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Photoshop Tutorials: Advanced channel masking [Masking complex objects]

In my very first photoshop tutorial i will go over the really powerful advanced channel masking technique. Many times an editor needs to isolate an object from a frame, in this case we’ll remove the entire sky background from a high density-high quality picture of a tree.

The stock used in this tutorial can be found here:

Advanced Channel Masking? Huh?
Using a tool such as the lasso tool, pen tool, magic wand tool etc. can seem quite efficient at making a selection HOWEVER in this case none of the tools would do you any justice based on the factor of time consumption, accuracy and efficiency. This is where the advanced channel masking technique will help. Basically you will choose between the 3 RGB channels and decide which one has the biggest contrast between colors (which one has a higher contrast of white and black), in this case the Blue RGB channel was used. With the Blue channel being the only one selected we appy several image calculations and level modifications to basically end up with a black and white silhouette of our entire shot. You are then easily able to create a selection, invert it as you please and layer via cut/copy or adjustment layer it. Leaving you with a very accurate mask of the object you want isolated. In this video I will also show you how to remove decontaminated colors and also apply some fine tuning. Hope you guys enjoyed it, and be sure to request a tutorial!

Find me on deviantart:

How to use photoshop
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This Post Has 44 Comments

  1. Pedro Torres

    The Only thing about this tut is that the difference in colour is too perfect for most cases. Thus makes it easy to remove the blue and mask. In more complex situation is not as straight forward.
    good tut tho.

  2. Girish Thakur

    Great tutorial! It was very useful in correcting my old photographs. Thanks a lot!

  3. Steve in Oz

    can you show how to make a selection eg a person against a scene with midtones not just a plain sky
    i could not do that very succesfully
    many thanks

  4. Sean Robles

    Such a great tutorial. I'm using the latest version of CC, but most of the video was still very useful. Thank you!

  5. keshab hazarika

    i can't able to erase background of a crop photo, will u help me plzz

  6. Henry Morris

    this is brilliant. finally someone with a great and simple technique.i wish i'd found this tutorial 8 hours ago. cheers buddy

  7. abid hasan

    hey man….this is really nice & thanks for sharing.

  8. Thanks a lot Ash.
    I run CS6, and although I don't have a Masks dialogue box as you have, I solved the problem by simply adding a layer mask (and inverting it) from the bottom of the layers pallette, in the normal fashion. It worked great!
    After trying it out a few times, I created an action, so now all I do is press a button!
    I'll subscribe to your channel.

  9. Steven Bingham

    Windows/ mask? what version you using? seems acient, NOT on my menu 🙁 UPDATE your things 🙁

  10. Brian Pex

    Simply cannot do this because there is no mask option under Window. It is Layers and Libraries – no mask. It only shows up when I create a layer mask and that doesn't take away background. So frustrating as alpha channel selections are the greatest way to make selections but this is driving me nuts

  11. Brian Pex

    I like the speed and great tips but using Adobe CC on iMac there is not a "mask" option under Window. Can't hit that button like you do and have background vanish. So annoying.

  12. nora

    Amazing tutorial!
    Thank you so much! 😀

  13. nado

    omfg I cant ever get over that german accent lmfao.

  14. Mel

    You're awesome! Thank you so much 🙂

  15. Nicholas Larghi

    this was badass…I have a project that requires this exact technique!

  16. Andy Hill

    Now that is what i call a Tutorial,and thank you so much.Brilliant.

  17. Andzej Kos

    hey ,if anyone else wants to learn about learn photoshop online step by step try Alkarno Picture Alchemist (do a google search ) ? Ive heard some pretty good things about it and my neighbor got amazing results with it.

  18. YourPhotoTeam

    Great tuturial and one of the best I've seen on masking difficult objects. Is there any chance you might update for Photoshop 2014 as the tools are now different?

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