Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Masking Essentials II
A number of key concepts and strategies make selection and masking more efficient and precise
A number of drafting strategies can help you paint more efficiently and precisely.
Start rough, then refine. Draftsmen often “block in” a contour using a series of straight marks that cut around a contour in progressively finer increments. It's highly efficient. It also takes the wobble out of your hand. You can get any brush to draw straight lines by clicking, letting go, moving to another point, holding the Shift key and clicking once again. Even if you don't have good drafting skills, don't fear drawing in Photoshop. Often, it amounts to tracing an already existing contour. What's more, you have an unlimited number of Undos and Redos (Command Z).
Avoid painting yourself into a corner; instead, paint around a corner. Fully covering the points of corners can be a challenge. While you can use lots of strokes with progressively smaller brushes while zooming to get into the nooks and crannies of a corner, you can also paint along the two lines that define the corner using only two strokes.
Before painting a broad area, see if you can select the majority of it, giving important contours ample berth, and fill the selected area of the mask. Filling an area ensures that it will be uniform.
When painting broad areas with a brush, check for and eliminate (with a brush, filter or fill) unintended gaps between brushstrokes (black specks in a white field, white specks in a black field). This speckled appearance can also happen when the Magic Wand tool or Color Range has been used as the foundation for a selection.
The History Brush tool can be quite useful when you want to undo previous work locally without undoing all of the work that was done since that time. Step back in history states to find a state you'd like to return to in one area. Check the icon to the left of that state to set the source for the brush. Return to the most current state and paint away what you don't want.
Masking? First you need to know some basic tool mechanics. After that, half the battle is knowing when to paint and when not to paint. The other half of the battle is mastering a set of simple yet effective painting strategies. You'll use them again and again and again. Once you have them at your command, there will be few selections or masks that will elude your grasp.
Page 3 of 4