In this step, you create a mask layer to mask out the entire image in the egret layer except the egret. While you need to paint carefully when creating the mask, you do not need to be too precise. I would also recommend that you always use the soft round brushes and not the hard round brushes. The soft edges make it much easier for you to get the North Carolina egret to blend well into the Florida marsh!
■ Click the egret layer in the Layers palette to make it the active layer — it is now highlighted.
All to create a new mask layer.
■ Click the Default Foreground Background Colors icon at the lower left of the Background/ Foreground Colors box in the Tools palette. Then click the two-headed arrow icon to set Foreground to Black and Background to White.
■ Click the Brush tool (B) in the Tools palette.
■ Click the Brush Preset Picker box (the second box from the left in the Options bar) and select the Soft Round 300 Pixels brush.
If you don't see a Soft Round 300 Pixel brush, click the menu button on the Brush Preset Picker palette and select Reset Brushes to get the default brush set.
■ Check in the Options bar to make sure that Mode is set to Normal. Set Opacity to 88% and leave Flow set to 100%.
You can now begin painting the mask. As you paint on the layer mask with black, the painted area of the egret layer is hidden. Painting with white removes any black paint, hence the egret area is once again revealed. When you paint, click often so that you can use the Undo feature to undo any brushstrokes that were not placed correctly, without losing too much of your work.
Start off with the Soft Round 300 Pixels brush and then move to increasingly smaller brushes, such as the 200, 100, 45, 21, and 9 pixel brushes. Remember to take advantage of the Full Screen Mode; press F, F, and Tab to get an entire uncluttered screen of the image. Move the image around by pressing the Spacebar to get the Hand tool; then, click and drag the image where you want it. To zoom in, press Z to get the Zoom tool. Click an area and drag the selection marquee around the area that you want to view. To view the entire image, press Ctrl+0. To view at 100%, press Alt+Ctrl+0. If you decide that you painted out an area that should not have been painted, toggle to white by clicking the double-headed arrow icon to change Foreground to White. Then toggle it again to continue painting out the parts of the egret image you do not want to be visible. If needed, you can also change the Opacity setting in the Layers palette to make the egret more or less visible. Remember, your mask ought not to be too perfect as this is to be a loose painting — not a precise photograph.
■ Begin painting out the entire image except the egret by using the Brush tool and an appropriate brush size. After you are done, your image should look similar to the one shown in Figure 34.8. This may take you ten minutes or more.
■ I suggest that you now save your file as you have completed a considerable amount of work that you likely won't want to repeat. Choose File ^ Save As (Ctrl+Shift+S) to get the File Save dialog box.
■ Type egret-step6 in the Name box. Click in the Format box and select Photoshop. In the Save Options box, make sure that Layers is checked to ensure that the layers will be saved too!
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