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PROPER masking.

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Old 08-05-2009, 12:22 PM
Gee Gee is offline
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PROPER masking.

hello, few questions here.
hope you'll drop few tips!

i'm really interested about doing proper/sharp masks.

sometimes i select what i want to via the color range that i copy into a mask (& brushing in blacks where i want to)
i like this cuz it gives me sharp edges/proper masks in some areas i'd want to
but it doesnt work all the time for everything, for sure!

for ex it's really useful for toning the picture, but not that much for masking out the subject/talent from the fore/background

and for that cases i... wacom my masks a lot.
and you all know better than me that masking a picture with brushes isnt perfect at all. :/

what are your fav techs? steps? tips?
thanks a lot
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Old 08-05-2009, 12:43 PM
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philbach philbach is offline
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Re: PROPER masking.

Well Russell Brown has a nice tutorial on masking.
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Old 08-05-2009, 04:29 PM
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MacBurg MacBurg is offline
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Re: PROPER masking.

Always depends on the subject and the image, and each tool in PS will have its advantages in certain areas of each image. I always use a combination of the tools to create a single mask, however I do prefer to do most of it with the brush.

When the "Refine Edges" tool came into PS I thought it was great, you could do a lot to a selection all within one window, but after seeing the difference between feather and gaussian blur, I now do everything in single steps and much prefer gaussian blur to soften edges.

I also use "Save Selection" a lot to save temporary and final masks, and often build a final mask out of many temporary selections created using different tools. For me the big advantage of using a brush to create masks is the ability to have the right amount of edge blur to match the blur of the edge in the image. As far as I know there's no other tool in PS that can create a line that starts with a small amount of blur and increases along an edge ending in a larger amount of blur. I still use the magic wand for quick selections of obvious areas with good contrast, but will only use it in these high contrast areas.

If different parts of your image need more or less blur to suit the edges within the image, I create a good selection of an area with all the same edges, save that selection as a channel, then blur. Then create the next selection for the next similar edges, blur, then add this to the previous mask.

Creating a good and accurate subject mask is one of the first steps I do when editing an image, as it will get used many times throughout the image edit and its handy to always have it saved as a channel and ready for use on any adjustment.

Skin Only
Subject Only
Sky Only
Eyes & Mouth Only
Hair Only
Monkey Only

These are all common words for me in my channels palette in PS...

Obviously if you are going to liquify or change the perspective of the image this should be done first. However if you do make a change to elements of the image using the "Transform" tool, directly after making making the change go to "Edit" and use "Transform Again" on the saved mask channel.

I hope some of this info is of help, again there are so many ways to create a good mask in PS, lots of tool to consider for each image all based on the content of the image.
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Old 08-05-2009, 05:49 PM
eraanexact eraanexact is offline
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Re: PROPER masking.

That's some solid advice, MacBurg. But the real question is how much monkey retouching are you doing that "Monkey Only" is a common channel name occurrence?
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Old 08-05-2009, 06:54 PM
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Markzebra Markzebra is offline
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Re: PROPER masking.

i'm really interested about doing proper/sharp masks.
If you really want hard edges, then why not … the Magic Wand, or the slow Select Tool? Seriously, if you are the type that loves to isolate everything with solid edges then you need to learn about the Pen Tool. Vector layer masks are now pretty useful - in CS4 they can be softened, which is a new but missed capability.

Last edited by Markzebra; 09-13-2009 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:05 PM
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d00dle d00dle is offline
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Re: PROPER masking.

donna which is a proper way about doing mask, but where i used to work with tablet and brush, they zoom x1200-x1600 and hand paint pixel by pixel all day.
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Old 08-06-2009, 05:40 AM
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Nasturtium Nasturtium is offline
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Re: PROPER masking.

It really depends on the picture. You can't beat the pen tool for separating the subject from the background if there are sharp edges. Otherwise use D&B if there's some contrast to work with.

And it depends on what I'm doing. Luminosity masks are great for manipulating the tone. Channel masks are nice for recovering details in digital painting & texture work.
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Old 08-06-2009, 07:40 AM
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snook305 snook305 is offline
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Re: PROPER masking.

I use the pen tool for about everything and or the channel masks, usually the blue is best. The I put a slight Blur on my mask to smooth out the edges.. With people you usually do not want hard hard edges.
Also the grow, contract and expand commands will be you best friend...
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Old 08-06-2009, 09:46 AM
Gee Gee is offline
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Re: PROPER masking.

thanks for the tips every1, i'm gonna try out when i'm gonna have new series to work on.
and trust me, i want them damn good... or at least a little bit better from what i did so far

really thanks for the tips.
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