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Creative Masking

Lesson 45 from: Adobe Photoshop 101

Ben Willmore

Creative Masking

Lesson 45 from: Adobe Photoshop 101

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

45. Creative Masking


Class Trailer

Day 1


Adobe Bridge Basics


Sorting Images in Adobe Bridge


Processing Images in Adobe Camera Raw Part 1


Processing Images in Adobe Camera Raw Part 2


Image Processing Q&A


Contrast and Color


Adjustment Brush and Auto Mask


Lesson Info

Creative Masking

Let's talk about some creative masking because we talked about using layer mass before but when we did we were doing relatively straightforward things we might have had an adjustment on a layer we painted with black to prevent the adjustment from applying to an area or we were doing compositing where we had two photographs but they look really similar like maybe one was ah waterfall with a slow shutter speed and the other was a waterfall with fast shutter speed and we masked one s so we could used the greenery in the fast shutter speed version and used the waterfall from the slow well now let's do it in a different way let's deal more creative masking well even use this guy so far everything we've had in a mask in general has been like paint but we can put pictures in a mask you just have to know how to get him in there so let's see what it can do here first I'm gonna go to the select menu and choose all the only reason I'm doing that so I can copy because otherwise copy is great out i...

f you don't first select what you want I no longer need the selection so I'm going to choose d select although that step is not critical you could leave the selection sitting there I just find it to be distracting and now what I'd like to do is add a layer mask to this layer now if I had an older version of photo shop I can't do that to the background where I'd have to double click on the name of the layer and change into something else but in the newest version of photo shop they finally made it so you can add a layer mask when the background layer is active in it simply renamed it for you so it saves you a step but if you want to pay something into the layer mask it's not as easy as you might think think you might look in the layers panel and say well the layer mask is what's active because I can see its corners are highlighted and if I grabbed the paintbrush tool in paint that's where the paint goes so when I choose paste to pay something in I'd expected to go on that mask when you but if I paste right now it doesn't go in the mask it creates a brand new layer so we need to figure out how can we pay something into a mask and here's how it's done in order to pay something into the mask like a picture you need to have the mask visible on your screen and there's two ways to make the mask visible I've only shown one of those two methods uh in the last three days that one method was where we could view it as a red overlay and that was using the backslash key and if you remember that, but we could back slash and see the red overlay well that's visible on the screen in at that time I could choose paste in the picture go right in the mask the other way I could do it is I convert you the mask directly so it's not over laid on top of the picture instead I'm seeing the entirety of the mask and the way you do that because you move your mouse on top of the mask you hold on the option key that's also windows and you click on it when you option click anywhere within that mask in your layers panel it will change what you're looking at so that now you're looking at the contents of the mask to get out of that view you option click on the mask a second time in the layers panel just anywhere within the mask from now option click on it that's all clicking and windows you're back to normal so when I option, click on it that's what I'll go over here and choose paste and that's when the picture actually goes into the mask and so if you remember the way layer mask work, his black hides things right? So right now my black shirt is going to cause my shirt to disappear in the normal photo when we view it and you see the black that's near the rim of my hat you know, like where their hat touches my head well, since it's black it's going to make the area in the photo that it's near where the hat touches my head completely go away also parts of my eyes, my eyes under my chin and all that kind of stuff are going to go away and let's see what it looks like I'm just gonna option click to get out of this view option clicking specifically in the mask. All right, now I actually want the opposite of that because too much of me is disappearing and so if I want the opposite of what's in a mask, I always choose this invert. All right, so now I have the opposite, but it just looks kind of weird it's me with some checkerboard blended in it's not really what I'm thinking about first let's get the checkerboard to go away and just replace it with something in order to replace it with something, I'll go to the bottom of my layers panel and I'll add what's called a solid color layer I click on the same icon the use for adding adjustments solid color layer on for now we'll pick white and I'm gonna put that underneath so I'll drag that down under okay, so at least now I don't see a checkerboard, so now it's just kind of weird off I look at this because the mask is just making my picture look somewhat lighter than usual because some white is showing through so let's look at that mask I'm going option click on the mask hears its contents well let's modify it why don't we run filters on it see if we can get some other kind of creative result that's based on the picture of me I'm gonna come in here and try something that's called color half tone see what color half tone does what ask me first in numbers the main thing that's important in here is just this number the maximum radius bye click ok it means what's the biggest circle I can get but that is known as a half tone and if I want the circles that make it up to be bigger when I ran the filter I should type in a higher number it was a twenty four could have typed in forty eight something else in the circles would be larger in size or if you want him to be smaller in size type in a smaller number but now let's see what it looks like when we're no longer viewing the mask I'll hold on the option key and I'll click on the mask so now we have something making me disappear in certain areas and I'm not sure if I'll like it better this way or when it's inverted let's find out not sure at all either one of us somewhat interesting but I think I recognise myself more in this one then I could further add creative treatments to it I could go toe to the letters fx and there's a choice in there called drop shadow and therefore each hole that's been poked in there is going to have a little shadow to give it some dimension and I could add something like devlin and boss to give a little three d edge if I wanted to whatever but you see how I can put things in a mask and then I can filter them I'm not saying that this is the best result let's try it with other things I just needed in the image to try things on but the main thing I want to get across here is that you can paste pictures in there that could be a picture of a anything and if it's something that has a lot of black and a lot of white you can then get your photo within that shape and if you wanted to be a little more creative run filters on it to distort it so let's do that with this image. What I like about this image is I notice she's wearing a black dress and I know that black in a layer mask hides things the background is largely white or close to it white makes things show up so I can do things that if this isn't a mask would make it so it only shows up in those bright areas that are here and it doesn't show up at all in the dark or if I invert it we'll get the opposite so let's go open this and let's grab a different picture to put on top of her I'm gonna drag this over with the move tool drag it down and I'll move it so I can see the whole thing there we go and now what I'm going to do is I'm going to take the picture that's here I'll select on copy then let's put the picture on top inlets addle air mask in order to get the picture I copied into the layer mask let's come in here and option click on the mask that's all clicking and windows in them paste get rid of the selection okay and now let's see what it looks like now I think I might want it in the opposite area let's find out see if it looks good. Look over here and just choose invert the mask is what's active so the mask is what's going to be inverted? Ah, now we have it just in that one area where her outfit is is the main thing and I think it's starting to look a little bit interesting but I think we need to refine it so what I can do then is simply a just what's in the mask we could use levels I don't if you remember or not, but in levels, this slider here forces areas the black, so if I push this over, more and more areas in the mask should turn black in that in a mask, black hides things, so as they bring this in, mohr and more of the photo of the sunset will end up being hidden, and if I could move in and far enough, I might be able to get it off of all the background. Then the other side force things toe white inn in a mask white makes things show up, doesn't so if I pull this in, mohr and mohr will show up, and so it's up to me exactly how I would like that to come in, and then I could move the middle triangle and that'll control the transition between what showing up in what's disappearing. And then finally, I could grab the paintbrush tool and it's just a picture, the mask it's just a picture attached to a layer you can still paint on it, so I don't like that right now, I think there's a cloud in her nostril so I could come in here with my paintbrush to will paint with black and just say get out of there could get out of her nostril and out of her eye sockets bring those back maybe I want her chin toe look a little more normal thinks you have a soft edge no, I like it plenty indoor chin actually maybe I want to get it off of part of her hair if so, just paint with black get off, get it off wherever you paint so if you don't like it on her arm and left of the photo just paint bring it right back that kind of stuff so I just don't like it down here where you see it turn toe a kind of a black line so I might mellow that out. So does that give you some ideas where we can creatively mask things? What I would do is look for high contrast images images that contained large areas of black or large areas of white doesn't have to be black or white actually just it needs a large area that is dark or a large area that is bright or ideally both big areas of bright and dark and not a lot in between and that's in general. What I had here is the reason why I selected this image to be used was I saw this huge area black and instantly my brain said mask and then I saw bright background and I was like, yeah, those two things really bright really dark and taking up a lot of space well, that's where it might be fun to throw it into a layer mask makes sense, and after that you can do as much modification is you want just paint on the mask to either make an area show up or disappear. So the main thing we had to do, though, is it in order to pay something into the mask, the mask must be visible. There are only two ways to make a mask visible ones to view it directly by option, clicking within the little thumb now in the layers panel of the mask that will make you view it or you can press the back slash key, which usually overlays it as a red overlay. But if you haven't put anything in the mask yet, if you haven't done any painting when you hit the backslash key, it won't look like anything happened because there's no black and the mask to overlay it's still trying to it's just there's, nothing there for show up yet and you choose paste. Then you can turn off that overlay by hitting back slash again, and we could do all sorts of things there. Any questions before I close this because it's, usually instantaneously after I close them that somebody asked the question when it be useful to still have it so you could do something like this if you wanted to change the pattern or texture or color of her dress specifically? Well, the problem with that is that whatever it is I put in there is not gonna bend in ripple in all that in the same way that her body does in the fabric does now we could make it so the photo actually does get bent the same way as this outfit, although it's difficult to do when it's black because right now can you actually see the wrinkles and bends and things? Not really? If she was wearing a gray outfit, it would actually be easiest because then you can actually see shadows and highlights showing up it's when they're wearing black or white. That is difficult because on white you can see highlights because what's brighter than white, you know it's it's already so bright or when it's black, where the shadowy parts are going to go into nothingness. So, no, this is more of just a creative treatment you want to combine the two images together and get something interesting? Oftentimes what you'll do here is you'll find somebody that is passionate about a particular thing and you'll take whatever they're passionate about and put it in there and they'll love it because we'll be like, oh, I love flowers and I did something with them and flowers that is a something put together, that's. Interesting, or I love nature. So you put a nature scene in there or something else. But if we wanted to actually make it, look as if a piece of something else is bent around this, then we would have to use something called a displacement map, and we'll come to that.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Course Guide

