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Introduction to Layer Masks

Lesson 3 of 8

Create a Layer Mask

Rafael "RC" Concepcion

Introduction to Layer Masks

Rafael "RC" Concepcion

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Lesson Info

3. Create a Layer Mask

Lesson Info

Create a Layer Mask

Now what we want to do is we want to get into this entire concept of the mask. Like when we make a mask and what we talk about when we make a mask. Basically, what you're doing is a lot of the action that you do for that is over here inside of the actual layers. I'm gonna bring this up here so you can kind of see what I'm talking about. So here's our layers, and what we want to do is we want to take a portion of the stuff that we have here, and we want to be able to hide it. But we're going to just close it out so that you don't necessarily see it. And to do that, you're going to use something called a mask. That's this option right here. Once you click on that, it creates a masking. It applies a mask. If you are one that likes to go into a menu, you can go to layer and go to layer mask and under layer mask. You'll see that you have options for reveal all high at all. Reveal selection or hide selection. Now what I'm going to do is I'm gonna just encourage you guys to just get used to d...

oing this here. Using this one here is going to click on this and you gonna notice that now the mask, the background that we have has disappeared. You know that it's disappeared because it's gone to a checkerboard. This is the fundamental component, the mask. And let's talk about the anatomy of the mask of what we see right here. So here we have the actual icon that shows us what is on that layer to the right of that we have a little mask. You'll see that the mask actually has a black and a white section. Any area that you have that's black is gonna be hidden from view. So it's telling it, Hide that stuff that's sitting over here in this area, anything that happens to be white, it does show from that view, so black is going to hide or conceal anything. White is going to reveal anything that you see from there. By doing so, we've gotten rid of that background at any point in time. If you actually want to see the mask, you can always just hold on the option of the old key and click on the mask itself. You'll see that Now you have the mask. This is the actual black and white thing that you've done. So Black Heights White reveals option. Click on it again and it brings back the document. If you want to temporarily disable that mask, you can hold on the shift key and click notice that an X goes across it and it shows you what that mass looks like. Click on it again. Now it's enabled the mask, and now you can see what we're working on there. So from here, the last thing I would do is I can grab this mask and delete this mask altogether, dragging it into the trash. It says, Do you want to apply the mask? I don't want to apply the mask. I'm just gonna hit, delete and we're right back to normal. So creating and selecting the masks are actually very easy, right? That's the one thing that I usually tell people about. I tend to spend a lot of time kind of talking about the very basics because really, the stronger portion about all of this stuff is the application of it. How you use it for technique. If you understand the core components of it, then you can go out and kind of extrapolate from that and start applying it into different things. Now, inside of here, what I want to do right off the by to show you what it would look like when you disappear something or when you make something disappear, I'm gonna grab this mask and I'm just gonna click because I don't have a selection made. I'm gonna click on it, and it's gonna look like nothing changed. Right? So we have a picture and we have white. Nothing happened. Nothing disappeared. Why is he still there? What color is that mask? White grain. So white would tell me, Hey, show everything that you see there. So that mask were black. What would happen, right? The guy would disappear. Right? So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna take this mask. Notice that if I were to paint right here, So I'm just gonna paint with black no paint right here and grab this will pass anything to move this up. The paint on painting white or I'm painting black directly on top of the person itself. that has everything to do with the fact that I have this selected. There is a mass selected. There's the person selected. There's a mass selected no having this mass selected. I'm gonna go to image. I'm gonna goto adjustments and under adjustments. I'm gonna go to invert What happened to the guy gone brain? Why is he gone? Because the mask is black, so black hid everything. So if black hides everything and white shows everything, then that's kind of cool. The cool part about that is that now I can use this brush that sits all the way over here, just a regular paintbrush. And I could use these colors black and white, to be able to add and remove portions of that document. I can go inside of this mask. And if I would've paint with white, I can show a portion of that person. If I option click on this mask. That's what that mass looked like. I painted with a white brush on that mask, a specific thing, and any time that I painted with that white brush, it said, Show me a portion of that document that happens to be on the left hand side option. Click on this. That's what we see there. The concept of painting most of that stuff is really the cornerstone of everything that we're working with with masks. Because if you see here, your brush gives you the greatest amount of control to be able to hide or show an individual effect. We go with that so far, so we know how to select. We know how to be able to mask. We know how to be able hide. We know how to be able to show. We can paint with black toe hide things. We can paint with white to reveal things. But what happens with the pain with gray? What would you wanna take? A guess? What would happen? Were you paying with gray? So somebody wanna grab my anyone? Anyone? It's a 50% gray. Then will be the opacity will be 50%. It will be transparent, so you can have an element that would be transparent. I mean, technically right, that would work. OK, so let's let's see if that works, right. So I'm gonna come over here and pick a gray, and I'm just gonna let's go ahead and actually take that mask. And what we're gonna do is we're gonna fill it and let's feel that mask with black toe. Hide everything right? We're still on this mask, and I'm just gonna paint with gray. No, I'm an option Click and bring that mass back up. You're right. So it looks like only brought a portion of that back. That's the part that I think is really cool. And it sounds dumb. Like I'm excited about greats. Okay, great. But there really is some cool stuff that's happening here because what happens is you can use different tones of black and white different shades of black and white to be able to reveal portions of things that's the cornerstone of retouching, compositing, editing. Like anything that you have to do with that. Let me show you something cool here. I'm gonna