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Advanced Photoshop Masks

Lesson 12 from: Adobe Photoshop CC: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

Advanced Photoshop Masks

Lesson 12 from: Adobe Photoshop CC: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

12. Advanced Photoshop Masks

Learn how to use advanced Photoshop masks to isolate a part of your photo so you can make targeted adjustments on that portion only.
Summary (Generated from Transcript)

In this lesson, the instructor demonstrates how to use advanced masking techniques in Adobe Photoshop CC to isolate subjects from their backgrounds. The instructor explains how to use selection tools, such as the lasso tool and quick selection tool, to create a selection of the subject. The instructor also shows how to use the select and mask feature to refine the selection and give Photoshop more control over the edges. The instructor provides tips for selecting subjects with complex edges, such as furry or fuzzy objects. The lesson also covers the use of layer masks and the decontaminate colors feature to refine the mask and remove background colors from the edges of the subject. The instructor emphasizes the importance of previewing the selection on different backgrounds and making adjustments as needed. Overall, the lesson provides a comprehensive guide to advanced masking techniques in Photoshop CC.


  1. What is advanced masking in Photoshop?

    Advanced masking is the process of isolating a subject from its background in Photoshop using selection tools and refining techniques.

  2. How can you refine a selection in Photoshop?

    You can refine a selection in Photoshop using tools such as the lasso tool and quick selection tool, as well as the select and mask feature, which allows for further adjustments and fine-tuning of the selection.

  3. What is the decontaminate colors feature in Photoshop?

    The decontaminate colors feature in Photoshop is used to remove background colors from the edges of a subject in a mask, resulting in a cleaner and more accurate selection.

  4. What is the purpose of previewing the selection on different backgrounds?

    Previewing the selection on different backgrounds allows you to assess how well the subject blends with the new background and make any necessary adjustments or refinements to the mask. The topic of this lesson is how to use the color range and refine edge tools in Photoshop to remove backgrounds and isolate subjects in complex images.


  1. How can you switch between previewing selected and unselected areas in the color picker?

    You can switch between previewing selected and unselected areas by clicking the appropriate buttons in the color picker interface.

  2. Can you use a Wacom pen with pressure sensitivity when using the color picker?

    It is possible to use a Wacom pen with pressure sensitivity, but the specific settings may need to be adjusted and tested.

  3. How can you check the mask to see if it looks clean?

    You can check the mask by going to the mask view options and selecting the appropriate view, such as on white or on layers.

  4. What is the purpose of the edge detection feature in the refine edge tool?

    The edge detection feature is useful for consistently fuzzy objects, such as a short-haired dog, where the hair spikes out consistently around the subject.

  5. How can you maintain the original size and detail when scaling down an image with a mask?

    To maintain the original size and detail when scaling down an image with a mask, you can convert the image and mask into a smart object, which retains the original content and calculates any scaling or rotating from that original state.

  6. How can you refine the edges of a complex image with fine details, such as hair?

    You can use the refine edge brush tool in Photoshop to manually paint over the areas where the subject and background are intermixed, ensuring that all the necessary details are included in the mask.

  7. What can be done if there are color issues around the edges of the isolated subject?

    If there are color issues around the edges of the isolated subject, you can use the decontaminate colors option in the refine edge tool to help clean up the colors and blend them more seamlessly.

  8. How can you further refine the mask after using the refine edge tool?

    After using the refine edge tool, you can make further refinements to the mask by using tools like the paintbrush to touch up any areas that need adjustments.

  9. What is the importance of considering the final result and not just the accuracy of the mask?

    It is important to consider the final result and how the isolated subject will be used, as it may not be necessary for the mask to be perfect as long as it looks seamless when combined with the desired background.

  10. What alternative tool can be used for removing backgrounds in complex images if you don't have access to the refine edge tool?

    If you don't have access to the refine edge tool, you can try using the background eraser tool to manually erase the background, although it may take longer and require more precision. The lesson focuses on the refine edge brush tool in Photoshop and how to use it to remove unwanted areas in an image. The instructor also mentions the improvements in the new version of Photoshop and how it is useful for furry, fuzzy, and hairy things. They also mention that the next class will cover smart objects and encourage students to join the Facebook group for further discussion and learning.


  1. What does the refine edge brush tool do?

    The refine edge brush tool in Photoshop allows you to remove unwanted areas in an image by painting over them.

  2. How can you remove areas using the refine edge brush tool?

    You can remove areas using the refine edge brush tool by selecting the minus option or holding down the Option key and clicking on the areas you want to remove.

  3. Why is the refine edge brush tool not discarding the selected areas in the example?

    It is unclear why the refine edge brush tool is not discarding the selected areas in the example, as it had worked in the past.

  4. What other tool can be used to remove areas if the refine edge brush tool is not working well?

    The quick selection tool can be used to remove areas if the refine edge brush tool is not working well.

  5. What is the show edge feature in Photoshop?

    The show edge feature in Photoshop displays where you have painted using the refine edge brush tool.

  6. How has the refine edge brush tool improved in the new version of Photoshop?

    The refine edge brush tool has been improved dramatically in the new version of Photoshop, making it more effective for various types of images, including those with furry, fuzzy, and hairy elements.

  7. What will the next class cover?

    The next class will cover smart objects in Photoshop.

Lesson Info

Advanced Photoshop Masks

We're back with another episode of Photoshop CC, the complete guide. We're on week three and here are our topics for this week. Today's topic will be, well first we're 6/10ths done, just so you know, no quite half, but it's advanced masking. Advanced masking means isolating the background to get your subject to be on it's own layer, most of the time. Although it can also be masking something so that you could just adjust that area. Like I need to adjust the brightness of a tree and not affect the surroundings. That type of thing. So we're gonna jump right into Photoshop so we can spend as much time there as possible and let's look at what we can accomplish. First, sometimes you get an image where you think you need an advanced solution, but you really need a low-tech one. And so in this particular case this image to me looks relatively complicated as far as all the black lines that are in here that make up this tower. In case you can't tell this is like an oil tower that's in Tulsa, Ok...

