About the site
This site is a CMS that contains my lessons in Multimedia Design. It is designed as a time saving device to help keep me better organised both in and out of the classroom.
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About the Re-design
Some of the techniques I used to re-design this site were:
- Semantic structure – Graceful Degeneration
- Open Source CMS (WordPress)
- The Grid system
- User-Centric Navigation
- Responsive Web Design
- Social Media – Gamification
Lesson 11 – Contrast using black and white
Back in Photoshop CS3, Adobe introduced the Black & White image adjustment,
which finally gave us an easy and natural way to convert color photos
to black and white. Yet just because something was built for a specific
purpose doesn’t mean we can’t find other uses for it as well, which is
exactly what we’re going to do in this tutorial. Rather than using the
Black & White adjustment to remove the color from a photo, we’ll
learn how it can also be used, when combined with one of Photoshop’s
layer blend modes, to quickly and easily make custom brightness and
contrast adjustments to a full color image!
I’ll be using Photoshop CS5 for this tutorial. Since the Black &
White adjustment was first added in Photoshop CS3, you’ll need CS3 or
higher to follow along.
Here’s the photo I’ll be working with:
The original photo.
Let’s get started!
Step 1: Add A Black & White Adjustment Layer
Before we can do anything with a Black & White adjustment layer,
we first need to add one. There’s a couple of ways we can do that. One
is by clicking on the New Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel:
Clicking on the New Adjustment Layer icon.
Then choosing Black & White from the list of adjustment layers that appears:
Choosing a Black & White adjustment layer.
Or, if you’re using Photoshop CS4 or higher, an easier way to add a
Black & White adjustment layer is by simply clicking on the Black & White icon in the Adjustments panel:
Clicking on the Black & White icon in the Adjustments panel (Photoshop CS4 and higher).
Either way adds a new Black & White adjustment layer above the image in the Layers panel:
The Layers panel showing the newly added adjustment layer (Black & White 1).
The adjustment layer will go ahead and do what it was originally
designed for and convert your photo to black and white. We’ll bring the
color back in the next step:
The photo has been temporarily converted from color to black and white.
Step 2: Change The Blend Mode To Soft Light
To bring color back to the image, change the blend mode of the adjustment layer from Normal to Soft Light. The Blend Mode option is found in the top left corner of the Layers panel:
Changing the blend mode of the Black & White adjustment layer to Soft Light.
The color returns to the photo. You may already notice a change in
the overall contrast of the image, but we’ll make our own adjustments in
the next step:
The photo is once again in color after changing the layer blend mode.
Step 3: Drag The Color Sliders To Adjust The Contrast
If you’re using Photoshop CS3, the controls and options for the Black
& White adjustment layer will appear in a dialog box. In Photoshop
CS4 and higher, they appear in the Adjustments panel. In either case,
you’ll see six sliders, each controlling a different color in the image
(from top to bottom – Reds, Yellows, Greens, Cyans, Blues, and Magentas):
Six sliders, each controlling a different color.
We can use these sliders to adjust the brightness of different areas
of the image based on their color. Dragging a slider towards the left
will darken all areas in the image that contain that color, while
dragging the slider towards the right will brighten those same areas.
For example, let’s say I want to darken the sky in my photo. The sky is blue, so all I need to do is click on the Blues slider and drag it to the left:
Dragging the Blues slider to the left.
And just like that, the sky now appears darker, changing the overall contrast of the image:
The blue sky has been darkened after dragging the Blues slider.
If I want to brighten the grass and the trees, it’s as easy as
dragging a different slider in the opposite direction. There’s actually
more yellow than green in the grass and trees, so I’ll click on the Yellows
slider and drag it towards the right. Photoshop gives us a live preview
of the results as we’re dragging the sliders, so keep an eye on your
image in the document window to judge the results:
Dragging the Yellows slider to the right.
After dragging the Yellows slider, the grass and trees in my image are now lighter, again changing the overall contrast:
The image after dragging the Yellows slider.
Clicking And Dragging On The Image Itself
If you’re using Photoshop CS4 or higher, it’s even easier to make
changes to the image. In fact, there’s no need to use the sliders at
all! Just click on the slider icon (the hand with the left and right-pointing arrows) in the top left of the Adjustments panel:
Clicking on the slider icon (Photoshop CS4 and higher).
With this slider option enabled, you can click directly on whatever
area of your image you want to adjust, then just keep your mouse button
held down and drag left or right to darken or lighten that area (along
with any other areas of the image that share the same color).
For example, to make the horses in my photo appear brighter, with the
slider option enabled, I’ll move my mouse cursor over one of the horses
(I’ll use the one on the right). Since both horses are the same color,
brightening one of them will brighten the other at the same time. As
soon as you move your mouse cursor over the image, it will turn into an eyedropper icon, ready to sample whatever color you click on:
Moving the eyedropper over the horse on the right.
I’ll click on the horse and, with my mouse button held down, I’ll
drag towards the right to lighten the horse, as well as any other areas
of the image that share the same color (the other horse on the left,
plus the red barn in the background). If you watch the sliders in the
Adjustments panel, you’ll see the corresponding color slider moving as
you drag your mouse (in my case here, the Reds slider would be moving to
Clicking and dragging towards the right to brighten the horses.
Since we’re using an adjustment layer,
all of the changes we’re making here are non-destructive, which means
we can safely experiment with the color sliders, or by clicking and
dragging directly on the image itself, until we’re happy with the
results. Earlier I lightened the grass and trees, but if I want to see
how the image would look with the grass and trees darker instead of
lighter, I can just click anywhere on the grass or trees in the image
and drag my mouse towards the left:
Clicking and dragging to darken the grass and trees.
Before And After
If, at any time, you want to compare the original and edited versions of the image, simply click on the adjustment layer’s visibility icon (the eyeball icon). This will temporarily turn the Black & White layer off:
Clicking on the visibility icon to hide the adjustment layer.
With the adjustment layer turned off, the original image re-appears in the document window:
Back to the original photo.
Click on the visibility icon again (the empty box) to turn the Black & White adjustment layer back on:
Clicking the empty visibility icon to turn the adjustment layer back on.
The edited version re-appears:
The work in progress.
For Photoshop CS3 users, click OK in the top right corner of the
Black & White dialog box when you’re done to close out of it and
accept your changes. Photoshop CS4 (and higher) users can leave the
Adjustments panel open.
Step 4: Lower The Layer Opacity (Optional)
As a final step, if you think the image contrast is now a bit too
strong, you can reduce it and fine-tune the results simply by lowering
the opacity of the Black & White adjustment layer. You’ll find the Opacity
option directly across from the Blend Mode option at the top of the
Layers panel. The further you lower the opacity value, the more the
original image below the adjustment layer will show through. I’m going
to lower my opacity value down to 75% or so:
Lower the adjustment layer’s opacity to fine-tune the contrast level.
Here’s my final result:
The final result.
And there we have it! That’s how to quickly and easily make specific
brightness and contrast changes to a full color image using a Black and White adjustment layer!
Lesson 10 – Refining Edges
one thing every Photoshop user wants to know, it’s how to select
someone’s hair in a photo.In earlier versions of Photoshop, selecting
hair was the kind of thing that separated the pros from everyone else,
requiring advanced knowledge of color channels, confusing commands like
Calculations and Apply Image, fancy blending options, and even painting
individual strands of hair into the image by hand! It’s no wonder
most Photoshop users avoided selecting hair at all cost.
In Photoshop CS3, Adobe introduced the Refine Edge
command, offering us a first glimpse of how much easier it could be to
select hair, fur and other fine details in an image. But in Photoshop CS5,
Adobe gave the Refine Edge command a major overhaul, with enough
improvements and new features to make selecting hair in a photo easy
enough for anyone to do! Hairs… I mean, here’s, how to do it!
