Wouldn’t it be nice if every fire company kept up their equipment in as good shape as the one from today’s image? That statement is particularly true considering the truck is an antique from the 1940s. The paint is flawless, the knobs and controls look like they just came out of the box. They’re not! It’s Adobe Photoshop CS5 to the rescue. Things done to today’s image can be done with any relatively new version of Photoshop. Almost naturally, the basis for the image is a mask. For anyone starting out with Photoshop, or Adobe Photoshop Elements 9, the first thing to learn is the use of Layers. The second thing should be the use of masks. Either Layer Masks or the masks that come along with Adjustment Layers. I haven’t looked at PSE 9 yet, and I don’t know if it has Channels to go along with Masks in this version, but Masks without Channels is kind of like an iPOD without speakers (or earbuds) if you’re into music. There are things you can do. As an example, I have very few songs on my Apple iPod Touch and haven’t the foggiest idea where the earbuds are. My use for the thing doesn’t focus on music. So, Masks in PSE 9 can be used for something, but you can’t get the maximum benefit from them without Channels. Obviously, the main point of today’s post is about Masks. To learn how today’s Mask was developed and how that “paint job” got so smooth, hit the “read more”.
This is our 225th post and we’ve never discussed Color Range as a method for making Selections and, by extension, making Masks. The absolute easiest was to make a Mask for today’s image would be to use the Channels method discussed in several posts in the past. Just select the Red Channel and you’re 90% home. On a Red Channel copy, go to Image/Adjustments/Levels and slide the outer two controls toward the center. The white isn’t going to get a whole lot whiter, but anything not white will get much darker. Once you have that, going to Calculations (Image/Calculations) and making the Blend Mode Multiply will probably put you over the top. But, just to try something different, Color Range (Select/Color Range) was used today. By using the plus eyedropper, colors in multiple spots on the image can be added progressively to widen the range until most of the color you’re targeting is selected. Playing with the Fuzziness slider should get you to about 90%. Right click on the selection and pick Save Selection from the dropdown menu. Now you’ll have an Alpha Channel. Select the Alpha Channel and use the Brush Tool (B) with its Blend Mode set to Overlay. Use Black to darken areas that tend toward black and White to lighten anything that’s whiter than 50 % grey. It’s doable, but a lot more labor intensive than using the Channels method.
The trick to getting that flawless paint job was to make a new Layer below the Background Layer (double click while holding down the ALT key to unlock the Background Layer) (CTRL and click on the New Layer icon to put a New Layer below the current Layer [in this case, the former Background Layer]) and fill it with a color selected by using the Eye Dropper Tool (I) on a typical piece of the firetruck. Applied the mask (CTRL click on the Channel icon of the mask) to the image of the truck. If necessary, Invert the Mask (Ctrl I) and your almost finished.
Between the Layer Mask and a New Layer being used for Clone Stamping (S) shadow areas you can clean the image up to what you see in today’s image.