Layer Masking Basics

Lesson 5 of 7

Painting a Layer Mask


Layer Masking Basics

Lesson 5 of 7

Painting a Layer Mask


Lesson Info

Painting a Layer Mask

We're going to start off with no selection whatsoever and hauling it yeah wing it didn't think this was winging their way. Okay, so let's see, I need let evolves okay, so what I'd like to do here is I would now like to introduce the orange coming out of the light bulb the mermaid effect ok, but in order for you to remember all these things we don't use a fishing a woman we use a life ball than an arms right? Because these are the things you remember there is a reason oh, yes oh, yes. You should have seen the minutes that I spent working on this file before we got in here, so I'm gonna grab my orange right out of here now I'm gonna drag my orange from this one into my other document, but the mask isn't going to come with it because it's not linked together right here so it's going to be independent of that if I did lincoln together statue of liberty come with it I don't need it right now. Okay? I can do this on my own so I'm to take just the orange unlinked from I'm asking have been dra...

gged onto my light bulbs and then we're going to bring it right in there so there it is and it did come with it that's about it didn't in the older versions I'm just going to go in and increase the canvas size here so we're going to get a little bit more height out of this awesome let's do it so he actually increase the canvas eyes in the right direction there we go now we got the room for the orange rotate this so we've got that boy somebody did their homework is that like fits perfectly yeah I don't know how I do it I really don't or it's an affliction okay so there it is now I'd like to go ahead and I'd like to blend this into the light bald and make it look totally believable completely so I know by using a selection I would like the top half of my orange to show what the lightbulbs put a selection and what they want to see and I'm ask it right there totally believable it looks just like a little beanie course it doesn't look believable here so in this case because what I want here is going to be fairly you know, artistic I'm not going to put a selection on my object at all because I want to control the blend on this to see how it's going to work and I can do it with the brush tool into it very free form but I can show you how to use the grady in't tool as well to get these really nice transitions between things so I need a mask so I'm going to click on my orange layer, and I'm going to add a mask to this because I had nothing selected, I get a totally blank mask with that blank mask, then I can go in and I can use my brush. Of course, I'm gonna start with black here and in many years a fairly large brush here, and he was my right bracket to make it big, and I'm going to reduce the hardness of it, too, and so I'm going to get a very hard, very large brush with no hardness whatsoever, and then on my mask here I'm going to you, then go in and I'm going to paint so I can kind of mask that out now I'm painting on my mask with black or white, but I know that I can adjust my mask with the opacity, so I don't have to technically paint with just black or white I can paint with shades of gray as well, so if I paint with shades of gray because it's a black and white image basically grayscale, I could go in and I can either adjust the opacity of my brush right up here the long way around is actually going in and then choosing a gray here, and by the way, it doesn't matter what color you choose here when we're doing the mask it never paints in color, so if you like, I want it in red now it just gives you that particular unsaturated q so that's kind of the long way around because I don't want to keep going in and switching the color from black to white gray I can go in and I can paint with capacity so I can paint on my mask with passivity basically I'm going to paint it with less than one hundred percent capacity of black long way of doing this, you know, clicking and dragging down and back and forth here quick way of adjusting the opacity on your brush right here is with your number pad just simply typing a number if you want fifty percent, you just type in five and it goes right to fifty percent if you want thirty, just type in three and you get thirty percent one hundred zero the other way if you're just going to throw caution to the wind favorite feature and photoshopped the scrubby and this grubby is just hover over the word opacity and scrub back and forth on the word opacity don't worry about going in here clicking the drop down menu or the most frustrated thing they people highlight this and they're like, I don't want a hundred percent I want ninety nine inside, you know, scrubbing okay, just scrub back and forth on the opacity right there so with that I'm going to scrub back and forth on the opacity here and I'm going to cut capacity down about forty percent there's nothing magic about this so it's just going to very lightly hide those portions of the image that's all so with that in a very large brush a soft brush I can go in here and I can very softly paint on my mask and let it blend now the opposite if I've taken a little bit too much away your hidden too much I simply hit x on my keyboard, which which is my highlight my shadows here the opacity stays the same because I'm not changing the actual color here I'm just changing the opacity of the brush in which I'm painting with so with that I can now go back in and I can go ahead and reveal a little bit more that's like that's a little bit too, but I'm gonna cut the opacity down again must switch back to black here and I'm just going to go in and just kind of round this out remaining in black so I'm hiding those things and getting it back there it isthe now I've got this big, huge smiley face of a shadow here, but the reality of it is it really doesn't matter in this case where I paint over because I'm only painting on this layer right here on my orange layer and that's the only thing on that layer so I'm not affecting anything else I could paint over here on this layer it's on ly affecting that area that's on that layer so with this I don't have to stay within the confines of the orange with this because I've already taken it out saudi on a transparent background but with this