Here’s the photo I’ll be starting with. Notice all the curly strands of hair sticking out in front of the gray background:
The original photo.
What I want to do is replace that original gray background with a different image. If we look in my Layers panel, we see that I have another photo sitting on a layer below the original photo. I’ll click on the original photo’s visibility icon to temporarily turn the top layer off so we can see the image on the layer below it:
Clicking on the top layer’s visibility icon.
With the top layer temporarily hidden from view in the document, we can see the image I’ll be replacing the background with:
The replacement background photo.
And here’s what the final result will look like thanks to the power of Photoshop CS5′s Refine Edge command:
The final result.
Let’s get started!
Step 1: Draw A Rough Selection Outline Around Your Subject
I’m going to begin by drawing a fairly rough selection outline around
the woman in the photo. There’s no need for any fancy or advanced
selection tools here. Photoshop’s standard Lasso Tool will work fine, and the Polygonal Lasso Tool
will work even better because it’s faster and easier to use. I’ll grab
the Polygonal Lasso Tool from the Tools panel by clicking and holding on
the Lasso Tool, then selecting the Polygonal Lasso Tool from the
Selecting the Polygonal Lasso Tool.
With the Polygonal Lasso Tool in hand, I’ll begin by clicking around
the woman’s arm and shoulder in the bottom center area of the photo to
lay down points for my selection outline. Notice that I’m keeping my
selection along the inner edge of her arm. The Refine Edge command
tends to work best if you keep your initial selection just inside the
edge of your subject:
Clicking with the Polygonal Lasso Tool along the inner edge of her arm and shoulder.
As I move up into the woman’s hair, I’ll again stay close to the edge
but I’ll make sure to avoid any areas where the gray background is
showing through her hair. I just want to select the main area of hair
for now, and I’ll let the Refine Edge command worry about the tough
stuff in front of the background:
Keeping the selection outline away from areas where the background is showing through the hair.
Finally, I’ll quickly click in the pasteboard area around the image,
then back on my original click point below her arm to complete my
A rough selection outline now appears around the woman in the photo.
Step 2: Select The Refine Edge Command
With my initial selection in place, before I do anything else, I’ll
make sure I have the correct layer selected in the Layers panel. In my
case, it’s the top layer which contains the original photo:
Making sure the correct layer is active (highlighted in blue).
Then, I’ll bring up Photoshop’s Refine Edge command either by going up to the Select menu in the Menu Bar along the top of the screen and choosing Refine Edge from the menu choices, or, since I still have the Polygonal Lasso Tool selected, I can simply click on the Refine Edge button in the Options Bar (you need to have a selection tool active for the Refine Edge button to appear in the Options Bar):
Clicking on the Refine Edge button in the Options Bar (with a selection tool active).
This opens the Refine Edge dialog box, but before we look at it,
let’s take a quick look at my image in the document window where we see
that the area I selected is now sitting in front of a solid white
The document window showing the selection in front of a white background.
The View Options
You may actually be seeing something different with your image. Your
selection may be appearing in front of a white background as mine is, or
it may be in front of a solid black background. Or, you may still be
seeing the standard “marching ants” selection outline, or several other
possible views. It all depends on which View Mode is
currently selected at the top of the Refine Edge dialog box. You can see
a small thumbnail preview of the current view mode to the right of the
A small preview thumbnail shows the current view mode.
If you click either on the thumbnail or on the small arrow to the
right of the thumbnail, you’ll open a list of the different view modes
you can choose from. I currently have the On White mode chosen, which is why my selection is appearing against a white background. I’ll choose the On Black view mode directly above it:
Choosing the On Black view mode from the list.
And now my selection appears against a solid black background:
The selection now appears against black after choosing the On Black view mode.
If I select the Black & White view mode from the list:
Choosing the Black & White view mode.
The image in the document window appears as if I was looking at a layer mask.
White represents the area that’s currently selected, while black
represents the area not currently selected. Any gray in the image would
represent partially selected areas:
The Black & White view mode shows the image as it would appear as a layer mask.
Finally, I’ll select the On Layers view mode:
Choosing the On Layers view mode from the list.
This mode shows the current selection as it actually appears in front
of the other layer(s) in the document, which can be very useful when
compositing images since it makes it easy to judge the result. In my
case, since I have a second photo on a layer below the main image, we
can see the second photo behind my selection. If you’re working on a
single-layer document with no other layers below your photo, the
non-selected area will be filled with a checkerboard pattern which is
Photoshop’s way of representing transparency:
The image with the On Layers view mode selected.
I purposely skipped over the first two view modes – Marching Ants and Overlay
– because neither of them is all that useful. The Marching Ants mode
will show the standard selection outline, while the Overlay mode will
display the non-selected area as a translucent red overlay similar to
how the selection would appear in Quick Mask mode. We’ll look at the
last view mode in the list – Reveal Layer – a bit later.
The purpose of these different view modes is to make it easier for us
to judge our selection as we’re refining it. With some images, the
selection may be easier to see against white, others against black, and
so on. Often, we’ll need to jump between view modes as we’re working,
which is why you may have noticed that each of the view modes in the
list has a letter to the right of its name. The letter is the keyboard
shortcut for quickly switching between view modes, and they’re handy to
know. For example, you can switch to the On White mode by pressing the letter W on your keyboard, the On Black mode by pressing the letter B, the On Layers mode by pressing the letter L, and so on. You can also press the letter F repeatedly to cycle between the view modes.
If you prefer to select your view modes from the list rather than with keyboard shortcuts, make sure you double-click on the name of the mode. This will select the view mode, then close out of the list.
Step 3: Increase The Radius Value
Directly below the View Mode option in the Refine Edge dialog box is a section called Edge Detection. This, as they say, is where the magic happens. To add more of the hair to your selection, click on the Radius slider and begin dragging it towards the right:
Click and drag the Radius slider towards the right.
As you drag the slider, you’ll see some of the hair that was outside
of your initial selection beginning to appear. I’m using the On Layers
view mode to make it easier to see the hair as it will actually appear
in front of my background image. You may be using a different view mode:
Some of the hair outside the initial selection is now visible.
If I continue dragging the slider to the right to increase the Radius value:
Dragging the Radius slider even further.
Then hair even further away from my initial selection begins to appear:
The image after increasing the Radius value.
So what exactly is happening here? What does this Radius value have
to do with selecting hair? If you look to the right of the View Mode
preview thumbnail at the top of the dialog box, you’ll see an option
called Show Radius which by default is turned off. Click inside its checkbox to turn it on:
Selecting the Show Radius option.
With this option enabled, we can actually see the radius in the
document window. The way the Refine Edge command works is that it looks
around the edge of our initial selection to decide what else needs to be
included in the selection, and the Radius value controls how far away
from our initial selection edge that Photoshop will look. It doesn’t
look across the entire image. It only looks within the distance we
specify. That’s why the Radius value is measured in pixels (px). If we
set the Radius value to, say, 50 pixels, Photoshop will look 50 pixels
in either direction of our initial selection edge to determine if
there’s anything else within this area that should be included in our
If we look in my document window, we can see the radius as that
visible zone between the two areas of solid black. The solid black
represents areas that Photoshop is ignoring as it looks for additional
pixels to add to our selection (with the On White view mode, the areas
being ignored appear in white, not black). Only pixels within the radius
zone are being analyzed:
The Radius appears between the areas of solid black.
To make it easier to see, I’ll press the letter K on my keyboard to quickly jump from the On Layers view mode to the Black & White view mode, and now the radius zone appears as solid white between the black areas:
Viewing the radius using the Black & White view mode.
