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Make Insanely Difficult Masks Easy With This Little-Known Photoshop Tool

Masking is an important part of any decent photographer's post-production process. Sometimes, the masks are easy, but other times, they can be painfully time-consuming. However, if you learn about this hidden tool in Photoshop, your editing life will instantly become so much better.

Masking is a huge part of my workflow. I love doing composite work, in which you bring elements from different images together into one frame. To do this successfully, you need to be good at masking. Whether it's working wth fine hair against busy backgrounds or with intricate patterns and shapes, having the ability to mask well sets you apart from the average photographer because you can make any image more believable when you decide to add various elements. That being said, there are definitely times when I sit down in front of my computer and have to will myself to work because I know that the masking that lies ahead will take a considerable amount of time.

In this video brought to you by The Photoshop Training Channel, Jesus Ramirez introduces a wonderful technique to make incredibly detailed, accurate masks from difficult, cluttered images all in a matter of seconds. He does so using a largely unknown tool in Photoshop called Calculations. There are different ways to approach this task, but Ramirez walks you through each step and also introduces a few other helpful tools along the way. If you're like me and always on the lookout for doing things better and faster, you'll love this tutorial.

Give it a view and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Iain Stanley's picture

Iain Stanley is an Associate Professor teaching photography and composition in Japan. Fstoppers is where he writes about photography, but he's also a 5x Top Writer on Medium, where he writes about his expat (mis)adventures in Japan and other things not related to photography. To view his writing, click the link above.

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Can I be the first to say that I now really, really, hate sky replacements?

Very interesting, although the description's use of the word "easy" is inaccurate. "Complicated" is appropriate.