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Layer Masks for Beginners

Lesson 10 of 12

Clipping Masks

Dave Cross

Layer Masks for Beginners

Dave Cross

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Lesson Info

10. Clipping Masks

Lesson Info

Clipping Masks

So I took two separate photographs and I didn't use a tripod. So the first photograph she was posing like this in the 2nd 1 I like, I thought would be really cool if I took him from this photo and her from the other one, which means I need to mask it Now. You'll see. See all that transparency in order to get them to match up. I had to do some maneuvering because I took the photos like five minutes apart. If I take him on a tripod, it would have been easy, which is a tip. If you ever do that kind of work, use a tripod because it'll be easier. But in this case, so now what I want to do is hide almost everything of his the layer with him on it and just show him as we talked about before. I could add a layer mask and then spend 45 minutes painting with black to hide everything. But really I I want to show just a little bit. So as we talked about earlier, and be easier to fill the mask with black and then Onley paint where I want him to show Okay, so Option or Ault click on the add layer. M...

ass button will hide. So now I'll just start painting with white. But here's the other thing. Member photo shop has a long memory because just a moment ago I showed you overly mode. It's still in overlay mode. I don't want that anymore, because if I stayed on over Lambeau and start trying to paint with White, nothing would happen because white can't paint on top of black and overlay mode. So there's one of the little Gutches of photo shop. You have to always be constantly looking at tools, settings to go. Oh, wait a minute. In this case, it needs to be normal 100%. So here's the question. How good a my to guess exactly where I should start painting with White to know, and the answer is not that good. More importantly, nor should I have to, because there's this panel and Photoshopped called properties, which is ever changing its the properties or whatever you happen to be working on at that moment. So because I'm currently have the layer mask activated, if I click on the properties, you'll see there's a couple of options for That's a layer mask density and feather density means how black is it? So how about I just temporarily move this down and all of a sudden I can kind of see where he is? There's an important thing to note about this particular properties panel and that slider. Notice how and a lot of things in voter shop, you apply some settings, you click OK, which kind of makes it permanent. And here there's no OK button, so that means this is a slider. You could move at will, so I will temporarily move the density down so I can see where he is. Take my paint brush and paint with white to make sure I'm getting all the areas of him in there. Then switch it up to 100 cents said I get everything, maybe am not sure. So that's the beauty of this command is that it's useful to temporarily change it because I want to see what I'm doing now. Obviously, in this case, I would normally zoom in closer and do all that stuff. But the key part of this is that as soon as you have a layer mask, the properties panel has that option. Where you contemporary, it's almost like you said. I'm going temporarily filled with gray and then go back and fill with black. But it's easier because this way it's just no matter what I'm doing, see how it's preserving the white. But everything around it is going from black to grey, so this is a great way to temporarily, when you're trying to mask a couple layers, you need to see the underlying information. This is one of the simplest ways to do it. Can you do this in Creative Suite? Are only in four shops. CC Um, when you say creative suite, what do you mean earlier versions? Yeah, well, the density command, I I'd be hard pressed to remember exactly when it came in. It might be CIA six, but I'm not 100% sure. The simple answer is that. And I think the properties panel in older version photos abuse to be called the Masks panel. So if you have a panel called Masks, you would see it there instead of properties because properties we rename because they realize it was being used for for different things. So let's look at another example here of where the properties panel could help us. One of things that people often want to do with the photograph is they want to do like a vignette effect, where the outer edges or darker and I like to do that again in a way that's more flexible. The old school way to do it would be to add a new layer that you fill with black. And don't write this down because it is the bad way to do it. Make a selection. And here's the biggest problem, he would say. And now I'm gonna go to Feather once again. And the problem with this feather command is, what number do you type in? I have no idea. So people guess and say, 120 they click OK, and all that happens is now that rectangular box has looks like slightly rounded edges, but the only way to really tell is to hit, delete and see if you like it or not. If you don't, it's like undo, undo a step backward, step backwards that back and start again, which works. But it's really a pain in the you know where, because every time you have to go through all the steps again. So instead I would use an adjustment layer and one of the great things about adjustment layers is they