I’ll switch back to the On Layers view mode by pressing the letter L on my keyboard.
Increasing the Radius value has allowed me to fit more of the woman’s
hair into the zone that Photoshop is analyzing, which is great, except
that at the same time, it’s not so great because it’s causing potential
problems in other areas. The radius is now too wide around the woman’s
arm and shoulder, and it’s also appearing around the bottom and right
edge of the image where I don’t need it at all:
The hair needs a wide radius, but other areas do not.
This is where the Smart Radius option comes in.
You’ll find it directly above the main Radius slider. By default, Smart
Radius is turned off. I’ll click inside its checkbox to turn it on:
Turning on Smart Radius.
With Smart Radius enabled, Photoshop looks more closely along the
edge of the initial selection and tries to tighten up the radius size
wherever possible. In other words, with my image, the edge along the
woman’s arm and shoulder is smooth, so Photoshop will (hopefully,
anyway) reduce the width of the radius in that area while still leaving a
wider radius for the hair. If we look in my document window, we see
that Photoshop has done exactly that. I still have a wide radius around
the hair, but the radius along the arm and shoulder is much more narrow.
There’s still a bit of unwanted radius along the bottom of the image,
but we’ll see how to clean that up in a moment:
With Smart Radius turned on, Photoshop can adjust the width of the radius in different areas.
A quick note about Smart Radius before we continue. Depending on your
image and the type of edge you’re working with, Smart Radius can help
or it can make things worse. A general guideline with Smart Radius is
that it tends to help with selections that contain different types of
edges, as in my case here. If, on the other hand, you’re only selecting
hair and nothing else, or only selecting smooth edges and nothing else,
you’ll probably find that you’re better off leaving Smart Radius
disabled. Of course, it’s easy to select it and then decide if things
look better or worse, but don’t think you need to use the option just
because it’s there and it has “Smart” in the name. There are other ways
to adjust the size of the radius, as we’re about to see!
Step 4: Manually Adjust The Radius With The Refinement Brushes
Once we’ve done all we can with the Radius slider and the Smart
Radius option, we can then manually refine our radius using a couple of
brushes that come with the Refine Edge command. If you look to the left
of the Radius and Smart Radius options, you’ll see a brush icon. If you
click and hold on the brush icon, a menu will appear where you can
select the brush you need. The two brushes we have to choose from are
the Refine Radius Tool and the Erase Refinements Tool:
Click and hold on the brush icon to access the radius refinement tools (brushes).
The names can be a bit confusing, so you may find it helpful to think of the Refine Radius Tool as the Add to Radius brush and the Erase Refinements Tool as the Subtract from Radius brush.
Adobe calls them “Tools” but they behave exactly like brushes, allowing
us to simply paint over the areas in the image where we need to add to,
or subtract from, the existing radius.
By default, the Refine Radius Tool is already selected for us because
that’s the one we use the most, so there’s no need to actually select
it from the list. There’s also no need to select the Erase Refinements
Tool from the list because at any time, we can temporarily switch from
the Refine Radius Tool to the Erase Refinements Tool simply by pressing
and holding the Alt (Win) / Option
(Mac) key on the keyboard. When you release the Alt / Option key, you’ll
switch back to the Refine Radius Tool. In other words, you’ll never
need to select either tool from the dialog box, so you can safely forget
all about that brush icon.
Before I try to add more of the woman’s hair to my selection, I’m
first going to use the Erase Refinements Tool to remove the unwanted
radius area from the bottom of my image. Keep in mind as you use these
tools that unlike Photoshop’s other selection tools, we’re not adding
to, or subtracting from, the actual selection itself with these tools.
We’re simply adjusting the size of the area that Photoshop is analyzing.
Photoshop determines which pixels to select and which to ignore. We’re
just telling it where to look and where not to look.
I’ll hold down my Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) key to temporarily switch
from the Refine Radius Tool to the Erase Refinements Tool. It’s a bit
hard to see in the screenshot, but a small minus sign (-) appears in the center of the brush cursor when the Erase Refinements Tool is active (a plus sign (+)
appears when the Refine Radius Tool is active). Then I’ll simply click
and drag over the unwanted radius areas to erase them. Since I still
have the Show Radius option selected at the top of the dialog box, we
can see that the area along the bottom of the image is now filled with
solid black, which means Photoshop will now ignore that area:
Holding down Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) and painting along the bottom of the image.
I’ll release my Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) key to switch back to the
Refine Radius Tool so I can start adding more of the woman’s hair to my
selection. I’m going to uncheck the Show Radius option at the top of the
dialog box so we can again see the actual photo in front of the
background image (using the On Layers view mode):
With Show Radius turned off, we switch back to seeing the image in the document window.
To add more of the woman’s hair, I just need to paint with the Refine
Radius Tool over the area where her hair should be. But how do I know
where to paint when I can’t actually see the rest of her hair because
it’s not currently part of the selection? It would be helpful if there
was some way to temporarily view the entire original image so I can see
exactly where I should be painting. Thankfully, another of the Refine
Edge view modes – Reveal Layer – let’s us do exactly that!
I’ll click on the view mode thumbnail at the top of the dialog box,
then I’ll double-click on Reveal Layer at the bottom of the list to
select it. I could also quickly select the Reveal Layer mode by pressing
the letter R on my keyboard:
Choosing Reveal Layer from the bottom of the list of view modes.
With the Reveal Layer view mode active, the original image returns in
the document window, making it easy to see where I need to paint with
the Refine Radius Tool:
Reveal Layer shows the original image without any selections.
Now that I know where to paint, I’ll press the letter L on my keyboard to switch back to the On Layers
view mode, then I’ll begin painting with the Refine Radius Tool to
reveal more of the woman’s hair. Just like any of Photoshop’s other
brushes, we can change the size of both the Refine Radius Tool and the
Erase Refinements Tool directly from the keyboard. Pressing the left bracket key ( [ ) will make the brush smaller, while the right bracket key ( ] ) will make it larger.
As you’re painting over the area with your mouse button held down,
you’ll see the original image appearing inside the area where you’ve
painted, which helps us to see that we’re painting in the right spot:
The gray background from the original image is visible while my mouse button is held down.
When you release your mouse button, the original image disappears and
we see the result, with more of the hair added to the selection. You
can continue painting over the hair with the Refine Radius Tool to add
more of it to the selection, or, if you make a mistake, press and hold
the Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) key to switch to the Erase Refinements Tool
and paint to remove that area from the radius zone:
More of the woman’s hair now appears in front of the new background after painting with the Refine Radius Tool.
The Adjust Edge Options
Below the Edge Detection options in the Refine Edge dialog box are the Adjust Edge options – Smooth, Feather, Contrast, and Shift Edge.
All four of these options are set to 0 by default and when using the
Refine Edge command for selecting hair, it’s usually best to leave at
least the first three options (Smooth, Feather and Contrast) set to 0.
The Smooth option is used for smoothing out jagged selection edges, but
it usually causes problems when selecting hair. The Feather option will
blur the selection edge which just makes things look soft, blurry and
unprofessional. And the Contrast option will attempt to sharpen up
selection edges by boosting contrast, again not something that usually
works well with hair.
The only option you should try is the fourth one, Shift Edge. Dragging the slider to the right of center will expand
your selection edges outward, which may help to add more hair to the
selection, while dragging the slider to the left of center will contract
the selection edges inward, tightening up the selection. If neither
direction helps to improve your results, simply drag the slider back to
center. In my case, I’m going to drag the slider to the right to
increase the Shift Edge value to +20%:
Increasing the Shift Edge value to expand the selection edge outward.
This expands my selection edges outward and I now see more fine hair
detail being added to the selection, although much of it looks very
faded at the moment, but we’ll fix that next:
Increasing the Shift Edge option added additional hair detail to the image.