lahoma. And I would like to isolate it so I can put a different sky in, 'cause I think that sky's kinda boring. So I might go over to Bridge and grab a sky I'd like to use, and I might just move Bridge over so I can see Photoshop and just drag that over on top of my picture. What's nice about dragging it over on top of my image is that when I do so it actually starts to transform the image so I know that it's gonna be scaled to a size that fits within this. So I'll press Return or Enter to indicate that I'm done. In my layers panel I then see that here we have our clouds on top and I have my image below. I wanna reverse the order of those layers. Now if I tried to move this up here, it won't let me because anytime you have a layer called background, it's stuck at the bottom. You can double-click on the name, that's one way of making it no longer a background layer. Where if you have the newest versions of Photoshop just click the lock symbol that's there. And that'll automatically rename it for you and make it so it's moveable. But clicking the lock symbol will not work in old versions of Photoshop. If you're in an old version double-click to change the name. I'm just gonna drag that on top and I would like to get that sky to be hidden so we can see the new sky that I've just put behind it. To accomplish that I'm gonna use some really simple tools. I'm gonna use the lasso tool. Think about how much time it would take you with the lasso tool to select this. Well, I'm just gonna do this. I'll make a selection like this. What I'm trying to do is select the overall brightness of the sky. I'll hold down the Shift key because when I hold Shift I can add to my selection and if I look down near the bottom-right of the image, in between the legs of this area, you notice the sky is more blue there. So the selection above doesn't really represent the full brightness range of the sky. So I'm just gonna make a selection in there and I'm making sure I only select sky. I don't touch the subject of the photo I'm trying to keep. And I'm just gonna do that in a few areas where I think it might vary. Like here it might be even more blue. And if so I'm just gonna select some of it. All I'm trying to do is educate Photoshop about what brightness levels and colors are found in this image. And I don't have to go between every one of those, I just need to get a variety of the different brightness levels in that picture. Then I'm gonna go to the select menu and check this out. There's a choice called grow. Grow means make my selection larger, and when you do, only go across colors that are similar to what's already selected. Don't grab anything that's dissimilar to what I have selected. And that's the one think I noticed with this particular image was the subject matter in the photograph was dramatically different in brightness, from the background. And therefore I felt something like this could work. When I choose grow you'll see that those selections just got larger, but they only stayed within the regions where I originally drew them. Meaning that none of them suddenly jumped into these other openings within the tower, they only stayed within the openings they were already within. I don't know if you can tell that or not. Butt I'll choose undue, and instead of choosing grow, which means keep the same number of selections that I have and just make them larger, I'm gonna choose similar. Similar means look across the entire document for any place that is similar in color to what I already have selected. And so if I choose that, let's see if it does any better. It's gotten the majority of the image. There are a few areas where it's messed up down at the bottom. If I choose undo, all that means is this area down here was probably a darker blue than any of the other areas I have selected, and so it just didn't think it was within the range I wanted. All I'd need to do is hold Shift and add a little part down there. Maybe add a little bit here because that might be a darker blue, to give it a better idea of what brightness levels I'm looking for. There, let's see if it does any better now. That's not bad. Now, I'm not sure if you remember or not from when we talked about basic selections, but there was a way to preview your selection. Where instead of seeing it as these little edges that are moving, they're known as marching ants, we can see it as a red overlay. And the way we got to that, it was called quick mask mode, is I just type the letter Q all by itself. Don't do Command Q, that'll quit Photoshop. Q all by itself. Now I can see if there are any areas that it missed, because the area's covered with red, in the particular case, are the areas that were selected. And I see just a few spots down at the bottom. And I can easily fix them right now. What I can do is just grab my paintbrush tool, paint with black, and just paint over those areas. Some tiny spots. Like that. Now if when you try this with a similar image, you find you get a dramatically different result, then that either means that the subject of your photograph is not truly different in brightness from the background. Meaning there's similarities within the subject itself and they got selected. So it just wasn't the appropriate technique in that particular case. Or you should be aware that when you go to the magic wand tool there's a setting within the magic wand tool up here called tolerance. The default is 32, which is what I'm at. That setting in your magic wand tool is used anytime you choose grow or similar. Grow or similar. And so if yours is set to some weird setting. Set to one, which is a really low setting, or it's set to 150 or something, you're gonna get a dramatically different result. I have mine set at the default setting of 32, okay? So now I'm gonna take this and I wanna hide the area that is currently selected. I'll do that by using a layer mask. Usually when you add a layer mask you keep the area that's selected. And right now I have my sky selected, so I'd keep the sky and this tower and the guy would disappear. If you ever want the opposite of the default behavior, you need to hold down the Option key, Alt in Windows. So I'm holding that down right now when I click the layer mask icon. There we go. And so now I have that isolated. This only worked because the background was radically different in brightness from the subject, and that's the only time my brain would think, hey maybe something as simple as selecting a few example areas in the background to give it an idea of the variety of how bright the sky is and then select similar would work. But in this particular case, it looks to me like it did a pretty good job. All right. Now I'm gonna take this image and we'll most likely come back to it later because it doesn't look that exciting here with that new sky. I actually wanna make it look as if this tower and the guy is standing inside the clouds. Like halfway through the clouds as if they're floating through the area kind of thing. And so to do that, what we're going to have to do is take this bottom layer and I'm gonna duplicate it by typing Command J, to jump it to a new layer and I'll put that duplicate on top. And we'll end up removing the background on the clouds. And therefore it'll look as if he is kind of in between the clouds and the blue sky that's behind. But we're gonna come back to that 'cause first we have to learn about a few other features. So I'm gonna save this image on my desktop, and I'll just call it sky image. And we will most likely come back to it later. I'm gonna close it. It's still saving, it'll close when it's done. And let's try some other images. Now on this file I would like to also replace the sky. But this ones more complex than last. The last one the sky was completely different in brightness than everything else. In this case I think the sky is the same brightness as certain parts within the image. Like the sign on the front of the building. Maybe a few bright areas here. In other things and the edges around this tree are so complex that using something like similar, I don't think would give me a high enough quality edge. Whereas on that tower we had really straight, well-defined edges, so I think it was easier. So we're gonna have to use something else. So what I'm gonna do is first, I'm gonna use the same sky, and I'm just gonna select both images here in Bridge. Then I want Photoshop to combine them into the same document. I could've done as I did with the tower where I double clicked on the tower to open it and then I dragged the sky from Bridge, or I can do what I'm about to do here. Select both, and there's a chose called load files into Photoshop layers. And that's just gonna create a new document that contains two layers. One for each of these images. That's tools, Photoshop, load files into Photoshop layers. Now Photoshop amuses me in that it brings up this warning so often it's ridiculous. Photoshop is not busy doing anything right now. Unless it hasn't finished saving that file that I started saving about four minutes ago. I'm pretty sure it's done. And if it ever comes up and in fact if you watch Adobe videos online made by people who work at Adobe, you'll see this thing coming up constantly, is just try it a second time. And 98% of the time it will just work the second time. It's like it had to wake up Photoshop, it was sleeping or something. So when I'm done I should end up with two layers, one for each of those images. And I simply need to make sure that the sky is in the layer underneath so I'll drag it down in my layers panel and we'll work on that top layer, okay? Now there's one thing I haven't revealed to you and that is the version of Photoshop that I'm using, is not the version of Photoshop that at least the people in the audience here are using. The version of Photoshop that I'm using right here was introduced or announced, yesterday. And so I'm gonna use some new technology that's built into Photoshop to create this. And if you don't have the newest version of Photoshop, the one that was announced yesterday, then you will have different options here but I wanna show you what's new. So with the top layer active I'm gonna go to the select menu where I'm gonna find a choice called select and mask. Now if you're in in older version of Photoshop, you will instead find a choice called refine selection. And if you're in that older version of Photoshop you'll have to make a selection first. And if you are, what I would do is use something like the quick selection tool to select the areas that you obviously want to keep. Meaning, the building and the grass. And I would stop when I get to the trees. So I would select something, doesn't have to be absolutely precise but it should be close. I would select something approximately like this. If I hit Q for quick mask, you see the areas covered in red, now that's what I would select before I chose select, refine selection. But in the new version we don't need a selection to begin with. We can make the selection directly in the area we're about to go to. When I go to the select menu and I choose select and mask, this comes up and it remembers the last settings that I used. And the last settings were, I don't know what they were but I wanna tell you what I set it to. There's a preview setting up here at the top. I'm gonna set it to a choice called overlay. And with it, had a choice called overlay I'm gonna go to the left side of my screen where I find the quick selection tool. The tool that you have to use ahead of time if you have the old version, but they've put it right in here where I can use it directly in this area called select and mask. And watch what happens when I paint across this area. You know how when you're in the older version of Photoshop and you paint with the quick selection tool, all you see are marching ants, that little edge. And it's not always the best way to visualize the selection. So often times you type the letter Q to visualize what you have. Well in here if I just have the preview on the right side of my screen set to overlay, and then I use that tool, watch what happens when I paint. It's the equivalent to being in an interactive quick mask mode. It's not making this tool act differently as far as the end result goes. It's just giving me a nicer preview, I think. One that's more useful than seeing the marching ants. Does that make any sense? And the only reason I'm seeing that preview is because on the right side of my screen, I have set this to a choice called overlay. There is a choice there called marching ants, which would make this look more like the traditional view, but every time I come in to this tool I end up setting it to overlay because I prefer that look, all right? Now I'm gonna continue to paint on here and what I'm gonna do is try to only select the areas that I absolutely know I wanna keep. And I'm gonna try to avoid getting very much over spray onto the sky. It's okay if I get a tiny amount like right down here at the base of the trees, that's a little bit of sky covered up. I'm not totally worried about that. The main thing is I don't want a huge amount of sky in this. And if I want to I can get a smaller brush, and I could paint within the tree, but the problem is the tree does have a lot of the sky intermixed. I can even see a little bit of blue sky in the middle of the tree here. And ideally I wouldn't cover that stuff. So I'm gonna say this is good enough to start with. Then on the left side of my screen there is an icon here I'm gonna switch to. The next one down. If you're in the old version there's no icon that you need to click on. There is an icon to be found over there but it's automatically turned on. Because it assumes that you've already made a selection ahead of time, so there's no need to have tools over there to switch between, it just starts you with this tool. What I'm gonna do here is paint wherever the sky and the subject are intermixed, or, whichever part of the subject I have yet to get selected. So the parts of the subject here that don't have red on 'em yet, or, the parts that have sky and subject intermixed, even if they have red on them already. For instance right down here wasn't there a little bit of sky showing up in that part between the trees? So I need to paint on that to let Photoshop have control over just that area. And when I do, do you see how it removed the red from the sky? Now it's gonna be a little bit confused though