Paint Shop Pro Tutorial: Photo Masking Basics

Photo masking is a powerful feature included in Paint Shop Pro that protects certain elements of a photo when you are changing the background and other elements. Learning how to make the most out of photo masking will make Paint Shop Pro an even more powerful and useful tool. The most common reason for using photo masking is to remove the background from an image, so how is that done?

Step 1 - Open Paint Shop Pro

Open the program by selecting it in your Start menu or the icon your desktop. Then when the program has loaded use the browse function to locate the image that you want to open by looking through the thumbnails. When you have found the right image simply double click on it to load it into Paint Shop Pro.

Step 2 - Split Channels

Your photo is made up of a number of different channels, known as RGB or Red, Green and Blue. Paint Shop Pro makes it possible to split up each of these channels. To do this Click on Colors, then choose"Channel Splitting and then Split to RGB. This will produce 3 images. Take a look at each of these to find the image that has the biggest contrast between the subject and the background. Choose the image which makes it easiest to spot the background and subject.

Step 3 - Increase Contrast

Now you have chosen the right image to use you should make the contrast even more severe. To do this, you need to adjust the Highlight/Midtone/Shadow (HMS) settings. Click Colors, then Adjust and then Highlight/Midtone/Shadow. This will open up a new dialog box where you can make changes to make the subject as dark as possible while making the background as white as possible.

Step 4 - Invert the Image

Now you want to invert the image to make the jets white and the background black. To do this click on Colors and then select Negative. You should notice the change instantly. To make the mask less harsh you should use a Gaussian blur, click on Image, then Blur"and then Gaussian Blur. Set the diameter of the blur to 0.65 as you don't want this to be very strong. If you have lost anything that you want to keep in the mask then you need to go back to another copy of the image and focus on masking that part of the image.

Save the mask somewhere you can easily find it again.

Step 5 - Use the Mask

Now it's just a matter of using the mask. Go back to the original photo and then click on Masks > New > From Image. Select the file that you just created for the mask. Select create mask from Source Luminance. Click OK and the background of your image should disappear as if by magic.

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