Practical Applications: Masks
So let's take one last practical look at how we can use masks to build up an image. So let's look at this photograph, let's use a couple different things that we haven't used yet. Let's use more of the gradients here. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna add a gradient adjustment layer here. I'm gonna go up to my gradients. And we haven't really talked about this adjustment layer yet, so this is a great time to talk about this adjustment layer. The gradient adjustment layer, as you can see in this image, it's all right, but we can do something better with this, I know we can do something better with this. So I'm gonna add a gradient, and I'm gonna make this gradient, if we look at the gradient here, this is whatever gradient I want to fill this image with, what color do I want this to fill this with. Currently, it's being filled with blue transitioning into a transparent gradient. So that looks pretty good, we'll go ahead and press OK on there. If we need to change this, though, we can ch...
ange this to whatever gradient settings we have, and we can even make our own gradients for our own workflow, which is a great way to work with gradients. As you build these gradients, you can make your own. So if we were to select this one, let's go ahead and build our own real quick. We'll just change this to... an orange color, on this side. And on this side, we'll use, let's use like a cyan-ish blue color, like that. Press OK. That right there is a gradient that I've just built. I just click on the color that I want to change, then I click down here on the color and change that color, and now I've built a gradient. I can adjust this gradient as to what part of that gradient is more blue or more orange by moving this to the left, or moving this to the right, and you can see where that gradient is gonna start favoring more of the orange before it starts going into the blues. Here we have a perfect, if we go get this location and set this to 50%, that's the location of where this gradient is gonna weigh more heavily on. So 50%, it's a perfectly even blue transitioning into orange gradient. If I wanted to save this, I could just call it blue orange. And then... New. And you see how I have a new gradient there now. Very similar to that one. If I want to change this again, I could change this color to another one that I really like, building up this gradient palette to a green, or a tan, I should say, moving into a deep blue. That's a really good gradient to use. Just say new. I don't have to name it if I don't want to, and press OK. We will go back to this blue into the orange, press OK. So we can't see what's happening underneath our image at this point, because we haven't added any blend modes, we haven't added any opacity, it's just a solid gradient fill. So we'll hop back into this gradient in a second, let's go ahead and press OK, and then we'll change this blend mode to soft light, and drop that opacity a little bit. So what we see in this gradient now is that the blue is affecting the top of the image, transitioning down into orange at the bottom of the image, and giving the whole image this more orange kind of glow as it transitions into the bottom. If we wanted to alter this gradient again, we could double-click inside this gradient fill, and change this gradient from linear to radial, to angled, which I don't really see a point using. (chuckles) Reflected, or even something like diamond. And reflected is cool, because what reflected does, is if we change the scale of this really far down, to something like this, it's gonna start with orange in the middle, and boost blue to the top and to the bottom, which is a great use on something like a sunset like this. Let's try something like diamond. Diamond is also really good in this instance, because you can see that, in the back, we have an orange sun. And the sun does tend to spray out color across the canvas when we do that, so if we change the scale of this a little bit higher, something like there, put this right here. Now look at how we have this nice, beautiful, radiating glow from orange into blue. This is all editable at any time, too. If we click on this gradient, we can click on this color, maybe we don't want a blue now. Maybe after taking a second look at this, we want something that's more of like maybe magenta color. Put that magenta in there. Really get that nice, robust sunset, or even a red. Something right in between red-magenta, press OK. Nice, beautiful, radiating glow. Very simple, very quick, very easy effect. But it's spraying all over the place. So if I wanted to mask a certain area out, which would maybe be the backside of this barn, I would go ahead and click on that mask, just paint away on that barn. Made my brush a little bit smaller, paint away, paint away. And I'm gonna push a little bit harder here. So just to show you the properties of this mask, this mask is a very dark color. So if I look at the properties of that, and I see that it's not a very good spread, it's not a very good, it's not working out very well for me, I can drop that density a little bit to start bringing back some of that other area. Now, that's gonna restrict the density of this mask, so that even if black was on there, it would only be that color. And I could also feather this out a little bit more to make it appear more of a natural effect. Press alt or option, that feathering is feathered out. It smooths everything out and actually makes it look like a more natural effect than what we had before. So I can go ahead and just start painting a little bit more on this mask now that I have that feather set up a little bit, and just paint this out around here. Paint this out down here a little bit. Beautiful little setup. And this is more, we aren't getting into selections yet. Notice how I haven't done anything with any selections. Selections will be in the next lesson. What I want to show you here is how you can really hand paint these effects in, and we have an image that was just kind of, eh, it's a good shot, not the most beautiful sunset in the world. Look what happens with one very simple adjustment with a gradient map. So if we were to add another layer to this, maybe let's add a curves adjustment layer. Deepen it down a little bit. Brighten it up a little bit. Really like the way that looks with the sun, and maybe with the light coming in the foreground here. Turn that on and off. But again, if I don't want this to affect anything that's happening on the outside 'cause it's too contrasty, I can just start painting in with black around those areas in the back. Start pushing and pulling the viewer's eye very quickly and very easily with masking. And this is all, you know, hand painted masking, we're not doing anything with selections at this point. It really just boosts up that light selection that's happening there. Now you can justify anything, 'cause the viewer doesn't know