areas that was outside the selection, the non selected areas. And it's just looking at what color is that stuff and how bright is it? And if it finds things similar to that, it thinks, let's get rid of it. Then it looks at what was inside the selection, and it says, What color is this stuff? What does it look like? And it says well, in that area where you give Photoshopped control? Does it look similar to what was originally in the selected area? And if so, it tries to keep it, and so we try to get it. So that region where Photoshopped has control encompasses all the areas where the background in subject are intermixed, especially if there's an area that's partially transparent. Eso anyway, here's our end result and I don't think looks too bad.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Lessons 1 - 6 - Handbook 1: Introduction to Adobe Photoshop
Lessons 7 - 12 - Handbook 2: How to Use Camera Raw
Lessons 13 - 18 - Handbook 3: Making Selections
Lessons 19 - 24 - Handbook 4: Using Layers
Lessons 25 - 30 - Handbook 5: Using Layer Masks
Lessons 31 - 38 - Handbook 6: Using Adjustment Layers
Lessons 39 - 44 - Handbook 7: Color Theory
Lessons 45 - 51 - Handbook 8: Retouching Essentials
Lessons 52 - 59 - Handbook 9: Tools Panel
Lessons 60 - 64 - Handbook 10: Layer Blending Modes
Lessons 65 - 70 - Handbook 11: How to Use Filters
Lessons 71 - 74 - Handbook 12: Advanced Masks
Lessons 75 - 81 - Handbook 13: Using Smart Objects
Lessons 82 - 86 - Handbook 14: Photography for Photoshop
Lessons 87 - 93 - Handbook 15: Advanced Photo Retouching
Lessons 94 - 98 - Handbook 16: Warp, Blend, Liquify
Lessons 99 - 105 - Handbook 17: Advanced Layers
Lessons 106 - 112 - Handbook 18: Actions
Lessons 113 - 117 - Handbook 19: Troubleshooting Issues
Practice Images 1: Introduction to Adobe Photoshop
Practice Images 2: How to Use Camera Raw
Practice Images 3: Making Selections
Practice Images 4: Using Layers
Practice Images 5: Using Layer Masks
Practice Images 6: Using Adjustment Layers
Practice Images 7: Color Theory
Practice Images 8: Retouching Essentials
Practice Images 9: Tools Panel
Practice Images 10: Layer Blending Modes
Practice Images 11: How to Use Filters
Practice Images 12: Advanced Masks
Practice Images 13: Using Smart Objects
Practice Images 14: Photography for Photoshop
Practice Images 15: Advanced Photo Retouching
Practice Images 16: Warp, Blend, Liquify
Practice Images 17: Advanced Layers
Practice Images 18: Actions
Practice Images 19: Troubleshooting Issues

Ratings and Reviews

Noel Ice

I am an avid reader of photoshop books, and an avid watcher of photoshop tutorials. I have attended (internet) several hundred of presentations. In the course of this endeavor, I have found my own favorite photoshop websites and instructors. Creative Live is probably the bargain out there as well as among the top three internet course sites. I have to say with great enthusiasm that the best Photoshop instructor is Ben Willmore. There are many great ones, but truly, he is the best I have come across, and, as indicated above, I have watched literally 100s of tutorials on Photoshop. I have seen all of Ben's courses, I think, and among them, this one is the best by far, and that is saying a lot, because that makes this course the best course on Photoshop to be found anywhere. I am going back and watching it twice. Not only is it comprehensive, but Ben is so familiar with his subject that he is able to explain it like no other. This is crème de la crème of Photoshop classes. I have been wanting to write this review for some time because I have been so thoroughly impressed with everything about this class!

ford smith

Highly recommended if you want to take your Photoshop skills to the next level. Ben Willmore is clear, concise, and professional. He also has a good speaking voice that is not distracting but also keeps you engaged. Lastly, I would recommend that as you become more advanced, increasing the speed of the video (one of the options given on the menu)...especially if you've gone through the course once before and maybe want to watch it again. The double speed is very efficient as you become more advanced in Photoshop. Thanks for the help Ben!

a Creativelive Student

Wow. I cannot communicate the value of this course!! The true value in this course is how the instructor identifies workflows you'll need before you'll ever realize it, repeats important information without it becoming annoying, and explains the "why" behind the techniques so well that even if you forget the exact method, you can figure it out via the principles learned. Excellent value, excellent material, excellent instructor!!!

Student Work