Step 5: Remove Any Fringing By Decontaminating The Colors
Things are looking good except for one remaining problem. We’re
seeing a lot of fringing around the hair, which is remaining color from
the original background. We can remove the fringing using the Decontaminate Colors option, found in the Output
section at the bottom of the dialog box. By default, Decontaminate
Colors is turned off. I’ll click inside its checkbox to turn it on:
Selecting the Decontaminate Colors option.
I can now clean up the fringing by dragging the Amount
slider towards the right. The default Amount value is 50%. As you drag
the slider further to the right, Photoshop removes the fringing by
physically changing the color of the pixels around the hair so that they
match the color of the hair itself rather than the original background
color. I’ll increase my Amount value to 75%:
Increase the Decontaminate Colors amount to remove fringing around the hair.
The hair now appears darker, especially the finer strands that were originally light gray, and the fringing has been removed:
The image after removing the fringing with the Decontaminate Colors option.
Step 6: Output The Selection
Now that we’re done selecting the hair, we need to output our
selection, and the best way to do that is to have Photoshop convert our
selection into a layer mask so that we’re not actually deleting any pixels from the original image. Set the Output To option, which you’ll find directly below the Decontaminate Colors option, to New Layer with Layer Mask if it isn’t set to that already:
Selecting “New Layer with Layer Mask” for the Output To option.
Click OK in the bottom right corner of the Refine Edge dialog box to
close out of it. If we look in my Layers panel, we see that Photoshop
has made a copy of my original image and converted my selection into a
layer mask on the new layer. The original layer below it has been turned
off so it’s no longer visible in the document window:
The Layers panel showing the layer mask on a copy of the original image.
Step 7: Clean Up The Layer Mask If Needed
Since we focused so much on selecting the hair in the image, there
may be some other parts of the selection that need a bit of cleaning up.
To inspect the layer mask for any problem areas, press and hold your Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) key on your keyboard and click directly on the layer mask thumbnail in the Layers panel:
Hold down Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) and click on the layer mask thumbnail.
This both selects the layer mask and makes it visible in the document
window. If you notice any areas that need to be touched up, grab
Photoshop’s standard Brush Tool from the Tools panel and paint over the areas with either white or black as needed:
Painting with white (using the standard Brush Tool) to clean up a few areas of the mask.
When you’re done, switch back to the normal image view in the document window by clicking on the layer’s preview thumbnail in the Layers panel:
Clicking on the preview thumbnail to the left of the mask thumbnail.
And here, after a quick touch up of the layer mask, is my final result:
The final result.
And there we have it! That’s how to select hair in a photo using the powerful Refine Edge command in Photoshop CS5!
Lesson 9 – Clipping Mask
In this Photoshop tutorial, we’ll learn the essentials of using clipping masks to hide unwanted parts of a layer from view in a document. Clipping masks are a lot like Photoshop’s layer masks in that both allow us to show and hide different parts of a layer, but clipping masks work differently.
Unlike layer masks, where we first need to add a mask to the layer
and then paint or fill areas on the mask with black (to hide the area),
white (to show the area) or gray (to partially hide the area), clipping
masks simply use the contents and transparency of a layer
to determine which parts of the layer above it remain visible. That may
actually sound more confusing than layer masks when you first hear it,
but as we’ll see, clipping masks are very easy to use. In fact, they can
be faster and easier to use than layer masks! There’s so many possible
uses for clipping masks in Photoshop that it would be impossible to
cover them all in a single tutorial, so what we’re going to do here is
cover the basics and essentials of how clipping masks work so you can
take what you’ve learned and focus on the fun part – coming up with your
own creative ways to use them!
I’ll be using Photoshop CS6 in this tutorial but everything we’ll cover here applies to any recent version of Photoshop.
To really understand how clipping masks work, we first need to make
sure we understand the difference between area’s with actual content and areas of transparency
on a layer. To do that, we’ll use my little friend here who’s also
trying to understand, in his own way, what this clipping stuff is all
about (dog grooming photo from Shutterstock):
Clipping masks… dog clippers… see what I did there? Yeah, the dog doesn’t look too impressed with me either.
If we look in my Layers panel, we see the photo sitting by itself on the Background layer:
The Layers panel showing the image on the Background layer.
To show how clipping masks work, I’m going to add a new blank layer
below the image. Now, Photoshop doesn’t actually allow us add layers
below a Background layer, but to get around that problem, all we need to do is rename the Background layer to anything other than Background, and the easiest way to do that is to simply hold down the Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) key on the keyboard and double-click on the layer’s name in the Layers panel. Photoshop will instantly rename the layer Layer 0 which may not be very descriptive but it’s good enough for our purposes:
The Background layer has been renamed Layer 0.
Now that the Background layer is just a normal layer, we can add a new layer below it. To do that, I’ll press and hold the Ctrl (Win) / Command (Mac) key on my keyboard and I’ll click the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel:
Holding Ctrl (Win) / Command (Mac) and clicking the New Layer icon.
Normally Photoshop adds new layers above the currently active layer,
but holding down the Ctrl (Win) / Command (Mac) key while clicking the
New Layer icon is a handy little trick that tells Photoshop to add the
new layer below the active layer instead. In this case, Photoshop adds a new layer named Layer 1 below the image on Layer 0:
Photoshop adds the new layer below the original image layer.
Let’s take a closer look at our new layer. I’m going to hide the original image layer for the moment by clicking on its visibility icon (the “eyeball” icon) on the far left of the layer in the Layers panel:
Click the visibility icon to turn layers on or off in the document.
With the image layer turned off, we’re now seeing just the newly
added layer in the document. By default, new layers are blank, meaning
there’s nothing on them. They have no content at all. They may be full
of promise, sure, but nothing else, at least not at the moment. When a
layer has no content, it’s transparent. We see right through it. Photoshop displays transparency on a layer as a repeating grid pattern, as we see here. When we see nothing else on a layer except for this grid pattern, we know it’s completely blank:
The document window showing the newly added blank layer.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the tutorial, the way clipping
masks work is that they use the contents and transparency of a layer to
determine which areas of the layer above it remain visible. How does
that work? Well, any areas on the layer below where there are actual contents (whether those contents are pixels, shapes or type – basically anything other than transparency) become the visible areas of the layer above, while areas of transparency on the layer below become the hidden areas on the layer above.
As we just saw, our new layer has no content at all. It’s just a
blank, transparent layer. Let’s see what happens if we try to use it as a
clipping mask for the image layer above it. To do that, I’ll first turn
the image layer back on in the document by again clicking its
Turning the image layer back on in the document.
The image reappears in the document window as before:
The image is once again visible in the document.
Next, I need to make sure I have the correct layer selected in the
Layers panel. When creating a clipping mask, we want to select the layer
that’s going to be “clipped” by the layer below it, so in my case here,
I’ll click on my image layer (Layer 0) to make it active (the currently
active layer is highlighted in blue). Layer 1 below it will then become
the clipping mask for the image layer:
Selecting the image layer.
To create a clipping mask, we simply go up to the Layer menu in the Menu Bar along the top of the screen and choose Create Clipping Mask:
Go to Layer > Create Clipping Mask.
If we look again in our Layers panel, we see that the image layer
(Layer 0) is now indented to the right, with a small arrow to the left
of the preview thumbnail pointing down at Layer 1 below it. This is how
Photoshop lets us know that the layer is now “clipped” to the layer
below it. We’ve successfully turned Layer 1 below into a clipping mask
for Layer 0 above it:
The Layers panel showing the top layer clipped to the bottom layer.
