Movie 07


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Movie 07

  1. 1. Movie 7 Color Range masking 1
  2. 2. Martin Evening Color Range masking So far I have introduced you to using the quick selection tool combined with Refine Edge to replace a background. Let’s now look at how to create a cut-out mask for a more tricky subject where quite clearly, the quick selection tool would be of little help here. Advanced users might be tempted to use channel calculations to mask a picture like this. That could work, but you know, there is a simpler way. Since that the Color Range has been updated it can now be considered an effective tool for creating mask selections prior to applying controlled image adjustments, or when compositing images together. In fact, I would say that the quick selection and Color Range adjustment are powerful tools that offer relatively speedy (and sophisticated) masking. 1 This shows a photograph taken of a sailing ship mast against a deep blue sky. Obviously, creating a cut-out mask of the complex rigging can be regarded as a tricky task. One approach would be to analyze the individual RGB color channels and see if there was a way to blend them together to create a good cut-out. An easier way was to use the new improved Color range command. So to start with, I went to the Select menu and chose ‘Color Range...’ 2 This PDF is provided free with the Adobe Photoshop CS4 for Photographers book. Not for distribution or resale.
  3. 3. Martin Evening 2 This opened the dialog shown below, where the standard eyedropper was selected. You can simply click with the eyedropper anywhere in the image window to sample a color to mask with, but to create a more accurate selection, I checked the ‘Localized Color Clusters’ box and then used the plus eyedropper (circled) to add to the Color Range selection. You can click or drag inside the image to add more colors to the selection and also use the minus eyedropper (or hold down the OA key) to subtract from the selection. The Fuzziness slider increases or decreases the number of pixels that are selected based on how similar pixels are in color to the already sampled pixels, while the Range slider determines which pixels are included based on how far in distance they are from the already selected pixels. The Color Range preview is rather tiny, so you may find it helps to do what I did here, which was to select the Grayscale Selection Preview so that I could see the mask big on the screen. 3 You should be able to get a good mask using Color Range on its own, but if not, you can do what I did here, and apply a direct Levels adjustment (Cl Ll) to boost the mask contrast. 3 This PDF is provided free with the Adobe Photoshop CS4 for Photographers book. Not for distribution or resale.
  4. 4. Martin Evening 4 Having completed the selection I clicked on the ‘Add layer mask’ button in the Layers panel to convert the active selection to a layer mask, that masked the ship mast layer, I then wanted to blend the masked image with a photograph of a cloudy sky. This could be done by dragging the masked ship mast layer to the sky image, or as I did here, drag the sky as a layer to the ship mast image and place it at the bottom of the layer stack. 5 This shows a 1:1 close-up view of the masked layer overlaying the sky layer. In the Masks panel there was no need to feather the mask. Instead, I clicked on the Mask Edge... button. 4 This PDF is provided free with the Adobe Photoshop CS4 for Photographers book. Not for distribution or resale.
  5. 5. Martin Evening 6 This shows the finished composite image, in which I used the Refine Edge controls to fine-tune the mask edges. As in the previous example, I selected the ‘Standard’ view mode (circled) and used Ch Lh to hide the marching ants. I was then able to preview the Refine Edge adjustments on a layer mask that actively masked the Gradient Fill layer. I didn’t have to do too much here. I set the Radius to 0.6 pixels, contracted the mask by -15% and set the Refine Edge Feather to 0.5 pixels. 5 This PDF is provided free with the Adobe Photoshop CS4 for Photographers book. Not for distribution or resale.
  6. 6. Martin Evening Adobe™ Photoshop™ CS4 for Photographers This PDF on digital capture is supplied on the DVD that comes with Martin Evening’s book: Adobe Photoshop CS4 for Photographers. This latest update in the Adobe Photoshop for Photographers series contains 704 pages in full color, plus a DVD containing video tutorials. The book layout has been further improved to make navigation easier and contains updated advice on everything you need to know about using Photoshop, from digital capture to print output, as well as all that is new in Adobe Photoshop CS4. PDF usage This PDF extract is available to view and print. You may share this PDF file or any links to the PDF file with others, but the copyright of the material and images remain the property of myself. The contents may not be modified in any way, or used commercially without express permission from the author. Website There is a website for the book from where you can find more information and download more PDF sample pages from the book. 6 To order the book Adobe Photoshop CS4 for Photographers is published by Focal Press. ISBN: 9780240521251 The title is stocked in most major bookstores throughout the world and is also available to purchase from: as well as through the on-line bookstores: and This PDF is provided free with the Adobe Photoshop CS4 for Photographers book. Not for distribution or resale.