because it thinks that the areas covered in red is what you wanna keep, and that the areas not covered with red is what you wanna throw away. So right now with that much tree sticking out from my red, it's gonna be confused for a while. Until I'm done painting over all those areas because it's gonna think anything not covered with red should be thrown away. And so it's not gonna be totally accurate until I go over here and I paint wherever the sky and the subject is intermixed, and whatever part of the subject is not yet colored with red. So you'll find that once I cover most of this tree, it'll probably be more accurate, because it won't be as confused 'cause right now it thinks if it's not covered with red, should be thrown away so it still thinks green stuff should be thrown away down here where I'm painting just beyond, but once I cover all that green stuff suddenly it'll go oh, it was the whole tree you wanted. Then I can go to the other side and do the same thing. Wherever the sky can show through the tree I'm painting, and whatever part of the tree is not already covered with red. What I'm doing is I'm giving Photoshop control over the picture only where I'm painting. And the way Photoshop is figuring out what to do is it's saying well anything that was already covered with red, that's probably what you wanna keep. Anything that doesn't have any red on it whatsoever is probably what you wanna throw away, and then where you've just painted is where I should figure it out. And so once I've painted over that whole tree and everything, it's going to hopefully do a pretty good job. Now I can tell where I've painted. There is a checkbox over here on the right called show edge. This used to have a different name, I think it was called show radius. And if I turn it on I'll see only where I've painted, and therefore I can see did I miss a spot? Right at the base of this tree, I think I can see a tiny bit of sky showing through parts of the tree where I didn't paint. So I might wanna get over there. Any part where I can see any sky and tree mixed. And there might be another spot right there. And I'm just glancing to see is there any blatant areas I'm missing? Here that might be pure tree. If it's pure tree and there was red stuff on it to begin with it's fine. If I never painted up that far, but I think I did paint into that tree. Then I'd need to cover these areas. It might be at this base though, who knows. All right, but I'll turn off that show edge checkbox, 'cause that shows where we've painted. That shows where does Photoshop have control. Now let's change our preview. I'm gonna go to the menu over here on the right side of my screen and we have a bunch of different choices. One of them is a new choice it wasn't available before, it's called onion skin. And with onion skin it's gonna overlay this image on whatever's underneath it in my layers panel, and I can take the transparency slider that is found below, and I could lower it. If I bring it all the way down I see the original image we had. If I bring it all the way up we see our end result so far. And if I put it somewhere in between I could get an idea of blending the two together. So I could use that, or I have some other choices. There's a choice here called on white. If I choose on white, now I also have an opacity slider I'll need to turn all the way up to see the full effect. It's showing me what would it look like if I were to put this image on white. That's useful if you're planning on removing the background on something like for a catalog and you're literally gonna sit on a white background. Great. I also have the choice here of on black, and when I turn that on I notice that I can see still a hint of the original color of the sky kinda clinging to the leaves of the tree. And I don't like that. Well first off I don't have to completely worry about that unless I plan on putting this on a black background. You know 'cause nobody's gonna see this view other than me. But that might tell what part of the image to investigate when I view it on my new background to see is that a problem or not. But if it's not a problem, why waste the time fixing it if no one else is gonna see it other than right here when I'm in this view? If I wanna fix it though, at the bottom is a checkbox called decontaminate colors. And what decontaminate colors does is it tries to get any areas that had a mix of the subject's color and the background's color and it tries to get rid of that old background from it. Right now it has not been allowed to Shift the color of anything. So if there's any area that's being kept, it hasn't been allowed to Shift the color. Turning on that checkbox allows it to Shift the color. And when I do do you see the color on the edge of the tree suddenly has changed. I can turn that back off so you can see the difference if you'd like. I don't always use decontaminate colors though, I only use it when the color fringing on the edge is an issue because it will Shift some of the center of the tree as well and sometimes it'll Shift it in a way you don't like. So I only use it if I really need it. Also if I end up turning that on then I can't get the end result that I'm seeing on screen by just getting a layer mask. I often like having the original picture with a layer mask and then it feels like I haven't really changed anything other than hiding some stuff. But if I turn on that checkbox, it's gonna end up duplicating the layer 'cause it doesn't wanna permanently change the original, and we'll have the duplicate with a mask. It's fine to do that, but I'll show you some other tricks related to it. You also in this menu have the choice of black and white. Black and white is kind of a odd naming thing, it should say show the mask. Meaning that if you used a layer mask to do this, you know how the layer mask would look like it's solid black wherever things are hidden. Solid white where things are shown. And if something partially shows up it would be a shade of gray. Well this means show me that layer mask I'm gonna end up with. So when I choose this I can see what my end result is gonna look like. That's what's gonna be in the layer mask when we're done, okay? And I can make changes while I'm in this view. I can come in and grab any of these tools over here and modify things. The final choice at the bottom is called on layers, and that just previews your end result. And when I do preview the end result I do notice the problem with the blueish on the edge of the trees because I can see it over here where behind this is a more golden cloud and so the blue doesn't make sense. Up here the blue clinging to the tree is a more cyan kind of color and this is more of a deep blue, so it doesn't match. So that's when I turn on decontaminate colors and we'll see those Shift and now the color looks pretty nice on the edge, right? Now just so you know if you're working with an older version you still do have a checkbox called decontaminate colors and there's a slider to control how aggressive it is. But you should know that this new version is dramatically better with trees. So if you're trying this the older version It's not gonna give you the best result with trees. So that's one reason I wanted to show you this. But I think now it's lookin' pretty nice on the edge. So when you're done, at the bottom there's a popup menu right here called output to, and this determines what kind of end result you'll get. You'll find that some of these choices are not available if you have the checkbox called decontaminate colors turned on, because in order to do that it cannot give you the end result by just giving you a layer mask. It needs to change the image itself and it won't let you just change the image itself, it forces you to make a copy of the layer because it's always just, it doesn't want you to accidentally think you still have the original un-color adjusted image in there without really forcing you to do something to discard that. So you'll find that when you have decontaminate colors turned on, the top two options won't be available. Question? It's kind of, I'm not sure but on that maybe it's better, the tree where you had the refine mask, does it look like there's little holes where you said you don't have to really cover it because it got it in the previous layer? Let's find out. Let's change our view to black and white and you can see that yes it is making it so you can see through parts of the tree. You can go over here and use the quick selection tool and say this should be solid. So I'm gonna paint over it right now and it's as if it's making the selection. As if my original selection kind of thing. And it's saying okay, you want that totally selected. You don't want Photoshop to have control there. Now I could paint over here some more and do that as well. You don't have to be in this view, you can be in any view, but this is telling me any part where I don't see white is where you can partially see through things. And so I can make changes like that. I can also grab my, there's a paintbrush tool here, and I can just blatantly paint. This is just like the normal paintbrush as if you were in quick mask mode and you're painting on it. And I can say no, I just don't want this stuff in the middle. So you have many different options, but when I looked at this when I wasn't in this view, instead I was in the view called on layers. Like right now that one spot where I painted looks weird to me. I thought it looked fine when I was in there. I'll choose undo here. Okay there's many different things it could be, but for now I'm just trying to give you an introduction to the tool. We're gonna use this on a whole bunch of images so you'll get a better sense for how to think about it. But for now I'm going to have that be good enough and then we'll move on to other images. I'm gonna click okay and I should end up with since I had decontaminate colors turned on it ends up creating a new layer up here, the original's underneath, and there's the mask that is hiding the background for me. Now having that original layer underneath, I find to be very useful. Let's say that the color shifted in the trees. Now I think they did, they got darker. I can see that one little spot where we messed with things right there that still looks like it's jumping out a little bit and so I'm gonna take this layer that contains the original colors, it is the original picture from there. And I'm gonna put it on top. And I dunno if you recall or not when we talked about layers and when we did a bunch of other sessions there were different things we could do to make one layer only show up where there's information on the layer below. When we talked about layers we had text and I had a picture on top of it. And I wanted the photo to only show up where the text is and when I did that we ended up with a layer with a little arrow pointing down. Well I'm gonna do the same thing right now because if I were to hide the bottom layer, you can see what's in that middle layer, that's all there is in the middle layer and see the checkerboard, that's where it's empty. So what I'm gonna do is turn on that top layer and I'm gonna say layer, create clipping mask. That's how we made that little down pointing arrow show up when we worked with layers. So watch my layers panel and you'll see that little down pointing arrow appear and now do you see the problem with the blue color around the edge of the trees? So what I'm gonna do here is turn this off and on and I can see here is the shifted color that Photoshop did, and here's the original color. And I see that that change that it made is primarily needed on the edge of the trees. And it might not be needed much in the middle, at least of the left tree. And if that's the case I can mask this layer right here to bring some of the original colors in. To mask it I'll go down to the layer mask icon and since I only wanna use it in a small area I might hold down Option when I click. Option clicking on the layer mask icon gives you a black mask instead of a white one. Black hides things, so when you do that it's gonna totally hide this layer. I'm gonna option click on the layer mask icon and then I'll grab my paintbrush tool, the soft edge brush, I'll paint with white and I can bring back the original colors wherever I want. All I'm doing is making the top layer visible wherever I paint. And you can lower the opacity of your brush if you wanna just bring a hint of it back, but I wanted to mention that because often times you'll find the center portion of the object that is really complex might get a little bit dull after turning on that checkbox that was called decontaminate colors. And I wanna show you a good reason why they ended up taking the original colors and leaving it in it's own layer. It just woulda been nice if it woulda automatically put it on top and clipped it, put a black mask on it for me so that it would be all setup and ready for me to just paint where I want the original colors. But that would look more complicated. Not everybody knows how to use layer masks. Not everybody knows how to use that little thing that points down, so they didn't automate the process. But if I hide that top layer, there's would be pushing some of the original colors back in. Just in case we wanna come back to this image I'm gonna save it to my desktop. But that's an abandoned restaurant I ran into somewhere. That was interesting. And I should mention for those of you in the studio audience. Just so you know this screen is adjusted so it looks good on camera. Which makes it look not as good to your eye. My image looks much darker on my screen than what you see here. It's just on the video camera they need to adjust it so it looks more appropriate on the video capture. Now let's try this on something other than a tower and a tree. Let's try it on something that's furry, fuzzy, or hairy. In fact we can start with that same image. Go back into Photoshop here and I'll just say open recent, building. And let's put into our image something in the foreground, because we have so much grass down there it feels like it's a waste, so let's put a zebra in. I'm gonna grab the zebra. I'm just gonna drag it from Bridge over here. It's a raw file in my case so I'm gonna click okay. Brings up camera raw anytime you have a raw file. And when it asked me to scale it, I'm not gonna scale it to the size I actually want it yet. Because if you remember