The problem is, all we’ve really done is created one of the most
uninteresting clipping masks imaginable because Layer 1 currently has no
content. Since it’s completely transparent, and Photoshop is using the
transparent areas to figure out which areas of the layer above should be
hidden, all we’ve ended up with in the document window is, well,
nothing. The entire image on Layer 0 has been hidden from view:
With no content on the clipping mask layer, the image layer above is completely hidden.
That wasn’t very exciting, so let’s release our clipping mask. To do that, we go back up to the Layer menu at the top of the screen and choose Release Clipping Mask:
Go to Layer > Release Clipping Mask.
We can see that the image layer is no longer clipped to the layer
below it because it’s no longer indented to the right in the Layers
All signs of the clipping mask are gone from the Layers panel.
And we’re back to seeing the photo once again in the document window:
With the clipping mask released, the image returns.
Let’s add some content to the blank layer. I’ll hide the image layer
again temporarily by clicking its visibility icon, just so we can see
what we’re doing, then I’ll select the blank layer by clicking on it in
the Layers panel:
Turning off the top layer and selecting the bottom layer.
With the blank layer selected, I’ll grab my Elliptical Marquee Tool
from the Tools panel by clicking and holding on the Rectangular Marquee
Tool until a fly-out menu appears showing me the other tools nested in
that spot, and then choosing the Elliptical Marquee Tool from the menu:
Selecting the Elliptical Marquee Tool.
Then, with the Elliptical Marquee Tool in hand, I’ll click and drag
out an elliptical selection outline in the center of the document.
There’s no particular reason why I’m using this specific selection tool.
The point here is simply to add some content to the layer:
Drawing a selection with the Elliptical Marquee Tool.
To create actual content, I need to fill the selection with something, so I’ll go up to the Edit menu at the top of the screen and choose the Fill command:
Going to Edit > Fill.
This opens the Fill dialog box. I’ll set the Use option at the top of the dialog box to Black, and I’ll make sure the Mode option near the bottom is set to Normal and the Opacity option is set to 100%.
Again, I’m simply adding content to the layer. There’s no reason why
I’m specifically choosing black as my fill color, other than black will
be easy to see in the screenshots:
The Fill dialog box.
I’ll click OK to close out of the Fill dialog box, and Photoshop
instantly fills my elliptical selection with black. I now have an area
with actual content on the layer, although the area surrounding the
content remains transparent:
The selection has been filled with black.
The selection outline itself is still visible, so since I don’t need it anymore, I’ll remove it by going up to the Select menu at the top of the screen and choosing Deselect:
Removing the selection outline by going to Select > Deselect.
Now that we’ve added some content to the bottom layer, let’s take a
quick look again in the Layers panel. We can see the black-filled
elliptical area in the preview thumbnail for Layer 1.
What’s important to notice here is that if you compare this preview
thumbnail with the preview thumbnail for the image layer above it,
you’ll see that some of the photo on the image layer is sitting directly
above the new content area, while the rest of the photo sits above the
remaining transparent areas:
The preview thumbnail shows the filled content area on Layer 1 below the photo.
Let’s see what happens this time when I go to create the clipping
mask. As before, I’ll turn the top layer back on by clicking its
visibility icon, then I’ll click on the layer itself to select it and
make it active:
Selecting and turning on Layer 0.
I’ll add the clipping mask by once again going up to the Layer menu at the top of the screen and choosing Create Clipping Mask:
Once again going to Layer > Create Clipping Mask.
The Layers panel once again shows us that the top layer is now
clipped to the layer below by indenting Layer 0 to the right. So far,
nothing looks all that different from before:
The Layers panel again showing the clipping mask.
But when we look in the document window, we see something very much
different than what we saw last time. While much of the photo is once
again hidden because it’s sitting above transparent areas on the layer
below, the area of the photo that’s sitting directly above the
elliptical content area now remains completely visible:
The part of the photo above the content area stays visible in the document.
Of course, the result might look better if the subject of my photo
was centered inside the shape. Thankfully, one of the great features of
clipping masks is that it’s easy to move photos inside them. All I need
to do is grab my Move Tool from the Tools panel:
Selecting the Move Tool.
Then with the Move Tool in hand and the image layer selected in the
Layers panel, I can simply click and drag the photo into position inside
the clipping mask:
Click and drag images with the Move Tool to reposition them inside clipping masks.
Let’s look at a common situation where a clipping mask would be used.
Here’s another document, this one containing two photos. The image on
the bottom Background layer is of a photo frame (old photo frame from Shutterstock):
A photo of an old wooden frame.
And if I turn on the layer above it by clicking its visibility icon:
Clicking the visibility icon for Layer 1.
We see the photo I want to place inside the frame (young couple photo from Shutterstock):
The photo that will be going inside the frame.
I’m going to turn the top layer back off for the moment by clicking again on its visibility icon:
Turning the top layer back off.
To place the photo of the couple inside the frame using a clipping
mask, I first need to select the area inside the frame. In this case,
since the area inside the frame is solid black, I can easily select it
with the Magic Wand Tool
which I’ll grab from the Tools panel. To get to it, I’ll need to click
and hold on the Quick Selection Tool until the fly-out menu appears and
then select the Magic Wand Tool from the menu:
The Magic Wand Tool is nested in with the Quick Selection Tool.
With the photo frame layer active in the Layers panel, I’ll click
inside the frame with the Magic Wand Tool to instantly select all of
that black area:
Clicking on the area inside the frame with the Magic Wand Tool to select it.
Next, I need to copy the selected area to its own layer. To do that, I’ll go up to the Layer menu at the top of the screen, then I’ll choose New, and then Layer via Copy (or I could simply press Ctrl+J (Win) / Command+J (Mac) on my keyboard for the much faster shortcut):
Going to Layer > New > Layer via Copy.
Nothing will seem to have happened in the document window, but if we
look in the Layers panel, we see that the area inside the frame has been
copied to its own layer above the original image. Notice in the layer’s
preview thumbnail that only the area inside the frame has been copied,
which means it’s the only part of the layer with actual content on it.
The rest of the layer surrounding it is transparent:
The area inside the frame has been copied to a new layer.
I’ll turn the top layer back on by clicking its visibility icon, then
I’ll click on the layer itself to select it and make it active so we
can add our clipping mask. As we learned earlier, we always want to
select the layer that’s going to be clipped to the layer below it:
Selecting and turning on Layer 1.
Let’s go ahead and create our clipping mask. This time, instead of
choosing the Create Clipping Mask command from under the Layer menu,
we’ll use a much faster and more common way, and that’s by creating it
directly from within the Layers panel.
All we need to do is press and hold the Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) key on the keyboard and hover our mouse cursor directly over the horizontal dividing line between the two layers we want to use with our clipping mask. When you see your mouse cursor change into the clipping mask icon, just click with your mouse:
Click between the two layers when your mouse cursor changes to the clipping mask icon.
The layer above will instantly be clipped to the layer below, with the Layers panel showing the top layer indented to the right:
Layer 1 is now clipped to Layer 2 below it.
And in the document window, we see that the photo on Layer 1 now
appears only inside the area of the frame we selected and copied to its
own layer. The rest of the photo has been hidden from view because it
sits over top of transparency on the clipping mask layer below it:
The photo is now clipped inside the frame thanks to the clipping mask.
We saw earlier that we can use Photoshop’s Move Tool to move and
reposition images around inside their clipping mask. We can also use the
command not only to move images inside clipping masks but also to
resize them as needed. In my case here, I need to make the photo smaller
so it fits more naturally inside the frame, so after making sure I have
the photo’s layer selected in the Layers panel, I’ll quickly go up to
the Edit menu at the top of the screen and choose Free Transform:
Going to Edit > Free Transform.
This brings up the Free Transform box and handles around the photo.