how good this sunset looked. (chuckles) Alt or option, click on this mask. That's what we're affecting. Before, after. Before, after. Turn them off. Zip 'em. Looks pretty good. But let's say, as we're working on this mask, we're not necessarily liking too much of what's happening with some of the other area that's happening within this curve. When we use this curve, it's a big blanket curve, the mask is affecting just that one area that we've selected, but we can still fine-tune that a little bit more, so I don't want you to think that it's just about the mask. We also still have opacity, we still have blend modes, and we still have blend if. So let's go ahead and double-click on this curve. We have blend if set up right here. Let's turn on that color overlay again to make this a lot easier for us. Let's go ahead and go into our blending options, and let's say we don't want it to affect any of the dark areas within that area that we've selected, we really just want that robust color to affect those lighter areas. So I'll move this over, and start protecting all of those shadow areas. Alt or option, split and feather. There we go. So now we're compounding things. We've got the layer, we've got the layer mask, we've got blend if, and if we press OK on this, we see exactly what that's affecting, and we can turn that layer on and off, that color overlay on and off. And we also have our blend modes. I can change that to something like soft light, or something like color. If we change it to color, it's not gonna allow that luminance setting to come through, it's only allowing the color to apply itself to the image. Let's just leave it at normal, that was pretty good. If, by chance, I've made an adjustment to, let's say, this one right here, I like the way this looked, and I like that mask there, and I want to use that for something else. Maybe I want a curves adjustment layer on that one, but I don't want to necessarily have to mask it all again. Make that curves adjustment layer right above it. Press alt or option, and steal the mask from below, and now I can start using that curves adjustment layer on what's already below there, stealing the mask from what's already happening underneath and borrowing all of it's properties. But again, it also has a mask. So I still get the capability of painting on that if I want to. So I've got compounded abilities with just three different layers here, and I'm not going too far outside of this. We don't want this to affect this area here at all. There we go. So now, if I were to go ahead and grab a group here, I'll grab the top layer, press and hold shift, click the bottom layer, press Ctrl + G, they're now in a group. There's the before, there's the after. Maybe after realizing that, I say you know what, let me go ahead and add a layer mask here. I'm just gonna start painting out some of this area. So this area, 'cause I liked how white that snow was there, and that's all coming through from the underlying layer, and using this mask here as the primary mask for all of the masks that are contained within that group. Open this up. It's not allowing any of those layers to affect that masked area that I've selected in this grouping. So do you have any questions on masking?
I have two questions. In camera raw, can you split that mask? Like what you do with your--
Blend if, can you split that.
Absolutely, great question. So the question was, in camera raw, can you split and feather the mask with those, with the luminance range mask? And the answer is yes, but not the exact same way on blend if. So what you noticed is we used the black and white slider to delineate where we were allowing that mask to apply itself to. The smoothing is the same thing as pressing alt or option and feathering.
[Audience Member 1] Okay.
So yes, yeah.
And my other question is when you click and you have a menu drop down onto the picture, is there a way to change that size so you can see more? Sometimes it's so big you can't see what you're...
Oh right, yeah, so what's happening now is that our monitor here is in, this is in 720, rather than 1080, so the higher the resolution of your screen, the more real estate you're gonna get on your images. So if you're using 1920 x 1080, then you're gonna be able to see more real estate within Photoshop, and those windows will appear smaller. So yeah, that'll give you real estate. It just looks a little bit different when we're broadcasting in 720.
I have a couple questions. One is, earlier you were mentioning a blue color on the left, and I was wondering, I didn't quite understand how you were getting the blue color on that little square down on the left.
That blue color from the color palette was basically because my brush was already set up for the color blue, and all you do to change your brush color is you click on that palette, and now I can change the color to blue, and now I'd be with blue. But because I'm on a mask, it's not gonna allow me to do that. It's gonna be black or white on a mask. But on a regular layer, it'll allow me to go blue.
[Audience Member 2] And the other question is, how do you delete in camera raw? You said you deleted something.
Oh yes, to delete in camera raw, you just click on the little pin, and when you click on the pin, you can just press the delete key and it'll delete that pin.
[Audience Member 2] Okay, thank you.
Um, I had a clarifying question when we were talking about mask groups. Is that how, if you were dodging and burning, and you liked your overall effect, but one area you really didn't like how much you dodged, or something like that, is that where you would go in and bring back the original aspects of the picture and take out that dodge that you don't like there?
Yes. So the question was, with a mask group, if you were doing a curves dodge and burn, and you didn't like some area that you dodged or burned, and you wanted to bring back the underlying layer, there's two ways that you can do that. You can use the mask group to bring back that underlying layer, or you can switch from black to white, and just paint back on white on that mask to bring that back, also. So the mask group is kind of like the overall, overarching mask that will protect your underlying layers from everything going on inside of it, or you can even go into the individual masks. But if you really liked what you did with the curves, dodge and burn, and you just want to see what it would look like as a difference, then put them into a group, then brush it out, and that would be your temporary state, and then you could say, I don't like that, I kind of did like my original curves, dodge and burn. That way you're not constantly going over and over on your steps. All right, so that concludes our lesson on masking. If you want to learn more about what I do and follow me, you can go to f64.co/cl to go to f64 Academy and follow along with my adventures in Photoshop. In the next lesson, we're gonna be talking about selections.