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Adobe Photoshop CC Bootcamp

Lesson 42 of 118

Practical Applications: Masks


Adobe Photoshop CC Bootcamp

Lesson 42 of 118

Practical Applications: Masks


Lesson Info

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. 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. Yes. 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 to go to f64 Academy and follow along with my adventures in Photoshop. In the next lesson, we're gonna be talking about selections.

Class Description

Adobe® Photoshop CC® is a valuable tool for photographers, but it can also be intimidating. In this all-inclusive 20 lesson course, you’ll go from opening the program for the first time to creating images that really stand out. Join Blake Rudis, Photoshop expert and founder of f64 Academy, as he shows you how to maximize your use of Photoshop. 

Topics covered will include:

  • Class Introduction & Bridge, Adobe Camera Raw, Setup Interface, Cropping and Layers
  • Layer Tools, Masks, Selections, Clean-Up Tools and Shapes & Text
  • Smart Objects, Transforming, Actions, Filters, and Editing Video
  • Custom Creative Effects, Natural Retouching, Portrait Workflow, Landscape Workflow, and Composite Workflow

Don’t let the many aspects of Photoshop prevent you from maximizing your use of this amazing app. Blake will help you develop the confidence to use your imagination and create the images that you will be proud to share with your clients.


Adobe Photoshop CC 2018


  1. Bootcamp Introduction
  2. The Bridge Interface
  3. Setting up Bridge
  4. Overview of Bridge
  5. Practical Application of Bridge
  6. Introduction to Raw Editing
  7. Setting up ACR Preferences & Interface
  8. Global Tools Part 1
  9. Global Tools Part 2
  10. Local Tools
  11. Introduction to the Photoshop Interface
  12. Toolbars, Menus and Windows
  13. Setup and Interface
  14. Adobe Libraries
  15. Saving Files
  16. Introduction to Cropping
  17. Cropping for Composition in ACR
  18. Cropping for Composition in Photoshop
  19. Cropping for the Subject in Post
  20. Cropping for Print
  21. Perspective Cropping in Photoshop
  22. Introduction to Layers
  23. Vector & Raster Layers Basics
  24. Adjustment Layers in Photoshop
  25. Organizing and Managing Layers
  26. Introduction to Layer Tools and Blend Modes
  27. Screen and Multiply and Overlay
  28. Soft Light Blend Mode
  29. Color and Luminosity Blend Modes
  30. Color Burn and Color Dodge Blend Modes
  31. Introduction to Layer Styles
  32. Practical Application: Layer Tools
  33. Introduction to Masks and Brushes
  34. Brush Basics
  35. Custom Brushes
  36. Brush Mask: Vignettes
  37. Brush Mask: Curves Dodge & Burn
  38. Brush Mask: Hue & Saturation
  39. Mask Groups
  40. Clipping Masks
  41. Masking in Adobe Camera Raw
  42. Practical Applications: Masks
  43. Introduction to Selections
  44. Basic Selection Tools
  45. The Pen Tool
  46. Masks from Selections
  47. Selecting Subjects and Masking
  48. Color Range Mask
  49. Luminosity Masks Basics
  50. Introduction to Cleanup Tools
  51. Adobe Camera Raw
  52. Healing and Spot Healing Brush
  53. The Clone Stamp Tool
  54. The Patch Tool
  55. Content Aware Move Tool
  56. Content Aware Fill
  57. Custom Cleanup Selections
  58. Introduction to Shapes and Text
  59. Text Basics
  60. Shape Basics
  61. Adding Text to Pictures
  62. Custom Water Marks
  63. Introduction to Smart Objects
  64. Smart Object Basics
  65. Smart Objects and Filters
  66. Smart Objects and Image Transformation
  67. Smart Objects and Album Layouts
  68. Smart Objects and Composites
  69. Introduction to Image Transforming
  70. ACR and Lens Correction
  71. Photoshop and Lens Correction
  72. The Warp Tool
  73. Perspective Transformations
  74. Introduction to Actions in Photoshop
  75. Introduction to the Actions Panel Interface
  76. Making Your First Action
  77. Modifying Actions After You Record Them
  78. Adding Stops to Actions
  79. Conditional Actions
  80. Actions that Communicate
  81. Introduction to Filters
  82. ACR as a Filter
  83. Helpful Artistic Filters
  84. Helpful Practical Filters
  85. Sharpening with Filters
  86. Rendering Trees
  87. The Oil Paint and Add Noise Filters
  88. Introduction to Editing Video
  89. Timeline for Video
  90. Cropping Video
  91. Adjustment Layers and Video
  92. Building Lookup Tables
  93. Layers, Masking Video & Working with Type
  94. ACR to Edit Video
  95. Animated Gifs
  96. Introduction to Creative Effects
  97. Black, White, and Monochrome
  98. Matte and Cinematic Effects
  99. Gradient Maps and Solid Color Grades
  100. Gradients
  101. Glow and Haze
  102. Introduction to Natural Retouching
  103. Brightening Teeth
  104. Clean Up with the Clone Stamp Tool
  105. Cleaning and Brightening Eyes
  106. Advanced Clean Up Techniques
  107. Introduction to Portrait Workflow & Bridge Organization
  108. ACR for Portraits Pre-Edits
  109. Portrait Workflow Techniques
  110. Introduction to Landscape Workflow & Bridge Organization
  111. Landscape Workflow Techniques
  112. Introduction to Compositing & Bridge
  113. Composite Workflow Techniques
  114. Landscape Composite Projects
  115. Bonus: Rothko and Workspace
  116. Bonus: Adding Textures to Photos
  117. Bonus: The Mask (Extras)
  118. Bonus: The Color Range Mask in ACR


