- Program: Adobe Photoshop
- Version: CS5
- Difficulty: Intermediate
Credits and resources
Download the following resources to following along. The photo for the lightning man i choose from one of my friends picture. Sorry for the low resolution images did not found any good one for this purpose.
Day 1 : Channel Masking
In day one we will be looking in depth of advanced channel masking to separate an object from its background. Which is the major focus of this tutorial. After completing day one you should be able to separate complex foreground from background.
Step 1 :
Will will be using channel masking technique for this image since our foreground (man and the cliff) has quite contrast with background (sky). Open Man in cliff in photoshop. Save the psd file and give it a name. Now select the image in the layer pallet and open up the channel tab. You will see 3 channels with color information of the RGB image. Now click individual channel to see the brightness information of that color. Click through the channels to see which channels have the best contrast in foreground an background. In this case our desire channel will be blue. Click to select and highlight the blue channel.
Now go to Image -> Calculations. This will open up the calculation options. Put the source 1 and source 2 values and in the picture. Make sure both channels are set to blue and change the blending option to overlay. The Result option should be set to new channel. Now click OK this will give us a new channel named alpha 1. Select the channel.
The Alpha 1 channel is more contrasted then the blue channel. Now selecting the new channel hit ctrl+L on PC or cmd+L on Mac or go to image -> Adjustments -> Levels. Put the value you see in the image and click OK. Now we have our background filled with white and foreground filled with black. Don’t worry! we are not destroying our main image we are working on the channel we created. Our whole mission is to make two color (black and white) channel so we can separate background and foreground.
Now let’s cleanup the channel more to remove black or white from unexpected areas. The top right area of the channel have black area which we will paint into white. Lets grab the brush tool with white color and paint that area to white.
By this time you should channel should have something like this.
We are nearly finished with our masking. Now we have to look at our foreground and see if there are any white areas in there if you find some we will paint it to black. I have pointed out the white areas in the image. Paint these areas to black.
We are finished with the cleaning now select the Alpha 1 channel hit ctrl+I or cmd+I in mac to invert the colors or go to Image -> Adjustments -> Invert. The reason of doing this is we want to select the foreground (man and the cliff) and when photoshop select something automatically it select the white are.
Lets select the foreground! Hover your mouse to the Alpha 1 channel thumbnail and click with holding down ctrl or cmd on mac. You will see like magic photoshop will select the white are for you!
Now with the selection click on the RGB channel on channel pallet and then switch to the Layer tab. Go to Select -> Refine Edge or hit ctrl/cmd+alt+R. This will bring up the refine edge dialog box.
Put these values in refine edge box and click OK.
Now you have the refined selection press ctrl/cmd+J for copy the selection to the new layer. And congratulations you have to successfully masked the complex foreground from the background by advanced channel masking.
Include a final image at the end of the tutorial.
If you complete with first part. Lets continue with How to make a Lightning man Photo manipulation in Photoshop – Day 2