fill this with black, and I'm using keyboard shortcuts things that I think that you should generally know how to do from a keyboard shortcut standpoint. The letter D is usually a keyboard shortcut for you to be able to reset all of your colors to black and white. The letter X is a color. Is that she? Keyboard shortcut that I use him to show this so that you guys could see it right here. These are the colors, right? So D sets it to black away. And then X lets you toggle between the two so you can go to foreground and background. You're gonna do a lot of that when you're doing any kind of mask work. Now, once we do that, we can also start using the softness of brushes to do stuff right? Because now what I can do is I can grab a brush. I could make a brush that's relatively soft, and I'm gonna make the brush a little bit bigger. And now our paint. And now you have a little bit of a vignette kind of look around this person. If I were the option, click on the mask. See that? It's solid on the white part, but it's a little bit more gray and feeding out towards the back part, so that gives a softer edge. As you're working with things now, do that in even larger quantities, and here's a good keyboard shortcut for you to kind of keep in mind When you're working with a brush tool, use the actual. If you're on a Mac, use the actual control button to hold that down and then hold on the option key as well. Hold them both down and you can drag to the right into the left to increase and decrease the hardness of the brush. From a time saving standpoint, you don't want to sit there and go What brushed away? One. No, no, no. But that's just annoying, right? You also don't want to do that with the hardness. Like, is that good? I have no idea. I don't know. I can't see it by doing the actual control in the all and the option key, you can visually see how big or small or big or small you want that brush. If you go up or down a soft brush, hard brush, soft brush, hard brush So hard, soft, big, small, big, small. And you don't have to worry about it. So now I can paint, and that effect lets you step into, in effect a lot easier. So brushwork very, very important. More often than not. What I usually tell people is gonna grab this and delete this. You know, whenever you're working with a brush for any kind of effect, or any kind of toning or any kind of dress me that you want to do. I tend to be a big fan of using a soft brush, and I tend to regulate my brush by using flow more than I do capacity, because I think flow will give you much greater control. Like you don't want to necessarily go into something and make it look very hard. You want tobe able to step into an individual effect. So let me show you flow capacity while we're here. If we know that if we know that when we want a brush in an effect, we want to go very, very softly into it. A lot of the time people start using photo shopping. Well, it's easy, right? If you just take the opacity of the brush, bring the opacity of the bush down, then you could just little by little, get into the effect a little bit of dodging, a little bit of dodging, a little bit of dodging, but it doesn't really work that way. All right, um, another analogy. So let's say you're had the side of house, right? If I put you in the side of that tell you, go to the side of the house and I give you a cup. And I say, You know, I want you to take that cup and I want you to fill that cup halfway full of water. And I grab a hose and I take the hose and turn the holes all the way up and give you the holes in the company. Go halfway. Police. Just give it to me halfway. How hard would it be for you to fill that cup halfway? Probably pretty hard rain. You have to sit there and we're like, all right, but I kind of sort of kind of That's kind of what you're doing. When you're working with a brush with the regulation of opacity, I'm gonna use the color white. This is just on a black. There's nothing really here. Going on. Right. So my brushes at 100 I'm gonna pick a relatively hard brush so you can kind of see what I'm doing. I paint 100% all the way across. You're gonna see that edge, Dad. Now I'm gonna go over here to the very top, and this is where you can regulate your rapacity in your flow. I'm gonna take my opacity and we're bringing capacity down to about 18% now. I wanna paint drag. That's 18%. That means that the guy would kind of sort of appear. Bring kind of translucent washes Peeping pp Pp Pp Baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby Still 18%. Not good. So the moment that you do this for as long as you're painting, that's not gonna give you any kind of control. But if you let go and you paint again 18 plus 18 which is 36 then if you paint again well, 8 36 plus forget it. Oh, so this this isn't a lot of kind of it's not very It doesn't have a lot of finesse, right? You're just painting 18 on top of 18. You change your opacity is like dating 18 every time you paint. Not good. But what if I left my opacity at 100% and I grabbed my flow and I made it relatively low. The equivalent of this would be I give you the same cup put inside a house and I tell you, I want you to feel a halfway, but this time I take the rate of the water and I bring it down to a trickle. How much easier would it be for you to fill that cup halfway? It's a lot easier you've got to do is wait. So if you grab this now, if you need something that's just a slight touch, you can just slightly hit it. If you need something that's a little bit more, a little bit here, a lot more here, a little bit here, you just sit and wait and paint and paint and paint in pain and continuously fill it because we're letting the rate control how you work with that brush. That will give you an incredible amount of finesse when you're actually working with most of that. So what I tell people always keep the flow low, step into the effect any kind of effect that you want tobe able to work with. Don't worry so much about the opacity side, and you can work in smaller chunks with softer brushes

Class Description

Layer Masks are one of the most powerful tools in the Adobe® Photoshop® arsenal, so it’s essential that you learn how to use them if you want to take your photography to the next level. RC Concepcion will teach you all of the new ways to make selections in Adobe Photoshop® and show you how to use layer masks in your photo projects to correct exposure, enhance color and selectively add details.

Adobe Photoshop CC 2018


Dave Sordi

Great class. Lots of really important tips. RC is really good at understanding what question a student might have even before the question is asked. Highly recommend this class.


It is a pleasure to watch him, and he manages somehow to keep your attention from the start to the finish without realizing the passing of time, He explains the do's and don'ts with Layer Masks, how to use each of them and when, I just simply loved the instructor and the class. He is one of my favorite instructor from Photoshop Week 2018, and if I could not buy all the bundle, but I would buy some classes, his are definitely chosen.

Mark Koller

Awesome class, love RC's style. Intro to layer mask is loaded with goodies.