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Advanced Adobe Photoshop Techniques

Lesson 10 of 25

Introduction to Masking

Dave Cross

Advanced Adobe Photoshop Techniques

Dave Cross

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Lesson Info

10. Introduction to Masking

Lesson Info

Introduction to Masking

so this segment and talk all about the wonderful world of masks and masking and some interesting ways to do massing take advantage of masking and once again since this is titled advanced techniques I'm not going to explain what a layer mask is so if you're unsure go watch a different segment that talks about what a layer mask is in a nutshell it allows us to hide parts of a layer rather delete so that gives us that whole non destructive ability to do things so first a couple of quick little shortcuts to mention uh let's just do this I'm gonna just add laywer mask here and if you ever have where should say once you have a layer mask on some occasions it might be helpful for you to temporarily remind yourself what the image looked like before you had a layer mask so when the layer mask is active it's going of course hide those parts of the image the white areas show the black parts or hidden if you want to temporarily turn it off completely shift click on the thumbnail we'll turn off the...

layer mask you see that big red x is showing you yeah it's turned off and it's a toggle switch your shift click again will allow you to see it with and without the mask sometimes as we'll see in both today and tomorrow in some of our segments it's easier to see what you're doing if you actually look at the mask itself and see what you actually have but right now we can't really see the mass that well because a small little thumbnail option are all clicking on the layer mask once well actually let you view the layer mask and as we'll see shortly that offers some interesting possibilities of things we could do now that we couldn't do otherwise let alone the fact we can actually look at it and see what we're doing okay uh let's do this I'm going to deliberately wreck a mask for a second let's say I was playing around I'd already had this layer with a mascot on this other copy of it I was experimenting with masking and all of a sudden decided I didn't like it it was let's pretend for a moment clearly it's not the case but we'll pretend it's too late to undo or step backwards cause I've done various things and what I really want to do is get back to square one every time you have an existing layer max mask if you hold down option rolled and drag it it will copy it if there's already a layer mass like in this case it's going to say would you like to replace it in this case it didn't just because of uh usually ask me first but for somebody because it's so a clone it didn't but usually you'll get a warning missing do you want to replace either way it's a nice way to just simply say I want to take this mask and use it in another layer and there's lots of times you could also just drag it as we'll see in a moment from one layer to another one of things I mentioned earlier was thie properties panel keeps popping up a lot more than it used to in fact up until a couple of virgins go was even called the properties panel there was a powerful the mass panel and now properties changes on the fly so whatever you're doing you khun I have lots of options and one of the ones there's a couple things and we want to talk about there's as we know we've already talked about this there's always multiple ways to do things and photoshopped so I've already clicked on the adl airmass button and by default it's white and now I'm thinking well this segal my way this photo almost every photo I use is taken by me this one was taken by my wife and I just like because the birds like looking right the camera going what what do you want but because the sky is pretty much pure blue it makes me think maybe I could make a mask now because I want to end up with a mass of just the bird and the post and everything else hidden for effect I want to do normally I would make a selection first and then add a lair mask but one of things that's in the properties panel is kind of interesting is color range now just to clarify this is the same functionality as this thing called color range but here all you're going to get it first is a small little preview in this window and there is an option of previewing it is like a gray scale or a black mat or a white mad which are okay but I like this other method better now what you can do is you have to add lair mask first then you click on the color range button and now I'm going to click on the blue and I really want the opposites all hit invert you could see right away I'm getting a live preview is showing me here's all your transparency at full size is that of worrying about that small little preview I can hold down the shift key and click in areas they will that's what I want the mask ideally would end up looking like that with just the seagull on the post visible everything else mast and I can start moving sliders that's a little too far you know try and get the result you want but I like this method of using color range because it it really is a much bigger preview and although I don't if I had another layer below it I would see that layer below and start to see very quickly this is what it looks like in the context of what I'm doing so when I click okay now I have a very nice layer mask already made for me so in this case it made better sense to do that because I wanted to have just the sky gone and this bird in there but I reason I'm doing that is I want to use a different sky so I was gonna drag this in here scaled up a little bit now in this case I could just dragged below like that that's fine because of the way it works but a very typical scenario for people is more like this where this layer me in the right place here to make sure I have the effect that I want so normally in a case like that you would actually have to add the layer mask to this layer and then invert the mast end up the way you want so that's a more typical scenario when you're starting with a lock background the bottom line though is it doesn't matter because if you decided to this point that it would make better sense if the layer mask was actually on this layer instead myself to unlock it drag it down so you advantage of layer masses you're never stuck with a well now once again I've kind of painted myself in the corner you can always play with and say actually might make better sense if I did it this way or that way there's never ending possibilities in that regard so the first part of the property's panel is this color range which is a nice way to actually generate a layer mask are generated content to the lair mask based on the colors that are in your document in using all those sliders with a nice big preview thie other thing that often happens when we're making selections and we'll talk about this in much more detail tomorrow we're talking about compositing is a we usually start with a selection and we to refine the edge of the selection to make it better on this case I didn't start with the selection I went directly to the mask and use that color range so I might feel like if I look a little closer here that I want to do more work on this siegal it actually looks pretty good because of the new sky matches and pretty nicely with it but it's too late to use refine edge because it's not an edge anymore it's a mask so the other thing the properties panel does is there's a function called mask edge which is exactly the same function as refined edge but it works with a mask instead of a selection so was we'll talk about again tomorrow often all start with the selection used or finance to make kind of my first pass and making it look good and I use this two tweak it even more in here I tend to want to initially work on this on layers view because that's showing it in the context of the new background and this way I can go through if I notice for example there's part of the bird missing completely here this is not the place to fix it I need to go back to the mask itself and fix it but for things like feathers why want the edges to be semisi through or hair or anything like that this is where I can start playing around with some of these settings to try and get a better effect and when it says output to layer mask since there already is a layer mask it's gonna update the one that's already there so that's what the mask age does very powerful and we'll look at it in more detail to morrow all right so let's take this thing and drag it over here and I'm creating a little combination blair's that has no visual sense I just want two layers that are made for me to play with so because this laywer already had a mask with it it comes with it of course when I drag it on a different document but at this point if I want to play with it a little more