I'm just going in and I'm painting at layer nice and easy pretty sweet huh? So this is great because you can paint in and out in and out and in and out just going back and forth and do all sorts of fun stuff control the opacity I can add a little bit more in I want to take a little bit more out too much of the bottom showing there I can just go back in that one hundred percent just get that out make that happen and then all of a sudden the more you do this you get really, really, really picky. I'm just adjusting the capacity here just with my number pad just to get it just right and now I have this wonderful light bulb with an orange growing out of the top of it and that's my mermaid there's not a fantastic mermaid it isthe it's totally awesome yeah it's totally cool so I have these masks I can create a selection and get the mask by applying the layer mask when I have a selection what's ever inside is what I'm going to see what's outside is what I'm not going to see I can paint on my mask, paint in paint out you can double click on these and control the density overall control how soft or how hard that mask is invert the mask so it hides everything or shows everything all from my mask but there's a couple other things that I can dio as well, fun stuff always like fun stuff if I go in and I'm dealing with an image and I always by the way have to have bacon. Does anybody know the story of bacon? I know bacon always has to pop up for those of you that started way off in his creative tax, bacon was introduced way back in the day and nothing can get by without slipping bacon in someplace bits or otherwise. So I have my bacon here and what I'd like to dio is I'm actually going to duplicate my bacon on a couple different layers here I'm just going to show you one cool thing there are times when I have masks and I have mask out something and I would like to mask out something else um I'm gonna put this on background here just create background here behind there we go and I may have a mask I'm actually going to go in and flattened this image right there, so I've got this one piece of bacon that's on a white background, ok, right there. So there's my one piece of bacon with the background, I've got another piece of bacon here, that's not on a white background, and I go through when I tediously go in and this particular piece of bacon right here has a drop shadow on it. I'm gonna put a drop shadow on this because if you love it, give it a drop shadow that's one graphic designer said, yeah, way go awesome! So there it is, there's my drop shadow and I realize that I want to put a selection or ah mask around this one, so I put my selection around there and I put a mask on it and everything is awesome right there, and I've got my mask around that bacon like so and now I've got this one it's identical piece of bacon, and I need to put the same mask around there, but this was really easy because when I did this piece of bacon right there and had the transparency and I could just easily select it, but I only have the identical piece of bacon, but that piece of bacon is on a white background, so it's much more difficult. To go in and select I'm not going to what I'm going to do is I'm actually going to copy the layer mask from one to another it's an image the mask is nothing more than a black and white image you can copy these you can move these you can scale these spent a whole new late website broke down today but my story could do it all if you could do it with an image, you could do it with a mask exactly. So I'm gonna grab my mask right here and I'm gonna copy it too another image or another layer right there and the easiest way to do this is hold down your option or you're all turkey let's look, my mask and I'm gonna option click and drag and I literally and just copying my mask to another layer right there and because I could move this around I can actually then go in and I can move my mask around. I got let me shut off this layer so you can actually see it, but I can move my mask around it's the identical mask and aiken snap it right too my existing layer right there without having to recreate it and it's so very handy to have when would you ever use this? Well, you'd use this right here, okay, here is my statue of liberty orange on one side mr bacon needs to come in okay so I go over I switched to mr bacon I go in and I select mr bacon I'm actually gonna get rid of the mask here that's what he will do this one instead get rid of the mask here we go the select everything here go back in I'm gonna piece it into my statue of liberty boom there it is now going to take this and I would like to also have this have the same ask well why would I go through the whole process no way check this out it's this hard option click and drag boom done same location so now my bacon khun fly by two there it is and all I did was just duplicated the mask right therefore why go through all that extra effort it's already there I can just simply copy that I know pretty awesome it's pretty awesome I mean bacon is really cool too so you can just copy any layer mask that you want to and that's just a simple is going in clicking on your layer mask option click and drag you gotta duplicated just drag it on to any other existing layer right there it's all beautiful got a question here. Okay so you can copy an image from one tab to another can you copy a mask from one to have two notes from one image to another? Absolutely sure, and basically all we're going to do so if I want to copy this one, I'm just going to go with him to do is select all, but basically I'm selecting the entire mask and I have my mask elected. If I copy this, this is just like copying a black and white image, the exact same thing. So if I copy this and I jump over here and say, I want you now, apply it to this right here, I can click on this mask and I can simply go in and she was paced, and I want to actually paste it into this one right here. So it's actually pasting it here, uh, been a while since I've pasted that mask. So if I go in, I want tio at it. Let me paste special piece in place. It wants the pace, it is a layer, so I guess he can't do it very easily. You can drag it. Yeah, you certainly can. This is just it's, just an image that's all. It is just a black and white image.

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!