Video: The BEST WAY To Select and Mask GLASS (or Transparent Objects) in Photoshop!
In this video, I'm going to show you the best way to select and mask glass or transparent objects in Photoshop. Hi, welcome back to the PhotoshopTrainingChannel.com. I'm Jesus Ramirez. In this video, you're going to learn how to select and mask glass and other transparent objects in Photoshop. This is going to be a tutorial filled with tips and tricks. I'm sure that you will learn a lot. If this is your first time at the Photoshop Training Channel then don't forget to click on the Subscribe and Notification buttons. Okay, let's get started. We're going to work with this document that contains these layers. I have a bottle and a background. The background is not really that important, but we obviously need one so that we can see the effect.
So, the first thing that I am going to do is right-click on the Bottle Layer and convert it into a Smart Object. Because we want to work nondestructively, which means that you can always come back and make adjustments to any transformation, filter, or adjustment that you apply. I'll also rename it and I'll call it Original so that we can tell what it is, and I'll make sure to spell that right. Then I'm going to click on the Group icon to create a Group, and I'll just call it Bottle Composite. Then I'll duplicate the original layer by pressing Ctrl J, Command J on the Mac, and I'll drag that into the composite. Now the first step is to create our mask, and you can create a mask in one of several ways. You can of course use a Quick Selection Tool and click-and-drag and make a selection around the bottle. And, if you're a beginner, this is probably the step that you want to use.
Just so that it's easier when you have your bottle selected, you can just click in the group and then click on the Layer Mask icon. But that's not what I'm going to do in this tutorial. I'm going to delete this layer mask and instead I'm going to use the Curvature Pen Tool in Photoshop CC 2018. Make sure that Path is selected. If you're using an older version of Photoshop then select the Pen tool and follow along with the Pen tool. So with the Curvature Pen Tool I can click and create a point, click again to create a second, and it creates a vector line in between those two points. Then I'm going to use these vectors to mask out the bottle. It takes a little longer than the Quick Selection Tool, but you get much better results, especially with objects that are not organic such as this bottle. So I'm going to quickly create an outline just to show you, more or less, how this works. Like so. You don't have to be very precise you can always come back and edit these vectors, which is why I like using them.
Once again, I'm using the Curvature Pen Tool, with the Curvature Pen Tool I can just double click on one of these points to straighten the points, see that, and then I can hover over the line and click and drag, and I can follow the contours of the bottle. Now I'm not going to do this live just because I don't want to waste too much of your time, so I'm going to speed up the video so that you can see the final result. Okay, now I completed my vector. Now that I have this blue outline around my bottle I can come over into the group and simply hold Ctrl, that's Command on the Mac, and click on the Layer Mask icon to create a vector mask around the composite group, not the layer. And the reason that we can still see the white background is that I have the original copy enabled. So if I disable it you can see the results. I'm going to zoom in, and you can see how sharp these lines are, and they work great. Also, if you click on the Vector Mask thumbnail you can increase the feather to blur the outline. So you can add just a tiny little bit of feather just not to have lines that are so sharp, and I'll maybe add a little bit more. Okay, so now that we have our mask there is something that I need to explain before we move on further.
I'm going to double click on the Foreground Color Picker, and I want you to notice one thing. No matter what color I select, it really doesn't matter, which one, you will see three properties for each color. The Hue, Saturation, and Brightness. Hue is what color something is. So for example blue, that's a hue. Then we have Saturation, how intense that color is. It could be really intense at 100% or not intense at all at 0 percent. And then we have Brightness. The luminosity, how bright or how dark the color is. So every single pixel in this image is composed by hue, saturation, and brightness. And we're going to use that information to help us extract the background from this bottle. So I'm going to press Cancel. If we look at the bottle we can see that the background was white, or close to white. So instead of using a layer mask or blend there for anything like that, we can actually use blending modes to help us with the extraction. Let me show you what I mean by that in this duplicate copy I'm just going to call it Luminosity.
