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Adobe Photoshop CC - Advanced Training

Mask on a group rather than each layer

Daniel Walter Scott

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Hi there, this video we're going to look at adding a mask to a group. Basically we just add it to this group here, so that things that are inside, you can see, are all just masked by this one banana mask that we've made. We don't have to apply to all the different layers. If you've done it before, there's going to be a few extra little tricks, like a little Color Range trick. A shortcut for Blending Modes, plus we'll add some shadows to it to kind of make it look more realistic. Lots of value in this one. 

We'll start with just the simple mask and move our way through. To get started let's open up our files. It's in the 02 Selections & Masking folder. We're going to open up 'Group Mask 1', '2', '3', and '4'. Let's open all of those up. Now throughout this video you're probably going to hear some construction, because I've been waiting all day for them to finish, so I can record, there they are there. They are not going to finish anytime soon, so we're just going to have a little tapping and banging in the background. So let's start with the 'Group Mask 1.psd', remember him? The banana, we use Color Range to select him, and like we saw at the beginning, we're going to kind of combine them inside that shape. 

The cool thing we're going to learn is, if you're on a Mac, hold down 'Command' key, if you're on a PC, just hold down the 'Ctrl' key. And if you click on the 'Mask', it loads that mask back into a selection. You can see little ants running around, which is cool. Another cool little tip you might not know about, is you can go to 'Select' and you can 'Save Selections'. Sometimes you've been like all day, kind of getting halfway through a selection and then you have to go. You can actually save this thing. So I'm going to call it 'banana', I'm going to click 'OK'. Because what I want to do is, I'm going to go 'Select', 'Deselect'. And I'm going to turn that mask 'off', so I'm going to right click where the Layer Mask is, and say, let's delete that Layer Mask; that hard work all gone. Don't worry because we've saved it in that selection.

So what do I want to do? Let's just get started quickly so you understand the concept. So I'm going to go to 'Group Mask 2', and my 'Command C', 'Command V' doesn't work with this. Man, it's always the bane of our life, right? The locked one. So just double click the word 'background' click 'OK'. Now we can use 'Command C', 'Command V'. And we have far too big strawberries. I'll shrink him down, and I'm just going to kind of put him-- where am I going to put him? About there to get started. Let's grab 'Group Mask 3', do the same thing, unlock the background, or you can just get it dragged into the Tab option. I'm using the 'Command C', 'Command V'. Let's get it down to kind of an appropriate size. I'm just doing halves in halves now. It's not going to look perfect yet. I guess I want to get the concept through first, and then we'll go and finish it off. 

So I've got these two here. Now what we've done in the past, and what you might have done like me, is you're going to add a Layer Mask to every one of these images. So let's go to 'Select', 'Load Selection, where are you, Load Selection? Go to 'Channel', go to 'Banana', and there's my Selection Pack. So with that selection you have that layer selected, and go, you, and then you do the same thing. I'm going to use that cool shortcut, 'Command'-click or 'Ctrl'-click the mask. Click on this layer, click on Layer Mask, and it works, but you end up with like loads of these, and sometimes if you try to make kind of a collage, you'll end up with a zillion different masks, and that's not the pro way. 

So we're going to go 'Step Backwards' until all that's gone. What we're going to do is, I'm just going to make a Layer group here. I'm going to call this one 'Banana Mask'. Not sure why I said banana that way. We're going to stick these two guys in it, so select both of them, and just drag them and click them on top of the folder, so you know they're in there. You know they're in there by you turning the Eyeball on and off of the folder. And now the cool thing is, is with this layer selected, I can go to my 'Select', 'Load Selection', and 'Banana' click 'OK', and if I apply the Layer Mask to that group, they're all inside there, all happy in there. So it's just an easy way, now I can grab the blueberries, drag them in. Go back to my old ways of selection, can you see? Because it's just inside this group they all just come along for the ride. 

You can skip ahead now, we're going to do a little bit-- I'm going to show you some extra tricks, but if you came for the masking on a group, and you're satisfied, you can move on. There's going to be some cool extra tips coming. So I'm going to delete these two guys. The strawberries are going to kind of fill the background parts somewhere, somewhat like that. I'm going to go to my 'Group 3'. Now how would I select these guys? Color Range won't work because there is like this white piff in the middle. Not sure what you call that stuff, but it's the wrong color. So what we're going to do is use the Quick Selection Tool, and I'm going to kind of do a reverse selection. So I'm going to use the Quick Selection Tool. I'm going to make my brush a bit bigger, and Quick Selection Tool be perfect for this. High hope, I've already practiced. That's pretty amazing, I'm going to make it a Layer Mask. I go back to my Move Tool, and we go 'Command C' on a Mac or 'Ctrl C' on a PC. Jump back to this original here, and I'm going to paste it. 

Probably going to resize it a little bit, before I do, right click where it says 'Layer 2', make sure it is a Smart Object. So when I shrink it down I don't lose that lovely resolution that's in there. Hit 'return' on my keyboard. Let's now do the blueberries. We've played with this one before. I'm going to show you another little Color Range trick. In the last video I was just reluctant to make like a fifth video on Color Range, so I thought I'd throw it in here. 