You’ll notice when resizing images inside clipping masks that even
though you can only see the area that fits inside the clipping mask
shape, the Free Transform box and handles will appear around the actual dimensions of the image which includes the area currently hidden from view. Simply click and drag any of the corner handles to resize the image as needed. Hold down your Shift
key as you drag the handles to constrain the aspect ratio of the image
so you don’t accidentally distort the overall shape of it. When you’re
done, press Enter (Win) / Return (Mac) to accept the transformation and exit out of the Free Transform command:
Resizing the photo inside the clipping mask shape with Free Transform.
There’s just one more finishing touch needed to make things look more
realistic, and that’s to add a bit of a shadow around the inner edges
of the frame, which brings us to yet another thing we can do with
clipping masks – add layer styles to them!
I need to add the shadow directly to the clipping mask layer itself, so I’ll click on Layer 2 in the Layers panel to select it:
Making the clipping mask layer the active layer.
With the clipping mask layer selected, I’ll click on the Layer Styles icon at the bottom of the Layers panel:
Clicking the Layer Styles icon.
Then I’ll choose Inner Glow from the list of layer styles that appears:
Choosing an Inner Glow layer style.
This opens Photoshop’s Layer Style dialog box set to the Inner Glow
options in the middle column. I first need to change the color of the
glow (since I actually want a shadow effect, not a glow effect), so I’ll
click on the color swatch:
Clicking the color swatch.
This will open the Color Picker. I’ll choose black form the Color Picker, then I’ll click OK to close out of it:
Choosing black from the Color Picker.
Back in the Layer Style dialog box, I’ll change the Blend Mode of the Inner Glow from Screen to Multiply, then I’ll lower the Opacity down to 25% and I’ll increase the Size of the glow (shadow) to 10px:
The rest of the Inner Glow settings.
I’ll click OK to close out of the Layer Style dialog box, and with
that, we’re done! If we take one final look in the Layers panel, we can
see the newly added Inner Glow style that’s been added to the clipping
mask layer (Layer 2):
Any layer styles we’ve added appear below the layer in the Layers panel.
And here, thanks to the ease and flexibility of clipping masks, is my final result:
The final result.
And there we have it! That’s the basics and essentials of working with clipping masks in Photoshop!
Lesson 8 – Water Reflection Effect
In this tutorial, we’ll learn how to add a realistic water reflection
to an image. There’s a lot of steps but it’s actually an an easy effect
to create and you can add it to any photo you like (although it tends
to work best with photos that don’t already contain water in them). To
create the water ripples portion of the effect, we’ll be using a couple
of Photoshop’s filters, including the Displace filter where we’ll get to
make and use a displacement map to bend and distort the image into shape. And new in this CS6 version of the tutorial, we’ll be using Smart Filters to keep much of the effect fully editable even after we’re done!
Here’s the photo I’ll be starting with:
And here’s what the final water reflection effect will look like:
Step 1: Duplicate The Background Layer
Our first step is to make a copy of our Background layer. If we look in the Layers panel, we see that our photo is sitting on the Background layer which is currently the only layer we have:
To make a copy of it, go up to the Layer menu in the Menu Bar at the top of the screen, choose New, then choose Layer via Copy. Or, you can press Ctrl+J (Win) / Command+J (Mac) on your keyboard to select the same command with the faster shortcut:
Going to Layer > New > Layer via Copy.
Either way tells Photoshop to make a copy of the layer, and
if we look again in the Layers panel, we see the new copy, which
Photoshop names Layer 1, sitting above the Background layer:
The Layers panel showing the newly added Layer 1.
Step 2: Add More Canvas Space Below The Image
Next, let’s add some additional canvas space below our image to make room for the water reflection. Go up to the Image menu at the top of the screen and choose Canvas Size:
Going to Image > Canvas Size.
This opens Photoshop’s Canvas Size dialog box. First, select the Relative option in the center by clicking inside the checkbox to the left of its name. Then enter 0 Percent for the Width and 100 Percent for the Height (make sure you change the measure type to Percent, not Pixels, Inches or anything else).
Below the Relative option is the Anchor option containing a 3×3 grid of squares. Click on the square in the center of the top row
to select it. This tells Photoshop to add all of our extra canvas space
below the image. Finally, and this isn’t really important but just to
make sure we’re doing everything the same, set the Canvas extension color option at the bottom of the dialog box to White:
Setting the Canvas Size options.
Click OK when you’re done to close out of the dialog box and
we now have twice as much canvas space in our document as we did before,
with all of the new canvas appearing below the photo (and filled with
The extra canvas space appears filled with white below the image.
Step 3: Flip The Image On Layer 1 Vertically
We need to flip the copy of our image on Layer 1 so it sits upside down below the original photo, creating a mirror effect. To do that, first go up to the Select menu at the top of the screen and choose All. Or, press Ctrl+A (Win) / Command+A
(Mac) on your keyboard to access the Select All command with the
shortcut. This will select all of Layer 1, and you’ll see a selection
outline appear around the outer edges of the document:
Going to Select > All.
With the layer selected, go up to the Edit menu, choose Transform, then choose Flip Vertical:
Going to Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical.
This flips the image so it’s upside down below the original
photo, just as we needed. Before we continue, let’s remove the selection
outline by going up to the Select menu and choosing Deselect, or by pressing Ctrl+D (Win) / Command+D (Mac) on the keyboard for the shortcut:
Going to Select > Deselect.
And now we have a mirror copy of the image below the original:
The result after flipping Layer 1 vertically.
Step 4: Merge Both Layers Onto A New Layer
Next, we need to merge both of our layers onto a brand new
layer above them. The easiest way to do that is with a keyboard shortcut
(I know a lot of people don’t care much for keyboard shortcuts but in
this case, it really is the easiest way to do it). Press Shift+Ctrl+Alt+E (Win) / Shift+Command+Option+E
(Mac) on your keyboard. Nothing will seem to have happened in the
document window, but if we look in the Layers panel, we see that we now
have a new layer named Layer 2, and if we look in the layer’s preview thumbnail to the left of its name, we see that the contents from both of the layers below it have been merged onto this new layer:
The contents of the Background layer and Layer 1 have been merged onto the new Layer 2.
Step 5: Add A New Blank Layer
We need another new layer, this time a blank one. To add a new blank layer, click on the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel:
Click on the New Layer icon.
Once again, nothing will happen in the document window, but a new blank layer named Layer 3 appears above the other layers in the Layers panel:
The Layers panel showing the new blank Layer 3.
Step 6: Fill The New Layer With White
We need to fill this new layer with white. To do that, go up to the Edit menu at the top of the screen and choose the Fill command:
Going to Edit > Fill.
This opens Photoshop’s Fill dialog box. Set the Use option at the top to White, and make sure the Mode option at the bottom is set to Normal and Opacity is set to 100%:
The Fill options.
Click OK to close out of the dialog box and Photoshop fills
Layer 3 with white, temporarily blocking everything else from view in
the document window:
The document after filling Layer 3 with white.
Step 7: Apply The Halftone Pattern Filter To Create Black And White Horizontal Lines
Next, we’re going to use one of Photoshop’s filters – the
Halftone Pattern filter – to add a series of black and white horizontal
lines to our currently white-filled Layer 3. But before we do, we first
need to make sure our Foreground and Background colors are set to their defaults (black for the Foreground color, white for the Background
color). The reason is because the Halftone Pattern filter uses the
current Foreground and Background colors and for our purposes here, we
need these colors to be black and white.
The quickest way to make sure they’re set to their defaults is to simply reset them by pressing the letter D (for “Defaults”) on the keyboard. If you then look at the Foreground and Background color swatches near the bottom of the Tools panel
over on the left side of the screen, you should see the top left swatch
(the Foreground color) set to black and the bottom right swatch (the
Background color) set to white:
The Foreground and Background color swatches set to their default colors.
