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The Eyes and the Black Mask ...
Old 04-20-2006, 12:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Here is the second tutorial on eye work, or making the eyes sharper. This method is a bit more complicated than my first tutorial, but has the advantage of giving you a lot more control.

Step 1: Bring the photo into Photoshop and do post processing like cropping, etc. Now at this point we create a duplicate layer. Here is what things look like at this point:



Step 2: Apply the unsharp mask to the layer remembering to sharpen for the eyes, even though this will oversharpen the skin. Look at the results below:



Notice the skin is way to sharp.

Step 3: Click on the Add Layer Mask Icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette but hold down the ALT key while clicking. Here is what it looks like right before you click:



Step 4: Here is what you'll see right after the above click:



When you hold down the ALT key you are telling Photoshop to add a Layer mask but filled completely with Black. For a mask, black hides everything under it. Notice how the skin is now softer again, but the eyes lack the extra sharpness we had earlier. Now if only we could remove the part of the black over the eyes and brows, we could reveal the sharpness.

Step 5: What we do is choose a small soft brush and select the color white. Because if we paint over the black with white, then where ever we paint the sharpness that the black covers will be revealed. Here we are half done:



Notice the sharper eye on the left compared to the right. But the skin doesn't have that extra sharpness. If you look closely on the right you can see where the white paint has been applied to the black layer mask. Just remember that white reveals and black conceals.

But what if we make a mistake. Well just change to black and paint over the mistake and away it goes.

Well hope you enjoyed this tutorial. I think if you now play with different aspects of the layer mask (such as blending modes, you'll really see some extra possibilities here.

cheers,
rfs
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Re: The Eyes and the Black Mask ...
Old 04-20-2006, 09:46 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Thanks, this is very useful.
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Re: The Eyes and the Black Mask ...
Old 04-20-2006, 10:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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This is indeed a more powerful technique, and is applicable to folks that don't have access to the History Brush required in your other technique.

Thanks for sharing. It would be nice to have tutorials page like we had on the old site, so that we'll be able to find this after it has vanished off the new posts listing.
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Re: The Eyes and the Black Mask ...
Old 04-21-2006, 08:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks. Great info.

Dan
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Re: The Eyes and the Black Mask ...
Old 04-22-2006, 01:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for this...a non destructive fix that I hadn't thought of.

What I've been doing is to create a sharpened copy underlying the softer one and then (shudder) erase the soft eyes to bring out the sharpened ones. Not a good thing to do.

Richard
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Re: The Eyes and the Black Mask ...
Old 04-22-2006, 11:18 AM   #6 (permalink)
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This is also how I sharpen and in my opinion the best way that there is because with the mask you have full control of the sharpening and the OPTION of editing the mask or what is or is not being sharpened.

-joshua
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An additional refinement to the process ...
Old 05-04-2006, 08:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Just a little note that I didn't say anything about in the original tutorial. When you are ready to use your soft brush to paint with white on the black mask to reveal the underlying layer of extra sharpness, you should set the opacity of the brush to about 25%. Why?



Well that means if you just make one stroke with the brush over an eye, and then release the mouse button, you have just used 25% of the sharpness that is available. If you make two passes over the eye (releasing the mouse button each time), then you would have 50% and so forth.

Keep in mind that you can paint as long as you want with the mouse button held down and as long as it is down, no matter how often you paint over the same area, you will only reveal 25% of what the black was covering. But once you release the mouse button, then if you brush the same area again, you are working on revealing the next 25%.

Now as a special challenge, try sharpening the eyes of my sample photo above.

Cheers,
rfs
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Re: The Eyes and the Black Mask ...
Old 05-06-2006, 05:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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While in mask mode in PS CS2, If you press the backslash key, the mask will appear over the image as a rubylith - a transparent red layer which indicates the extent of the hide or reveal effect. It will indicate where the mask is - red where the image is masked, transparent where the image isn't masked. This way, you know what you have retouched and what you have not. Press the backslash key again to turn the rubylith effect off.

Mike
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