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Masking for Composite Photography

Lesson 9 of 9

Alternate Parts and Channel Pulling


Masking for Composite Photography

Lesson 9 of 9

Alternate Parts and Channel Pulling


Lesson Info

Alternate Parts and Channel Pulling

What I wanna tell you is also do not be afraid of using alternate parts. So what happened on this job, the guy on the far right, your camera right as you're looking at it, they masked him out, but they wanted this really groovy cool hot light, but they didn't have it. Well strip in a piece of hair and put it on screen mode, just like we did the back screen, do you remember we put it on screen mode? And then bada-bing you've got hair and it's just masked in. So in fact I think I have a minute I think I can open that. Fun right and it's all basics. Please get better at masking, please. I know it's fundamental, but please I'm begging of you. So if you look at this dude, I can say dude right? His hair edge, I'm gonna pull this out so you can see it. He's masked out just like we've been masking out everybody else. This is a little added hair on the mode called Screen. Okay, that's all it is. Look how much of a difference it makes. Holy guacamole. So, what that means also, if your client did...

n't give you the shot, didn't give it to you all-in-one, you could shoot some hair. You could shoot someone with hair, put a hot spot on them and then just put it on screen mode and there you are. Now, let's be honest, there will be some places where the hairs crossover incorrectly 'cause obviously the hairs not going to be exactly right. Take me for example, if I was shot in an open shade, but you wanted to put me in a scenario that looked like this, where I was gettin' fairy dust on me or a glow, you could just shoot another shot another day with a hot light and work that onto me. Just a shot. And then, put it on screen mode. I want to show you this 'cause I'm fairly certain this was warped. That was warped. You know how you can tell it's warped? Do you see that far corner of the image? See that little line? That means this picture got distorted. Don't expect you're gonna drop it in. Yeah, these lights, look you can totally do something. Anyway, I'm hoping this masking little how-to for compositing was interesting, was helpful. Do we have a minute? Let me see, I'm gonna try something here. I'm gonna try to get through the same thing. I know I've been talking about people, but with compositing jobs there's a ton of things so I'm gonna give you two other options really quickly that you might also want to work with and I think it will be really helpful. Sometimes masking is not the way to go. Sometimes masking is not the way to go. What do I mean by that? So, I'm gonna open this up. This is one of my favorite tricks. It's in the paper work. These blend of sliders. Sweet Jesus, Mary mother of Heaven. That's the image. If you just control or right click on the name and go to the blending options. Watch this. This is how it comes, you grab it like this, till you get it kinda close, then you hold the option key down, and slide this down, and there are your fireworks completely movable. No masking needed. Holy guacamole, it's amazing. All right, that's one. I'm sorry, I know I'm showing you a lot here. I might go a minute over, maybe they won't kill me. When would you use that technique? I did not mask these out, I used blend if so I didn't have to. Because that job didn't pay much either. Oh, did I say that out loud? I did. All right, so, with Felicity Huffman and the other shots we did channel pulls, right? There's my channel pull, but what if the picture has a shadow I want? This picture had a shadow I wanted. I didn't pull channel to make the shadow, I didn't back fill it. What I did was I copied the picture, I put it on the mode called Multiply, and I stuck it underneath. It's all I did. Made a duplicate of the exact same file and put it on a mode called Multiply. In order to do that, that background has to be white. Okay, that background has to be white because white disappears on the color called Multiply. So, dare I say it, we've been actually talking about the exact same techniques, the exact same techniques just done a little differently. In the paper work, there is a beautiful masking tip from Julianna Cost. Get good, get fast. Thank you so very much. I've a bunch of classes here on Creativelive. I love you all.

Class Description


  • Create advanced masks
  • Tone image edges
  • Create realistic composites


In this class, Lisa will teach you how to get to the next level up in masking images/toning edges so that your images meld together. Whether creating a composite image for your personal work or for a client- understand masking tools to make the most seamless file.


  • Intermediate to advanced Photoshop users
  • Photographers and retouchers looking for more masking and toning tips


Adobe Photoshop CC 2019


Lisa Carney is a high end retoucher who has spent over two decades working with the most dynamic players in the print, motion picture, and television industries.

Besides being a regular presenter at the Adobe MAX conference, her teaching roster runs the gamut from beginners to professional retouchers, and includes universities, design studios, movie studios, corporations, and private students.

Lisa has worked with all major movie studios and many television networks including Disney, Buena Vista, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight, Sony, Universal, Newline, Columbia, MGM, ABC Television, ESPN, TNT, CNN, CBS, CW,Warner Brothers and Sony.

Advertising credits include Burger King, Baskin-Robbins, Lowes, Jordana Cosmetics, Strategic Perceptions, Mattel, Chrysler, Mercedes, Mazda and Best Buy.


Katie McLellan

Lisa is one of my favorite instructors on Creative Live. She is smart, fast, funny, and packs more great info in each class than anyone else I have seen. Admittedly, I watch her classes multiple times and often do a little side-by-side practice with her support here, but I have learned so so much. Highly recommend her courses.


Wow! I am so glad I bought the studio pass because I am going to have to re-watch that several times before I can pack all of that info into my brain! These masking techniques are so applicable in so many different situations. Lisa does a great job explaining as she goes, the how, what, when and why you would use different techniques for different situations and different subjects. What a great class!


I really enjoyed this class. It is fast paced though, and probably not for a beginner. But I really appreciate how much information is jam-packed in this short course. For anyone familiar with photoshop who wants to improve their masking skills fast, this is a great class. I would highly recommend this and any other class taught by Lisa Carney for advanced photoshop techniques.