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Description of the video:

hello and welcome to the media makers micro tutorial on Photoshop layer masks and since we're all feeling a little isolated I thought it would be fun to show how you can use masks to travel the world in less than 10 minutes and I will be using free stock photos from unsplash so feel free to download your own and practice along with me I'm open up photoshop alright so here you can see my final version I'm gonna just take you through the steps from start to finish so I'm gonna go to file open and I'm gonna find my background image and then usually before I start I like to add an adjustment layer on top of this just to get any of the the white balance for the photo and so in order to do that I have my layer over here selected and I'm gonna click on the adjustment layer tool right here and then I'm gonna open up the curves tap and to do the white balance it's this third eyedropper tool right here so I'm gonna click on that and I'm just gonna click on the lightest area of the photo and you can see it didn't change too much if I hit this little eyeball here we can hide it but it kind of just evens out that color and almost brightens it just a little bit and that's all I'm gonna do for that and then I'm going to go up to file and find my subject I'm gonna actually do place embedded and then I'm find the subject here and then I'm gonna hit enter on my keyboard or you can press this checkmark up here now the photos in here and there's a really great new tool that Photoshop offers it's this fourth tool down on pad the object selection tool you know another thing that's really great if you're not super familiar with Photoshop is if you hover over each of these tools it's gonna demonstrate how to use those tools so here this one the object selection tool I'm just gonna click and then click and drag where I'm making this marquee rectangle around my subject and then release you can see that Photoshop does a lot of the work for you but with making this selection I'm gonna hit Z on my keyboard and that switched me over to the zoom tool just so I can get in here and just see how good of a job it did with that selection and it's alright I'm gonna clean it up a little bit here in the next step so since I have this pair one thing that I like to do is refine that edge a little bit and so in order to do that you go to select select a mask and then it's gonna bring you into a new dialog box where if you don't see this red overlay all this is is if this industry down menu over here I have overlay selected and that just gives me a bit of contrast to see more of what I'm working with with what's next and what's not and then I'm gonna use the second tool down which is called the refine edge brush tool or you can hit R on your keyboard to access it and I'm just gonna go through the hair right quick and you can see how it's kind of helping or find that selection just a little bit so that you can get that just like get between the hairs there and that'll make your transition into a new background a little bit smoother and so that's all I'm gonna do with that tool there I'm gonna hit OK and you can see how it's adjusted the selection there and I'm pretty happy with this I can still adjust this in the next step and so to turn this into a mask you have that layer selected and then it's this third tool down here at the bottom of the layers panel this is add layer mask it's like a rectangle with a circle in it and there you go you can already see how it's shifted where it took out the background of that previous photo and is now fit with the mountains landscape that I want to be in now alright and then like I said there are still some like little areas that weren't quite um selected the way that I wanted and what's really cool about working with mask layers is you can actually use the brush tool and as long as you have this black foreground and white background it works as if you're painting in and out that mask so I'm gonna make this a little larger so that you can just see what I'm talking about so those colors correlate with the way that this mask looks like so if you want to add to the mask and you want to switch over to white and I'm gonna hit X on my keyboard and that just quickly allows me to shift back and forth between these two colors I'm hitting and then I'm just gonna quickly if you wanted to bring in more of the background that's how you would paint that if you wanted to if I hit X again if you wanted to actually take away something you would just paint over that and so this next step I'm gonna speed through it but you're gonna watch me just refine those edges just a little bit more so that I get more of that backpack and I get a cleaner edge and get rid of the spacing here and I'm gonna make my brush a little smaller and up at the top this is where you can actually do that and then I'm gonna speed through this and it's just all gonna depend on what your photo looks like for how long this process takes you and as you can tell we need a couple adjustment layers on the subject here because it doesn't really match with the lighting of photos so I'm gonna do what I did earlier you want to make sure you do click back onto the photo here versus being on the mask but then go ahead and add in another adjustment layer and use curves and so one thing to notice here is that when I start to adjust this you can tell it's adjusting both of these layers and so we actually need to clip it to the layer right below it I'm gonna hit ctrl Z and to do that you click on this box with this little arrow okay so now when we clicked on that you can see that there's this little arrow and this adjustment layer now is stuck with this layer directly beneath it to make the next adjustments you want to make sure you click over back on this chart here because this is a layer mask thumbnail but we want to just make sure we're back on this first option and then we're gonna use this kind of hidden feature if you hold alt you get some extra options when you click on auto and we're gonna find dark and light colors so this is gonna allow us to find those shadows mid-tones and highlights from the background to kind of help us start that process of matching these so I'm gonna click on this color for shadows and then you'll get this eye dropper tool and what you want to do is just kind of find the darkest part on the background and find where their shadows are and you can adjust it even more I might make it just a bit darker and then I'm gonna use highlights so then it's gonna be grabbing sampling those colors from the lightest part hit okay and then you can use a snap neutral mid-tones option and it's gonna kind of try to find that balance between those shadows and highlights that you just selected by going hit okay and then you don't want to usually you just want to hit no on this because you don't want to change those defaults all right you can see that it's not quite right so then that's when you can actually go in and add like maybe brightness and contrast and again see it's not clipped there so I do want to make sure you clip that to that layer I am gonna slice her down a little bit so then if you want to size it you can go to edit and a free trip free transform or you can do ctrl T or command T on Mac and then you can just grab from the corner and start sizing it to where the proportion looks about where you're happy with it might do something like that and then I'm gonna hit enter I'm done with that all right so then I would just keep adding and playing with those different adjustment layers until you get the right lighting match with each of them and then before you know it you'll be off Easter Island Tokyo Mexico Singapore in Paris so hopefully this was helpful and if there's a specific tutorial you'd like to learn feel free to drop that in the comments and we'd be happy to get that up there for you thank you

Media Makers Alliance Leaders

Lead Intern


Shubhi is an undergraduate senior at Indiana University pursuing a B.S. in Molecular Life Sciences with a concentration in cellular and developmental biology, along with minors in Graphic Design and Psychology. She hopes to combine her interests in medicine, technology, and user-centered design to create high-impact, accessible, and innovative solutions in the tech-healthcare space! Outside of her studies, Shubhi has five years of experience piloting and leading grassroots projects in the nonprofit industry and is a passionate advocate for the rights of women, children, and minorities. She strives to use her experiences to lead with equity in both professional and personal spaces.



Grace is an undergraduate senior at Indiana University Bloomington studying Media Advertising with a specialization in Media Psychology. She is currently an intern for the MediaMakers Student Alliance Team at CEW&T.



Juliette Albert is an undergraduate sophomore at Indiana University Bloomington. Pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Biology and Studio Art, Juliette plans on becoming a medical illustrator.

Staff Champion


After receiving an MA from the IUB Media School, former Lead intern Haley is now the Champion for the MediaMakers team. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Kansas State University and a Master of Fine Arts from Louisiana State University with concentrations in digital art.