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Layer Masks

Layer Masks
Photo Information
Copyright: Roger Minkow (rminkow) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3397 W: 189 N: 7476] (34772)
Genre: People
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2011-04-21
Categories: Transportation
Camera: Canon 5DII, 24-70 / 2.8 L
Exposure: f/2.8, 1/60 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2011-04-21 19:09
Viewed: 1033
Points: 23
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Jenna and I went to the airport to take some pictures today. She wants to become a pilot and has already passed Ground School. I took this shot of her sitting in a Cessna 172 with the new Glass Cockpit.

The plane was sitting in the parking area so I masked out the windscreen and put in some clouds and sky from another picture. This is a good shot to talk about simple masking technique.

To mask accurately I used the pen tool to outline the windscreen then selected the area and used a 4 pixel anti alias setting. I inverted the selection to select everything except the Windscreen and copied the image to a new Photoshop file. I then took some sky from another image and created a Background Layer of the sky. There was a little clean up necessary to make the image look realistic but the final result is quite realistic. I used the NIK Viveza software to give the sky some structure and drama and lightened the Panel using the Adjustment Brush so the instruments could be seen.

All this may sound complex but it is really quite easy. For reference find Scott Kelby's book "Digital Photography" or look up Layer Masks in Photoshop...

Good luck.

loribird, Jan9376, Beger, jstewart, werdir, brech, Teresat has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To WhiteKnight: Layer Masksrminkow 2 04-22 02:06
To jstewart: Layer Masksrminkow 1 04-21 22:42
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Tezza Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 213 W: 97 N: 368] (3380)
  • [2011-04-21 20:03]

The skill in these kinds of adjustment is to make them invisible. You have succeeded to do this as the scene looks entirely authentic. I'm sure Jenna got a kick out of seeing herself flying high.

Nice shot Roger. Beautiful lighting and a lovely subject. Great ps work. Yes does sound complicated But your work is invisible. Looks so natural. Well done! TFS, Lori

Hello Roger,

really effective pp work - its seamless! Great lighting, sharpness and details... I like the reflections on those pilot sunglasses. Very neat work, it looks like it could be from a movie scene.

- Jan

Good PP Roger. Nice wide angle view which has given a good DOF even wide open at f2.8.

I've got a couple hundred hours in C172s - but they sure as heck didn't have nice big screens in them.... Amazing how the tech has filtered down to the GA level.


  • Great 
  • Beger Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3311 W: 1066 N: 5188] (23042)
  • [2011-04-21 21:56]

Hi Roger,
A different photo from your usual style! Very well done!
We have the impression to be in the cockpit with your lovely model!
Excellent substition of sky. This is so realist! Bravo! Annie

  • Great 
  • fransx Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2938 W: 134 N: 7397] (41704)
  • [2011-04-21 22:29]

Hi Roger,
Here's a perfect model training for a pilot!
A great position in the aircraft of the girl in control of the plane.
Perfect lighting entering the windscreen giving beautiful shadow and perfect skin tones which you captured perfectly due to your expert ability!
Very sharp details on the aircraft's instruments.
Very neat work.
My regards,

Francis Xavier

A dissenting voice from those who precede me.
Seems to me, especially after your helpful comments, that it looks as artificial as you explain it to be. The borders between the inside of the plane and the sky are not convincing to the eye. The whole image just has a false air to it.
This is the problem and the challenge in this age of digital imaging and manipulation: we are growing tired of manipulated images and can spot even the clever tricks that have been used to create them.
So full marks for making this nice image, but not a 3 star smiley in my view.

Hi Roger,

Your pp work has worked a treat,good detail and a very lovely pilot to be.

  • Great 
  • werdir Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1416 W: 147 N: 2654] (11957)
  • [2011-04-22 5:48]

Hi Roger,

Nice pp work and great note. I like the hint of leg showing, nothing like a sexy pilot.


  • Great 
  • brech Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 539 W: 135 N: 1111] (3045)
  • [2011-04-22 8:10]


As a pilot that has flown with more traditional instrumentation, it great Jenna gets to train in a glass cockpit.

Very nice PP wotk and the sky looks natural. This could be a promotional shot for a flying school.

Great Job


  • Great 
  • bri Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 751 W: 13 N: 1404] (6384)
  • [2011-04-22 9:16]

HI Roger,
Nice PP work on this one, you have done a good job in cutting the sky in with layer mask, I have found when doing this the hardest part is to try and get the different images to look realistic with lighting from different angles at times - one I tried with the Spitfire the sun was full and bright on the plane but a dull day on the background! Nice job and good luck to Jenna on her pilot training. Best wishes

Your process ( excellent note)made a very good good perspective photo with a wide vision plan and I have the great feeling to be in the clouds. Interesting and cool. Imust try.
My regards

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