Layer Masking Basics

Lesson 4 of 7

Controlling Attributions of Masks


Layer Masking Basics

Lesson 4 of 7

Controlling Attributions of Masks


Lesson Info

Controlling Attributions of Masks

I'm gonna jump over to my window right here because I've done the same thing with this window. I have a selection here and I would like to go in, and I would like to put another image behind this window, and I purposely didn't do a very good selection around this window so we could go in and do a little bit of editing right on our mask, so I notice here that my vertical bars here aren't quite perfect. I could spend the time with my selection tool to get it all just right, and I specifically didn't spend the time here so I could make it a little bit bad and so there's my selection and what I'd like to do is I'd like to mask out the whole window, and of course, if I apply a layer mask to this what's going to happen, I'm gonna see just the window panes because this election or is around what I want to see, so I would like to go in, and I would like to invert this, but I don't think about that before I go and apply my layer mask and all of a sudden it's like I'm done, and I stopped on a de...

lete my mask and I panic and every start my machine and you know, get something to eat now a mask is really simple, ok, so I was moving too fast. I didn't pay attention, I would just want to go ahead and turn on what's often turns off its on simple so if I go to my mask and it's exactly the opposite of what I want tohave sure, I should have thought about that before I'm just going to double click on my mask. Up comes my properties panel and I can click invert that's all because really it's either what you have turned on or what you don't have turned out to don't panic you know and also don't spend the time to select everything. If you've got a portion selected, you want the opposite now there's always ways to get the opposite in photo shop with selections, so they're okay so I selected around the window panes it was really easy, but when I click on my mask it's not what I wanted, so invert the mask just double clicking on that you can also do it quite easily for you photoshopped skilled users out there if you go in and of course click on your mask and just do a command I command eyes invert now if you inadvertently do it on your image and you do command, I would invert you get the exact opposite you'll soon figure out whether you select the layer mask or your actual layer thumping so there is my image right there which is perfect so now I can actually bring any other image in here and I can place it behind this one and drag it through so they can actually see that in my window so I'm gonna here and we'll open this up and what should we have should we have the statue of liberty go sailing by sure why not so gradually grabbed the statue of liberty we're gonna try and get up to my tab right there put her in there but that behind and now I can actually have a statue of liberty floating by my window pretty nice huh works quite good but maybe we would just like you know a little hint of the statue of liberty perfect I can go and who free designs squirrel so if I'd like to have more of the cloud showing through from my original image I can always go back to my mask and just control the density here which allows a lot more to show through and I can kind of give it that foggy effect right there well after all we are at the white house you know so I can control that very nicely zoom in on this here and see how we got that looking and I see that you know my selections pretty good here around the window but I may not have done a very good selection on my window, and I would like to adjust maybe I want to come in a little bit further on my mask or expand that mask a little bit prior versions of photo shop, we have to go in and we'd have to redo our selection. Well, the great thing with the properties panel when we double click on our mask here is we can go in and do the mask edge if you've never done anything with selections, you know what the refine edges if we go into the select menu and see refined edge, which we have our masks elected, but if you have that select, you have to refine edge right there because we're on a mask. I can use my mask edge feature, which is just like to refine edge feature, and that allows me to without going in and painting on the mask. This allows me to control the softness of the mask right here, how smooth or how sharp my little bumps are going to be on there. The contrast to get much more pixelated portions of my edge so I can really up the contrast, we get really sharp edges, and the crazy thing is, is this is all on my mask itself. So I'm actually controlling the attributes of my mask between the edge of what I can see and what I can't see and I can also use my shift edge to make the mask grow so it just kind of makes a bit larger or a little bit smaller because sometimes a I may have done my selection and I start to include a little bit off the blue through the window and it's a little bit too much I can go in and I can actually shrink or grow that mask make it slightly larger smaller to fit all by going into my mask edge completely non destructive I can't always undo any of this and it's not hurting my mascot all and it's not touching my image so I can actually go through and do a fairly quick selection and if I do a good enough selection I have a little bit of tolerance there to go in and smooth it out soften that edge if I want to add some contrast if I want to make it sharper or haven't encroach more or less into my object and I can do that all by double clicking on the mask and then going into the mask edge right there really cool so now I can look at this and I can see how could I have done they realized oh, you know what that little bar right there isn't isn't is missing because its mask out now, if I had done this election and deleted it, I'd be done. I couldn't go back and get this, so I'm gonna click on my mask here and I'm just going to turn on my preview here so you could actually see this and I'm going tio mask out and there's so many times you need to mask out in a straight line, you just need to mask right across something. So another trick. So I'm on my mask. I take my paintbrush. I would like to reveal this because I want to be able to see this so white is going to reveal I'm going to take my brush right here, and I'm gonna make it a hard brush and then I'm going to go when I'm gonna paint a straight line. Of course I'm painting in playing. Yes. And you all know it's like I can do this. I can do this. You know, I've had coffee. Sure. So great trick on going in and doing straight lines around everything. And this is fantastic. I just want to draw a straight line here. Remember those dr dot books? You know, one to two to seven to twenty three to four, yeah, that's how I used to do them. I'm going to click here with my brush and I have a fairly hard edge brush because I want a fairly hard edge on my mask going to click here and I'm going to come down here and then