3. Layer Masks
Let's talk about layer masks so I cover layer masks in a beginner's class on purpose because I think they're so important to what we can do inside of photos up and I actually think like I think I think it's you can get it to click really fast and once it clicks it's like as a beginner you just catapult yourself until a whole new level so layer masks they sound they sound really complicated I avoided layer masks for years and did the erasing that you saw me do and all that stuff but once you get him it it really does just movie to a whole new level so let's take a look at a really simple example um you saw me go appear to the image adjustments menu before these air your core photo shop adjustments brightness contrast exposure hugh saturation those adjustments also live in a panel over here the adjustments panel all right you have to hover over you'll get a feel for what the icons are eventually but you'll have to hover over the icons to kind of see what each one is but levels is a prett...
y popular photo shop adjustment to good overall bright ning darkening and contrast adjustment so when you add an adjustment here here if I go image adjustments levels and I make a change I click ok I just bake that change into that into that later it's there all right if I go on and do ten other things that levels changes in the later if I ever wanted to get back before it what would I have to do undo all those steps eventually you're going to run out undoes and you might not be able to so what we can do instead is if you go to this adjustments panel and you go to the levels adjustment it opens up this little paddle window over here I can do the same thing and probably ninety five percent of your photos benefit from what I just did here forget that forget about what the history graham really is it's just it's a bunch of techie stuff but the easiest way to use the hist a gram is is if there's a gap on one side or the other you close it and that will instantly make your photo look better guarantee like ninety five percent of that if there's a gap you see there's a gap before that will mountain starts over here if you close that gap all right it'll make her photo look better the white one you close that gap it brightens your photo the black one closed that gap darkens your photo all right, so what I've done here is I kind of just brighten the photo a little bit but look at what it did over in the layers palette see that so it added it on a layer that's called an adjustment layer and what it does is it keeps me flexible it keeps me from breaking my changes into my document because now I can go back if I want I can turn it off, turn it back on I can reduce the capacity but what's really cool about it is if I double click on it it opens it back up and I can change it it's a live adjustment so I could add layer upon layer on top of this and I could still always come back to that levels adjustment I could still change it so it keeps everything flexible for us, it's all done on a separate layer interesting little side know about this is it has this little white thumb now that's to the right of it. Okay, let's, just call it the little white thumbnail for now, let's, forget about that scary term that we won't say just yet let's just call it the little way thumb now okay, the way the little white film now works and the only way it works is when the thumbnails white there's only one thing you can do on it to affect it paint with black if the thumbnails black there's only one thing you can do on it to affect it paint with white okay, so the thumbnail right now is a white white it's white and I see the levels adjustment lee right there is my original photo here's my levels adjustment layer thumbnails white so I'm seeing all of the layer haven't reduced capacity haven't done anything so knowing that there's only one thing I could do to effect this layer this thumbnail right now paint with black so they go to my brush tool I'm gonna make it bigger so go to my breast tool set the foreground colored black make sure the opacity of the rushes out one hundred percent if I paint with black on it watch what happens I'm not actually painting black the clouds are not getting darker because I'm painting black on the clouds or getting darker because I'm hiding that adjustment that levels adjustment which made him brighter I'm hiding it I'm showing what's under say that see when I turned the layer on and off it's still there it's a live adjustment I can go in here I could make changes and it's not affecting that area that I painted with black it's almost a ziff remember before I raced and I said it's like taking a pair of scissors and chopping it off it's almost a ziff I took the paris scissors and topped it off, but I didn't like it's still there, so now we see that it's black what happens if I wanted to get it back? What color? What paint on with there you go, white. So I switched my over the white go to my brush tool, switch over the way, go to my brush tool and pain and now I'm bringing back everything that was there. You got a look at the thumbnail and see that I missed some marries but you get the idea all right, so white black, you know, the easiest way to remember what color to paint on it with, by the way, easiest way to remember is if white doesn't work, try black, right? You're