Learn How to Mask Hair, Down to the Final Fragile Follicle, in Photoshop

My final video course of 2011 for the Online Training Library is now live. Titled Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Hair, it lives up to its name, showing you how to mask and composite the most fragile of all photographic details, hair, in that most powerful of masking applications, Photoshop.

Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Hair

(Yes, I'm aware that the term "follicle" specifically refers to the root of the hair, not the part we see and therefore need to mask. It's all about the alliteration, dammit!)

My goal is to boost both your skills and your confidence. As well as pass along lots of useful, in-the-trenches techniques. All in just 3 hours and 6 minutes! Here's an illustrated outline of the four feature-rich chapters and the fun, challenging projects that accompany them: Read more » 

. Tagged with:

Photoshop Masking & Compositing: The Free PDF Companion

Last month marked the debut of Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Fundamentals, my video-based introduction to the principals of masking for At more than 11 hours long, the course is not only comprehensive, but also demanding.

So I decided to try out an experiment, in the form of an 11-page PDF companion. Available for free to members of dekeOnline, this file provides a few helpful services: First, it provides an introduction to the course as a whole. Second, it outlines the contents of each of the nine chapters, including the names of all 128 movies. Third, it provides links to the free movies, of which there are 12 in all. (It is's custom to make 10 percent of any course free to non-members.) And finally, I recommend what I consider to be the three most useful movies in each chapter. All links are live, but to see the linked movies, you'll need an Internet connection, you'll have to be a member of the Online Training Library, and you'll need to be logged into the Web site.

Photoshop Masking & Compositing: The PDF Companion

You'll need to be a member of dekeOnline to proceed. Read more » 

. Tagged with:

The Next "Photoshop Masking & Compositing" Course Goes Live @

Ask anyone at Adobe what distinguishes Photoshop from every other image-editing program, app, or digital blip on the planet, and they'll tell you "masking and compositing." Apparently you agree, because my video course Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Fundamentals is tearing up the planet over at It's N-to-the-1-to-the-L-D-C, as the dope kids say. As if I'd know.

Naturally, I'm gratified. (Thanks very much, btw!) Plus, it emboldens me to report: Today I and my beloved video publisher release another installment in the series, Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Advanced Blending. The image below might make it look exacting and academic. Which it is. But it's also expansive and practical. Because it tells the ultimate post-processing story: How to paint without permanence, create without consequences, and, in the end, mask without masking. In short, how to assemble photorealistic artwork through the pure power of artistic thought. It really is that good.

Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Advanced Blending

This is a short course, just 4 hours, and yet it manages to comprise 9 chapters. Here they are: Read more » 

. Tagged with:

"Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Fundamentals" Goes Live Today

Photoshop Channels & Masks has traditionally been one of my most popular video series in the Online Training Library. Which is why I decided to update the course and rename it Photoshop Masking & Compositing. After all, if it ain't broke, fix it.

It starts today with the release of my entirely reinvigorated primer course, Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Fundamentals, in which you'll learn everything there is to know about selections, alpha channels, layers, compositing, clipping masks, Color Range, the Quick Mask mode, Refine Edges, everyday channel masking, Calculations, layer masks, vector path outlines, and knockout layers. Give me your time, and I'll make sure your compositions look their absolute best.

And this is just the beginning. There will be many satellite courses, including (but not limited to) Advanced BlendingThe Pen Tool, and my personal favorite, Hair. (I'm working on Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Advanced Blending, complete with mathematical formulas for each and every one of the blend modes, as you read this.)

Here's my chosen splash screen, complete with a toucan. Because let's face it, toucan's are about as cool as masked birds get:

For a chapter-by-chapter analysis (there are nine chapters in all), read on: Read more » 

. Tagged with:

Today I Finish Recording "Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Fundamentals"

When I released my first "Photoshop Channels & Masks" course for, it shot to the top of the Online Training Library and remained there for months. Naturally, I've been eager to update the videos, but as seems forever to be the case, there have been plenty of other things to occupy my attention.

Fortunately, that unfortunate situation officially changes today. Nearly four years after the release of my last "Channels & Masks" course, I am just today putting the finishing touches on its update. Only this time around, we'll be calling the video "Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Fundamentals." And it contains all new content. (Okay, so there are a couple of archival projects, but I thoroughly rehashed them, so they're new too.)

Here's a sample project, in which I take a couple of foreground subjects, one with lots of hair and the other with lots of feathers:

A woman with hair and a bird with feathers, ready to mask in Photoshop

And I arrange them against a new background, complete with some adventurous compositing techniques and a few synthetic effects:

The two images masked into a new background, with effects, courtesy of Photoshop Read more » 

. Tagged with: