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Lesson 4. Advanced Masking > Touching up the mask edges

Touching up the mask edges

The final stage of mask-making in Photoshop usually involves touching up the edges. Whether you’ve made your mask by duplicating a channel, using Extract, or using a selection technique, you still need to compare the mask to the image and touch up a few areas.

Next, you’ll view the mask and the image together and use the paintbrush tool to add or remove areas that were missed in the previous selections.

In the Channels palette, click the column to the left of the RGB channel to show the eye icon. Both the RGB image and the Leaf Mask channel should be visible.

Zoom in on the image so that you can work on the bottom of the leaf.

Select the paintbrush tool; in its options bar, set the opacity to 100%, and choose a small hard brush about 5 or 6 pixels in diameter.

Press X on the keyboard to change the foreground color to white. Begin painting the dark shadow area that appears where the stem ends. Because you are painting with white, you are removing this area from the mask.

Paint very carefully, following the edge of the leaf. If you make a mistake, press X on the keyboard to switch the foreground and background colors and retouch the area.

Continue retouching the mask by painting with white to remove the pink (mask) areas, and with black to fill in areas that should be part of the mask. Retouching can take some time depending on the accuracy of your Curves adjustments and the selection you made with the Color Range command.

Do not paint the gray pixels on the edge of the shape, only the ones on the inside of the shape. You want some gray pixels around the edge to make a smooth mask without jagged edges.

Painting with white to remove shadows from the mask

When you’ve removed all of the shadows from the mask, click the eye icon next to the RGB channel to hide the channel.

Inspect the black-and-white image of the mask to see whether any gray or white pixels inside the leaf shape remain that should be painted with black. Before your mask is ready to use, you must invert it. The white areas in channels and masks are the areas that reveal the image, and the black areas hide it.

Choose Image > Adjust > Invert.

Black-and-white mask

Inverted mask

In the Channels palette, click the RGB channel name to display the image and hide the mask.

Save the file.

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