going to be right fifty percent of the time. The other fifty percent of the time. You just switch between white and black but that's easier with people. People talk about layer mask and they say white conceals black revealed I can't remember which one concealed or reveals. So just if what doesn't work, try black it's it's, not rocket science. It's two different choices. All right, so you guys kind of alluded to this before, but that little white thumbnail is a layer mask, all right, and a layer mask. All it does is it lets you erase away part of a layer without physically erasing it. And the images that I did before remember the two melons that I combined the foreground and the background, the mountains I erased the top if I went ahead and did twenty other things and I realized home man I screwed up and I wanted to go back and change that blending I would have to undo twenty times, go back and change and then redo the twenty steps that I just did layer masks would have let me do that and a whole different way so layer masks would let me do it for example, here copy edit, copy paste so the only difference between a layer that we just added and these adjustment layers is a layer doesn't automatically come with a layer mask you've got a click that little icon down here add layer mask you've got to click it toe add that little white thumb now okay, a player mask so now it's got a layer mask and so what do I have here? Well, if we zoom in, what I'm looking at right now is the sharp layer that's, the top this sharp in the sharp mountain in the background and if you look down here, this is blurry, right? So don't shout it out yet just use this as a time to think to yourself, I'm gonna take my brush tool what color my gonna paint black okay I got my foreground color said toe black where am I gonna paint black top or bottom bottom paint black down here and now essentially it's like I'm erasing its like I used the eraser tool like I did before it's just on destructive that's the only difference that this stuff is still there don't ask me how it works I don't know the math behind it but that's what it's doing it's like I used the eraser tool but it's still there it's nondestructive I could go on I could do twenty other things to this photo and I could come back and I could I could look at and like all man I painted too far so if I painted too far black well color what I paint with so I could put it all back if I wanted to okay that's a leather mask simple as I mean I know it's not totally simple but that's the concept of a lair mask and you pretty much use it to just blend two layers together to get to parts of the layer that you want without actually erasing everything ok um let's take a look at a couple other layer mask examples so here is go back to our golfer all right so we've got our logo got golfer one I'll copy that image pasted in we got our logo copy that image often used my move tool move the logo down here to the bottom you got to see that you get two thousand thirteen layers championship all right, so I'm gonna the logo is not even a part of this for now so let's turn that one off so if I wanted to blend these two images together I could have grabbed the eraser tool and I could have done some image blending right that's the permanent way to do it what I'm going to do is let's go ahead and move this guy off left a little bit um let me show you another little tip here just want to don't ever says no, no don't give me a tip all right? So the background later see if I go take the move tool and try to move it could not use the move tool because the background layers locked okay, so the background layer you'll see a flock this got this little lock icon next to it easy thing to do is if you want to get rid of that, just double click on the word background and click ok, now it becomes a regular layer that I could move again don't ask me why it's locked I don't know they just make the background layer locked by default and it it shouldn't be because everybody does what I just did here they always going on background later one of the first things that they do if they're working with like but now we've got our two images here, so member, I want to add a layer mass, just click the add layer mask icon and the layer massacres white, so we know I have to paint on it with black so I could take my brush tool and I could brush I could brush away some of it, notice how it see it went toe opaque. Our transparency there the checkerboard because I brushed away hey too much. So all I would do is switch overto white and paint that away. It's not faded into layers together. Okay, I want to undo and get back to this thing about a layer mascots. It doesn't care how you get black or white on it. All right? We've been using the brush tool. You could also take the grady and tool. The grady and tool has a black and white option to it. So if I wanted a nice smooth fade, I wouldn't use a radio, grady. And by the way, the greedy and tools got all these little grady ints up here that there's linear, which is linear there's radio, which is a circle. And don't forget about the other ones. So s so we take our grady in tow, click and drag now notice what it did down here, see it's black and white so it just means I chose wrong there where I said it black doesn't work try white I chose wrong