Evaluating Layer Masks
Evaluating our layer mass so now back into layer masking so a couple of examples once again of working without a layer mask, which I think is just wonderful for both color adjustments and tonal adjustments, but now let's dive a little deeper into the targeted adjustments with our layer masked once again I'm going to paint to define the layer masks. I'll bring my capacity back up to one hundred percent, I'm gonna work with a little bit smaller brush, soft edged brush still, and I'm just going to make a few silly adjustments here just so we can see some effects because really, what we're going to talk about is evaluating our layer masks, making sure that we're doing a good job so let's assume, for example, that I want to increase the saturation for the water. So this is a little bit of a review for that painting effect that we saw just moments ago. I've added a huge saturation adjustment, I'm going to crank up the saturation again and exaggerated adjustment so I can see a little bit more...
clearly where I'm affecting the image. I'm going to invert that layer mask for the huge saturation adjustment layer again with control eye on windows command I on macintosh, I'll press the letter d to get my default colors make sure that white is my foreground color and then I can just paint the adjustment into the image so I'm just increasing the saturation for the water, obviously, in this case, it's a little bit too strong, in effect, but I'll come back and mitigate things in just a moment so I could clean that up. There we go, and then maybe I want to increase contrast for the sky, so in that case, I will use a curves adjustment once again, little bit of a dramatic effect, it's impacting the entire image at the moment, but I'm going to change that momentarily. So there's my dramatic contrast enhancement. Once again, I'll invert that layer mask, grab my brush tool, make sure my four round color set toe white, and then I will paint the effect let's make this a little bit stronger so that we can see it better. And so once again, painting that adjustment into the image. Fabulous there. I'm obviously doing it amazingly perfect job of painting the effect into the photo and let's, just do one more for kicks here. Maybe I want tio. Oh, I don't know shift the color balance for the mountains on lee again exaggerated adjustments just so that we can see a little bit more clearly what's happening, and we'll paint the effect on lee into the mountains and again, just amazing that I know you're all very impressed with the masterful use of the mouse here painting in the specific areas I should add, by the way, this is a good example of a scenario where using a tablet is tremendously helpful in terms of the accuracy of your painting. Yeah, thanks for mentioning that several people had asked about whether you normally use a tablet what's different between usand tabla and mouse yes uh absolutely I normally use a tablet especially for this type of work where I'm painting into the image it's I always describe it says go sign your name on a piece of paper with a pen now going to photo shop and try to sign your name with the mouse you know what the results going to be the same degree of accuracy and precision plus there's all sorts of you know there's a touch sensitivity, the pressure sensitivity with the tablet amazing and so by all means I would normally be using a tablet for this type of work it's if you haven't used a tablet, go try one out it does take a little bit of getting used to it takes a little bit of time for you to get comfortable with it, but I promise you once you take a day or two to get comfortable using a tablet, it will change the way you working photos show just wonderful all right, so now that I have made a complete mess of this image I'm gonna leave these adjustments exaggerated just so that we can better see what's going on with our sort of before and after well bear in mind that they're exaggerated adjustments but we're assuming that my layer masking was perfect because you all have total confidence in my ability to paint on a layer mask we're assuming that I did just a phenomenal job but we're just going to confirm that it really is perfect so there are a few things that I'll do to evaluate the effect of my layer mask my targeted adjust the first is to simply disabled the adjustment is the same thing that I would do typically for evaluating the overall effect for a global adjustment an adjustment that's affecting the entire image and that is to get a basic before and after views so I will turn off the visibility for an adjustment layer and then turn it back on again so just click the icon to the left of the thumbnail for the adjustment lair in this case I'm using the hugh saturation adjustment layer and then click again to enable so off on before after again I should underscore that I do realize this adjustment is extremely exaggerated just so we can better see what's going on I would obviously mitigate that but also if you notice when I turned the adjustment off and on off and on yes, the water goes from looking normal toe looking ridiculous, but also, if you pay attention up over here where we transition from water into the forest at the base of the mountain there we also see a little bit of a weird effect. So just by turning that adjustment off and turning it back on again, I can see groups I painted into the forest when I was tryingto only affect the water, so that certainly can be helpful for evaluating the overall mask. The other thing I can do is to temporarily disable the mask and then re enable the mask. In other words, make this adjustment affect the entire image, and then none of the image. What part of the image in this case? So all of the image versus on lee the part of the image defined by my layer mask. So in this case, this layer mask is kind of sort of approximately affect. The bottom half of the image don't affect the top half of the image. So if I turn the layer mask off, which I can accomplish by holding the shift key and clicking on the thumbnail for the layer mask that will disable the layer mask so now it's, as though I had a layer mass that was entirely filled with white. The adjustment is affecting the entire image and now it's only affecting the area defined by the layer mask so there's the sort of before as it were and the after and again as the adjustment partially disappears I'm going to turn off the other adjustment layers just so that we can see that a little more clearly as the adjustment partially disappears once again it starts to become fairly obvious that my layer mask was less than perfect I suppose I should add now that all