when we talked about smart objects. I showed you what happened if we had a mask attached to a layer, and we scaled that layer down really tiny and later on decided to scale it up, the contents of the mask got degraded because when you scaled it way down and you pressed Return to say you were done, it ended up with only a little bit of information in there. And then when you scaled it back up it used only that little bit of information it had and enlarged it, and it didn't look very good. So what I'm gonna do here is leave it at the size it originally comes in as. I'm gonna mask it and then I'll wrap that mask into a smart object. You'll see. Because then it'll be preserved. The full size of it will be preserved within that. So I can scale it any size I want. And it doesn't matter if I make it small to begin with, and later on decide to make it bigger it always will calculate the scaling from the size of the original. It's not critical it's just a little detail. So, if I'm using the old version of Photoshop, I'd need to first select this object using most likely the quick selection tool and it would be just like with a house. I would select all the stuff I wanna keep. Try to select none of the background and I wouldn't worry about where the background and subject are intermixed because that's where we're gonna end up painting to give Photoshop control. Which means I wouldn't worry about this furry part up here or the tail. You can get a basic selection but I wouldn't worry about it being precise. But since I have the version of Photoshop that was announced yesterday I can go right up here to the select menu and choose select and mask and I can start my selection right here. Now it's weird though. The zebra just disappeared the second I came in here. And that's because it remembers whatever settings I last used. And last time I was not on the setting called overlay, which is the setting I wanna use. Whenever I switch that to overlay mode the other thing that I do is there's a slider here for opacity that controls if you can see through the overlay or not. You know that red overlay we get? And if it's set to 100 you won't see through it. I like to have it down the middle. I wish it would default to overlay at 50% but it doesn't. All right now I'm gonna grab that quick selection tool on the left side of my screen, and I'm gonna start painting across this, and as I do, it's so nice, I still love seeing that red color showing up compared to the marching ants. It's just so much more pleasant and I understand what I'm getting more. In this one I'm gonna spend a little more time on to try to get right. With the last image I kind of let some parts of the tree and stuff be okay without going in and doing all that much refinement. But in this case I'm just gonna be painting across. Now I know I got part of the background in between the tail and the body, I'll go and fix that in a moment. When I choose my brush size for using this tool, the one that's called the quick selection tool, I'm trying to select or use the largest brush that will allow me to paint over the subject without getting over spray on the background. And therefore where the legs are, that's gonna determine the size of brush I'm using. I need a brush big enough that I can paint down that leg without touching the background. Just so you're aware. And some people aren't very good with, you have a terrible mouse or something, if so you might need smaller brush. But I think I can be pretty precise and end up with one about this size. So I'm gonna continue to paint here. In those areas where it's selecting parts of the background, I'll fix that in just a second. I just wanna get the basic areas. I need the hoof. There we go. And maybe part of the back of the tail. And a little bit on the belly. All right so I'm getting relatively close there. It's just so much more pleasant to see the red overlay. 'Cause when all you see is marching ants it's really hard to tell if some areas are messed up or not. Now when you're in the quick selection tool there is a choice up here which determines it's default behavior. And it defaults to adding to the selection. You can click here to take away from the selection when you're painting, and therefore where it gave me that gap that was part of the background between the tail and the back of the zebra, I'd be able to paint to remove it, or, if you happen to remember keyboard shortcuts. The same keyboard shortcuts you use when making selections, you can hold down Shift to add to a selection, or Option which is Alt in Windows to take away. You can use those as alternatives. And so if I come in and hold down option you'll find that the minus icon is highlighted temporarily for as long as I hold it down. So I'm gonna get a slightly smaller brush so I can get into tight areas. I'm gonna hold down the Option key, Alt in Windows to mean take away and I'm gonna click right here between the tail and the body to try to remove that. I'll also come in here at the base of the leg, try to do the same, here at the bottom. And I'll get right in between the front legs. It's not perfect, I'll touch it up but we have that. Then I'm gonna give Photoshop control where I think it needs control. And where it usually needs control is where things look very complicated. That's usually where it's furry, fuzzy, hairy, or just very complicated like on the tree it was so complex. So I'll switch to the next tool down. With that tool active I'll paint wherever the background is intermixed with the subject, or wherever the edge should be soft. Where right now it's got a crisp edge so it doesn't quite match what it should be. I don't think we have any soft edges on this image, but you'll see that on another one. I'll paint right up here on the mane, and as I do I'm giving Photoshop control over that area. And it'll usually recalculate it and give you a better looking end result. Now you can zoom up on this with standard zoom tool over here on the left side. You have a zoom and a hand tool. Where any keyboard shortcuts that work in Photoshop for zooming should work in here as well. And you see the tail coming down here? I'm just gonna paint over that to give Photoshop control just to that area. You see it recalculated, did a better job. I'll come over here to the edge of the tail. Paint wherever I think the background and the subject would be intermixed, where Photoshop really needs to take control. And you see it recalculated there? So the red overlay is looking more precise. But then there's some areas where if I zoom up the quick selection tool just didn't quite get out there. It's not that it has a very complex edge, it's not that it's furry, fuzzy, or hairy, it's just that I didn't paint close enough to that edge. So I can try to come out here and get it with the quick selection tool. And if it messes up I can always hold down Option. Remember Option takes away. And try to say no, I didn't mean that part of the background. The one thing i dislike about this is anytime I've already painted with the tool where I give Photoshop control, and I come back and use the quick selection tool, the image seems, the red overlay turns blurry for a second while I'm painting, and then it comes back crisp. I wish I could see that end result. But I'm gonna touch up some of these other edges manually 'cause I need to show you how to do that. So far we've used the quick selection tool and the refine edge brush, but then there's just a straight up brush tool. And that brush tool is just like a paintbrush in fact up here you can choose if it's a soft edge, if it's a hard edge or whatever. Just like in the main area of Photoshop. I'll give this a relatively hard edge and I'll get a small brush and I can just manually come in here and paint. To say well, quick selection tool didn't do a good job here, so fine I'll fix that part myself. So just imagine you're in quick mask mode right now, and you're painting on the mask. And with this you can hold down Option to take away, Alt in Windows, if it went too far out. And that means I can come in here and fix any areas. Also just like when you're painting on quick mask mode I don't know if you recall or not, but if you click on one area, you can hold down Shift and click on another and it connects the dots with a straight line. And so if there's any straight areas that ended up having a more varied edge you can attempt to fix 'em there. Here to get this little notch I'll just take away by holding Option. Like that, and then I'll add back like that. Make sense? So up here I can take away by holding Option, and then just add back. So in this particular case, being a zebra, zebras not actually an easy thing to select with automated selection tools because the pattern on the zebra's surface makes it so it thinks that all those little variations are edges and it might start you know, stopping your selection in those spots. So we're gonna go around here. Just make sure you know you can refine all this stuff. You also have on the left side just a lasso tool. So if you wanna draw it instead of paint it, you're welcome to do so. Now I see one spot there that looks a little odd. I'm not sure if I gave Photoshop complete control there or not. I'll just paint there and right there. It got a little better when I painted there so that might have been a spot I missed. But you get the idea that you could touch this up as much as you want. But know that nobody else will see this red overlay. And often times it's perfectly fine to simplify a subject a little bit. If somebody has fly away hair, it's okay to get rid of some of those hairs. Nobody's going to see the original unless it's like a client might see it, but the ultimate end viewer doesn't see this overlay. They don't know how precise it is and so you just need to think about how does this look with whatever your intended background is. So what you might wanna do is on the right side of my screen if you recall I have those preview settings and I could preview this on layers. Meaning on the layer that's underneath and if I like what I see I don't need to fix all this stuff with the zebra though I think it wouldn't be appropriate to have a little chunk coming out of his body. So I might come in there and touch it up. Here I'll just fix that one little corner. Like that. Now I'm gonna call that good enough for our purposes. So remember you have the opacity control. If you find that it's completely covered that's just because the last time you used this particular screen, you probably were viewing your image on white or on black or something else in the opacity slider happened to be turned up all the way so be sure you can turn that down. The other thing is there is a choice right here for what color is used. Cause if this was a red firetruck, having a red overlay is not necessarily the best. If you click there you'll get the normal color picker. You can choose which color you'd like. And over here you can switch between previewing the area that's selected or you can switch it over and preview the opposite, which is gonna show you the area that's not selected. And often times I do switch between the two because there's some areas that I might not notice in one view, that are easier to pick up in another. And so I will frequently switch between those two and it usually remembers what you use. So if you ever come in and the red is in the opposite area than what you expect, it just means the last time you used this setting you used the opposite setting. So it's up to you in there. Question? If you use a pen, a Wacom pen, will it stay at 50%? You know if you put the pressure too hard, or will it start painting it a darker red? Do you know? I'd have to look in here to see if there's pressure sensitivity. I haven't tried this is a Wacom pen as far as that goes. So you just have to try. Just push and hold and you'll find out. But I haven't attempted it. Then remember you can switch this to other choices to double check your work. We have the choice of on white. Just know that we have the opacity control so when you first go to on white it's gonna remember whatever setting you had last for opacity. I wish it remember the last setting I had for on white. Meaning that every time I use on white I want it at 100. And every time I go back to overlay I want it at 50, but the opacity is independent of that so you have to constantly be switching it back and forth. Which to me is a little bit on the annoying side, 'cause when I choose on black I don't wanna see a partial black, you know I want it full on black, you know what I mean? So just know that you'll have to be switching your opacity quite frequently. Then we can check our mask by going here and see how clean it looks. In this view you can paint. If you find an area you don't like you can grab the paintbrush tool, just paint it to fix it. But I don't think that is looking all that bad right now. And then we can choose on layers. In this particular case it's a little big but what I frequently do is set it to on white and set it to on black to see if there's any color issues around the edge. And if there is I'll come under this area called output settings and turn on decontaminate colors to see if it would help. And you see what happened to the main. Knowing that if I turn it on I'm gonna end up with two layers and I can always put the original on top and do that weird thing where you clip it to bring back some of those colors if I don't like the Shift that is happening. So I can get it in just a few spots and not be stuck with it everywhere. There are other settings in here that can be used but a lot of them are just not appropriate for what we're doing here. But if I come in here there is a choice called edge detection. Edge detection is useful if you have a consistently fuzzy object. You have a short haired dog is you are trying to select. Well how much the hair spikes out is consistent pretty much, around the entire subject matter. So if you bring up radius, what that does is it automatically paints around the edge of your image. It looks at where have you painted to create your selection with your quick selection tool? And then it acts like it grabs the refine edge brush and paints all the way around that edge using a brush of this width. And so if you have a consistently fuzzy image, it's the same fuzziness all the way around then instead of spending the time to say I'm gonna give Photoshop control here at