I’m starting this thread so that more experienced 'Choppers can post their tricks, tips, and know-how so that contest participants new to Photoshop can pick up some valuable skills.

My first entry here is basic masking using the QuickMask tool:

QuickMask is a great way to mask an object that doesn’t have straight lines, such as a person or animal. QuickMask lets you “paint” your selection. This is just a quick demonstration; for the exact functionality of this tool, look in Photoshop’s Help or google “photoshop quickmask”.

On to the 'toot:

  1. We start with this lovely source image:

  2. We zoom in on the area to mask, enter QuickMask by pressing Q, paint in the mask area as shown. For hair, fur, or other less defined edges, you can use a soft brush for masking. This is a fairly simple mask to do, but the time you take on proper masking here will make or break your image.

  3. Pressing Q again exits QuickMask, with your painted mask selected:

  4. Ctrl-J copies the selection onto it’s own layer, ready to be maniuplated further:


In this tutorial, we’ll take our newly masked head and put it into a scene that has different characteristics. In this case, the destination is blurrier, grainier, and less saturated:

First, we’ll position our head in its new home by lowering the opacity to 50% so we can see the underlying image, then using Transform (ctrl-T) we rotate and resize the head. Set the opacity back to 100% when you’re done.

We can see in the last step that some of W’s head was still showing, so we use the Clone Stamp tool to replace the sides of W’s head:

Now that our image fits nicely, we can see the difference between the 2 images. JT’s head is far too clear, and slightly too red, for this TV scene, so first we’ll add some noise using the noise filter. I just use trial and error to find something that looks right:

Then some basic adjustments to Hue and Saturation to try to match the head even better. With Preview enabled, it’s easy to see what effect your changes have.

Finally, a shadow is added under the chin, and a few quick Dodge’s (lightens) bring things together.

If this were for a contest, I’d spend a bit more time blending the chin and neck, but even these quick steps show the difference a few extra minutes can make.


Quick Tip:

If you’re going to paint details onto your image, use colors from the existing document instead of randomly picking them from the palette. It will look more like it belongs there.


Thanks for all this McGuffy, it’s really helpful.
One trick I finally learned (I am not expert by any means) is when I have linked several layers - but not all of them - to do a universal action (ie: moving, transforming), instead of going back through all my layers to delink, I can press ALT, hold, and click on the little brush icon on the active layer and delink them all at once. You experts probably already know that, but it saved me a bit of time.


Good work, old sock.


Can any of this be done with the program? i’m poor and cant afford PS.




keep posting these tips and I might actually learn how to use CS2


Why isn’t anyone using channels to make masks? :stuck_out_tongue:


Show us the way…


i don know but for me ctrl j delete’s it out of a new layer?!?!


I got paint shop pro studio for free after rebate at compusa. It’s a slightly downgraded version of paint shop, but it was “free”.

Also, is using the background erase ok, I use that alot.


Background delete is good for certain things. I wouldn’t use it on something with a lot of thin lines, you’ll get aliased edges you’ll never get clean. I’ll do a 'toot on other extraction techniques in the next day or two.

Mnementh, your masks are top notch, if you have the skinny on using channels to make good selections, do tell, coz using channels always give me bits and pieces from all over the image…


Seems like, after reading Wonderstew’s instructions above, I probably can’t provide this kind of information because, I am in fact a communist. I’m hoping that someday there is a

But seriously… I think I’d get beaten down with my Mac screen shots. I dunno, can I take that kind of rejection? :slight_smile:


I can’t figure out how to do it with my program…
can you do masks in paint shop pro studio?

Edit: How much do you charge for individual lessons?

Also, I think most wooters are anti-Windows.


I like free software myself and am just getting into all this. Do you recommend Gimp or Pixia? I don’t know if they are any good or not…and if they are, is one better than the other?


I’m willing to bet this isn’t true.


You are just hardheaded!


I wager 300 Quatloos on the fat guy with the bad toupee.


I heard Gimp was good. Most of the techniques discussed here will apply in theory if not in mechanics. There’s plenty of other tutorials out there too. I just started this thread so specific techniques as they apply to photomontage could be taught. Sure it might make the competition tougher, but it will up the overall quality of the contests too.