Now that we’ve made sure we have the correct colors, let’s
select the Halftone Pattern filter which in Photoshop CS6 is found in
the Filter Gallery. Go up to the Filter menu at the top of the screen and choose Filter Gallery:
Going to Filter > Filter Gallery.
This opens the very large Filter Gallery, with the most dominate feature being the preview area on the left. The middle column of the Filter Gallery is where we select the individual filters, and they’re divided into various categories. Look for the Sketch category and click on its name to twirl it open if you need to so you can see the filters inside of it. Click on the Halftone Pattern filter to select it:
Opening the Sketch category and clicking on the Halftone Pattern filter.
The options for the Halftone Pattern filter are over in the right column of the Filter Gallery. First, set the Pattern Type to Line. Then keep an eye on the preview on the left as you drag the Size
slider to increase or decrease the number of black and white horizontal
lines. These lines will become our water ripples. I’m going to set my
Size value to 10. Below that is the Contrast
slider which controls how sharp the edges of the lines appear. Lower
values create softer edges. We need the edges to be fairly soft so I’ll
set my Contrast value to 4:
The Halftone Pattern options in the right column of the Filter Gallery.
Click OK to close out of the Filter Gallery and apply the filter to Layer 3. Your document should now look similar to this:
The document after applying the Halftone Pattern filter.
Step 8: Select The Bottom Half Of The Layer
Make sure that Layer 3 is still selected in the Layers panel (it should be highlighted in blue), then hold down your Ctrl (Win) / Command (Mac) key on your keyboard and click directly on the preview thumbnail for Layer 1:
Holding Ctrl (Win) / Command (Mac) and clicking on Layer 1′s thumbnail.
This places a selection outline around just the bottom half of Layer 3 (it may be hard to see in the screenshot):
The bottom half of Layer 3 is now selected.
Step 9: Apply The Perspective Transform Command
Go up to the Edit menu at the top of the screen, choose Transform, then choose Perspective:
Going to Edit > Transform > Perspective.
This places transform handles (the little squares) around the bottom half of the layer. Click on either the bottom left or bottom right handle
and drag it outward a short distance. As you drag one of them, you’ll
see the handle on the other side also moving outward in the opposite
direction. Notice as you continue dragging that the black and white
horizontal lines are becoming thicker towards the bottom of the layer
and thinner towards the center thanks to the Perspective mode we’re
using. This will help add realism to our water ripples, making them
appear further apart as we move further away from the edge or source of
Dragging the bottom left handle outward. The bottom right handle moves in the opposite direction.
The reason we’re ignoring the top half of the layer is
because the water reflection is only going to appear in the bottom half
of our image. There’s no need to worry about the top half since we
really don’t need it.
When you’re done, press Enter (Win) / Return (Mac) on your keyboard to accept the transformation, then press Ctrl+D (Win) / Command+D (Mac) on your keyboard to quickly remove the selection outline (or you could go up to the Select menu at the top of the screen and choose Deselect as we did earlier). Your layer should now look similar to this:
The layer after applying Perspective Transform.
Step 10: Duplicate The Layer As A New Document
We’re going to use this layer as a displacement map but first we need to save it as a separate document. Go up to the Layer menu and choose Duplicate Layer:
Going to Layer > Duplicate Layer.
This opens Photoshop’s Duplicate Layer dialog box. Change the Document option in the lower half of the dialog box to New:
Setting the Document option to New.
Click OK to close out of the dialog box. The layer will open as a new Photoshop document in a separate tab.
You’ll see the new tab appear at the top of the screen to the right of
the original document’s tab. Since we haven’t named it yet (we’ll do
that in a moment), it will be appear as “Untitled-1″:
Click on the tabs at the top of the screen to switch between open documents.
Step 11: Save And Close The New Document
All we need to do with our new document is save it and then close it. Go up to the File menu and choose Save As:
Going to File > Save As.
This opens the Save As dialog box. I’m going to name my document “water-ripples”. Set the Format option below the File name box to Photoshop .PSD
since the file needs to be saved as a Photoshop document if it’s going
to work as a displacement map. Make sure you save the file somewhere
you’ll remember so you can easily access it later. I’m going to save
mine into a folder on my desktop. When you’re ready, click the Save button to save the file and close out of the dialog box:
Name your document and save it as a Photoshop .PSD file.
Note: Depending on how you have Photoshop’s Preferences set up, a dialog box may open asking if you want to choose the Maximize Compatibility option. Just click OK to accept it and close out of the dialog box.
Now that we’ve saved the document, we can close out of it by clicking on the small “x”
icon in its name tab at the top of the screen. You’ll see that the
document’s name in the tab has changed from “Untitled-1″ to whatever you
named it a moment ago (mine is named “water-ripples.psd”). Leave the
original document open:
Closing the second document but leaving the original open.
Step 12: Delete Layer 3 In The Original Document
Back in the original document, we no longer need our black and white lines layer so make sure Layer 3 is selected in the Layers panel, then press Backspace (Win) / Delete
(Mac) on your keyboard to delete the layer. You should now be left with
three layers in the Layers panel, with the top layer (Layer 2)
selected and highlighted:
The Layers panel after deleting Layer 3.
Step 13: Convert Layer 2 To A Smart Object
We’re ready to start applying some filters to the image to
create our water reflection effect, but before we do, let’s first
convert the layer into a Smart Object. This way, the filters will be applied to it as Smart Filters
which means they’ll remain fully editable in case we want to go back
when we’re done and try different filter settings. With Layer 2
selected, click on the small menu icon in the top right corner of the Layers panel:
Clicking the Layers panel menu icon.
This opens a menu with various layer-related options. Choose Convert to Smart Object from the list:
Choosing “Convert to Smart Object” from the Layers panel menu.
It won’t look like much has happened, but a small Smart Object icon will appear in the bottom right corner of Layer 2′s preview thumbnail, letting us know the layer has been converted to a Smart Object:
A Smart Object icon appears in the preview thumbnail.
Step 14: Apply The Motion Blur Filter
Let’s first add a bit of blurring to the layer. Go up to the Filter menu at the top of the screen, choose Blur, then choose Motion Blur:
Going to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur.
When the Motion Blur dialog box appears, set the Angle of the blur to 90° so it moves up and down, then drag the Distance
slider at the bottom of the dialog box a little towards the right to
add just a slight amount of motion blur (keep an eye on the image in the
document window as you drag the slider to preview the results). I’m
going to set my Distance value to 6 pixels, but I’m using a fairly low resolution image here for this tutorial. A higher resolution image may need a higher value:
The Motion Blur dialog box and options.
Click OK to close out of the Motion Blur dialog box and apply
the filter to the image. As we can see here, the blur effect is subtle.
Don’t worry that we’ve blurred the entire image. We’ll be fixing that
in a moment:
The image after applying the Motion Blur effect.
Step 15: Apply The Displace Filter
Now let’s create our water ripples effect using the displacement map we just made. Go back up to the Filter menu, choose Distort, then choose Displace:
Going to Filter > Distort > Displace.
There’s actually two parts to the Displace filter. First, we
set some options that determine how the displacement map will affect the
pixels in the image, and then we choose the file we want to use as our
displacement map. Let’s set our main options using the Displace dialog
box that appears. We want our displacement map to distort the image
horizontally, creating ripples that move left and right in the water,
and for that, we need the Horizontal Scale option at the top of the dialog box. I’m going to set my value to 4
but because we’re applying this as a Smart Filter, we can always go
back and try a different value when we’re done if we need to.