the edge of the fuzz. You can just say have it paint for me. And if you bring this up it's painting all the way around the edge of what you had selected, saying let's give Photoshop that much control. And sometimes that's enough for consistently fuzzy things. But that's the main time it's useful. If that consistently fuzzy object, like a short haired dog, had a collar and the collar is also right on the edge of your selection there. Right there it's not fuzzy, and you shouldn't have taken a big brush and painted across it to give Photoshop control, it might mess up there. So there's a checkbox called smart radius. And if you turn it on it looks for crisp edged areas. And says let's not paint with such a wide brush there. So that's the main time I'd use this. I don't have a straight up example image for it though, but that's when I'd think about it. I don't work with consistently fuzzy where it's the exact same fuzz all the way around very often, so that I don't use as often. I mainly manually paint. I find I get a better result. There's also an area called global refinements. If you needed the edge of this to be soft, you could bring up the setting called feather. And if you were to do so, you would find the edge of what we have, getting soft. I don't usually need that, but you can always use it. Smooth would take any complex edges and kind of smooth them off, round off any sharp corners. Not very often I need that here. In contrast would increase the contrast in the mask. That kind of stuff. So this stuff in here I don't necessarily use when I'm going a complex masking like I am right now. Instead sometimes I come into this screen when I have a very simple selection. I have a selection that's a circle and I want it to have a sharp edge. So I come in here and I ignore all the fancy stuff we're using right now. I don't touch any of that stuff. I just turn up the feather slider, and the reason I like it it there's a preview. I can see that red overlay and I see it gettin' softer, and it's great. But when I'm working on something like this, a complex image I'm trying to isolate, I rarely need to come into these choices. But I know everybody asks about. They'll be like but wait, you skipped that whole section. And it's like this whole section I mainly used with simple selections, ya know? I selected a rectangle, I wanted a soft edge direct angle. Fine, come in here, ignore the fancy stuff just move up feather. I've feathered a selection in the past. It's too soft. Well if you brought up this slider called contrast you would actually get a little less feathered. It's kinda weird. That kind of stuff. I'm gonna click OK. So here's my end result. And then I wanna make this smaller. Now if make it smaller right now, if you look at my layers panel, there's nothing smart about these layers. An that means that if I were to scale this down by typing Command T. And I decided I want it to look like a miniature dude down there. And then a month later I said well wait a minute, I don't want that small. And I did Command T again and I said no it should be huge. The mask and the picture itself would look soft. I don't know if you can see, I'll choose undo a few times and see if you can see. Undo, undo. Okay here's what it looked like before I ever scaled it. Here's what it looked like after scaling down and back up again. You see how it got soft? because when I scaled down and I hit return, it thought that was the original size of the photo and it never had more detail than that. So when I scaled it back up, it just took that small, less detailed image an blew it up. Anytime you do that it looks softer. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna scale this down I'm gonna wrap it into a smart object first. Because when I wrap it into a smart object the original is retained. And any scaling or rotating that I do is always calculated from that original state, the original size. And therefore if I scale it down and later on decide, I come back like a month later and go oh it needs to be a little bit bigger. It's no problem cause it'll always calculate from the original content because it still has the original content. So therefore I'll go to the layer menu. Now if I wanna keep the original colors too, I would put that in the smart object as well. I'll just select 'em both. Even if it's hidden, that just means that I have the possibility once day in the future of putting that on top and doing the fancy trick we did before, but layer, smart objects, convert to smart object. Now the mask and the image are wrapped into a smart object, so that anything I do to it is always calculated from that original size. And so now I can type command T, I can scale this thing down to the size of one pixel if I want to. Can you even see it? There he is (laughs). But if it was not a smart object it would think that's the original size of the picture. And that it was never any bigger when I scale it up. So that it would take that information and scale it up. But now when I type command T, since it's in a smart object it still maintains the original size of the image within the file, and if I scale it again it'll look just fine, all right? It probably needs a little shadow underneath it, you know that kind of stuff. But you get the idea that we're starting to get some backgrounds isolated. But what if I have something like this? I wanna remove that. Get a better sky behind it. Well sometimes what you need is simple, sometimes what you need is complex, and sometimes you need a combination of both. And so we just need to look at more challenging images. Let's see what I might do here. There's always more than one way of doing things in Photoshop as well. So I'm not saying the way I approach this is the best, I'm just saying it's what came to my mind. There are two things that come to mind when I glance at this image that are gonna dictate which tools I go for. First I'm thinking about where I'm ignoring the smoke and looking just at the skydivers that are here. When I look at them I notice that they seem to look quite a bit different from their surroundings. I don't see any of the colors from the surroundings contained within them. Meaning the blue sky, they're not wearing blue. You know, that kind of thing? So I think I can do something simple there. Which is I'm gonna use the lasso tool like this and then I'm gonna use the magic wand tool to say take away from that selection, and just take away the blue. So remember the magic wand is hidden within the same slot as the quick selection tool. So I'm gonna move my mouse onto the blue sky. I'll hold down the key that takes away from a selection which is Option, Alt in Windows, and I'll click. And since the sky was really consistent, it was no problem for the magic wand tool to say select things similar to this when I clicked they sky all looks similar to itself, doesn't it? And I was holding down the option key which means take away. Now I wanna get the other skydiver and I'm gonna use the same technique. But the problem is if I use my lasso tool right now and I circle around the second skydiver, with default settings, the lasso tool completely replaces any selection that's already existing. So you see the one up top disappeared? Choose undo. If you wanna add to a selection, don't you have to hold down a key on your keyboard? It's the Shift key. So I'm gonna hold Shift down right now to say add to the selection I already have. And I'm gonna do right like that. Then I'm gonna go back to the magic wand tool to say hey magic wand tool, take away from this selection. Now I'll just hold down the Option key to say take away and I'll click on the blue sky. Since the blue sky is so consistent around it, it can be selected with something as simple as the magic wand. So now I have our skydivers and what I need next is the smoke. There are many different features I could try to use but I don't think the feature we were just using is gonna be the best. If you think about the way that feature works it relies on you being able to create an initial selection that gives it a pretty good idea of what you wanna keep. With the zebra, how much of the zebra did I have before I started using that brush that gives Photoshop control? Didn't I have like 98% of the zebra selected? When it came to the building with the trees, didn't I have the entire grass area at the bottom and, excuse me, and I also had a little bit of the trees, like especially the smaller ones at the very bottom, I had and gave it a really good idea of what should be kept. In this case how much of the smoke do I have selected? None. And so it wouldn't know I wanted to keep it. I'd have to make some sort of weird tiny selection into here only of the areas of the smoke that I totally wanna keep, and I just, that doesn't sound like fun to me. So that's why I'm not thinking bout that feature. Instead if I go to the select menu I see something that I think will help me. And that is when I look at the smoke it looks like it's one color. And that color is different than the color I wanna get rid of, isn't it? The smoke's yellow, the sky's blue. There's a choice in here select color range. Now the problem with color range is that when you first go into it, if you already have a selection active it thinks you wanna refine that selection by only looking at the areas that are selected, and ignoring the rest of the picture. It thinks you wanna select a range of colors from within the area you already have selected. And so that's gonna make it so it's more difficult. But isn't there a key you can hold down on your keyboard when you're using selection tools that means you wanna add to what you already have? And isn't that key the Shift key? I'm gonna hold it down right now. I'll hold down Shift when I choose color range. Color range is just a method for selecting it's not different from a selection tool. I can hold down Shift before I choose the menu, so that I'm holding Shift the moment I let go when I'm choosing this menu command. Now it knows that it should be adding to the selection that I have. Once the screen comes up, these options come up, then I can let go of the Shift key. It's just I have Shift held down at the moment I choose color range, and then it knows it should add to what I already have. Now down here's a preview of what I thinks that I wanna select and it happens to look this way because the last time I used it was on this picture. And so usually this will not look close to this. Usually it might look like, let me make it look different. It might look like that when you first come in. But what this is down here is a miniature version of your picture. In fact you can choose image and see that it's a miniature version. And when it's set to selection, this shows you what a layer mask would look like of the end result you're gonna make. So that area's in here that are white are considered selected. Areas in here that are black are considered not selected. And so this is kinda your preview. So let's see what we can do. There are three eye droppers on the right side of my screen. The one on the left is turned on by default, I didn't have to click on it, it was already turned on. What it does is it tells it the basic color you wanna select. So I'm gonna use it to go down here and click on the area of the smoke that is the most dense. Where there's no hint of the sky whatsoever mixed with it. And I think I have that right down here near the plane. All right so I'm just gonna click right here. When I do that, preview will change. And now it knows which area to think about. And if I looked in he preview, there might be a microscopic spec, yeah right there. See those little specs? So far that's all it would select. Some tiny little areas. Then I'm gonna change this setting up here called fuzziness, I'm gonna bring it all the way down. Love the term, fuzziness. Usually they put technical terms, radius and other things, but fuzziness. What fuzziness means is how much can it deviate from the stuff I clicked on. If it's set to zero it means select only the exact color I just clicked on. But then here's what's cool. We have three eye droppers. And if I click that one, it means we can add to the range of colors it's thinking about. So it's not just thinking about the one color I've clicked on thus far, when I click on the one with the plus sign now what I wanna do is look at the smoke and click on the areas where the smoke is dense, where you don't see blue showing through it. All right so I'm just gonna click like maybe right here. Click, I'll click down there, click. Right where these cross maybe there, click. Over here there's a spot. I'm just trying to give it an idea of how much the smoke varies in color, so it can select things across that whole range of colors, but I'm trying to avoid the areas where there's a good amount of blue showing through. 'Cause otherwise it'll start selecting blueish yellow stuff. So about three, four clicks should be good. The preview still looks terrible, doesn't it? That's because we're not letting it vary or deviate from those colors at all. Now let's let it deviate. I'll just take fuzziness and turn it up. Watch the preview. I'm gonna bring it up until it's too far. What would too far be? The sky would show up. So I'll bring it up here and I think I saw part of the sky in the lower left. You just see that it's no longer black when I hit the far right. You stare at the bottom, I see the area and the surroundings get a little bit lighter than black. I'm trying to figure out what setting gives me still black in the surroundings. What's the highest setting that still gives me a black sky? But when I look in here doesn't it look like it's got the smoke? So I'll click OK. We just got this thing selected. I'll do it once more 'cause when I was doing it if you've never seen it before you're like whoa, whoa, what? So I'll just choose undo. You remember we got these selected since I did that on two different things I kind of repeated that already. But what I did was I wanted to use color range because what color range is designed to do is select a range of colors. So if what you want is all the red things in a picture, or all the blue things, whatever color range is a possibility of what to use. So when I go to the select menu to get to color range though usually if I have a selection existing it looks only within the area that's already selected, and chooses a range of colors. But I can hold Shift right now so that when I choose color range it does that. Most of the time I turn fuzziness all the way down to begin with, just so I don't get excited about the preview yet. And it starts with the eye dropper on the left, I click where I see the purest version of whatever it is I want to keep. And I think that's over here by the skydiver in the lower-right corner. And if you click again with that eye dropper, it forgets the last place you clicked. So if you accidentally click with it or something just click again somewhere else. Then I grab the one with the plus sign and that means let's add to the range of colors you're thinking about. And if it was a simple image I could just click once with that first eye dropper and just bring up fuzziness and be done with it. But in this case if I bring it up all the way do you see how it's not getting enough? So that's why I'm gonna grab the one with the plus sign and I'm just gonna look for the areas where the blue sky does not mix with the smoke very much. And I'm just gonna click and say well this is kinda what we have, got a little bit of kinda that stuff, maybe this. So give it an idea of how much the smoke varies in brightness and in color. Then I'll bring up fuzziness. Bring it was high as I can get it, and then back off until the sky is black. Or is real close to black. So we can always tough it up afterwards. And if there's still not enough you can continue with the eyedropper with the plus sign and click on more areas to get more to show up. When I'm done I click okay. Now I'm gonna add a layer mask to say only keep the areas i have selected. All right. So we have that. Now let's see do we still have our building open? Yeah why not a skydiver coming in, you know? We already got a zebra. It's already not too realistic in a concept. So let's put more unrealistic things. I'm gonna now drag this with my move tool to the other tab and drag down. And I see it's a much lower resolution picture and since the smoke is cut off right here 'cause that's where the edge of the document is. I'll be limited in where I can put it. I'll have to put it where that hits the edge of the document so that it makes sense that the smoke ends. But we have it there. Most of the time we wouldn't scale things up because that makes them softer. I would have hoped for a higher resolution original if I wanted to use it here. But I'll move it around even though the smoke being cut off doesn't look good because I think there might be some issues that we have to deal with. See, got our little smoke. I'm not seeing, I wanted the issues to be worse than they are, sorry they're not as bad as I, well here I'll put it in front of the clouds that'll make it worse. So it looks like he's about to crash into the house, the one guy. In that was I thought we would have some blue from the original sky clinging to our smoke. Because they were so mixed in that there'd have to be a hint. Well then what I can do is if I click on the mask, 'cause right now the mask is not active here in the layers panel. I'm gonna click on the mask and we can go to the select menu and just choose that same thing we used before, remember select and mask? And it'll give me a preview here but I can just say on layers 'cause I don't need an on black or on white or a red overlay, just show them on my layers. And then I can grab that tool that we would give Photoshop control. And I can say give Photoshop control over up here, and see if it calculated better end result. In this case it's not. I'm surprised. Most of the time, it would. Most of the time it would be able to recalculate this, but in this case in this particular image is getting a little bit confused. If I was able to paint with that tool and it improved the end result, then I can turn on decontaminate colors and it would clear out the blue but only from where I painted. Only from where I gave Photoshop control. That was what I was hoping for, but in this case I'm surprised it didn't. Now I can always see if I can trick this. It shouldn't be any different but let me see if I had a selection instead. Take me just a moment. I don't think this is gonna improve it but if it does I will have learned something about this. There. Nope, still messed it up. Okay. So I was thinking it might help me out but it didn't in this particular case. Often times it can. Which means if you used a different feature in Photoshop to create your selection, that doesn't mean you can't pop in to the now it's called select and mask, in the old version it was called refine edge. Doesn't mean you can't pop in there and further refine it. I could always go in there and use the refinement sliders. You remember the ones that one was called feather, one was called contrast, I can use those in things to see if I can mess with it. But I wanna try more images. I don't wanna just work on this picture that is starting to look ridiculous as far as things we've added. But is this being helpful at all in as far as far what we're able to do? But so many people need to do like hair, you know? In things so a zebra is like a cop out. He does a zebra, he calls that hair? That's fur that's not hair. So I'm gonna, let's see this some people would also say well a white background's pretty easy. Well what if I wanna put her on black though. Isn't it hard to get rid of the white from within her hair if you wanna put her on a black background? So anytime it's furry, fuzzy, hairy, or when it comes to the new version of Photoshop, just very complex like a tree, I use the same feature we got into with the zebra and such, which is to go to the select menu and to choose select and mask. And if I have the older version of Photoshop I don't have the release that was just announced yesterday, this would be called refine edge and you would have to start with a selection. So I would have gone in here with a click selection tool. I would have selected her as much as is practical, including her legs. Imagine I had a smaller brush and I actually painted into her feet and I'd get rid of this little part in the middle by holding Option and clicking. I woulda started with a selection that's similar to this except for it would have included her feet. Just not gonna spend the time to do that before I go into the choice called refine edge. But, with the new version you don't need to make the selection first, you just choose select and mask and this is the part I hate. It remembers the last settings you used and it often looks like this. And you're like what the heck? Well change this to overlay and change the mask to 50%, and if you need to change where the mask shows up. They weren't very elegant in the way they came up with how to first present this to you every time they came in. I wish it would just remember that I want overlay around 50% and showing the masked areas. So kind of use that as your default every time you go in. Overlay, around 50%, and selected areas. And then you will get the behavior where if you grab the quick selection tool and you start to paint you start seeing it as a red overlay, which I really like. So then I'm gonna paint on her hands. Paint here to get most of this. Now that I have a smaller brush I can paint all the way down her leg, shoe. And for some areas I might decide to manually paint, like down here where her heel is. Sometimes using an automated tool becomes just, you're like oh it selected too much now. Well just grab the normal paintbrush over here. You only have the normal paintbrush when you're in the new version though. So if you have the old version you would want that selected ahead of time. And I would just come in here and click on the edge, hold Shift to create straight lines. Touch that up however much you need. But we can touch up other areas later on. For now the difficult part of this is the hair. So, let's get our selection up here. And let's get rid of the selection in that gap between her arm and her body. So hold Option when I click there with the quick selection tool. All right. So we have the basic area we need. And now we have what's left is the complex area up here, which is the really hard part, right? That's where you switch to the next tool down. That tool is known as the refine edge brush, and that's the equivalent to the tool you have in the old version. The tool that's automatically turned on, you don't even need to click on it, it's just the moment you come in you can start painting because with the old version you'd have to have your selection established first. You do it before you even head in to the refine edge dialog and then you can just move your mouse right on top of the picture and start to paint. So I'm gonna start to pain to here, and I'm gonna paint over those areas where the subject and background are intermixed. And it'll do an okay job to begin with, but it thinks of the areas that don't have any red on top as things that should be deleted. So it'll be confused for a while. It won't do a great job with these hairs 'cause they're so similar to those hairs not covered with red over towards the right that it thinks should be deleted. And only when I get over here and I have covered all of those hairs, does it suddenly get the idea that none of those hairs should be deleted, and that might suddenly make the other side of the image look better. Because now it says oh well there's none of that stuff out there that is not covered up, and therefore I now realize that you were actually trying to keep hair. We can tell exactly where we've painted by turning on a checkbox on the right side, it's called show edge. It's called show radius in the old version. At least they got rid of that technical term. But do you see little gaps where the red stuff should be, but isn't? Where the background and subject are intermixed. Like I can see a gap right here, I think I can see the background showing through her hair right there. And so I need to give Photoshop control there. Same with right about there. That's just a gap in my paint stroke. If I zoomed up there might be hair in there, so I probably wanna fill that in. I can also see little hints of the background I think, right through there. Little hints of white. So you know. I'm also if I happen to turn on that show edge checkbox I'm making sure that no hairs are extending beyond the red. If there's any little wispy hairs hanging out there because anything beyond this red and when I turn off show edge, this red. The two reds combined which I was I could view. Anything that's beyond that, it thinks should be thrown away. So if there's hairs out there it's gonna make it a more difficult job where Photoshop's conflicted. It thinks your telling me to throw away hair here, but you're telling me to keep it here, so. It can be a little confusing for it. So now that red's not looking too bad on her hair from what I can tell. So I'll just glance at the rest. I notice a few areas over here where it's messed up. Do you see where we didn't get her whole arm? I can always grab my quick selection tool, click there and see if I can get it to add it. Or often times it's just faster to manually paint it. We have that paintbrush. You don't have the paintbrush in the quick selection tool available when you're in the old version. So those are some of the nice new additions that they've added. Instead these would be refinements that I would make after I click okay and I'm working on the mask or something else I would need to touch these up in the old version but here it's nice 'cause I can go it directly in here so I can get everything refined. I see part of her skin there. And so on. Lookin' pretty good, pretty good. Oh, see that little part there? I'll hold down option and take away. Take a little away, then I'll add back. Maybe click, hold Shift. Whoops I can't hold Shift 'cause Shift meant add in that case. Okay. Her toe. Anyway, you can touch all that up here. When you see it as a nice little red overlay and get it just right. Wouldn't it be nice in the old version if we had that stuff, ya know? I'm not gonna fix this part right here. It's just time painting or using tools, we need to just make sure we keep moving here. Let's now change our preview. I often will change it from selected areas to masked areas. Just to double check that. Make sure there's nothing missing. Might zoom up and look around, that kind of thing. But my end result, what was I saying? I wanted this on black, didn't I? So I'm gonna change this to on black, and the opacity here is only at 49. It looks kinda nice though when it's darkened up like that. I actually like that. I kinda like her on gray, but black is harder. So we might as well do it. You see hints of white in her hair? So I turn on decontaminate colors, and you see how it fixed a lot of her hair, didn't it? Just glancing at it I think it looks pretty good. But there are a couple areas, well, I think it looks pretty good but I'm gonna click OK 'cause I don't think I can further refine it in here. Now here I could create what's called a solid color layer if I truly wanted her on black. If I go to the bottom of my layers panel there's the adjustment layer icon. And that's actually where you find a choice called solid color. That just makes it a layer full of a solid color and if I truly want black I can pick it here. And then in my layers panel I'll just drag that below now if I don't like this, I think it still needs some help there are some things I can do. You know how we have the original color down here? I can put that up top and clip it if I wanna bring back some of the color in her hair. But sometimes that's not what I need. Instead sometimes what I do is I create a brand new empty layer up there. And I clip the brand new empty layer to her. So now whatever I put in that layer, it can only show up where she is. And I can come in here and do things like if I grab the paintbrush, what if I were to come in and grab the highlight color of her hair? Here, that's the color I'm painting with. I could grab a soft edged brush and if needed any, the tips of her hair to not look so dark 'cause it shifted them so much. I might paint with that color that was in the highlights of her hair, but I'll turn the opacity of my brush down to maybe 20 or 30%. And just come over here and see if I can get her hairs to show up a little bit more by just painting in a little hint of the color that's in the highlights for her hair. Just so you know when you have a soft edge