Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mask an Image in a Non-destructive Manner

To mask an image every editor has to be very imaginative. Failing which the final result can be ‘unmasked’ and the image rendered non-usable. Choose a non-destructive way that provides flexibility to make the image better.
There are two kinds of processing a digital picture. One is the destructive way and the other is the non-destructive way. In the former way, the original essence of the composition is likely to change. In the later, there are no chances of any skewed ratios. And this is a much better way of editing the picture. This also keeps the clients happy with the results. In the non-destructive category, there are also chances of scalability and improvement to the original texture of the image.
With many new programs being introduced, the chances of bungling with the mask effect are also high. If a non-destructive path is used, it can work wonders. It is interesting to know different ways to mask an image and yet retain the creativity. The biggest learning curve comes by doing it in various ways. The importance of masks cannot be denied. They help in retaining the pixels of the final image. If it is a raster image then, keeping the pixels in their original shape is essential. It is with vector scaling that the creativity can be experimented. If the image is vectorised, then there are less chances of destruction too. To mask an image, the editor will use both-technical and creative knowledge simultaneously. This way he is able to create a good interface for bulk masking of other images. Now that the advantages have been cleared, let’s unveil the process.
If the program is Photoshop then check the menu. It offers at least 5 different ways of handling the masking technique. The menu has clipping masks, quick mask, vector mask, pixel mask and clipping paths. The good thing is that each of these techniques also determines various levels of opacity of the image. Like every other technique they have their positive and negative points. The editor can decide which works best on a particular image. Whichever technique is used, the primary guideline is to have clear mask, flexibility to change if need be and no shabby layers stick out. It is not a tall order, if the editor has previously done masking with other images. An image is complicated, when, for example, a bouquet of flowers in the foreground with people standing behind. The best method to use will be pixel mask to clearly see the smiling faces. It is easier to extract unwanted portions to create a mask. A few modifications of pixels are acceptable in the raster form. Too much distorts the mask work. In such a case, the image needs to be put in the vector path and then the masking needs to be accomplished.
The masking techniques have improved over a period of time. The latest method is that of selecting subjects and isolating the background. The background can be removed automatically. No need to sweat on it. This is available in a program called Perfect Mask. Once the background is removed then automatically, the rest of the edit can be fine tuned with the use of filter and sharp tools. This way, too many layers are not needed in the editing process. With just a few clicks, the job can be accomplished. Even if the editor is using Photoshop, this program can be used as a standalone application.
With a little ingenuity, one or two programs can be integrated to produce very good masking results. And with faster ways to edit, the time consumed is also reduced.


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