Photoshop Masking Tutorial

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This is the process of isolating objects in photos using erase or extract tools. The Photoshop is designed with plug-ins that makes it easier to carry out the masking process. The problem with this process is that it is time consuming and difficult to isolate images from their background. Isolating the object from the background is important since it allows the objects to remain transparent. Masking and alpha process makes it possible to isolate images of items such as glass or hair.

The masking process

The masking process method is appropriate when working on images that are difficult to determine whether they are part of the photo or the background. The process thus helps in removing the background based on the pixels available. This is the process that makes it possible to isolate a glass from the background. It helps in identifying the glass even when it is placed in different backgrounds. However, it is important to note that if you are photoshop masking an object, you can only return it when it is in a certain format.

Alpha channel

This is the alternative method one can use to isolate images from the background. The method is pixel based and the technique used is different from the masking method one. The method works on assumption that every image contains three or four combination of colors. There is red, green, and blue or a combination of cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

To isolate an object in an image using the Alpha Channel, an additional channel that takes the shape of the isolated object rather than the color may be used. This method is appropriate especially when you want to isolate objects that contain a lot of details or those that use different color combination. Alpha channel can be selected in Indesign just as it is with quark or Photoshop and is appropriate in isolating images using selections of contrast colors. In masking, one can place an image on a transparent background that can easily be uploaded.

Alpha Masking

Things to avoid

If you want your Photoshop Clipping Path to be smart, there are a number of things you need to avoid. They include the use of the Magic Wand Tool that provide a shortcut but whose results are as bad as it is in all other quick fixes. Other than the bad results you get, it will take your time because you will have to spend more time fixing it. Similarly if you have areas of different colors, you may not easily get the desired results since the short cut will select a larger area than what you are really interested in. If the area you are working on is small, the magic Wand Tool may not give you the results you may be looking for. This is even complicated when the background has a wide range of colors.

Similarly, the tool may not give you better results if the background on which you want the work placed has many colors. That is why it is advisable to use Photoshop Clipping Paths for better image cut.

One thought on “Photoshop Masking Tutorial

  • January 10, 2017 at 9:51 am

    Thanks for the details tutorial about image masking. You described everything that need to know to perform a perfect image masking. Image masking is the best process of separating an image from its background when pen tool is not enough. It is one of the basic image processing operations that every newbies need to know. This tutorial will be helpful for the newbies.


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