brush, the brush extends well beyond that circle. The circle is where it's halfway done fading out. Halfway through the softness so that's why it might look like I'm painting only on black when I'm out here, but I think my brush extends beyond that. So let's see if you can see the difference. I'll turn off the eyeball in the layer I was just painting on. Before, after. You see how it just lightened up? But I would usually be probably a smaller brush and not quite as close, 'cause I gotta a little more in the middle by the top of her head. I'm talking about mainly the wispy hairs, that's where I would mainly be painting. But here I wanted to make sure you could see that I can change those things. Or if i was putting her on a complex background I might choose a color from the dark part of the complex background. And I might be painting it into the edge of her hair to make it blend more into that background. Like darken up her hair to say look like you belong here more. So hopefully that gives you some ideas when it comes to that. We can always put her in front of our abandoned restaurant. But now why don't we try a hard one. Let's go to tools, Photoshop, load files into Photoshop layers. And imagine you had to remove the background on that. Think about how long it would take ya. Look at how complex it was. I'm gonna move the clouds underneath. But one of the key things when you have complex image is you don't usually need it to be perfect. You need it to look perfect in the end result, but that doesn't mean your actual masking is perfect. What that means I no one is going to see this original photograph. Also, no one is going to see the mask that's attached to it. The only thing they're gonna see is the combination of this image and this sky when it's done. And so there might be parts of this particular image that are see through that shouldn't be, but they look perfectly fine when they're on this as a background. I can get it to be perfect, it's just going to take longer to do so. And I can give you hints on how to make it perfect, but let's take a look. I'm gonna again go to select and mask. It's where I go now for most complex trees. I used to use with trees I'd use something called the background eraser which is a really old tool, and it did okay, but this now does a lot better, and therefore I've grown to kind of abandon the background eraser with trees and really complex stuff. In case you're not used to the background eraser, if you wanna know what it does, if you go to the eraser tool which is this tool here, you click and hold on it, there's more than one. And the background eraser what you get is your get a brush with a little crosshair in the middle and when you click with that brush you wanna get the crosshair on what you wanna delete. Like this. And with you click it deletes only the color that's under the crosshair from within the circle. So I click and do you see that one little part of the sky just disappeared? In fact let me hide the layer that's underneath so you can see the checkerboard. There, see. And then there's a setting at the top of the screen here it's set to contiguous. Contiguous means one unbroken chunk. So when I clicked here it only created one unbroken chunk. It couldn't go across those bars and create independent areas. But if you set this to a choice called discontiguous. That means multiple chunks. The discontiguous United States contains Alaska and Hawaii, whereas the contiguous United States does not include those two. If that gives you an idea. So now do you see how it was deleting blue form the entire circle because I had it set to discontinuous. The problem is when you start moving it constantly looks at what's underneath the crosshair so if it ever bumps one of those bars you start deleting the bars. And that's where these come in. The setting in the middle is called once and it means when I click, pay attention to the color underneath the crosshair, and then think of the same color the entire time I drag. Don't constantly look at what's under there. And so I could use something like this in an attempt to remove this. I'd usually use a soft edged brush so wherever it abruptly stops you don't see that edge so blatant. But I do that and wherever the color of the sky changed to a lighter shade I'd have to release the mouse button, get the little crosshair on top of that different shade 'cause the left side of the screen was darker. Click and see on the right side it stopped deleting all the way? That's where I have to let go and click again to say ya know, give me that. And but now see how it's starting to be slightly transparent? So I'd have to be careful. There is a setting up here called tolerance. The tolerance means how much can it vary from the color under the crosshair? If you lower it, it has a lower tolerance and therefore it wouldn't start cutting through those beams anymore. So anyway I'd have to use that in the old versions and it would take me longer to do this. So I'm not gonna use that. But I wanted to mention it so those of you who don't have the version of Photoshop that was announced yesterday, you still have some way to start with really complex, things with trees. Mainly that tool is useful when the sky is simple and blue. But lets do select and mask. And as always I have to change this thing to overlay, change it to 50%, I wish it would default to it. I also grab the quick selection tool in the upper left and I paint across the areas I definitely want to keep. And I see that red preview which I absolutely love. Then at this point I started getting some of the sky mixed in and so I'm gonna stop and I'm gonna switch to the refine edge brush. Gonna get a huge brush and most of the rest of that image isn't it a combination of subject and background mixed. And that's where I'm supposed to paint with this tool. So I'm going to paint here and I'm gonna make sure that when I'm done the only thing that I haven't painted over is either what's already red right now or what should be thrown away. Or if the red went over too much of the image. Meaning like it got it got in a part where the sky is mixed. So I'll click here and I'm gonna paint. And it'll be confused for quite some time because it at the moment thinks that those palm trees on the right side should be deleted 'cause they haven't been painted on top of, and so it's really confused. But once I paint over this whole thing then it's gonna start getting the concept that oh, the only thing you haven't painted over is that blue sky up top. So that's probably the only thing you want me to get rid of. At this point I'm gonna turn on that checkbox that shows me where I've painted so I can see did I paint over all I need to, and that was the show edge checkbox. And I'm just looking for gaps in my paint stroke where I didn't realize it. And I'm also looking for any part where the sky and the subject is intermixed. I think right there is the tiniest bit of sky. I think I got most of it. And so now let's stops looking at where I've painted and let's view this on layers. All right. And if we look at it, it's not too bad right now is it? As far as remember no one else is gonna see the original so it depends on where here does it look right. Here there's some missing piece, right? So this is where I'm gonna go over here and say overlay, and there I'll probably just manually paint it in since it's a straight line. I'll get a brush up here, click, Shift, click. And see if there's any other parts, okay. Then I'm gonna say on layers again and I'm gonna look for other parts where it might not look appropriate. But most parts it's crazy isn't it? Now let's say though for some reason you needed it to be perfect. I'm not gonna spend the time to do it but you could say show me the black and white meaning show me the mask. And then you would notice that over here it's keeping little parts of the sky. Those little lightish areas. So what I would do is when I'm in the tool where you give Photoshop control, you know the one that's called the refine edge brush? Get a real small brush and you can take away control. There's a minus up here. See that minus? Or you can hold down Option, it does the same thing. And I'm just gonna say act like I never painted here with red, to give you control. And therefore before I painted with red up there, there was nothing over this area and anything where I've never painted across is stuff that should be thrown away. So I'm just gonna hold down option. I'm just gonna click and let go right there. And that should give it a little idea that those areas should be discarded, and right now it's actually not. Usually this would just suddenly pop where it's discarding it. I'm not certain why it's not 'cause I've actually done it on this image before. I did, some of the images you see Adobe use for demoing the new feature are mine and so I was working with this image before to do it. And it has worked in the past, I'm not certain why it's not now. But anyway that would take away or I could use the quick selection tool and see if this would do it, by saying take away. That's not doing a good job of it though. No, so I can, you have multiple undoes in here so you can undo as much as you want. But I would usually do the same thing over here where this beam is, is take away control. Let's see if it does is there. If it doesn't do it here than there's something in general broken with that feature at the moment. I've found that certain combinations of things, like doing certain things over here suddenly makes a certain tool not work the way it usually would. For instance if I currently go back to overlay and show show edge. Oftentimes it just doesn't work. It should show where I painted ya know? But this is a beta version of Photoshop so by the time the actual release version that might be fixed, but the main thing is the show edge, it always works right after you're done painting if that was the last thing you did. It's just that if you've switched your preview and you've messed with a bunch of stuff suddenly show edge doesn't do what it's supposed to. And that's the same thing with what I was just trying to show you had I not gone through the exact sequence that I'd done, it would usually have worked. So I'm gonna click OK there. So I know we concentrated quite a bit on one feature in Photoshop, a new feature for the version that just got introduced yesterday. That's because I find that feature works so well with furry, fuzzy, and hairy things. I would still use it in the old version where it was called refine edge. I would use it with furry, fuzzy, and hairy things. With the old version I would not have used it with trees. And I would not have used it with something that's this complex that's not furry, fuzzy, or hairy. It was not very good with crisp edged things in the old version. In the new version I found it's been improved dramatically, and therefore I use it for a lot more. But then we mix it up with a few other features to try to do some advanced masking, so. So this has been advanced masking. Tomorrow we're gonna get into smart objects. I know we mentioned smart objects a little bit in this class, but we're gonna get into them deep in the next class. Between now and then why don't you get on Facebook. We have a Facebook page you can always talk about your selection challenges. So if you have things different than what I demonstrated here you can ask for advice and other people will pop in and tell you how they tackle those particular kinds of images and if there's something that other people don't answer, I might answer it in our next Q and A which happens on Fridays. If you don't know how to get to the Facebook group here's the address to access it. And also the Facebook group is great even if you don't have questions. You just go there and read other peoples questions and you'll learn like crazy, so it's kinda a nice supplement. If you wanna find me online here are various options for doing so. And this has been another installment of Photoshop CC, the complete guide. I hope to see you tomorrow.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Color Palettes
Edges and Textures
Hand-drawn Frames
Hand-drawn Graphics
Layout Templates
Practice Images - Lesson 18: Tips and Tricks
Practice Images - Lesson 19: Actions and Automation
Practice Images - Lesson 17: Advanced Layers
Practice Images - Lesson 12: Advanced Masking
Practice Images - Lesson 15: Advanced Retouching
Practice Images - Lesson 10: Blending Modes
Practice Images - Lesson 2: Camera Raw
Practice Images - Lesson 8: Color Adjustments
Practice Images - Lesson 5: Layer Masks
Practice Images - Lesson 4: Layers
Practice Images - Lesson 9: Retouching Essentials
Practice Images - Lesson 3: Selection Essentials
Practice Images - Lesson 14: Shooting for Photoshop
Practice Images - Lesson 13: Smart Objects
Practice Images - Lesson 1: Starting from Zero
Practice Images - Lesson 7: Tonal Adjustments
Practice Images - Lesson 6: Tools and Panels
Practice Images - Lesson 20: Troubleshooting and Advice
Practice Images - Lesson 16: Warp Bend Liquify
Practice Images - Lesson 11: Filters
Script Elements
Week 1 - Day 1 Homework
Week 1 - Day 2 Homework
Week 1 - Day 3 Homework
Week 1 - Day 4 Homework
Week 1 - Day 5 Homework
Week 1 - Photoshop CC Workbook
Bit Depth
Color Modes
Color Spaces
Logic of Keyboard Shortcuts
Pen Tool
Week 2 - Day 6 Homework
Week 2 - Day 7 Homework
Week 2 - Day 8 Homework
Week 2 - Day 9 Homework
Week 2 - Day 10 Homework
Week 2 - Photoshop CC Workbook
Homework - Shooting for Photoshop in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Smart Objects in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Filters in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Advanced Masking in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Advanced Retouching in Adobe Photoshop CC
Week 3 - Photoshop CC Workbook
Homework - Warp, Bend, Liquify, in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Tips & Tricks in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Actions & Automation in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Troubleshooting & Advice in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Advanced Layers in Adobe Photoshop CC
Week 4 - Photoshop CC Workbook
Bens Actions Sampler ReadMe
Bens Actions Sampler
Bens Styles Sampler ReadMe
Bens Styles Sampler
Texture Sampler
Save for Web
Facebook Q&A #1
Facebook Q&A #2
Q&A #3
PSD Preferences
File Formats
Customizing PSD

