Deke’s Techniques 326: Masking a Caricature against a New Background

In this week’s free Deke’s Techniques movie, Deke shows you how to quickly mask last week’s caricature against a dramatic new background. Appropriately, this quick technique employs the Quick Mask mode in Photoshop, resulting in our bug-eyed creature finding a new home in a background that’s as suitably exaggerated as he is:

Before and after masking the character on a new background

The technique employs the aptly named Quick Mask mode. (Well, it’s suitably named this time; some masks are more work to create than others.) In this case, the Color Range command does the heavy lifting, and the good ol’ Brush tool set to Overlay mode does the fine-tuning. 

But I wonder, does this technique work on characters as well as caricatures? What if one’s subject wore most of his whimsy on the inside? What if mystery man’s hair was somewhat, er, wispier and, uh, hoarier than our thickly coiffed dark-haired model? Is this technique still viable? 

Mystery Man Mask

Well, if you overlook the lighting inconsistencies, I would say, yes. With a few adaptations, you can easily use this approach to mask this particular character against a background that enhances the color of both his eyes and his favorite sweater: 

Mystery Man revealed against a new background

For members of (and those of you who feel Deke’s forehead is a bit shiny in this photo), Deke’s got an exclusive movie this week in which he shows you how to dramatically shade and sharpen the caricature now that it’s in its new background. If you’re not a member of, you can get a free week’s trial membership at Where you can check out over 300 other adaptable Deke’s Techniques as well. 

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  • Nice technique

    Love everything you got here, really help me a lot… I am a fan from China, love to check out new techniques on your site..

    Nice pic of you btw.

  • well described in light mood

    well described in light mood ! this is special for me

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