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

Ben, thanks again for this course. I have taken and purchased quite a few of your courses to date. I keep thinking I will only watch to make sure I am on the right track and you always bring more to the table than the last course. Your teaching methods are the best, sorry to all the other instructors from Creative Live, but you are very easy to understand and you speak in layman's terms so we all can understand. I am following your instructions and working along with your files and it is the best! It is hard to keep up with you even when I watch you on one computer and work with the same files on another computer, to do what you are doing...impossible but I gain so much by trying. You provide so much info on each topic, it is amazing. Thanks to Karen for the PDFs, she does a fantastic job and also, for her templates/layout documents. Thanks again and to anyone who thinks this is too much money for all the videos, the exercise files and the instruction PDF, I am sorry to say but you are mistaken.

John Taylor

Like all of the Creative Live courses, excellent training. Ben does a great job of explaining the entry part of Photoshop. A lot of things cleared up in my head and i like his easy pace into this complex program. Thanks Ben.


I had several "lightbulb" moments with this class, after many years of photography and when you think you know it all, you don't :) Ben Willmore is an excellent tutor, with his many years of experience teaching PS, he obviously knows the types of things a lot of us struggle to understand. I learnt a lot about Bridge, and have since implemented these things into my everyday workflow, so much easier to sort out what I want to keep etc.. Thanks so much Ben and Creative Live. Thanks also to Ben's wife for her amazing work creating the Guide etc. Even though being in Australia, I pay more for the courses (the conversion rate, the aussie dollar is low at the moment) it's very worth it to me. I have paid more for courses here, and learnt next to nothing. Thanks again.

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