I have a couple of options by double clicking on the mask it automatically goes to the properties panel and I have two things here that might be interesting in this case the invert button wouldn't make any sense at all but that's all that does is the same expression command control idea invert the mask I've never clicked on that because to me pressing keyboard shortcut is just is easy but what I will consider doing is density and feather density says if we look at the layer mass again you'll see it's a whole bunch of black with a little bit of white density says take everything that's black and make it not black make it gray so now it's partially see through so I'm trying to win over laid texture kind of thing I might decide start off one hundred percent and then lower it down the difference though is if I on the layer mask actually said fill with gray that's now my new shade and will always look like this this because it I dropped it down to sixty you'll notice I didn't I'm not clicking okay here I'm just leaving it so that means if I come back tomorrow and go yeah I don't like that I can push it right back up again because I didn't make any kind of permanent change any time you can look in a panel like this one and see sliders that have some sliding scale that you could just leave it that way and not commit to it and say well that's my new version this is a better choice same thing goes with feathering let's go back here for a second so that's right back at this stage it's a all I had was my selection and I thought I think I want to soften the edges of this a little bit well with my selection active I can go to modify feather this to me is harley's should be called permanent feathering because once you put a number here now your selection has feathering and you can't get rid of it and it's probably the one of the most destructive things that people do unknowingly you think his feathers a little bit so they click okay well from now on that selection has a softer edge and it's very very difficult to change unless you can undo it right away so I might think in my head what I want a bit of soft edge that's fine but that's not the way to do it what I would do instead is in our example here it's once it's in place here is a feather slider and this is way better than that feather command under the select menu for a couple of important reasons first of all it's non destructive meaning you can edit any time so it's one of my friends used to call it undo on a slider you khun sake I want to go up to here back to hear you're never actually clicking ok the other thing is you can see what's happening with the feather dialog box you type in a number I don't know when to you click okay here you can look at and say oh that's what twenty nine does what is one hundred sixty what is this doing your interactively changing it and once again you just leave it that way so when you think you're finished you just move on the good part is it's not an actual step in like the history panel to say now I have to go back to that step I could do twenty other things and then say you know what that feathering is too much or not enough so we're never feeling like well I'm stuck now because I've already committed to that so this properties panel is extremely powerful part of working with mass because we can take advantage of ways where we're it's very difficult let's put it that way to make it a permanent change because we're never feeling like you have to click okay and say well that's that now I'm stuck with that so any time that I I think to myself maybe that would look could have had a feathered edge I don't do it during the selection phase I do it now I don't do it during refined edge because that's again more permanent I wait until it's already a mask and I feather the mask before this property's pal what I used to do was apply a blur filter to the mask which worked but then they have the same problems as you clicked ok that's your new mask if you decide later on I wish I hadn't blurted wow that's there's no d blore if I out there so you're kind of in trouble so this is a kind of our recurring concept of any time you can do something which is has this non destructiveness to it that is an important thing to make sure we're doing this the way that we want okay so let's get out of this for a second so this next thing I want to show you is I would suggest you it's not every day photo shop but if you're into kind of fine art or try and just do artistic things a little different this I like because it has some really interesting possibilities and to me one of you knows of it is I've never exactly sure what's going to happen and I love that but sometimes you want to get a very specific thing done in photo shop but sometimes you want say what happens if I do this and this is fits into that category so this layer is already unlocked I'm goingto commander control click to add a layer below that I will just fill with white just so we have something or anything so we can see in a second and we'll add a layer mask so what I'd like to do is take this graphic and used this as a mask so I want to mask that photo with this photo and this works really the most interesting is you have got lots of texture in it because that's the most if it was just solid gray would be boring his hex I want something that's got some contrast going on so I select all and copy then I come back to this document and this is the one little trick to this if I just simply chose paste now it would paste a new layer so I have to somehow telephoto shop I want you to paste onto the mask and the way you do that is you have to view the mask which means optional click on it now when I choose paste it paste the graphic onto the mask I'll free transform it to fit the way I want and now when I look at it I have this effect now that's a little odd not doesn't look great I can't see too much of the photos so we have to look at this a little bit think about what's happening here white is showing black is hiding gray is somewhere between have to play with this the intensity of this to get the effect that I want so maybe what if I just inverted it completely that's a little better but it's still a little much so this was where I would start playing with things like the density to say it's a little too much I want a bit more of the car showing that's a little better and of course I could also paint on top of this if I want to say don't have any over here completely so it still doesn't change the fact I can still work on the mass the same way still pink with black and white but pasting a graphic element onto the mass just has some really nice options I could also decide if I want this well thing is a little too obvious so I pushed the feather up it's going to soften it so that it becomes more of a texture kind of thing is happening to my image at that point I might go back in push the density back up again or maybe inverted again so you can see that at no point and I'm like oh darn now I'm in trouble because I've done these steps it's just information on a mass so even if I get to the point of going you know what this whole idea is not working at all I could just fill the mask with white and start again but the option of taking some texture and putting it onto the mass not just on top of the photo again not every day but it's a really interesting thing if you're just in that experimental phase is saying what happens if I do this and I find myself starting to look at when I'm walking with my camera I think that wall would be a cool thing to pace on a mask because it's so dark with a white crack in it that it would have this effects I start imagining ahead of time sort of pre conceiving what would that look like on a mask and if I inverted it people think I'm weird cause I'm saying they're starting wallace what's holding my camera but my brain is going life stuck it on the mask and I inverted it then it would be the opposite so yeah that would work so I have a whole collection the folder of just really cool textures that sometimes I overlay on top of a photo like we show up with a blend of sliders and sometimes pacey on a mask and sometimes both pace it onto the layer mask and also put one on top and use the blend of sliders it's all it's all goods all everything's fair game and that's the fun part of this whole thing is but the other thing I should mention is I could make this look completely crazy but if you think about it I hadn't really done anything because the original photos still there I haven't believed anything I haven't touched it I've just made it look very different by adding this crazy layer mass that I was experimenting with but any point I could say you know what that didn't work at all let's just delete it completely and back to my original photo so we can still be very artistic and experimental without feeling like I'm painting myself into a corner and getting myself into trouble

