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Class Introduction

Lesson 1 from: Masking for Composite Photography

Lisa Carney

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Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction

Next Lesson: Analytics

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

We are gonna talk about masking for compositing. This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart, and why it is near and dear to my heart is because I am an entertainment advertising re-toucher and I deal with this daily. Absolutely daily. And I would like to start a foundational conversation about masking here. So, I'm gonna try to bring for me, for those of you who know me, this is gonna be bringing it way down, if I can. And way slowly, because this is kind of a problem in our industry. And it's a quality issue. So, we talk characteristics of good masking, it's that elements blend seamlessly into the background and not like this. Now this image that I am showing up on the screen, which is not nice of me to show, I just found in the high-end, very high-end hotel here in Seattle, in the room. Eight by ten image. And this is something that I deal with all the time at work. The work is sub-par. And I wanna talk about that. So, I know it's not sexy to talk about, but, with Photoshop ...

and all the quick tools they have, like the quick select and the quick masking, yeah, that's really awesome. It's quick. Isn't this great? But, it's a start and it's not the finish and more and more, I'm seeing people think that they are done. And they're not done, and stuff like this is getting produced, and it's not okay. And it's affecting people's lively-hoods. So, I wanna have a little conversation here, a come to Jesus moment, if you will. So, I understand, for your average bear, that has low-rez needs, quick select and mask and select, and select subject are awesome. But, with pro-level work and pro-level file sizes and pro-level quality needs, it's not good enough. And I'm finding more and more folks who come to me, wanting to work with me, wanting jobs. And I'll give them a masking test, and it's not good enough. There are people who actually work in our industry, who are getting paid, who, their masking's not good enough. So clearly there's kind of this fundamental problem here that I wanna talk about. Hobbyists ... And I mean, christ, if you want to take your ex out of a picture, and print your Christmas card, rock on. Those things are amazing, absolutely. But, if you're doing a billboard, or if you're doing an ad for your local four-star/five-star hotel, then the skills need to be up to bit. So, I feel like we have to have kind of this conversation to come back. And my goal here is, I want to...I want to talk to the pros. I want to teach you pro-level stuff. I want talk to people who are interested in making an income, making a living from this. So, if you're a hobbyist, and that quick select stuffs for you, Rock on. Move on. But, if you wanna get better, then please-- That sounded judgemental. I don't mean that judgmental. I really want to talk about pro techniques. So, being a pro or not being a pro, is not good or bad, it's just who you are and where you sit. So, we're gonna talk about foundations, and there's a guy here at Creative Live named Peter Hurley. He's a photographer, he's got a lighting class. And he said something that I thought was so great. He said, "Build your base and then get complicated later." And I think that's kind of where we need to be on masking. I know this is not sexy. But, it's foundational. So, this is really important to me, and that's why I'm going slow, because this is all about craftsmanship. With that being said, the other thing I think I need to address right off the bat is, it's really hard to evaluate your skill level. So, I feel like most people think that they are more advanced than they are. And then they get into the weeds really quickly, and then they get angry. And I don't want anybody angry. I'm teaching high-end techniques. It's not a snob thing. It's just the quality of work that's required for the job, It's not a judgment thing. And I want you guys to work like a pro. And so that's my goal here. So, please, if you're out there and you're getting a little frustrated as this goes along or as you're working, try to manage your frustration. I promise you, if you put the time in, and you put the effort in, you're gonna get there. The key is to not go too fast. Okay, slow down please. I know that's ironic as hell coming from me. Absolutely, because I don't do anything slow.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Masking for Composite Presentation & Notes
Masking Photoshop Actions

Ratings and Reviews

Katie McLellan

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


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


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

Student Work