so now I'm going to drag this way see this kind of play around get a nice feed here we go between the two images so your mass doesn't care how it gets black or white it just carries black is going to do one thing what it's going to do the other thing the opposite so two different ways that you can do the same thing all right and let's bring that together into some blending so we got our layer we gotta texture so let's copy this texture file over into the layer um see how it's too small if you ever before we like when I brought the logo and I didn't care that it was too small with this image if I really want to transform it I just go to edit free transform puts this little box around it and now I can transform all right? So now we got our texture remember what we did before to change it overlay or soft late so cnn puts a texture on the background behind her pretty cool so now we got a nice little texture of wall there we didn't have one to start with um but one more way that we can get our layer mask toe work is obviously we don't want her textured I could take a could add a layer mask and I could take my brush tool and I could try toe painstakingly brush and get in there perfectly or I can use one of my selection tools probably the one what we're going to see the most here you've got your rectangle and your circular selection tools rectangle elliptical you've got the lasso tool lasso tool is great it's a free form selection tool not very precise but if you want a very quick selection you got the last so you've got the polygon a lasso tool political if you're from utah and so you got the polly donald's last pally galasso and then you've got the quick selection tool the quote selection toole is probably the go to selection tool for everything so what I do is I just make a very quick selection of her in the couch all right remember how he said before your layer mask doesn't care how it gets black or white on it so let's go to the layer mask toe white right now it's got the texture on it right? We want to hide the texture from her so we know we have to get black in there so I could always just go at it phil and she's back ok and it's also and we see what I didn't hear this this is a good lesson let's pretend I did this on purpose so I did this on purpose. I know. Did you see what I did see there's. Two thumbnails over here, there's the layer thumb now and there's a layer mask. Come now. All right, so the layer thumb. Now it matters which one you click on, so I did it the wrong way. I clicked on the layer, and I filled it with black, which is why it looked like it filled that with black. If you click the layer thumbnail, the layer, masked them. Now, edit fill. That does what we expect, so I'm glad it happened, because that one trip me up like a ton when I was learning layer, because I couldn't figure out, why is it not working? I'm clicking on the layer with the layer mask wise and not working. It matters if you click on the layer on the layer mask thumb now, so definitely, remember that one.
Ratings and Reviews
Eugenia Van Bremen
I am a beginner, but I've also watched the Adobe Basics Getting Started in Photoshop videos as well as started watching some of the Ben Wilmore videos on Creative Live (and watched a bunch of beginning videos on YouTube). So I'm just starting out, but I've still gotten a decent foundation of the most basic elements of Photoshop. Despite already watching (and taking notes of all the major & most useful details) all those videos, I still found shortcuts that weren't mentioned in any of those other videos, even the ones that covered the exact same material Matt covered (And yes, there was some things he didn't mention that other videos did; so far everything I watched gave me some new learning). I watched mostly on 1.25 or 1.5 speed since I did already have some basic learning & then slowed it down or paused to take notes when he got to some new stuff. It was definitely worth the time investment to learn about the hot key tips he has sprinkled in as well as the Camera Raw filter within Photoshop, which I haven't heard of before. My only complaint isn't about the course itself, but it's a general call-out that I've found deeply frustrating when watching Photoshop & Illustrator tutorials: As the versions are updated, a fair number of the tools change location. For instance, in the Camera Raw part, the location of the toolbar with the "visualize spots" box is totally different. It took several google searches and about 20 mins to figure out where to find that valuable box on the new set up. I really wish Creative Live with create a little compendium that updates the location of tools when a program updates. It would save a lot of headaches. But that's not Matt's fault and his class was overall fantastic. I'll definitely be watching more of them.
Great class. I wish there was more videos but okay for a beginners class. I think Matt is great. I've been following him for awhile on FB and YouTube. I was happy I got to watch him teach, great instructor.
a Creativelive Student
I have been sitting on this class for MONTHS being so intimidated by photoshop but i totally took the plunge and im so glad i did! Matt is an amazing instructor - Clear and to the point. Also entertaining! Cant wait to watch another class by matt. I learnt alot! Thanks CL :)