We've already seen in another movie that we can use Layer Masks by painting right on them, and often that's a very easy, intuitive way to work. But sometimes it can be difficult to work accurately around the subject. In those cases it might be easier to begin by making a selection first. If we make a selection and then open an Adjustment Layer Photoshop will make the Mask for us. You can use whatever Selection Tool you prefer to create the selection. If you're not sure how to do that please watch some of the movies in this Series on making Selections. To save time I already made a selection of the bird in this image and I saved it, so I'll begin by going up to Select, Load Selection. But if you just made the selection for the first time you won't need to load it, just make sure that the marching ants are visible. Now come over to the Adjustments Panel and click on an Adjustment. I'm going to open a Curves Adjustment and I'm going to lighten up the bird a little bit, add some contrast to him. Let's see, before; after. Now we can see his wing detail a little bit better. Although the marching ants disappeared you can see that the Adjustment is only being applied to the area that was selected. It doesn't matter what kind of adjustment you choose. This method will work with all of the Adjustment Layers. Let's take a peek at that Layer Mask. We'll go over to the Layers Panel, we see we have the Curves Layer, and the Layer Mask is mostly black and it's white to correspond with where the bird is. So we had Photoshop do much of the work for us. One of the things that you need to remember, though, is that this method won't work if you open the Adjustment Layer first and then make the selection. You have to make the selection first and then choose the adjustment and set the Sliders. Sometimes you might want to begin with a selection but tweak the Layer Mask further by painting on it. That's not a problem at all. Select the Brush Tool and either black or white, depending what you want to do, if you want to hide the effect from part of the image, let's say we wanted to tone it down on the bird's beak, I can come up here to Opacity and reduce it. And, by the way, there's a shortcut for reducing the Opacity. If I hit the 1 key in the numbers, 1 refers to 10 percent, 2 to 20 percent, 3 to 30 percent, et cetera. And sometime that's a little bit easier than coming up here to the Slider. It's up to you whether you like shortcuts or not. Now, I'll make my brush small and I'll zoom in a little bit, make that brush a little bit smaller yet, and I'll just reduce the effect a little bit from his head. And if I were to look closely at my Mask, I did that by Alt- or Option-clicking on the Layers Mask in the Layers Panel, now the Preview shows clearly that I just painted with gray on that part of the image. I'll Alt-, Option-click on the Layer Mask again to return to the normal Preview. There are times when you might make a fairly complicated Mask that you want to use with several different adjustments. In that case, after you've made the first mask open the next Adjustment Layer. Let's say that I wanted to work on the background right now. I'd like to increase the Saturation of the water. So, I'll make a Saturation Adjustment to increase the Saturation, not too much, just a little bit so that it's reasonable, but I don't want it to affect the bird. Come back to the Layers Palette, and I've already got the Mask made in the Curves Adjustment, so if I click on that Layer Mask and hold down the Alt or Option key, click on it and drag it up over the other one, I'll get a dialog that asks if I want to replace the Layer Mask and then I'll click Yes. The problem, though, is that that Layer Mask is actually the opposite of what I need because it's showing the effect on the bird and hiding it from the background. So I need to Invert that Mask. I can do that by pressing Ctrl- or Command-I, or coming over the Masks Panel and clicking Invert. You can see when I did that that my Mask switched and now it has a white background and black over the bird. When you're copying a Layer Mask it's important to remember to hold down the Alt or Option key, otherwise you're going to take the Layer Mask off of one Layer and put it on another, and what you want to do is copy it, so remember to hold down the Alt or Option key. Layer Masks are very easy to use and very powerful. Use them with Selections when that works easiest; use them by just painting on them when that's easier. And remember that you can combine the two techniques whenever that's the easiest.
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