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Hidden Power Support Support and discussion area for Richard Lynch's book and software series

Create Layer Mask?

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  #11  
Old 11-26-2003, 07:57 PM
Shotster Shotster is offline
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Oips!

I had forgotten what I had done! I was able to simplify things even further by clicking the Highlight Mask and then just creating the Levels layer with the selection active. It automatically adds a mask based on the selection. No need to fill with black.

I still can't adjust it like I want though. Anyway, just wanted to clarify.

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Steve
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  #12  
Old 11-26-2003, 07:58 PM
Susan S. Susan S. is offline
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Shotster - once you've got the greyscale into the layer mask, then you can do anything you like on it (it seems) , simply by activating the layer mask by alt-clicking it - you can then blur, adjust levels and run filters etc, and alt-clicking again allows you to judge the effect on the image.

Personally I find it a bit easier to see the effect of fiddling with the mask if you use clipping groups rather than layer masks - but it depends on what you are used to I guess.

Susan S.
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  #13  
Old 11-26-2003, 09:19 PM
Shotster Shotster is offline
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One thing you can't do with a layer mask, I just learned, is Curves. Bummer! I get a message that the "Make" command isn't available.

By "clipping group", do you mean grouping layers?


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Steve
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  #14  
Old 11-26-2003, 11:10 PM
Susan S. Susan S. is offline
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Yes - that's what I meant. Sorry to be obscure!
- and you can use a curves adjustment layer to modify a grouped layer mask much more easily..I hadn't tried that one on real layer mask.
Susan S.
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  #15  
Old 11-27-2003, 06:03 AM
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Richard_Lynch Richard_Lynch is offline
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If I am understanding what is going on here, you can adjust the layer mask with Curves, but you have to make the adjustment in a different way--Curves will only function as adjustment layers which will not allow you to adjust the mask directly (I'd have to create a new tool to help you do more). the adjustment with Curves will have to be applied to a separate grayscale layer (which in my original steps was part of what I meant by assembling the gray content). to adjust afterwards, the tools must be applied directly to the mask which means you are limited to certain tools (such as levels), or the mask has to be copied, manipulated, and re-applied.

As Susan suggests, layer clipping would probably be my preference...but not everyone works the same. if the mask needed to be adjusted with a curve, why not adjust the curve before (pages 84-88)? if you need a preview, and can base on color, Hue/Sat masking would seem to be the right thing to use.

Perhaps it is time to have a look at the example? I am sure that I can come up with many different ways to mask, but would do better in targeting the technique if I could see the image. I have several unpublished tools, and there might be something I can dredge up as a solution...but usually what I have already provided can solve the problem. In this case, however, you really can't even apply a curve adjustment layer to a layer mask in Photoshop (one of the reasons I don't necessarily like Adobe's implementation of channels as a separate palette)...In other words, I'd have to see why you need to accomplish this, and then I may have an easier time seeing the needed result -- at the same time, everything may not be possible.

make sense?

Susan, it obviously often comes down to preference, and in fact i happen to like clipping myself -- or I'd have included the layer mask tool in the book. (My point was to try to stick with functionality that Adobe wouldn't probably remove for version 3 -- several things were actually removed between Elements 1 and 2). Lots of people requested it, though...

Lets see that picture!
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  #16  
Old 11-27-2003, 09:13 PM
Shotster Shotster is offline
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Hi Richard,

My issue isn't image specific. I'm just looking to hone my workflow when post-processing images from a digital camera. I want to spend as little time as possible dealing with each image. Here's the scoop...

I'm into digital photography, and due to current limitations inherent in the technology - specifically, the limited dynamic range of CCD and CMOS sensors - I take one of two approaches when photographing a scene with a broad dynamic range.

1) If the range is broad enough, I use a "blended exposure" technique - i.e. compositing two frames, one of which is exposed for highlights and one for shadows. For this approach, I use your blend mask tool to isolate the highlights so I can composite them with the other frame.

2) If the dynamic range is not too great or if taking two separate photos is not possible (e.g. I'm not using a tripod or the scene is changing too quickly), I will expose for the highlights and then do my best to "rescue" the shadows.

For this latter approach, I had been using your blend mask tool and layer grouping. After reading about alternative approaches to "opening up shadows", I decided to give them a try. I found that I can get very good results in less time by using a layer mask approach. The advantages I've noticed with using layer masks are as follows:

* Quicker - For me, it's quicker because there is less mouse clicking.

* Less Screen Clutter - For example, to do a selective levels adjustment requires a single layer in the layers palette, whereas three layers are needed with the blend mask approach (the mask layer, the duplicated and grouped image layer, and the grouped levels adjustment layer).

* Less Disk Space - The file size is significantly smaller when using layer masks to affect a single background layer. I suspect this is because the background must be duplicated so that it can be grouped with each blend mask. Thus, it's like storing multiple copies of the image for each targeted adjustment. I know layers can be merged and flattened, but I often save a layered copy of my images so that I can go back and tweak them if necessary.

* No Special Tools Required - The layer mask approach can all be done with native PSE functionality. This is particularly important because I may be providing some instruction to those starting out in digital photography, and the more that can be done with just PSE without additional expense, the better. Also, I think it's a bit more intuitive for the beginner since black is effectively opaque, while white allows the layer to "show through".

Anyway, that's what I've noticed. If I'm overlooking or misunderstanding something, please let me know. Don't get me wrong, your book and tools are great. I could not get by without them. It's just that I think I've found a better way for this commonly performed task.

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Steve
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