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My newsletter Insights goes out Monday.

This issue features valuable techniques for making masking in Photoshop easy.

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You can refine any mask in Photoshop with a brush. How? Choose any Brush tool and paint on it. The Brush, Healing Brush, Clone Stamp, Eraser, Gradient, Blur, Smudge, Dodge and Burn tools all have their uses. Whether simple or complex, layer masks are just black and white images; you can do anything to a mask that you can do to a black and white image.

It’s important to remember this because you might not realized just how much you can refine a selection or mask. Sometimes tools like Quick Selection do an amazingly fast job of selecting specific image areas, but their results can be improved further with a brush. Many times the sophisticated selections made with tools like Select By Color Range (which will allow you to quickly select Shadows, Highlights, or single colors like Red, etc) end up selecting too many areas and you may want to remove some of those areas from the selected regions in a mask. Painting over those areas with a black brush is one way to do this. (By contrast painting over areas with white will remove any gray values and let the effect of a layer pass through unimpeded.) While there are many brushes you can refine them with, more often than not you’ll find yourself using a simple soft-edged brush to paint black and/or white at varying opacities. It’s a simple but powerful technique, making it extraordinarily useful.

There are many times you’ll want to manually refine a mask with a brush.

Here are a few examples.

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The edge of a contour made with the Quick Selection tool can be refined.

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A gradient can be removed from an area.

Here a gradient only affects the sky but not the mountain.

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Specific areas of a luminance mask can be removed.

Only the highlights of the lower portion of this image are affected.


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Specific areas of a selection made with Select By Color range can be removed.

One orange area is removed from the selection of other orange areas.

Read more about masking here.

View more in my DVD Drawing With Light.

Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

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Image before selective adjustment.

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Image after selective adjustment (dodging).

Mask

It takes fewer white strokes than black strokes to make this mask.

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So, instead of starting with a white mask, start with a black mask.

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The layer stack.

When you’re making masks in Photoshop, you can get the job done more quickly and easily by starting with the right color mask. When you make a mask, you can start with one of two colors – white or black. What’s the difference? A white mask shows everything on a layer as if it were at 100% opacity. A black mask hides everything on a layer as if it were at 0% opacity.

So use this simple strategy when you’re brushing in image adjustments with masks.

If you want to affect most of the image, start with a white mask and add a few black brush strokes to reduce the effect in smaller areas.

If you want to affect just a few areas of an image, start with a black mask and add a few white brush strokes to show the effect in only the areas you paint on.

For even more control, you can vary the opacity of the brush strokes you make to reveal or reduce effects partially. (Keep the Opacity of the layer being masked at 100% and then you can make the opacity of different areas vary based on the brush strokes you make.)

How do you make choose the color of the mask when you make it?

You can get a white mask when you target a layer and go to the menu Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All. Or, simply click the mask icon at the bottom of the layers palette.

Alternately, you can get a black mask when you target a layer and go to the menu Layer > Layer Mask > Hide All. Or, hold the option/alt key before you click the mask icon at the bottom of the layers palette.

A mask is automatically created when you make an adjustment layer. By default an adjustment layer mask is white. If you want to start with at black mask instead, hold the option/alt key before you make an adjustment layer.

To make masking even more efficient, you can start with a simple selection (made with any selection tool, including the Lasso, Marquee, Magic Wand, or Quick Selection tools) and then, while the selection is still active, make a mask. If you do this, the selected areas will appear in white and everything else will be blacked out on the mask. You can then brush the mask to refine it further.

But wait, there’s more! Remember, you can always invert a mask (making black white and vice versa) by going to the menu Image > Adjustments > Invert or pressing the keys Command I. So if you forget to start with the right color mask, just invert it.

These simple techniques will save you a great deal of time.

Read more about masking here.

View more in my DVD Drawing With Light.

Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

View new images here.

You’re invited!

to my

Exhibit Open Studio

New Work 2018


August 4-5, 2018

10 AM – 5 PM

Artist’s Talk 2 PM
Watch it live on Facebook.

73 Cross Road, Cushing, ME  04563

Find directions here.

Save 25% On Prints For A Limited Time Only!

Enter the code 25OFF during checkout.

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After you visit my special exhibit Open Studio 2018, you’ll have so many more exciting opportunities!

When you come to Cushing this weekend you’ll have an opportunity to visit the studios of 5 other artists (Pam Cabanas, Vic Goldsmith, Jody Paine, David Sears, and David Vickery ) and 2 small museums (The Bernard Langlais Sculpture Preserve and the Olson House, where Andrew Wyeth’s iconic Christina’s World was painted).

And, Rockland “The Art Capital Of Maine”, is hopping right now!

Follow these links and find out more.

The Maine Lobster Festival

The Farnsworth Art Museum

The Center For Maine Contemporary Art

The Langlais Sculpture Preserve

The Olson House

Cushing Salt & See Art Tour

John Paul Caponigro’s Open Studio

Find my recommended restaurants here.

Find more recommended places to visit here.

Find locations to photograph in my ebook Maine Destinations.

This weekend is a great time to visit Maine!

Find out more about Mark Klett here.

View more 12 Great Photographs collections here.

Explore The Essential Collection Of Quotes By Photographers.

Explore The Essential Collection Of Documentaries On Photographers.


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