Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Project 4: Photoshop Masks

Published by Jillian McGrath at 8:11 AM

Photoshop masks are an invaluable resource to any photographer or designer. They allow you to hide unwanted pixels without actually deleting them just in case you need them again. It is a less permanent solution to the eraser tool and something that anyone who uses Photoshop should know about.

Once you start using masks you will realize just how easy they truly are even if they seem a little intimidating at first. Creating a mask in Photoshop is almost as easy as selecting your image. You simply select the image that you would like to add a mask to and then go to the bottom of your layers palette, click the "add mask" button which looks like a square with a circle in the middle of it. By default your mask will come up as white making everything visible. To start hiding items using your mask click on the mask layer to the right of the image you masked, select your paint brush and make sure your paint brush color is set to black (to reset your colors to black and white simply select D on your keyboard, and to switch between the two colors easily hit X on your keyboard). Then start painting over the area of your image that you would like to hide. White on a mask will reveal pixels and black on a mask will hide pixels. As you are working you will notice that you need different paint brush sizes in different areas of your image a simple short cut for changing the size of your brush would be to press [ to make your brush smaller and ] to make your brush larger.

Below are two of my personal examples of images being combined to create one composite using masks and layers in Photoshop.

If you would like to know more about Masks and Layers in Photoshop be sure to check out these helpful links:

Unveiling Photoshop Masks - Smashing Magazine

Photoshop 101: How to Use Layer Masks | Design Reviver

Image Composite One

Straight Out of Camera

Straight Out of Camera

Image Composite using Photoshop Masks and Layers

Composite Two

Straight Out of Camera

Straight Out of Camera

Image Composite using Photoshop Masks and Layers

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Project 3: Gray Card

Published by Jillian McGrath at 8:07 AM

A digital gray card is a flat card that is a neutral gray (18%) used to produce a more consistent and correct white balance for your images. Essentially an 18% gray card takes the light reflected off of the gray card into consideration and between the camera and the computer can figure out which colors of light are being reflected off of the card, and are able to make adjustments using a custom white balance.

It is really simple to use a gray card, simply just take a photo of your object/subject holding the gray card, setting your exposure in camera correctly when photographing this image. Then remove the gray card from your object/subject and continue shooting in the same lighting conditions making sure not to change any of your settings.

Once you get to the Post Processing of your images Aperture and Lightroom make getting the correct white balance of your images super easy! Simply go to your developing section in either or, set your exposure and setting that you want for your first image that has the gray card in it, then use the eye dropper in the white balance section to sample from the gray card and tada! Beautiful white balance, then just apply this setting to the rest of your photos in this set and you have a set of images with the proper white balance.

If you would like to read more about a gray card be sure to check out this awesome review on gray cards here: The Digital Picture: Gray Card Review

Also if you are interested in purchasing a gray card check out this company: RM Imaging

Check out some of these images I took using a gray card:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Winter Love

Published by Jillian McGrath at 10:05 AM

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
– Anne Bradstreet