Ratings and Reviews


Ben Willmore is exceptionally and intimately knowledgeable about Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, including Bridge and Camera Raw, and how they work together. He's also a wonderful photographer. That's great, but what's even better for us is that he's an incredible and generous teacher. He shares his knowledge and experience in an organized, thorough, thoughtful and relatable way. I envy his efficiency with words and ideas! He isolates hard-to-understand concepts - things we'd be unlikely to figure out on our own - and explains them in simple terms and with on point and memorable examples. I completely enjoy Ben's teaching methods and his personality. His admiration and appreciation of his wife, Karen, are telling of what a good guy he must be, and he's got just an overall pleasant personality. I love his amusement when something "ridiculous" happens during an edit! This bootcamp is fantastic and just what I need. It's only one of Ben's many CL classes that I've watched and learned from - they are all excellent. Thank you, Ben Willmore. (And Karen!)

Lynn Buente

I purchased this course ---SMART MOVE!--because, at 74, I learn more slowly and need more practice. While I've had some "novice" experience with PS, this course is moving me along in a totally different way. Most tutorials just tell you what to do. Ben tells you not only WHAT to do, but WHY (--or why not) and HOW. Understanding better can lead to using the practices in PS more fluently AND to greater freedom to be creative. I find Ben's approach to be kind of a "come as you are" session. No matter where you are on the learning spectrum, there is something to review, something new, or a brand new challenge. The relaxed manner of presentation is great, but doesn't minimize the content of the class. I appreciate the additional explanations and theory. These help to make total sense of the tools and practices of good editing. I would really recommend that, if possible, you purchase the course. The practice images, the homework, and the evolving workbook are great review and reference points. Personally, I have downloaded the classes by week so I can view, re-view, and stop, start, and repeat segments as often as I need to --which is often! Also, sometimes I like to view and work on one segment of the class at a time. My study of this course will be a LOT LONGER than four weeks, and I know I'll be referring to it as long as I'm a Photoshop user. Thanks, Ben! (And thanks to your wife for her contribution as well.)

Carol Senske

I've used PS for about five years in many of it's various versions. Learning on your won is a tough proposition, and I've struggled the whole time. Seeing work I admired and that inspired me to strive for great er things then not being ablr to figure out how to do them was a major frustration. The jargon was sometimes foreign, the complexity of the program overwhelming but I soldiered on and learned bits and pieces. A friend recommended Ben's course and I immediately came to CL to see what she was so thrilled about - I was amazed! Ben is down-to-earth, explains each step, gives shortcuts, defines terms, and shows how to accomplish what he's teaching. After two weeks I bought the class. I not only bought the Photoshop course but I added the Lightroom course as well. I'll do that, on my own, when things slow down a bit, and I have no doubt that course will help me even more than the PS course. I'm totally at sea with LR. I like Ben's teaching style, appreciate all the homework and extras included, and greatly appreciate the magnificent, easy to use, workbook by Ben's wife. I give my wholehearted endorsement for this course!

Student Work