Let's go to 'Select', 'Color Range'. And what you can do is, watch this, if I click on the actual blueberries and I click on +, and I add a few more to them, and I try to play with fuzziness, that works to a degree, and it worked really great, when we're doing our localized colors because we just wanted these two, but when you want the whole lot, often it-- I'm going to go to this first Eyedropper, click on the background, so in this selection we're going to be selecting the background, but then just inverting it. So I'm going to add the little +, I'm going to say, a little bit of you in there. It's going to work for me perfect, let's click 'OK'. 

If I mask it now though, it's the wrong way around, so I undo. And just go to 'Select', 'Inverse'. Now I'm going to add my Layer Mask. There's a few little holes in it from the white parts. We'll learn another little trick in a minute. Go to Channel Mask, which will really fix this one up, but for the moment we're using the tools that we got. That's one worth mentioning, copy it. Jump back to the beginning here, paste it, I'll shrink it down a bit. Here we go, Blueberry goodness. You can see here, some of the centers are showing through to the orange. So I might just grab the 'Mask', grab my 'Brush Tool', shrink it down. Paint it with white, just to fill in these guys, nice and easy little drops. 

So that should be the end of this one. What I want to do though is I really want to add some shadows to it. And when I was practicing-- I guess I want to show you the trouble I ran into. You can skip ahead now, there's not anything to do with masking left. Just want to show you that-- some shadows to it. Well, bonus chapter. 

So what I normally do, and we did this quite a bit the Essentials course. Is I just grab this layer, I duplicate it, by dragging it on to this, like new layer icon here. Drag it to the top, come on, in there. Double click in here, I'm going to call it 'Shadow'. Name at least two of my six layers. I desaturate it by going 'Command-Shift-U' on a Mac, or 'Ctrl-Shift-U' on a PC. Or here's the long way, under 'Image', 'Adjustments', 'Desaturate'. Just gets rid of the color. Otherwise it looks weird when you start using Blending Modes, right? Kind of colors everything. 

So if I desaturate it first, normally what I can do is just go 'Multiply', and often that works. Cast the shadows on the background. But because the photographer of this banana kind of spent a long time lighting it, and making it look great with no real strong shadows, I'm messing them from what I need it for. So I'm going to have to kind of accentuate. What I really want is this line through the middle. I feel like that gives the banana its banana characteristics, plus these little end pieces. I also want some kind of shading around the outside to give it some volume. I'll show you the tricks that I use to do that. 

So I've desaturated the layer. What I'm going to do is I'm going to use the Burn Tool. Remember, the Burn Tool makes things darker. You'll have to play around with the range at the top here. I'm going to play with shadows. Exposures, I'm trying to see. You have to play around with these settings depending on what you're working on. I've got a Brush size here, I'm just-- can you see, if I'm working with shadows, just going to accentuate those shadows. I want to really bring that out. I'll do the same with that. I want that to be nice and strong. That's already probably fine. I won't do him anymore. Because that's a strong line here I want to do the same for the edges. 

So what I'm going to do is just make the brush bigger. Maybe lower the opacity a little bit, or the exposure. In this case, the mid tones is what I wanted to do. You can kind of see what I'm doing, I'm just trying to like give it some volume around the outside, just clicking and dragging slowly. Maybe a slightly smaller button. Just to give it some depth. I'm not spending too long. So now we've got some kind of strong colors. I want to get rid of the mid tones, just want one of these black bits left. So the easiest way to get rid of midtones is to use Levels. With this Layer selected, I'm going to use-- doesn't really matter if you use Adjustments, or the other one. 

I'm going to use the Adjustment Layers, because we are being super professional. I'm going to make sure the levels only effect of the layer underneath. So levels only affect the shadow, by clicking that button there. Now I'm just going to work with this. Not to make it look better, but to try and get rid of the kind of mid tone grays. You can see, just yanking up this white slider here. Playing with the gray slider. Darken this up, so this is what I'm trying to do, right? Just add shadows. Cool. 

Now I'm going to click on my 'Shadow Layer', and then just work with the Layer Modes, and figure out which one's going to work. Let's go to 'Multiply', you can see it there, Multiply is quite good. I'm going to work my way through, and if you are like me, and you hate doing this, have a look though. Going through them all, going, "Man, this takes forever," you just don't, right? So the shortcut for cycling through these, it's a cool little shortcut. You have to be on your Move Tool though. For some reason that only works when you're on your Move Tool. And you hold down the 'Shift' key on your keyboard, and tap '+'. + again, + again, so holding down 'Shift', tapping '+', that's Mac and PC, just cycles through them. Super useful, helpful tool. Now I'm actually looking, so Multiply's is good. Linear Burn's okay. Should really have checked this before you watched. Let's turn it on and off, can you see what I mean? I want to kind of add that little bit of realism in there. 

One last thing before I go, I've just noticed that this is kind of spilling over here. So I'm going to click on my 'Layer Mask', and because they're all in the same group, hah, ties it back nicely. Nice work, Dan. We're going to 'Layer Mask', make sure black is my foreground color. I'm going to make the Brush size nice and big, and fluffy. I'm just going to kind of ease it in there. There you go. Good reflection. 

So thanks for hanging around for the bonus shadow section. A really simple thing at the beginning there. Just putting a mask on an actual layer group, and then throwing everything inside of it. All right, that is it, let's get into the next video tutorial.