Masks and Channels

Creative Computing Week 6

Welcome to the Zen Garden! In the sixth workshop we looked at techniques in Photoshop CS3 with ‘Masks’ and ‘Channels’. Our task was to create an image from separate layers, using various techniques to alter the elements. The finished design should look similar to this:

Layer paletteAfter viewing the finished design, we were then instructed to open a Photoshop file which contained the separate elements that make up the design. These are displayed in the layer palette (left).

Above the ‘Background’ layer there were several other elements named ‘Garden’, ‘Buddah’ etc. Each layer had to be adjusted to create the design as seen above.

Firstly, I worked on the ‘Buddah’ layer. By creating a ‘Quick Mask’ and an appropriate brush from the ‘Brushes Palette’, I painted over the statue of the Buddah allowing me to encapsulate it as a ‘Quick Mask’ selection.

After saving the selection as an alpha-channel mask, I next turned to the other channels to create a background for the design. Using the colour channels for the Background layer in CMYK mode, I used the Cyan channel as it was the easiest to select, due to it having the most contrast. Duplicating the Cyan channel I adjusted the Levels of the channel until it appeared in black and white. I then named this channel Panel Mask.

The next step was to load this mask as a selection on to the Garden layer by choosing Select>Load Selection and using the Panel Mask channel, then inverting the selection to mask the panels and not the background. It was now possible to reposition the panels into the relative position over the ‘Garden’ background image.  It was then possible to change the channels mode from CMYK to RGB in order to apply a ‘Glass’ filter to the panels selection.

Original Background image

The next stage involved selecting the ‘Writing’ layer and applying a gradient so that the bronze caligraphy image faded into the design. This was done using the Add Layer Mask button and selecting the Gradient tool set to a black and white linear gradient. A mosaic filter was also applied to the layer.

With all these elements in place, the design was finalised by including a Paper texture layer, duplicating it and using these layers as the top and bottom of the cover and providing space for a title and authors name. The paper texture layer had to be resized, colorised and placed in the correct order in the layers palette. After grouping and clipping the layers I used the Type tool as a mask channel to add the text for the title and author. Now the design was complete and resembling the original example.

Here are the tutorial videos for this exercise….

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About Roulette Revolver

Currently a first year undergraduate in Film & Media Studies.
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