Photoshop – Working with layer mask

Adding Layer Mask Painting Layer Mask
turn off/On the layer mask apply / discard layer mask

What is layer mask?

Masks let you isolate and protect part of an image.When you create a mask from a selection, the area not selected is masked or protected from editing. In photoshop, you can make temporary masks called Quick masks, or you can create permanent masks and store them as a special gray scale channels, called alpha channels.

You can create a layer mask to hide or reveal portion of the art work on a layer. By making changes to the layer mask, you can apply a variety of special effects to the layer without actually affecting the pixels on that layer. You can hide or reveal a potion of the layer by making selection for the mask and painting on the mask using black, white, or shades of gray. You can save all layer masks with a layered document.

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Adding a layer mask

To add a mask that shows or hides the entire layer:In the Layers palette, select the layer to which you want to add a mask and do one of the following:
• To create a mask that reveals the entire layer, click the New Layer Mask (layer mask) button at the bottom of the Layers palette, or choose Layer > Add Layer Mask > Reveal All.
• To create a mask that hides the entire layer, Alt-click the New Layer Mask button, or choose Layer > Add Layer Mask > Hide All.

layer mask
A> Layer mask icon , B> Link icon, C> Layer mask thumbnail

A Layer mask thumbnail(C) indicate that layer mask has been added. A Link icon(B) indicates that the layer & layer mask are linked. A mask icon(A) next to the eye icon indicates that the layer mask is active.

You can make either the layer or layer mask active by clicking the corresponding thumbnail. When you click the Layer3 thumbnail, the mask icon changes to paint brush icon indicating that layer3 is active. By default, a layer is linked to its layer mask, you can unlink the layer from its layer mask by clicking the link icon .

To add a mask that shows or hides a selection: In the Layers palette, select the layer to which you want to add a mask ,then select the desired area in the image , and do one of the following:
• To create a mask that reveals the selected area and hides the remaining portion of the layer, click the New Layer Mask button () , or choose Layer > Add Layer Mask > Reveal Selection.
• To create a mask that hides the selected area and reveals the remaining portion of the layer, Alt-click the New Layer Mask button, or choose Layer > Add Layer Mask > Hide Selection.

layer mask layer mask

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Painting on the layer mask

Click the layer mask thumbnail in the Layers palette to make it active (the mask icon appears to the left of the layer thumbnail). Select any of the editing or painting tools.

painting layer mask
Painting with white on the layer mask reveals the art work on the layer
painting layer mask
Painting with back on the layer mask hides the art work on the layer
painting layer mask
Painting with gray on the layer mask partially hides the art work on the layer

Painting with white on the layer mask erases some of the mask, revealing the art work on the layer. Painting with the black adds to the layer mask, hiding artwork sothat the image beneath shows through. Painting with shades of gray on the layer mask partially hides the art work, making it semitransparent.

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To turn off/On the layer mask temporarily:

To turn off the mask : Either press Shift and click the layer mask thumbnail in the Layers palette or choose Layer > Disable Layer Mask. A red X appears over the layer mask thumbnail in the Layers palette, and the entire underlying layer appears without masking effects.

disable layer mask

To turn on the mask: Either click the layer mask thumbnail in the Layers palette or choose Layer > Enable Layer Mask.

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To apply or discard a layer mask

When you have finished creating a layer mask, you can either apply the mask and make the changes permanent or discard the mask without applying changes. Applying and discarding layer masks may help reduce file size.Click the layer mask thumbnail in the Layers palette and do the following:

• Click the Trash button(remove layer mask) at the bottom of the Layers palette or choose Layer > Remove Layer Mask.
• To remove the layer mask and make the changes permanent, click Apply.
• To remove the layer mask without applying the changes, click Discard.

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