Masking Like a Pro (with a Mask) with Photoshop’s Pen Tool

In this week’s free Deke’s Techniques episode, Deke demonstrates how meticulously mask a sweet shark using the perfecting Pen tool in Photoshop.

The story begins with a night dive in Maldives which was overrun with nurse sharks and stingrays (not to mention divers). We were assured by our guides on the Carpe Vita that this would be a night dive not to miss. Basically, we descended 60-70 feet, hooked in to avoid being swept off by the current, and just let the creatures swim around us.

Thus this photo that Deke took, while he was more or less tethered to the rocks and while he was forgetting much of what he learned from Hergen in the making of their Underwater Photography: Wide Angle course. The coral is over exposed and the focus is a bit off the main subject.

No matter, Deke may still be learning how to balance currents, sharks, stingrays, scuba gear, photo gear, and being underwater at night, but he’s got unassailable command of Photoshop.  Armed with the pen tool and some color fills, he gets very close to the effect he was looking for in the first place.

If you’re a member of, he’s got a follow up movie in which he shows you how he uses a second masked layer to make brightness and contrast changes to enhance the effect.

Deke’s Techniques, still useful around the world and under the sea.

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