automatically have a mask attached to them. Just happens without you doing anything. So a layer mask is always on adjustment layer. So let me show you an example first, before I do this one what that means. That means if we made an adjustment like black and white and then said, Not that most people like this selective color thing anymore, but decide there are parts of the photo that I do want to be in color. I'm masking the effect of the adjustment. Now, I would not recommend you do select a color canned. If you post on Facebook, people will hate you and make all sorts of drug any comments because they don't like this anymore. I don't know why it has its place, but anyway, the point of it is by default. The mask associated with an adjustment layer is white, which means whatever adjustment you make, it will just the entire photograph. So let's do this in my Here's the curves. I'm gonna take this curve and pull it down so it looks pretty much like I'm filling with black. But the reality is I'm adjusting a setting not actually filling with black. Here's my mask. So I take my marquee tool. Now, this is gonna have to put your thinking cap on here a little bit. So I used an adjustment layer to darken the entire photograph, but I don't want the middle part to be dark. So what do I need to do on my layer mask? To hide that selection, fill it with black, write anything you want to hide something so part you have to get your brain around is to hide the black effect. I need to fill it with black because the adjustment layer is making it black. But I don't want the adjustment to take effect in the middle, right? So I used my shortcut for Phil, and now I have I'm close, but it doesn't have that nice soft edge. Well, it's too late to use that feather command and besides the fact that that feather command has no way of you knowing. So if we go back to the properties panel, look along with density. There's a thing called Feather but its feather on a slider. So some of you guessing, Ah, 162 you drag the slider and see what it looks like. And at a certain point you say, Oh, I think I like that. And once again, you don't click, OK, you just leave it there. Which means if you come back and look at this three days or now, go. Sure, I like that. That's a problem because every part of it is edible. It's an adjustment layer, first of all, which means I can tweak the adjustment, setting its a mask, which means I can adjust the mask to make it look the way that I want. And the shape is really ultimate, just a rectangle. So if I want that to be a bigger or smaller, I still can, too. So what I've done previously because I, like do this affect every so often, is, as you probably know, when you have a layer in photo shop, you can drag it into another document. So let's go back to this one. I want that same effect. I take that layer, I drag it into this photograph, and it's too big so I need to adjust accordingly. Here we go. Instead of starting all over again, I'm just reusing the same information now in this photo. If the feathering is too much or the adjustment layer is wrong, I can still tweak it. But it's still faster than me starting from scratch each time. So the key part of this conversation, remember, is as soon as you add a layer mask, it has a sorry assumes. You had an adjustment layer. It has a mask attached to it. A lot of the time, you just leave it white because you want the adjustment to affect the entire photo. But if you don't want to, you could, for example, make a selection first. Then add an adjustment layer, and it will only adjust the selected area because it will make a mask. So there's kind of a recurring theme here. If you have a selection, if you add a click on the add layer mass button, it'll mask. Based on that selection. If you have a selection and adding Justin Layer, it'll just based on that selection, and when you do that, it leaves the same mask on the other pictures because I just copied it over, so I just said so. This one is the same as it was before, but this one is independent. So I can go into this property sale, maybe the feathers a little too much for this photograph and continue adjusted or ultimately say, I don't like it all. Throw it away.

Class Description

Using Layer Masks is one of the keys to success in Adobe® Photoshop®. We’ll start at square one and work through all the key aspects of creating, editing and using Layer Masks.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2017

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Layer Masks Workbook

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



Dave Cross is a superb teacher and this is a superb class. Very clear explanations, well organized, and the demonstrations are spot on. I thought that I already understood masking but really I had just scratched the surface of the topic. Learned a lot of useful techniques. Thanks Dave!

a Creativelive Student

Dave is an amazing instructor and even though this is for beginners he takes you to intermediate. Amazing class learned and learned. Thank you!!!

Tony Walker

Enjoyed the course. Now that I am of an age where I tend to forget more than I remember having this course will help when I want to mask something. I can always come back to a specific video for a reminder. How many folks out there follow a tutorial and think great, then a week later you go back and say how on earth did I do that. Having access to this course is great especially if you are not photoshopping everyday.