Class Description

There is always a better way to edit in Adobe® Photoshop® – learn new, advanced techniques from expert instructor Dave Cross and develop a faster, more effective post-production process.

In Advanced Adobe Photoshop Techniques, Dave will introduce you to a wealth of little-known and under-utilized techniques that you can use to make your photographs really pop. You’ll learn new ways to work with:

  • Layers and masks
  • Composites
  • Type
  • Camera Raw
  • Color grading

Dave will show you how to speed up your work with luminosity masks and how to be more creative using the Blend If sliders. You’ll see how non-destructive methods – including smart objects, adjustment layers, vector shapes, and smart filters – can boost both productivity and creativity. You’ll also get lots of great tips on automating your work.

Open up a world of creative possibilities – join Dave Cross for Advanced Adobe® Photoshop® Techniques.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2014

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Dave's Detailed Course Notes

Using Photoshop, Illustrator, & InDesign

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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a Creativelive Student

I am an experienced photographer and retoucher and this Advanced Photoshop class with Dave Cross was exactly what I was hoping to find. I know how to accomplish everything I need in Photoshop, but was looking for the ways that I could update my workflow with the new features that have been added by Adobe. The complete use of Smart Objects and libraries is already changing my life and is incredibly useful and time saving. Dave gave a great explanation about the coarse at the beginning as to the fact that he just wanted to help users make their workflow better and he did just that...and in an enjoyable way. I highly recommend this class!

a Creativelive Student

While not highly experienced in PS I'm also not a newbie. I've done a few other online courses and am a member of other training sites but very quickly found I got information here that I hadn';t yet come across. Nesting smart objects and the non-destructive editing abilities they give me was one of those light bulb moments. Lots of other useful information in this course. Had to try the CC Library as a result. Very useful..... wish it saved the layer comps with your file though. Put some of these new learnt skills into a composite straight away.... did I say I'm loving nested smart objects!! A great course Dave.


Brilliant, love Dave's clear presentation style which is easy to follow, simply had to buy this one. I thought i had a pretty good grasp on photoshop but I'm delighted at how some of these seemingly simple tips and tricks have improved the quality of my final images and the speed at which I can work.