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Lecture Comments (3)

2 answers

Last reply by: Jean-Claude Schellenberg
Sun Feb 2, 2014 3:36 AM

Post by Jean-Claude Schellenberg on January 27, 2014


Hi Michael,

Great course. This lesson shows a useful trick using backslash which I would like to use.

Could you please let me know how you do a backslash with a Swiss wireless Mac keyboard? As far as I know recent wireless Mac keyboards have no backslash key and I suspect a script is needed to do a backslash in PS CS6 (shift-alt-7 works outside PS but not in PS). I use Mac OS X 10.6.8 on a Mac Pro 2009.

Many thanks for your help.

Best regards,

Jean-Claude Schellenberg

Layers & Masks Examples

  • To turn a layer mask into an editable (by painting - like Quick Mask) transparent overlay, highlight the mask (you will see a bold frame around the mask), and click the BACKSLASH key ( just to the right of the bracket keys ).
  • Now you can paint with a brush to add or remove or create new masked areas to the Layer Mask. When you are finished, click the BACKSLASH key again and it will return to a normal B&W layer mask!
  • This is an amazing time saver, and is not in the textbooks!

Layers & Masks Examples

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Lesson Overview 0:07
  • Layers, Masks & Adjustments 1:04
    • Making The Selection, Layers, and Mask
    • Adjustments: Cove & Ocean
    • Adjustments: Sky
    • Adjustments: Land

Transcription: Layers & Masks Examples

Hi there everyone, Mike Brown again with you, welcome back to's Adobe Photoshop CS6 course.0000

In the last two lessons we've discussed layers, adjustment layers, masks and masks' relationship to alpha channels and showed you how they all interact and work.0007

In this lesson, this is going to take all of those pieces and put them together, and we're going to retouch an image for exposure and color using layers, adjustment layers and masks and the alpha channels, all the pieces.0019

From start to finish, utilizing only a single selection--this is how to think and do things efficiently a different way, and I'm going to show you a trick that is not in the textbooks anywhere that can really change how efficiently you work, so let's get started.0037

Sit back and enjoy this one and follow along.0058

OK, here's an image, I'm going to change the screen mode; letter F, Hand tool, move it over, zoom it out just a little so you can see it, we'll keep the Layers panel here, and we'll keep the Channels panel.0062

So, first off as we've been going along, we'll look at this image and see what needs to be done.0078

Our sky is over exposed, the ocean is over exposed, the land mass is too dark, the beach area has no pop and the foreground, the colors are OK--it's a little yellow-red but that's sunset view, you get that kind of yellow haze, but it doesn't snap much.0086

So the way I look at it, the sky is one, the ocean is two, the cove is three, the bluff is four and the foreground land mass is five different areas that we need to attack to get this image done.0105

Normally you would say "oh gee, that's five selections...not", we're going to do one selection and modify that selection via masks as we go along to create new selections from the original very easily, watch.0122

And I'm going to show you an unbelievable trick that turns your masks into just like Quick Mask--we've been looking at the masks in black and white, and now we can see them as a transparent overlay--this is the trick that's not in the books.0141

So let's get started.0159

OK, first off we need to make a major selection.0161

We have sky, sea, all the way up into the cove, so let's go ahead and make a selection of that (I'm going to default the foreground and background here) Quick Selection tool, increase the brush just a little bit and we'll just run it through the ocean, down into the cove, and there it's cooking.0164

So let's Quick Mask now; Q or the Quick Mask icon, zoom it up, take a look.0183

We can see already, that it's going to have to be feathered--you can see how harsh it is, but let me change the opacity back a little bit because I want to see through it just a little bit more, there, that's better.0190

This way I can see where the ocean is.0206

We're going to paint, and what we do is white paints away, X flips them, and we're going to make a smaller brush here--left bracket key to make it smaller, and I'm just going to paint down in here until I get into that foam area, and I think that's ocean--yes it is.0208

