Filter Factory Tactical Masking - part 1 of 1 2 3 4 5 6

by Mike McNamee Published


Deciding upon retouching methods can be a little bit like a chess match. You have to think ahead a few moves to reach a satisfactory end point. Masking in Photoshop is so important that whole books have been written on the topic - principally Katrin Eismann's book Photoshop Masking and Compositing. We do not propose to cover all the topics chapter and verse but to concentrate on one highlighted in Guy Gowan's DVD Adobe Photoshop Cosmetic Techniques. We have already alluded to some of the methods on the previous pages but it is now time to move the concept further.

The use of channels and 'calculations' on channels has been about since at least 1988. These were the days of Photoshop 4 when Nathan Moody, David Biendy and Bert Monroy published Channel Chops. Layers had been introduced in Version 3, a key to eventual strengthening of the market share of the program and to the demise of Live Picture. The only name from that era that still crops up regularly is Russell Brown.


So what do we still use from channel chops? In the main it is the concept of exploiting the properties of one of the image channels to act as a mask for subsequent manipulations and it is this that Guy Gowan brings to life in his DVD instructional video.

The Problem

Highlights are the scourge of the digital image and the area where most of the serious pitfalls lurk for those new to digital. In negative film technology a bit of over-exposure never really did anybody any harm other than a slight increase in grain - over-expose in digital and all sorts of problems occur. One of the most prevalent is ugly highlights on shiny parts of the subject's face typified by the tip of the nose, high cheek-bones or balding head. No amount of darkening will bring back the detail, it will only cause it to turn grey. A subset of this problem is JPEG compression leaving an ugly yellow rim around a bright spot on the skin.

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