I'm going to hold down my shift key and click, and that connects my points. So just to show you if I click here and I just shift, click there, it just draws a straight line between those two points, which is really fantastic for cleaning up all these edges that we have because I just did a really quick selection around here and I realized, oh, you know, that's not very straight. So if I click here and hold down my shift key and a shift, click down there strays line between two points, just shift, and that way I can clean up all these edges really quickly like that shift, click here, hold down my shift key, line it up, click right there and that's just so click well done, my shift key, click right there. I've got the perfect little edits right there, and I'm painting in white because I want to go ahead and how that so I can see the actual frame of the window the red of my free view, there is what's actually being hidden and there's many times that I'll paint with iran color, but you just undo it. You just go ahead and you switch the colors because you're only gonna be painting with white or black. And I'm gonna back out here, turn off my preview. There it is. Double click on my mask, derek, and controlled by density to have a kind of being the fog right there. Awesome looks beautiful. And because she is behind it's being masked out, I could just have her sale right by beautifully. Yet she would throw the orange in there too. I don't think so. He wanted on top of this. Oh, yeah, right there. Okay, so what also works really well, too is this is a soft edge between the horizon line as well. Great thing with this. Go in. I'm gonna cut to dinner, but the density of my mask back up. If this is a really hard edge because I put a really hard selection in there, I can go with my mask and I can take my paintbrush and I can actually use a very soft edge brush to go in and paint with that to get a softer edge or zoom in so you can see a little bit better, so if I paint with a soft edge, I can create a very soft transition between the two of them. Like that, which creates a very soft transition between the mask, because if I go in here with a very hard edge like this and I paint like this, it's going to be just a really hard edge right across there, so masking is really cool, this is the one time that you could have a heart in the soft edge on an object can't really do that with selections, but if I want a soft edge between something, I can go into my mask and a soft brush is going to give me a soft edge. If I go ahead and I paint with a soft edge with a dark or black brush, I'm going to go ahead and high debt area, and that little softness there really cuts it down hardage gives me a hard edge, and I could go back, turn on my preview, and I can see that aiken blend that in really well where you can tell here I have a much harder edge right there and no harm, no foul, I can always shift, click internet mask right off there's a lot of stuff you can do with a mask. The biggest thing is figuring out what to paint on, no, why do you paint on what don't you paint ought to have any questions from the hinterlands now we're doing good people are tracking realize we have a question right here that we do yeah okay red hot microphone so initially when you made your selection you said you had previously major selection and you just popped in the orange my question on making a selection and saving it when is it appropriate time too make a selection and save it somewhere else generally any complex election that you're going to do anything is going to take a significant amount of time or it's fairly complex I always save this election so I had gone in before class here and I just did a quick selection around the windows here and took me you know, like thirty seconds which is a long time and photoshopped time and just because if I ever needed selection back again my chances of getting the same selection back was never gonna happen. Ok? Because if I wanted to go when it's like the windows the exact same way I'm not going to get it exact so I create this election go into the select menu and I simply save this election of which they always get saved in the channels which people are like channels I don't even touch channels now well channels or where this elections get saved and this allows me to go in at any time and basically load that selection from that existing channels so they never actually lose that selection if I'm just going in and doing a ridiculously simple selection, I don't save it, but if I'm doing a very complex election around an object, I always say that because it's great to save it once and then always go back to it and that selection will say with a file too if I ever need it, I can go right now I can get that selection now on the other hand, one of the benefits it's of actually using masks is this if I had gone in and I had created a selection and then didn't save it and I had been created a mask from that resulting selection and I would like to get that selection back, I'm not going to draw it all over again because the way I got to that mask was using a selection so the trick with this is go to your masks thumbnail right here, hold down your commands key and you'll see the little hand has it'll selection around it right there? If you command, click on your mask that brings back your selection. So really any mask that you have on your layers panel is actually a selection because most likely it started out that way and even if you started off with no selection and you actually were painting to get whatever it is that you need, you can then turn that painting of the mask into a selection

Class Description

Layer masks are one of Photoshop’s most essential features – in Layer Masking Basics Jason Hoppe will show you how to use them to make your images even more jaw-dropping.

Join Jason to explore the ways layer masks let you isolate and protect parts of an image as you apply color changes, filters, or layer effects to the rest of the image. You’ll learn how to turn layer masks on and off and how to edit and hide them. You’ll also learn about the advantages layer masks have over the Eraser tool and duplicate image layers. Jason will also introduce you to more sophisticated concepts like layer clipping masks.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2014.2.2


  1. Intro to Masking

    Find out what layer masks are used for and how you can use masks for non-destructive editing.

  2. Refining Masks
  3. Additional Selections
  4. Controlling Attributions of Masks
  5. Painting a Layer Mask
  6. Using Gradients with Masks
  7. Layer Clipping


nancy marckus

excellent, well thought out presentation. practical and creative how-to processes. Jason has a wonderful presentation style


Excellent coverage of Layer Masks. It's a little harder to follow but totally worth the content. Clearly a more advanced and thorough introduction than some of the more basic Layer Mask courses available on this site.

Aussie David

A great short course on masks and bacon - what's not to like right there!