OK, that's pretty close, a couple of rocks there but not a problem.0227

Let's quickly follow our way around, let's paint a little of that foam out, those are good...that's pretty close...making the transition edge here--we'll just put some feather in it, but I'm not too concerned about the rocks getting darker or the foam getting brighter, that will match in there just fine anyway.0231

Let me--those rocks are a little too dark, put those back it, down here's a little foam there, paint that out...we'll just go ahead and do this one here...that one there...0254

I do see that we need to paint in the island, so let's make sure we're painting in black, and we'll just go ahead and quickly paint the rocks--try to leave that water alone that's in the center there...that looks pretty close--rock, rock, rock, close enough.0269

Anything else of consequence?0290

No, we're looking pretty good--right there should be white.0291

OK, out of Quick Mask, go to the Select menu, save selection, we're going to call it Sky and Ocean.0295

Now we have our basic selection--let's zoom out, de-select and let's take a look at the channels...come on, there we go.0306

My Pen tool is very sensitive today, so we'll click on that and there you see the Sky and the Ocean--I see I forgot to do one thing; I didn't feather the edge.0318

Let's go ahead and select it, let's get a highlight on any selection tool--go to refine edge, I'm going to feather it, two, click OK, and I'm going to save that selection over the original because it's the same selection with a softer edge.0330

Select, save selection, not new, save it over the Sky and Ocean, and you'll notice that as we zoom it up, we've got our nice little soft edge.0350

OK, we're good.0362

Now, let's go back to RGB, so what's the first thing we do with our image?0365

I should've done it at the very beginning...thank you, duplicate the background--Command on a Mac, Control on a PC plus the letter J for the shortcut, or duplicate layer here on the Layers dropdown or over here, now we have that.0371

So, the first thing I want to do is take the order.0388

I need the sky to come down, I need the ocean to come down, I need to snap the cove but I don't want to make it come down anymore, and we have a full selection of everything, so what I'm going to do is start with the cove and I'll show you how this works.0391

Got the whole selection, got layer one highlighted, we're going to make an adjustment layer for curves, and it's going to affect (as you see it made the mask--Option click, it made the mask) it's going to affect all of that but I only want to look at the ocean--I mean the cove, the inner cove, sorry.0407

So we're just going to put a point in the middle and snap the contrast to that cove, made it dark, we'll lighten it up a little bit...I think that'll work, let's take a look, off and on, it did affect it.0429

We can change a layer later--remember this is mathematical, but it's blown out everything else, so I want to try to modify this mask right down to the cove, very simple.0445

Here's the trick; if I do it this way I can't see where I want to paint, I'd like to do a Quick Mask--I can do that by loading the selection, making a Quick Mask and then saving it back...better way, don't even need to load it.0455

Highlight your layer thumbnail--mask thumbnail, click your backslash key--that's the key just immediately to the right of the right bracket key...pow, there you go, we can now see it all, we can actually paint on it and see what we're doing.0472

Here's the brush, we'll paint in red, let me get a nice, large brush with a soft edge--got it, and paint right there is where I want the transition and just paint out the rest.0489

And hit the backslash key again--backslash key...there you go.0503

Now, notice that the only effect that that layer has is now on the cove, so now let's go back, we want to do the ocean.0508

Command or Control load the selection again, highlight that layer so we can stack them up in order, your new adjustment layer or layers come in right above the active so now when we do curves here, it comes in with a new mask--we'll call this one Cove, name it so we don't get lost, we'll call this one Ocean.0518

OK, now, I want to modify this selection right now so that it's only the ocean, not the sky and not the cove, so the first thing I'm going to do (I got the mask highlighted) Command or Control click the Cove mask thumbnail, and there is (backslash key, well we're in the wrong one) there's the selection for the cove.0541

Down here, I'm going to hit the backslash key, and you notice that that mask now shows everything with the selection of the cove over it, all I have to do is paint.0566

