Photog Chris's Blog

got a camera and photoshop, fun times

Bird on a Wire, with a Vector Mask

with one comment

Another mocking bird, they are so common around here. This picture provided me with a common problem. The back lighting was very bright, making capturing the bird and the sky in one shot impossible, atleast with my camera. I tried anyway and failed. Still there was one shot that I really liked, with the little guy pearing over his shoulder.
As you can see the picture is dark and dull with a boring sky to boot. About 30 minutes before I had taken this pic.
I like them both, all I have to do is combind them, it is pretty easy too! Here we go in baby steps.
Okay,to start I imported both images in to photoshop (working with raw here) and made a few adjustments in ACR (adobe camera raw). Mainly boosting the exposure bias for the bird and reducing it for the sky. Next step os to place both images into one file, so I went to the bird image and hit Crtl A (select all) then Crtl C (copy), clicked on the sky image and hit Crtl V (paste). So now we have the bird on a new layer above the sky, we just need a mask to make the sky visable.
I am lucky with this image, the background is mostly one color, blue. So open up the channels pallet. Clicking on the differnt channels I find that the blue channel is the brightest with the sky mostl uniform. Exellent. Now we copy the blue channel (right click, duplicate and invert) and then apply some Image>Adjustments>Levels. Bring the sliders close to the center, we are looking for something like this.
This is will be the mask layer, with a few tweeks needed. The black area with be transparent and the white opaque. To turn it into a layer mask make sure you have the right channel selected and the click on the “Load channel as Selection” button.
Next going back to the layers pallet, select the Bird layer and click on the “Add vector mask” button.
Yeah! We have have a good mask! If you need to tweek it some click on the mask in the layers palletso that the box is around it. Grap your paint brush and everywhere you paint black will become transparent and anywhere you paint white will become opaque.
That was the majority of the work. I added some adjustment layers, desaturating the image some, adding some photo blue and tweeking the contrast with curves. But really the majority of the work is masking, the coolest part is masking. I love vector masks! You should rarely have to to use the eraser tool, vector masks are so much more versitale.
Here is the finished picture.

Another mocking bird, they are so common around here. This picture provided me with a common problem. The back lighting was very bright, making capturing the bird and the sky in one shot impossible, at least with my camera. I tried anyway and failed. Still there was one shot that I really liked, with the little guy peering over his shoulder.

Bird on a Wire, orig

Bird on a Wire, orig

As you can see the picture is dark and dull with a boring sky to boot. About 30 minutes before I had taken this pic.

sky

sky

I like them both, all I have to do is combine them, it is pretty easy too! Here we go in baby steps.

Okay,to start I imported both images in to photoshop (working with raw here) and made a few adjustments in ACR (adobe camera raw). Mainly boosting the exposure bias for the bird and reducing it for the sky. Next step os to place both images into one file, so I went to the bird image and hit Crtl A (select all) then Crtl C (copy), clicked on the sky image and hit Crtl V (paste). So now we have the bird on a new layer above the sky, we just need a mask to make the sky visible.

I am lucky with this image, the background is mostly one color, blue. So open up the channels pallet. Clicking on the different channels I find that the blue channel is the brightest with the sky mostl uniform. Exellent. Now we copy the blue channel (right click, duplicate and invert) and then apply some Image>Adjustments>Levels. Bring the sliders close to the center, we are looking for something like this.

levels making a mask

levels making a mask

This is will be the mask layer, with a few tweeks needed. The black area with be transparent and the white opaque. To turn it into a layer mask make sure you have the right channel selected and the click on the “Load channel as Selection” button.

Load Channel as a Selection

Load Channel as a Selection

Next going back to the layers pallet, select the Bird layer and click on the “Add vector mask” button.

Add Vector Mask

Add Vector Mask

Yeah! We have have a good mask! If you need to tweek it some click on the mask in the layers palletso that the box is around it. Grap your paint brush and everywhere you paint black will become transparent and anywhere you paint white will become opaque.

Bird on a wire masked

Bird on a wire masked

That was the majority of the work. I added some adjustment layers, desaturating the image some, adding some photo blue and tweeking the contrast with curves. But really the majority of the work is masking, the coolest part is masking. I love vector masks! You should rarely have to to use the eraser tool, vector masks are so much more versitale.

Here is the finished picture.

Bird on a wire - fini

Bird on a wire - fini

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Written by photogchris

June 28, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Posted in Tutorials

Tagged with , , , , ,

One Response

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  1. […] of that layer. You can also use a Mask and paint out areas you don’t want changed. See my Bird on a Wire article on Masks. It is done with Photoshop but the process is the same. ( to create a mask in PSP […]


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