The Beginner's Guide to Masking in Photoshop®

Lesson 5/10 - Select & Mask Space


The Beginner's Guide to Masking in Photoshop®


Lesson Info

Select & Mask Space

I wanna use the Quick Selection tool, and then use the Select Subject, and we'll see how good Adobe Sensei does with this image. It did a pretty good job, but it's not perfect. I'm gonna create a Layer Mask, because I want to put him in that background. So, I'm gonna show you how to refine selections, in this case Layer Mask. So we have Layer Mask here. I can go into the Select and Mask workspace that gives you access to all these tools that allow you to modify your Selections, Masks, and things like that. Notice how Adobe Sensei really didn't do that good of a job. In that arm, we have a little bit of the background showing here. We can fix all of that in this workspace, if we want to. We could have also used the Quick Mask mode, and made those adjustments there. But, this panel gives us tools that are not available there. So, you can use them both or you can use one, whatever works for the project that you're working with. But notice one thing, we also have the Lasso Tool here, and w...

e have the Polygonal Lasso Tool where we could add pixels to a selection, or we could do a polygonal subtraction by holding Alt. So I'm gonna subtract the pixels right under his arm there. See that? So we can use those same tools inside of the Selected Mask workspace. The reason that I like this workspace, is that it gives us access to the Global Refinements sliders. These sliders right here, that allow us to smooth, feather, add contrast, and shift the edge of the selection. Notice how some of these pixels are very, very sharp. They don't look very realistic. They're not smooth at all. So, you can use the Smooth slider to smooth that selection. See that? So that becomes a little more realistic when I adjust the Smoothing slider. I can also add contrast. Now, what am I adding contrast to? In reality, I'm adjusting the Layer Mask. Remember how the Layer Mask was black and white? Really? So I'm adding contrast to that Layer Mask. And you can actually see what that looks like in this panel. You can go into the View Mode. By default you're going to be in the Onion Skinning mode, and the Onion Skinning mode at zero percent shows you the original background. At one hundred percent, it shows you the transparency. So this is the current transparency that we have, that we've created with that Layer Mask. But, I can also go to Black & White, which is essentially the Layer Mask. So when I adjust the contrast, what I'm really doing is adjusting the contrast of those pixels there. So we can come here, and you can see how I'm adjusting the contrast of those pixels. See that? So, in reality, I'm adjusting the Layer Mask, the Black and White version. So it's very clear when you look at it in that mode. I could also feather it so I can blur it. Smoothing is what I was doing earlier. Or I can shift the edge. I usually like to shift the edge just a little bit. Shifting the edge simply means you're gonna push the edge of the selection, or the Mask in or out. If I use negative values, I push in. You see that, how I'm pushing the edge in and out? So I usually like to push the edge in so that there's no haloing around the edges of the selection. I'm sure a lot of you have made a selection, there's a halo. This is a good way of pushing the selection in so that you don't get that halo along the edges of your selection. And I can increase the contrast, add just a little bit of feather, so it's not so smooth. I usually add quite a bit of smoothing just so that we have a nice smooth line, and it's not so jaggy, like in the original version. And then I can go into Onion Skinning once again, and press Okay, and notice how my selection was adjusted and it looks much better. It's not perfect. I still need to work on a few more details, like the hair. One of the ways that you can work with hair, and again, working with hair is not-- it can be very difficult in Photoshop. So, with that Layer Mask active, I can select Selected Mask and I can use my Refine Edge Brush Tool to try to refine some of those pixels so I can remove the white from his hair. And, I can also come back and increase the contrast, shift the edge, and make similar adjustments to what I did before, so that I remove the white from his hair and the composite looks more realistic. And I know I missed a little bit of the hand and the armpit, but that's the same technique that I would do, use the Polygonal Lasso Tool, or one of the Lasso tools, and just make a selection to either add or subtract from the pixels that are missing. There's one thing I do want to show you, and that is, a lot of you have been using Photoshop for over three years at least, or I would assume, correct? Does anyone here prefer the old method of doing this, does a Refine Edge dialogue box? Do you guys remember that? Yeah. You're shaking your head. Do you like that one better? I guess I do, just because I'm good at it. Because that's what I've been using for so many years, but also a lot of this is still new, and, in all honesty, I haven't had a chance to really play with it. Yeah, there's certainly nothing wrong with liking the old way of doing things, just because, as you said, you were good with it. And, a lot of people--I don't work for Adobe, but I'm actually protecting them in this case (laughs). A lot of people criticized Adobe when this all came out, and said, "Oh, you took away something that I was familiar with, something that I was good, and now I have to spend time re-learning this." That's a fair statement, but Adobe actually left the old tool in there. The only problem is that they didn't tell people how to get to it. So, then they pay people like me to come and tell you guys how to get to it. So, for people like you who prefer the old method of doing this, it's actually really simple to get there. You go into the Select menu, you hold the Shift key, and you select Selected Mask, and it brings back the old one. So that's the one that you were talking about, the old way of doing this. I believe it was two versions, three versions ago, when Photoshop got where they hid the old Refine Mask window and went into the Selected Mask workspace, which is what I just showed you. But for people who are watching, who prefer the old method, and who prefer working with what they know, and they don't want to re-learn something, you can once again, go into this, with a Selection or Layer Mask active, you can hold Shift, go into Select, and Select, and Mask, and it brings up the old dialogue box. So, there you go. You don't have to learn the new techniques if you don't want to. So that's one thing about--very rarely does Adobe remove something from Photoshop. Usually they just hide it or put it in a different panel, a different menu. Very, very rarely do they take something out and not give you access to it. So, if there's something new that comes up and you prefer the old way of doing it, it's in there somewhere, you just have to find it. But, very rarely do they just take something out and not replace it with, or not give you access to it. It's happened a few times, but not often. Usually, and this is just a side point on what I just said, usually what they do, they just add the word Legacy to it, and hide it somewhere. So, before, the Save for the Web option used to be here, under Export. Export is the new dialogue box. A lot of people don't like it, because they're used to the old Save for the Web command. It's still there, but now it's hidden under that menu, and it says Legacy on it. So, all the old stuff is still there, it's just hidden somewhere, if you would rather use the old stuff. I personally have grown accustomed to the Select and Mask workspace, so that's what I use these days. But like you, I used to prefer it at first, but now I'm happy with it. So, it just takes some getting used to. One of the advantages of using the Select and Mask workspace over the old Refine Edge dialogue box is that you have these tools that you can use inside of that panel. Before you would have to exit the panel, use the tools, come back into the panel. So, it just removed one step, but all the options are very similar.

Class Description

If you want complete control over of your retouching, compositing and designing in Photoshop®, you’ve got to know how to mask. The problem is, masking can be a confusing, hard-to-understand process. In this class, Jesus Ramirez will teach you advanced techniques that even beginners can follow to build excellent and editable masks. You’ll learn how to mask and extract objects in Photoshop® with Layer Masks, Clipping Masks, Blend if and more. The skills you learn will help you take your composites and retouching to the next level.


Gary Price

Probably mistitled as "for beginners" Moves very quickly, sometimes without clearly describing actions taken. This is fast paced and often assumes that the listener is very familiar with photoshop. Good tips if you are already familiar...