Wednesday, March 5, 2008

My first AH-HA moment with Photoshop - Masks & High Pass Filter

Don't you hate those cursed selection tools in Photoshop? Have you ever wondered how in the hell people could possibly do certain effects because it takes you hours to select something and when you do your filter it looks like crap?

Well I stumbled across something that was by mere chance and it has helped me to be able to do some really cool stuff with Photoshop. I actually feel like I know what I am doing and I can do some really neat tricks now that I know this.

So what is the big secret? It's called a mask and it basically a new layer that you can color on like your 5 year old colors and still get really cool results! When combined with the High Pass Filter and Overlay blending mode (yeah, I didn't know what the hell that was for either) you can create sharpening results that will make you forget that stupidly confusing unsharpen mask.

I learned this really cool trick in this short little video I discovered when playing with podcasts on iTunes after reading Scott Kelby's book.

If you watch this video, towards the middle there will be a cool demo that talks about making the eyes on a baby pop more (although this kids eyes are incredible so you really don't need it). Take a look here and learn some really cool new tricks:

http://www.photoshopusertv.com/photoshoptv/photoshopuser-tv-episode-122-february-25-2008.html#more-248

Warning, these guys may be killer Photoshop users, but they are total geeks so plan to groan many times at their lame attempts at being funny.

Here's a quick example where I wanted to take a friends photo (thanks Eric) that was pretty good and just blur out the distracting background so that it looked like it was shot with a f/2.8 depth of field.

Before:

After: (using a gaussian blur and a mask to keep the bike from being blurry)
Note: These bike photos are copyright, Eric Kool-Brown - All Rights Reserved and were taken during the Seattle Hot Rod Show.

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