Because this layer is going to Ctrl The luminosity of the bottle. Then I'm going to go into Image, Adjustments, Black and White because I don't want the colors to affect the luminosity. And I'll simply press OK. That simply de-saturates the layer. Then I can use a blending mode that hides the bright pixels, in this case the background, the background is white. Some of the pixels are very white. So one of the blending modes that can you remove bright pixels but keep dark ones is the Multiply Blending Mode. See that if I select Multiply the bright pixels disappear, and you keep the dark ones, which is what we want. Also, remember this blending mode works by looking at the luminosity of the layer. So, if I go into Image, Adjustment Levels, and change the luminosity of the layer then I change how this layer blends. So you may want to apply a Levels to your layer and adjust it accordingly. For now, I'm going to just press OK and notice that the Levels is here in the smart filter, so I can double click on levels and bring it back and make an adjustment if I need to. So maybe I'll just increase the contrast by dragging the middle point to the right and pressing OK.
Now, like I said before, every pixel has Luminosity, Saturation, and Hue and therefore this bottle as well. We're missing the hue in the saturation. We have the luminosity, that's what the luminosity layer is controlling, so now we have to bring the other two back. So we can duplicate the original layer, once again, and drag that up above the luminosity and I'll collapse the smart filters to give us a little more real estate to work and I'll simply rename it to Hue and Saturation, then I'll enable the Layer and which of these blending modes do you think we need to use to include the hue and saturation? Well we have Hue here and Saturation? So which of these two? It's actually neither. It's Color. Color keeps the hue and saturation of the layer, in it this regards the luminosity, or the brightness. Notice that by bringing this in we got back that green tint on the bottle which is what we want. And by the way, if you want to learn what ever single blending mode does, then check out my video, Blending Modes Explained, I go through every single blending mode and I tell you what it does.
I'll place a link to that video right below under the description. Now one of the things that we're missing from the original layer is the Specular Highlights. Here's a trick for you. If you hold Alt, Option on the Mac, and click on the Layer Eye Icon, you can disable all the other layers except for the one that you held alt on and clicked. So notice how you have these Specular Highlights? Those are missing because they were completely white so they were removed with the multiply blending mode, but we can easily bring those back and I'll show you how. I'm going to hold Alt, once again that's Option on the Mac, and click on the Eye Icon to bring all the layers back and notice how this one is now disabled. So to bring in those specular highlights I'm actually going to use one of the layers that we already created, this Luminosity Layer. I'm going to press Ctrl J, Command J on the Mac, and drag this up, and I'll change the blend mode to normal so that you can see what we're doing. We now want the opposite, we want to keep the brightest pixels and hide the dark ones.
Well we're going to use a blending mode for that, of course, and we're going to use the opposite of multiply which is Screen. See that. See how we now kept the bright pixels. But we don't want all the bright pixels, we just want the brightest pixels so I'm going to use that Levels Adjustment that we created earlier. It transferred over when I duplicated the layer, and with levels I'm going to make the bottle darker so that I can only keep the brightest pixels. See that? See how I'm only keeping those specular highlights and you can of course, adjust it accordingly to better match your bottle and your scene. Then you can press OK. So notice that by using the Luminosity, Hue and Saturation in separate layers we were able to make this bottle transparent really easily, and not only that, having all these components in separate layers helps us have more control over the image and the composite.
The one thing that I need to work on now is the cork. Parts of it may be a little transparent and it's looking a little too dark. So what I can do is select the original. Press Ctrl J, Command J on the Mac to duplicate it, drag it up, I'll call it Cork. I'll enable it, and then I'll hold Alt, Option on the Mac, and click on the Layer Mask icon to make a black layer mask which hides everything inside of that layer. Then with the brush tool I can paint with white to bring back those pixels and make this effect more realistic. And I'm using the bracket keys on the keyboard as I paint reduce the size of my brush and maybe I can paint over this area as well. I'll double click on the hand tool to fit the image on screen. This is before and after. One of the great things about working with vector mask or even layer mask on a group instead of on an individual layer basis is that if you have any problems like I do here I can just simply adjust one layer instead of multiple layers and have that mask update on all these layers.
So I only have to adjust one mask. That's why we created the Layer Mask in one group so that we can just adjust one mask instead of all of these different masks. We're going to double click on the hand tool once again to fit the image on screen and that pretty much completes the effect. All we really need to do now is work on enhancements to make this bottle even more realistic and there's several things we can do. I'll show you a couple things. For example, you can come into the Hue and Saturation layer, double click on it to bring up the layer cell window and you can click on Overlay, and I have this green color selected, which is the same green that is found in the bottle and I can adjust the opacity of that green and press OK. And, I can also adjust the opacity of the layer, so this sort of helps you enhance the tint effect that the bottle has.
