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Masks and Channels in Adobe Photoshop CS6

Article Description

Learn how to create a mask to remove a subject from a background, refine a mask to include complex edges, create a quick mask to make changes to a selected area, edit a mask using the Properties panel, manipulate an image using Puppet Warp, save a selection as an alpha channel, view a mask using the Channels panel, load a channel as a selection, isolate a channel to make specific image changes.

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Creating a quick mask

Creating a quick mask

You’ll create a quick mask to change the color of the glasses frames. First, you’ll clean up the Layers panel.

  1. Hide the Magazine Background layer so you can focus on the model. Then delete the Layer 0 and Layer 0 copy layers. Click Yes or Delete to confirm deletion of the layers or their masks, if prompted; you do not need to apply the mask to the current layer because Layer 0 copy 2 already has the mask applied.
  2. 2. Double-click the Layer 0 copy 2 layer name, and rename it Model.
  3. Click the Edit In Quick Mask Mode button in the Tools panel. (By default, you have been working in Standard mode.)
  4. In Quick Mask mode, a red overlay appears as you make a selection, masking the area outside the selection the way a rubylith, or red acetate, was used to mask images in traditional print shops. You can apply changes only to the unprotected area that is visible and selected. Notice that the highlight for the selected layer in the Layers panel appears gray instead of blue, indicating you’re in Quick Mask mode.

  5. In the Tools panel, select the Brush tool (Image).
  6. In the options bar, make sure that the mode is Normal. Open the Brush pop-up panel, and select a small brush with a diameter of 13 px. Click outside the panel to close it.
  7. Paint the earpiece of the glasses frames. The area you paint will appear red, creating a mask.
  8. Continue painting with the Brush tool to mask the earpiece of the frames and the frame around the lenses. Reduce the brush size to paint around the lenses. Don’t worry about the part of the earpiece that is overlapped by hair; the color change won’t affect that area.
  9. In Quick Mask mode, Photoshop automatically defaults to Grayscale mode, with a foreground color of black, and a background color of white. When using a painting or editing tool in Quick Mask mode, keep these principles in mind:

    • Painting with black adds to the mask (the red overlay) and decreases the selected area.
    • Painting with white erases the mask (the red overlay) and increases the selected area.
    • Painting with gray partially adds to the mask.
  10. Click the Edit In Standard Mode button to exit Quick Mask Mode.
  11. The unmasked area is selected. Unless you save a quick mask as a more permanent alpha-channel mask, Photoshop discards the temporary mask once it is converted to a selection.

  12. Choose Select > Inverse to select the area you originally masked.
  13. Choose Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation.
  14. In the Hue/Saturation dialog box, change the Hue to 70. The new green color fills the glasses frame. Click OK.
  15. Choose Select > Deselect.
  16. Save your work so far.
6. Manipulating an image with Puppet Warp | Next Section Previous Section