De-select, and now hit the backslash key again--backslash takes it back, and now I have modified that and I can see I need to clean up an edge, see?0580

That's where the black and white comes in, there we go right there, Option out, and so now when I do my curves, it's only going to be the ocean and the sky, we'll take care of that...come on...boy, my cursor is going nuts today...0592

Bring it down a little bit, snap it so it pretty much matches the cove, see that?0610

Off, on, looks pretty good.0619

Now it hit the sky, but we'll fix that in just a half a second here.0620

We're going to hit the backslash key on that thumbnail--notice I highlighted the thumbnail, there it is.0627

We're going to come up and we're going to remove the sky...the way we're going to do that (get rid of these) I'm going to make my brush size smaller.0634

Now I want to just remove the sky, so I'm going to Shift...that will hold this in a straight line because that's the horizon line.0645

The bottom of my cursor right at the horizon--Shift...missed it, Shift, click and drag and it will drag straight, notice it's right across.0655

Now I'm going to move up a little bit and do the same thing again so I can make this big enough--do it one more time...there, now I can make the brush larger and paint out the sky...make it even bigger to do it quickly...and there you go.0668

Backslash key to get out, size it, get all the tools back, and now you can see that it only affects the ocean, and we have a clean horizon line.0690

I did something weird here...there we are, back, I hit Pen tool was going berserk.0707

Alright, so there's the ocean only, off and on, we're looking pretty good!0718

Alright, so now let's move on with this--we'll close that up--now I need to do the sky, and so what I'm going to do is I'm going to take and I'm going to load this selection, which has the sky edge, alright?0724

Bear with me...I'm going to invert that selection, and now it's the sky and notice how it's separate--if I hit the Quick Mask, there's our sky and all we have to do is paint in this, very simple.0740

Back here...curves, all this did that by loading that and flipping the selection, we're going to look with the backslash key, there we have it, all we have to do is paint the land mass, very easy.0752

Let's come right across here, and paint out the land...see how that works?0767

Just learning to play with a single selection and just like that we have the sky absolutely perfect--backslash key, take our curves and adjust the sky down...right about there looks pretty decent.0775

Now, I can see that the ocean is too bright, so we'll take that adjustment layer and pull it down just a little bit more...there we go, and let's zoom it back out, now we've got--the sky's a little dark, so let's name that sky by the way.0794

And let's open that up just a hair...there we are, that's much better, that looks reasonable.0815

Now let's deal with the land mass.0823

Notice how we're just thinking with this one selection--let's load it; sky only, so everything else is the land, Select, invert the selection.0826

Quick Mask, and there it is, there's the land mass!0836

Highlight again, and we're going to do another curves, and this one, we'll just do it only enough for the land mass in the foreground, comes up a little there, turn it off and on...foreground land, we've got that.0840

Now I can modify that mask for the other one; we'll go Command click and load it, back here one more curves, and we'll call this the Point, and we'll now backslash key, highlight the layer mask thumbnail, backslash, and all I want to deal with is the point and I'm also going to pull up the beach.0862

So what we're going to do is we're painting in black, I'll just start here and kind of follow loosely around the...beach area...or the...what would you call it...beach, shoreline.0890

OK, there we have that, again, that magic backslash, out we are, and now all we have to do is highlight the curves and open it up in that area...snap it just a little bit, bring it down, and there you go.0907

So let's close up the Properties panel, the Channels panel...let's leave the Channels open so you can see what we did.0924

So now, we're going to take our duplicated background layer and move it to the top.0932

Just drag it up to the top, and there's where we were, and there's where we are--what a huge modification and we did the whole thing by making a very simple selection of the sky and the water and making an adjustment for the cove, for the ocean, for the sky, for the foreground of the land, and for the point.0938

All by painting and modifying and using each one on the layers masks, very simple--I want you to follow through this lesson two or three times and look at it, plus the magical trick of the backslash key so that you can turn the mask into an editable overlay.0964

A phenomenal feature in Photoshop CS6.0985