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Deke McClelland's takes a complicated topic and brings it down to earth with easy to understand dialog.

Video Training Review – Photoshop CS3 Channels And Masks: Advanced Techniques With Deke McClelland From Lynda.com.

Photoshop CS3 Channels And Masks: Advanced Techniques is the final part of a two part series that covers the use of channels and mask under Photoshop CS3. Part one, the essentials, showed that Alpha channels are collections of luminance data that control the transparency of images, and they influence just about everything in Photoshop.

Your trainer for this library is Deke McClelland. Deke McClelland is a well-known expert and lecturer on Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and the broader realm of computer graphics and design. To date, he has written 85 books that have been translated into 24 languages, with more than 4 million copies in print. This library is divided into 9 lessons and runs 20.5 hours. This is the second part in Photoshop CS3 Channels And Masks. Part one is called Photoshop CS3 Channels And Masks: The Essentials and is also available from Lynda.com

Lesson 10, "Advanced Blending" continues the subject of blending by discussing topics such as luminance blending, fill opacity, color matching, and ways to blend a masked image with a new background to create a credible effect. Here you will learn to make a custom contrast mode, luminance blend, you will work with blending smart filters, matching colors, as well as restoring normal colors.

Lesson 11, "Layer-Specific Masks" shows how masking goes to the heart of a more common function in Photoshop, which is of layers. Every layer carries a transparency mask that defines the boundaries of the layers. Here you will learn how to use these layers to control adjustments. In this lesson you will learn how to use adjustment layers, layer masks, and clipping masks to achieve the effects that you want. By using layer based masks you always have access to your original pixels.

Lesson 12, "Specialty Masks" clarify techniques that will allow you to change colors in one portion of an image while preserving them in another. Perhaps you want to adjust the focus of just the edges in an image or even blur away just the background. The maskings described in this lesson are really ones that can be applied to day-to-day image adjustment. You are shown how to deal with hair, fabric, work with archival photographs, as well as working with the edge mask.

Lesson 13, "Channel Mixing and Other Tricks" illustrate how to work with the Channel mixer and how it can be used to work with Black and White images, Sepia tone images, and creating an infrared effect. You can bolster contrasts with the green channel, learn three ways to gray, and get a lesson in expert red-eye correction.

Lesson 14, "Calculations (aka Channel Operations)" examines how you can use the Calculation command to blend two Channels to create a base Alpha Channel; this makes it a great tool for distilling masks. In the old days people use Channel Operations or Chops for short to accomplish the same thing with many more steps. These now would be called MaskOps. Here you will work with blue screen blending, add/subtract blends, dodging/burning, and nondestructive layer painting.

Lesson 15, "The Pen Tool and the Paths Palette" will show you how to draw a meticulous selection outline one point and control handle at a time. Because the pen tool does not see or modify pixels, it lets you create and edit vector outlines that, in turn, allow you to trace outlines that no other tool in Photoshop can see. This lets you draw outlines in a super sharp manner and place them exactly where they need to be. Then you can convert the path to a selection outline with the best anti-aliasing available in Photoshop.

Lesson 16, "Masking the Tough Stuff" explores how to mask difficult images. Objects that say are casting a shadow that you want to bring the shadow with. Or how about translucent subjects, subjects that contain the same colors as the background, or perhaps contains lots of colors? Maybe they have lots of ruffles or fringes and are set against a colorful background. While all of these situations are not covered here; hey this video is already over 20 hours long, you will learn some techniques to get you started on these hard to mask items.

Lesson 17, "16-Bit/Channel and HDR" begins by describing bit-depth and what it means to your images. While the 16.8 million colors that are available in an 8-bit image may seem like a lot, when you edit your images you may experience clipping and banding. The other issue is if you have a camera or scanner that captures 10-bits or 16-bit images, should you throw all of those other colors away? Photoshop can handle 16-bit images and if you want to work with High Dynamic Range images (HDR), they can handle 32-bit images. Here you will learn some pretty fantastic methods for working with these types of images.

Lesson 18, "DMaps and Lighting Effects" look at two highly specialized functions that employ independent channels to create 3D quality effects. The first is the Displace filter uses a Displacement map to move pixels to wrap one image around another. The second, Lighting Effects lets you light the edges which create a 3D embossing effect. You will learn such techniques as creating custom waves, moonlight reflecting off water, and wrapping stone around a face.

As in the first set " Photoshop CS3 Channels And Masks: The Essentials," I really like Deke McClelland's presentation in this video. He describes to you a very complicated topic and brings it down to earth in an easy to understand dialog. Again, I really like the fact that the introductions to each chapter are films of the instructor explaining what the lesson is all about. I think that it makes the instructor more real than just hearing them talk in the voice over. Yes it makes for some large segments, but it sooo worth it.

You can get Photoshop CS3 Channels And Masks: Advanced Techniques two ways. One is as a DVD training package Photoshop CS3 Channels And Masks: Advanced Techniques and the other is part of the online training experience at Lynda.com. The DVD Training Package is $149 USD and includes Photoshop CS3 Channels And Masks: The Essentials as well as containing everything you need.

The online training Photoshop CS3 Channels And Masks: Advanced Techniques comes in three flavors. Monthly at $25 USD/month gets you all of the videos that are available online (approximately 21,811 videos on 318 topics at this time). Annually at $250 USD per year or Premium at $375 USD per year which get all the videos as well as all of the exercise files. Take note that the exercise files are not included with the monthly or annual subscriptions. They are included on the DVD and Premium subscriptions.

You can use Photoshop CS3 Channels And Masks: Advanced Techniques as a training program for the individual student, as well as the college or vocational teacher looking to supplement their educational materials. It is of benefit to anyone who needs help understanding Channels And Masks. You can also try out most of the first lesson for free at Lynda.com.

Photoshop CS3 Channels And Masks: Advanced Techniques Lesson Listing:

  • Advanced Blending
  • Layer-Specific Masks
  • Specialty Masks
  • Channel Mixing and Other Tricks
  • Calculations (aka Channel Operations)
  • The Pen Tool and the Paths Palette
  • Masking the Tough Stuff
  • 16-Bit/Channel and HDR
  • DMaps and Lighting Effects

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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