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Chapter 8. SELECTING HAIR AND FINE DETAIL > FINDING THE MASK WITHIN

FINDING THE MASK WITHIN

Color images are most commonly made up of three RGB or four CMYK grayscale image channels, and each of these channels can serve as a foundation for a mask with fine-edge detail. The first step in finding the mask in any color image is to look at the channels individually, as we did earlier in this chapter with the photo of the mother and son, by opening the Channels palette and either clicking on the word red, then green, and then blue or (Command + 1, Command + 2, Command + 3) [Control + 1, Control + 2, Control + 3] to see the individual channels. Very often, this is the first thing I do when I open an image. I look for the channels with the most contrast, tonal differentiation, and smooth transitions. Or as my colleague Sean Duggan says, “every image has a hidden mask—you just need to find it.”

Caution

When inspecting channels, it is best not to click on the view column, commonly referred to as the eyeball column—this only turns views on and off and makes comparing channels more confusing. Use the command keys (Cmd 1, Cmd 2, Cmd 3) [Ctrl 1, Ctrl 2, Ctrl 3] or click on the name of the channel. To return to the composite channel, press (Cmd + ~) [Ctrl + ~] or click the word RGB in the Channels palette.



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