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LinkedIn Learning

Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals

via LinkedIn Learning


Shows how to make selections, refine the selections with masks, and then combine them in new ways.

Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals is the introductory installment of Deke McClelland's four-part series on making photorealistic compositions in Photoshop. The course shows how to make selections, refine the selections with masks, and then combine them in new ways, using layer effects, blend modes, and other techniques to create a single seamless piece of artwork. Deke introduces the Channels panel and the alpha channel, the key to masking and transparency in Photoshop; reviews the selection tools, including the Color Range tool , Quick Mask mode, and the Refine Edge command; and shows how to blend masked images so they interact naturally.


  • Loading my custom dekeKeys shortcuts
  • Adjusting the color settings
  • Setting up a power workspace
  • Welcome
1. It All Starts with the Channel
  • The Masks and Channels panels
  • How color channels work
  • Viewing channels in color
  • How RGB works
  • Single-channel grayscale
  • Mixing a custom "fourth" channel
  • The other three-channel mode: Lab
  • A practical application of Lab
  • The final color mode: CMYK
  • Introducing the Multichannel mode
  • Creating a unique multichannel effect
  • The channel is the origin of masking
2. The Magic of Masking
  • The origins of the alpha channel
  • How a mask works
  • Making an alpha channel
  • Using the new channel icons
  • Saving an image with alpha channels
  • Loading a selection from a channel
  • Putting a mask into play
  • Loading a selection from a layer
  • Loading a selection from another image
  • The alpha channel is home to the mask
3. The Science of Compositing
  • Viewing a mask as a rubylith overlay
  • Changing a mask's overlay color
  • Painting inside a mask
  • Cleaning up and confirming
  • Combining masks
  • Painting behind and inside a layer
  • Blending image elements
  • What to do when layers go wrong
  • Hiding layer effects with a mask
  • Introducing clipping masks
  • Unclipping and masking a shadow
  • The mask meets the composition
4. The Essentials of Selecting
  • The marquee tools
  • The single-pixel tools (plus tool tricks)
  • Turning a destructive edit into a layer
  • Making shapes of specific sizes
  • The lasso tools
  • Working with the Magnetic Lasso tool
  • The Quick Selection tool
  • Combining Quick Selection and Smudge
  • The Magic Wand and the Tolerance value
  • Contiguous and Anti-aliased selections
  • Making a good selection with the Magic Wand
  • Selecting and replacing a background
  • Resolving edges with layer effects
  • Adding lines of brilliant gold type
  • The seven selection soldiers
5. The Versatility of Combining and Transforming
  • Introducing "selection calculations"
  • Combining two different tools
  • Selections and transparency masks
  • Selecting an eye
  • Masking and blending a texture into skin
  • Painting a texture into an eye
  • Combining layers, masks, channels, and paths
  • Moving selection outlines vs. selected pixels
  • Transforming and warping a selection outline
  • Pasting an image inside a selection
  • Adding volumetric shadows and highlights
  • Converting an image into a mask
  • Selections reign supreme
6. The Unmatched Power of Color Range
  • Introducing the Color Range command
  • Working in the Color Range dialog box
  • Primary colors and luminance ranges
  • A terrific use for Color Range
  • Introducing the Quick Mask mode
  • Moving a selection into a new background
  • Smoothing the mask, recreating the corners
  • Integrating foreground and background
  • Creating a cast shadow from a layer
  • Releasing and masking layer effects
  • Creating a synthetic rainbow effect
  • Masking and compositing your rainbow
  • The best selection tools are commands
7. The Unearthly Joy of Refinement
  • Introducing the Refine Mask command
  • Automated edge detection
  • Turning garbage into gold
  • Starting with an accurate selection
  • Selection outline in, layer mask out
  • Matching a scene with Smart Filters
  • Cooling a face, reflecting inside eyes
  • Creating a layer of ghoulish skin
  • Adding dark circles around the eyes
  • Creating a fake blood effect
  • Establishing trails of blood
  • Integrating the blood into the scene
  • The ultimate in masking automation
8. The Rewards of Everyday Masking
  • Choosing the ideal base channel
  • Converting a channel into a mask
  • Painting with the Overlay mode
  • Painting with the Soft Light mode
  • Mask, composite, refine, and blend
  • Creating a more aggressive mask
  • Blending differently masked layers
  • Creating a hair-only mask
  • Using history to regain a lost mask
  • Separating flesh tones from hair
  • Adjusting a model's color temperature
  • Introducing the Calculations command
  • Extracting a mask from a Smart Object
  • Integrating a bird into a new sky
  • Creating synthetic rays of light
  • Masking and compositing light
  • Introducing a brilliant light source
  • Using the image to select itself
9. The Mechanics of Layer Masks
  • White reveals, black conceals
  • Layer masking tips and tricks
  • Generating a layer mask with Color Range
  • The Masks panel's bad options
  • The Masks panel's good options
  • Creating and feathering a vector mask
  • Combining pixel and vector masks
  • Working with path outlines
  • Combining paths into a single vector mask
  • Sharpening detail, reducing color noise
  • Recreating missing details
  • Masking glass
  • Refining a jagged Magic Wand mask
  • Masking multiple layers at one time
  • Establishing a knockout layer
  • Clipping and compositing tricks
  • The synthesis of masking and compositing
More to Come
  • Next steps

Taught by

Deke McClelland

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