Also since you separated the hue with the saturation in this layer, applying a color becomes really easy you don't really effect anything else. So obviously this is all subjective but I wanted to show you that little trick. And again, all this is possible because we separated the Luminosity, Hue, Saturation from each other. You can also come above the luminosity copy which is actually the Specular Highlights and actually below that we can create a Gradient Fill Layer and set it to go from black to white, press OK and we can change the blending mode to multiply just to create a shadow, and we can reduce the opacity accordingly. That's before and after, and one of the things that I'm noticing is that I didn't get a lot of detail on the bottom here. So we can go into the Luminosity Layer, press Ctrl J, Command J on the Mac.
Drag that up to the very top and I'll double click on the Levels adjustment to bring up the smart adjustment so that I can adjust the luminosity and I'm just going to increase the contrast just to bring in more detail in there and then press OK. Then I'll use the same trick I used earlier with the cork layer, I'll hold Alt, click on the Layer Mask icon to hide everything in that layer and I can paint with white to bring in those details. And the reason I'm not getting the color right is because I placed the layer above the hue and saturation layer, so I'll bring it down below the hue and saturation adjustment layer just so that I can get that on there. And I'll bring down the opacity and obviously you can keep fine tuning these little details on your image and that's the key about making good deposits, the details. Obviously I can't show you every single small detail in a tutorial because we would spend 20 minutes fine tuning something small like the cork or the bottom of the bottle here. But you get the idea.
Another cool trick I wanted to show you is that you can create a blank layer on top of everything and I'm going to show you how to create these really cool highlights. So you can reduce the size of your brush, paint with white and to create a cool highlight you need to use the Color Dot Blending mode and I'll show you a trick that almost nobody knows. If you double click to the side of the layer with the Color Dots Blending mode you can uncheck Transparency Shapes Layer and notice how that changed immediately to what looks like a specular highlight. Then press OK. Then I can press the V key on the keyboard and move it around and place it anywhere I want on this bottle. And obviously I can transform that by pressing Ctrl T, Command T on the Mac, and distort it any which way I want.
Just to make the highlight match the scene a little bit better. And I have two more things to show you. I have the shadow and I didn't want to spend time painting this in to the tutorial. It's simply just shadow painted with black. And then the opacity was reduced. But anyway, the other important thing with glass bottles is the distortion that you would see and to do that you would just create a selection around the background like so and then press Ctrl J, Command J on the Mac, to put that selection into its own layer. I didn't really make a hole, I just duplicated those pixels and then I can bring that in to this group and put it at the very bottom of the layer stack. Then I can also make this into a Smart Object so can distort it nondestructively and then I can press Ctrl T, Command T, to transform and I can distort it any way that I want to make it seem more like a real bottle. And again, this is one of those things that you're going to fine tune and maybe use real photos as reference to see how they would distort.
But I think that you get the idea. Another thing that you can do is you can go into Filter and Liquefy and maybe liquefy it even further here at the bottom just because the bottom has all those twists and turns and it definitely wouldn't look so straight, and just press OK, so something like that. An obviously you can keep find tuning it more or use something like a displacement map. Then you could also go into Filter, Blur, Gaussian Blur, to blur this layer because if you were looking through glass it wouldn't be sharp, it would be blurry. So you can blur it accordingly and press OK. And the great thing about this technique is that no matter the background this will work. So I have that bottle there and I'm just going to randomly pick a background here, so I have this background which is of this, this stock photo of these pyramids so I can scale it up to fit the canvas and notice how the bottle still looks transparent. Obviously we will need to make color correction adjustments to make the bottle more realistic, but that's beyond the scope of this tutorial.
But if you've made it this far you may want to watch my Matching Colors tutorial, it's only 90 seconds long and it's a great tutorial and it will teach you to color match anything in Photoshop. I'll place the link right below in the description. Also I will like to let you know that I was interviewed by my friends Glyn Dewis and Dave Clayton for the He Shoots, He Draws podcast. It's a great podcast about photography and design. In my interview we talked about everything including my upbringing, how YouTube works and of course Photoshop. Make sure that you check it out and listen to it, I'll place a link right below under the description. Let me know in the comments below if you enjoy these techniques. Also if you have found this tutorial useful, click on that like button.
If this is your first time at the Photoshop Training Channel then don't forget to click on that subscribe and notification buttons. Thank you so much for watching and I will see you at the next tutorial..