a Creativelive Student

Amazing course, but don't be fooled into thinking this is a beginner's course for photographers. The problem isn't Blake's explanations; they're top. The problem is the vast scope of this course and the order in which the topics are presented. Take layers for example. When I was first learning Photoshop (back when we learned from books), I found I learned little or nothing from, for example, books that covered layers before they covered how to improve/process photographs. These books taught me how to organize, move, and link layers before they showed me what a layer was actually for. Those books tended to teach me everything there is to know about layers (types of layers, how to organize them, how to move them, how to move them two at a time, how to move them two at a time even if there are other layers between the two you're interested in, useful troubleshooting tips, etc. ) all before I even know (from a photographer's point of view) what it is the things actually do. The examples of organizing, linking, and moving mean everything for graphic designers from Day One, but for photographers not so much. Blake does the same thing as those books. Topics he covers extremely early demand a lot of theoretical imagination for a photographer who doesn't already know quite a bit about what he is talking about. Learning about abstract things first and concrete things later only makes PS that much harder to understand. If you AREN'T a beginner, however, this course is amazing. I thought it would be like an Army Bootcamp, taking you from zero and building you into a fit, competent Photoshop grunt. Now I think it's more like Army Bootcamp for high school varsity jocks. It isn't going to take you from the beginning, but the amount you'll get out of it is nonetheless more than your brain can imagine. I've been using PS for years to improve my photographs, and even to create the odd artistic composite or two. The amount I've learned in the first week is amazing, and every day I learn something -- more like many things -- which I immediately implement to improve my productivity and/or widen the horizons of what I can achieve. If you ARE a photographer who's a Photoshop beginner, I'd take very seriously the advice Blake gives in the introduction: Watch one lesson, and practice the skills and principles you learn in that one lesson for two weeks. THEN watch the next lesson. You can't do that of course without buying the course, so it's up to you to decide whether you'd like to learn Photoshop and master Photoshop all from the same course. Learning it first and mastering it later will cost more money, but I think you'll understand everything better and have a much more enjoyable ride in the process. As for me? I'm going to have to find the money to buy this course. There is simply way too much content in each lesson for me to try to take on all at once, but on the other hand I don't want to miss anything at all that he has to share.

Robert Andrews

Blake Rudis is the absolute best in teaching photoshop. His knowledge and how he presents the instruction is clear and concise - there is NO ONE BETTER. Yes, his classes require some basic skills, and maybe I'd organize the order of (or group) the classes in a different order, but, let me be clear - if anyone is to be successful or famous in the Photoshop world, it should be Blake Rudis. I strongly recommend his teaching. I started photography and post processing in 2018, and because of this class, I'm know what Im doing. The energy you get when you create something beautiful is profound, it makes you bounce out of bed (at 4AM) like a 5 year old, to go create. It's a great ride! Thanks Blake, & Thanks Creative live.

Esther Gambrell

WOW!!! I've been purchasing CL classes for several years now and have watched HOURS of "How-To Photoshop" classes, but this is the first one I've actually purchased because of the AWESOME BONUS content!!! SERIOUSLY??!!?!? A PLUG-IN??? But not only that, Blake is SO easy to understand, and he breaks down concepts in different ways to connect with different people's learning styles. I REALLY appreciated this approach because I am a LEFT-BRAINED creative that has an engineering background, so I really connected to what Blake was saying. THANK YOU FOR THAT! There are TONS of Photoshop courses out there, but I found this one to be the most helpful in they way Blake teaches concepts so that you know WHY you're doing what your doing. I feel like he taught me how to fish with Photoshop to feed me for a lifetime instead of just giving me a fish to feed me for one day. This is the BEST overall PS course out there!!! Thank you!!!!