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Layer Masks

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Nick Xitco

on 6 January 2014

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Transcript of Layer Masks

This tutorial is for people who are just starting out Photoshop or for the people who have been using Photoshop but don’t know how to use Layer Masks.

What happens when someone wears a mask?

Dumb Question, yeah? It’s obvious that everything behind the mask is not visible and everything else is visible. That’s basically how Layer masks work except that you choose where the mask is and how opaque it is. Simple huh? So let’s follow a quick tutorial.
Layer Masks
Find two images that you want to combine. Here are the images I used.
Choose the layer with the glass and then click on the Layer Mask button. It’s the rectangle with the circle in it.
You’ll also notice that when you click on the layer mask your colors in the color picker turn to black and white. So here it is… the secret of Layer masks: Depending on what the settings are, the color WHITE shows or reveals the image AND the color BLACK hides or masks the image.
So now I have something like this:
After clicking you’ll see something like this:
There it is! The layer mask. Currently it is set to reveal all of the image, meaning that the mask is off and nothing is hidden (since it is revealing everything!)
Open both the images in Photoshop. Then, choose the Arrow / Move Tool. Click on the glass image and drag it over to the image with the guy fishing. You can resize the glass so that it’s not too big or you can leave it the way it is. Your choice.
Grab your PAINTBRUSH. Choose BLACK and start wildly painting. Paint over the stem so it looks like the rocks are in front. Paint over the background of the glass image. Keep on painting until you only have the glass. Now what if you make a mistake and hide part of the glass? No problem. Layer masks are not destructive so just change the color to WHITE and paint over the glass and it’ll magically reappear. You can basically adjust the brush size, or the shade of
gray and you get way more control than using destructive methods. If you use an eraser you can’t easily undo something you did 20 steps before etc etc.
Finally, we need to make the glass a bit transparent. You can do two things. You can a) Set the opacity of the brush to 50% and then paint right over the glass or b) You can change the color of your brush to gray and then paint over the areas you want to make transparent. Using the current settings (i.e White reveals) then if you make your brush dark gray then your glass will be less opaque and more transparent. If you choose light gray then your glass will appear less transparent.
That is all. You have the final image:
By Nick Xitco
Full transcript