of these mistakes with the layer mask were completely intentional I don't want to get the wrong impression and think that I actually was that bad painting of these layer masks because as you'll see very soon I didn't really really bad job but again holding the shift key clicking on the thumbnail for the layer mask can hide the effect of that layer mask then revealed the effect so show the adjustment for the entire image show the adjustment on lee in the areas defined by the layer mask and that makes it a little easier to see did I do a good job with the layer mask itself and in this case obviously I can see there's a problem so I might for example come into the image now do I need to paint with black or with white for this area of the forest is getting part of the adjustment do I paint with black or white with black because the adjustment is affecting the forest I don't want it to this adjustment should only be affecting the water and so I need to block and again with the layer mask the thing to keep in mind is that black blocks and white reveals so I will switch the foreground color to black once again later x to exchange for running background colors adjust the size of the brush as needed with my left and right square bracket keys and then paint in the areas just cleaning up that mask again I should reiterate very important make sure I'm working on a layer mask not on an image layer make sure it's the right layer mask when in doubt just click on the layer mask that you want to modify so one last trick for actually looking at the layer mask I'll bring back our other adjustments here we're going to focus our attention on this exaggerated curves adjustment and we're going to take a look at it actual mask so we've been looking at the layer mask for a while now haven't we examining these layer mass in these teeny tiny little postage stamps because we're looking up the thumbnails what if we want to see the entire thing then we can just hold the all turkey on windows option cheon macintosh and click on the thumbnail for the layer mask and look at that amazing mask for the sky my goodness you don't want me mowing your lawn do you? Because I'll leave all sorts of little stripes of tall grass amongst the cut grass so I've got you know the edge here and up here in the corner over here in this little blob over here and this thing over here just all sorts of problems so I realize obviously that this mask is less than ideal I can actually paint right now while I'm looking at this mask however, I don't know where the mountain ends and the sky begins so first I need to work on the actual image so once again I'll hold the altar option keith and click on that layer mask and then I'll come back into the image and I'm going to use white in the sky and black in the mountains and I just want to trace along those mountains and make sure that I'm getting a good effect and so all trace along there obviously I would normally zoom in and take a close look make sure that I'm getting a really good effect but for our purposes I won't worry about it being absolutely perfectly precise I'll just do a basic job here but again the key point is that what I want to be very careful about is the transition area so here I'm trying to adjust the sky but not the mountain so I need to be very, very careful about that line about the ridge line of the mountains, everything else is much easier, because I'm now defined the outline on just filling in the details. So once I feel that I've gotten a good job along that edge, that's when I'll hold the altar option t and click on the thumbnail for that layer masks so that I can see the layer mask. Now, presumably, the line for the ridge line of the mountains is good, and I just need to clean up the mess above and below. I've got a little bit of an area that's a little bit lighter than it should be down here, so I'll use black and paint to clean that up, being careful not to paint up to the actual edge between mountain and sky. Then I'll projects and switch toe white, so switch my foreground color toe white and I can come up into the sky and again along the edge, close to the edge, being a little bit careful and then as I get further and further away from the edge of the area of transition, in this case, the mountains versus the sky, then I can start increasing my brush size. I might even increase the hardness of the brush, so I don't have to worry about that fuzzy edge of the brush, and then I can just paint a little bit more easily. With larger strokes up in that sky so that then looks like a good layer mask, wouldn't you say? We've got black for the entire foreground, white for the entire sky, a nice, subtle transition in between so that we know we are affecting the sky but not the foreground, and we have a sort of subtle transition between the two, so go ahead and alter or option click once again on the layer mask. I'm now going to turn off those other silly adjustments just for the moment, and then we'll come back to our curves adjustment and will tone things down, but now we can see pretty clearly I'll just when we throw away one of those anchor points, bring that black point back in, and I'll just kind of do a basic brightening and darkening. You can see that if I applied a strong adjustment disclaimer, I did tell you that I wasn't being super super careful, and now you can see how careful I wasn't actually being I was following along the basic line a mountain, but obviously I would have to have a little bit more cleanup work there, but again, depending on how strong the adjustment is, that might not be terribly necessary, but again, defining my adjustment. Defining my layer mask so I know where that adjustment is visible and just going back and forth between them. So now I go to make my real adjustment. Maybe I want something a little bit more like that. A little bit of contrast enhancement. Now I can go back to the layer mask itself, reduce that brush size, increase the set the brush to a softer brush size, paint a softer edge anyway, paint along that edge cleanup that area that was less than perfect how's that looking a little bit better. Wonderful. So again able to go back and forth. And this is what I love about number one using layers using adjustment layers and layers masks in this way and saving my image with all of those layers intact at any time. When I find a mistake, I can come back and fix it, and nobody has to know about it except for you guys, because this is being recorded, nobody can watch it forever, but you get the idea that I'm able to evaluate and clean up that mask as needed to make sure that I'm getting the best result for my targeted adjustment.