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Make a Mask

Red tinted area represents area covered by mask.
 

We have 2 parts of the digital photo which require 2 different treatments.  The album page itself is reasonably close to where it should be in brightness and color balance.  The tintype needs many changes.  To allow us to work on each part separately, I've made a mask of the photo.  A mask is an overlay which essentially divides the image into two sections: the area under the mask, and the area not under the mask.  Creating a mask allows you to apply a transformation to one part of the image without affecting (or differentially affecting) the rest of the image.   This is a powerful function, as you'll see when we apply the transformations to restore the image.

Here I have made a mask of the tintype.  I took advantage of the fact that the darkest portion of the whole digital photo is the tintype, and used the mask by brightness command.  I then simply set the darkest part to be masked, leaving lighter parts unmasked.  The pits on the photo I filled in using a paintbrush command.  The mask could have been done by making an oval shape mask, and hand-filling in the edges to get the photo covered exactly.  This is what I do when the photos haven't darkened down so much that I can use the mask by brightness.  The graphics pad is a tremendous help when I have to draw in a mask.

When I do have to draw a mask by hand, it makes me wish I paid more attention to my coloring books in kindergarten.  However, it helps to zoom in very close when filling in near the edges of the mask (I usually zoom in close enough so that I can see individual pixels)

The mask function has a feather command, which is used to blend the image change in the mask area with the unchanged image in the unmasked area.   Here I did not use the feather command, since there is a very sharp border between the tintype photo and the surrounding album.  A large feathering area would mean that there is a gradual blend from a transformation applied to the masked area and the unaffected unmasked area.

In Photoshop, I would create the mask, and copy the masked part to a separate layer.  I would then work on each layer separately, and combine layers at the end.  In Picture Window, the controls allow me to apply a transformation to masked and unmasked portions of the same photo differentially.

In this image, I have tinted the area which is masked.   The next few steps will be applied to the masked area only.

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