We don’t need any up and down movement with the effect so set the Vertical Scale option to 0. Finally, set the Displacement Map option to Stretch To Fit and the Undefined Areas option to Repeat Edge Pixels if they’re not set to those values already:
Setting the main Displace options.
Click OK to close out of this first dialog box. A second
dialog box will open letting you choose the file for the displacement
map. Navigate to wherever you saved the “water-ripples.psd” file that we
saved back in Step 11. Click on the file to select it, then click the Open button to open it:
Choosing the displacement map.
As soon as we open the file, Photoshop instantly applies the
displacement map to the entire image, creating the water ripples effect
(again, don’t worry that we’ve affected the entire image. We’ll fix it
in the next step):
The image after applying the Displace filter.
If we look in the Layers panel, we can see the two Smart
Filters (Motion Blur and Displace) listed below Layer 2. Even though
we’ve already applied the filters to the layer, they both remain fully
editable. If you want to go back and try different settings, maybe by
increasing the Distance value for the Motion Blur filter or trying a
different Horizontal Scale value for the Displace filter, simply double-click
on either of the filters in the Layers panel to re-open the dialog box
and try your new setting to judge the results. As we’ll see at the very
end of this tutorial, just because a particular filter setting works
great with one image doesn’t mean it will work great for every image.
There’s always room to experiment, which is why Smart Filters are so
Both Smart Filters appear listed below Layer 2. Double-click on either one to change their settings.
Step 16: Add A Layer Mask
Let’s hide our water ripples effect from the top half of the image using a layer mask. With Layer 2 still selected, once again hold down your Ctrl (Win) / Command (Mac) key and click directly on the preview thumbnail for Layer 1:
Holding Ctrl (Win) / Command (Mac) and clicking on Layer 1′s preview thumbnail.
This loads another selection outline around just the bottom half of the image:
The bottom half is once again selected.
With the selection in place, click on the Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel:
Clicking the Layer Mask icon.
A layer mask thumbnail will appear on Layer 2
in the Layers panel, with the top half filled with black, which means
that part of the layer is now hidden from view in the document, while
the bottom half, filled with white in the thumbnail, remains visible:
The Layers panel showing the new mask thumbnail.
And if we look in our document window, we see that the water
ripples effect is now only visible in the bottom half of the image where
the reflection appears. The original photo is once again visible in
the top half:
The image after adding the layer mask.
Step 17: Colorize The Water With A Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer
To finish off the effect, let’s colorize the water reflection with just a hint of blue. We’ll use an adjustment layer for this, but we want to make sure we’re affecting only the bottom half of the image, so to do that, hold down your Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) key on your keyboard and with the key still down, click on the New Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel:
Holding Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) and clicking the New Adjustment Layer icon.
Choose Hue/Saturation from the list of adjustment layers that appears:
Choosing a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer.
Holding down the Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) key told Photoshop
to first open the New Layer dialog box before adding the adjustment
layer to the document. Select the Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask
option in the dialog box by clicking inside its checkbox. This tells
Photoshop to “clip” the adjustment layer to the contents of the layer
directly below it, which will limit its effect to just the bottom half
of the image (see our Photoshop Clipping Masks Essentials tutorial for more information on how clipping masks work):
Selecting the “Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask” option.
Click OK to close out of the New Layer dialog box, at which
point Photoshop adds the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to the document
directly above (and clipped to) Layer 2:
The Layers panel showing the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer clipped to Layer 2.
The controls and options for the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer appear in the Properties panel. First, select the Colorize option by clicking inside its checkbox. Then drag the Hue slider towards the right to set its value to around 210, which gives us a nice blue color:
The Hue/Saturation options in the Properties panel.
Here’s my image after colorizing the bottom half with blue:
The water reflection is now colorized with blue.
Step 18: Lower The Opacity Of The Adjustment Layer
As our final step, let’s lower the opacity of the adjustment layer so the blue colorizing effect is much more subtle. The Opacity option is located in the top right corner of the Layers panel. Lower it to around 25%:
Lowering the opacity of the adjustment layer to 25%.
And with that, we’re done! Here, after lowering the adjustment layer’s opacity, is my final “water reflection” effect:
The final result.
This water reflection effect works especially well with
landscape photos. Here’s another image that I’ll quickly apply the
effect to (golden forest photo from Shutterstock):
The original landscape photo.
And here’s the result with the water reflection applied. The
only changes I made with this image were that I used a slightly lower Distance value of 4 pixels (instead of 6) for the Motion Blur (Step 14), a Horizontal Scale value of only 1
(instead of 4) in the Displace filter (Step 15) for a more subtle
ripple effect, and in the final step (Step 18), I lowered the Opacity value of the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer all the way down to 10%
instead of 25%. As you can see, the exact values you use in these steps
can change depending on your image, so it’s always best to experiment
and judge the results for yourself:
Lesson 3 – Technology
The radio has been around for a long time and has been used in educational classrooms. Recent technologies have allowed classroom teachers to stream audio over the internet. There are also webcasts and podcasts available over the internet for students and teachers to download. For example, iTunes has various podcast available on a variety of subjects, which can be downloaded for free.
Videos may allow teachers to reach students who are visual learners and tend to learn best by seeing the material rather than hearing or reading about it. Teachers can access video clips through the internet instead of relying on DVD’s or VHS. Websites like YouTube are used by many teachers. Teachers can use Skype or webcams to interact with guest speakers and other experts. Interactive video games are being integrated in the curriculum at both K-12 and the higher education institutions.
Computers, Laptops and Tablets
Having a computer or laptop in the classroom allows students and teachers access to websites and other programs, for example, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, PDF files and images.
Blogs allow students and teachers to post their thoughts, ideas, and comments on a website. Blogging allows students and instructors to share their thoughts and comments on the thoughts of others which could create an interactive learning environment.
Mobile devices, for example, Smartphones operate similar to personal computers.
Lesson 1 – What is E-learning
E-learning refers to the use of various kinds of electronic media and information and communication technologies (ICT) in education. E-learning is an inclusive terminology for all forms of educational technology that electronically or technologically support learning and teaching, and may, depending on an emphasis on a particular aspect or component or delivery method, sometimes be termed technology-enhanced learning (TEL), computer-based training (CBT), internet-based training (IBT), web-based training (WBT), virtual education, or digital educational collaboration.
E-learning includes numerous types of media that deliver text, audio, images, animation, and streaming video and includes technology applications and processes such as audio or video tape, satellite TV, CD-ROM, and computer-based learning, as well as local intranet/extranet and web-based learning. Information and communication systems, whether free-standing or based on either local networks or the Internet in networked learning, underly many e-learning processes.
E-learning can occur in or out of the classroom. It can be self-paced, asynchronous learning or may be instructor-led, synchronous learning. E-learning is suited to distance learning and flexible learning, but it can also be used in conjunction with face-to-face teaching, in which case the term blended learning is commonly used.
It is commonly thought that new technologies make a big difference in education.Many proponents of e-learning believe that everyone must be equipped with basic knowledge of technology, as well as use it as a medium to reach a particular goal.
Some of the Questions that might be asked are:
- Target Audience Segmentation
- Progressive Enhancement /Graceful Degeneration
- Text and image size and Alignment
- Complimentary and Contrasting Colour Schemes
- Chunks of text
- Using The Grid
- Residence – Logo Design/ Layout
- White Space/ Padding/Spacing
- Navigation – Gestalt Law
- HTML5 Semantic Structure
- Cross Browser Compatibility
- Tags and Attributes
- Style Sheets
- Responsive Design
- Web /Native Mobile app Compatibility
- Embedded Media and objects
- Coding for SEO
- Social Networking
- HTML Validation
- Goals and Conversions
- Use of Google Analytics