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Select & Mask

Lesson 5 from: Layer Masks for Beginners

Dave Cross

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Lesson Info

5. Select & Mask

Next Lesson: Automatic Masks

Lesson Info

Select & Mask

so as we saw before. Sometimes it's just easier to make a selection. So, for example, in this case, I really just want, and I still wanted to be a rectangular photo. I just wanted almost to be cropped closer to them. We can't use the crop tool because that crops your entire document. So there, some people say, How do I crop one layer, will you? Technically, you don't. You mask it so it'll act as if it's cropping because you're going to not see the areas around the outside of the layer, but you're doing it using the same kind of methods. In this case, take the rectangular marquee tool and just decide. I want this area right here and even if it's not exactly right, it doesn't matter because the whole point of a layer mask is you can come to edit it. So in this case, when you have a selection and you click on the add layer mass button, it automatically makes a mask based on whatever selected is visible. Whatever is not selected is not visible. So as soon as I click on the add layer mask, ...

but and you'll see now I have looked at the layer mask. It's a big rectangle now, just to make it easier to see. Let's add a stroke to this that will work. And now, once I have that, I can reposition this. I can do whatever I want, and the layer and the masked by default will move together. And we'll talk about a little bit later about times where you might not want that to happen. But if you look closely in between the layer in the Massey, that little chain symbol that means that by default the layer and the master linked together, which in this case makes sense there'll be other examples will look at where it doesn't make sense. Symbols. We'll see where, how we help decide. But that's also a very common method to use is just make a selection of whatever kind rectangle or something much more accurate, whatever it is. And then once you click the add layer mask button, it makes a selection based on what you have selected. When you don't have selected, however, it's still not finalized again. I'm gonna do something that probably wouldn't make any sense to do. But if I decide, I think it would actually look much better if on one side is a rectangle, but on this side, it was not so I click on the layer mask and as I'm doing this, see, it's adding to the selection. It looks really awkward, and I would never actually do this. But the point is, just because I made a mask that was a white rectangle doesn't mean it has to stay like that. I continue to work on it. Okay, I'm going under that very quickly. Is that just look really ugly and not very interesting at all? However, here's perhaps a more likely scenario is you look at the edge and say, Well, I think when I made my selection, I made a little too narrow. So I was kind of cut off her bouquet there a little bit. So all I have to do this would be a case where I'd want to unlinked because I want Onley work on the mask now, just like you can use free transform on a layer you can use free transform on a mask. So if I hit command, control tea and just stretch this out now I'm just revealing mawr by dragging, and once I get a certain point, there's no more photograph anymore. So if I get all the way to here, I just decided to stop there and hit. Enter. You see the mask updates, the photo is untouched, and that's the key to this whole thing. I'm not erasing or deleting or removing part of a photo. I'm just choosing to hide it. And if I were to now say Okay, I think for now this documents finished, I would save it as a PSD file. The next time I open it, it would look just like this. So if I look at it later and say I kind of like it But I think the couples a little too big now I'd want to make sure that the link symbol is back on because I want to scale both of them because it was still unlinked and I scaled the photo. It wouldn't work properly because I need toe have the mask in the photograph linked together. So sometimes in photo shop, if you're uncertain, here's what's likely to happen. Let's say it was unlinked and I was thinking it was I'd hit free transform, thinking I was going to transform both of them. But as I did, I would see that some weird things were happening with the surrounding mask and instead of what I want. So instead put the link symbol back on. And now when I do it, you'll see they both scale together. And sometimes once years when you're first starting out with this, that's the solution is just try it to see if it doesn't work the way you expect was one. The question people ask all the time is, should I have the layer in the mass linked or not? And getting the answer is, well, it depends what you trying to do. And if you're not sure, just try it. If it doesn't look the right way, then you know, okay, undo that I needed to be linked, or whatever the opposite is. Questions about do layers at a lot of size to your picture file. Well, how? I mean, the short answer is yes, the more layers you have, the more file size. But to me, the trade off has always been I'd much rather have a big file with lots of flexibility than a small compact file that I couldn't edit in anyway, especially because if we were having this conversation 15 years ago, I've been saying Well, since your hard drive is only one gigabyte. But I mean, today I have a thumb drive in my briefcase That's probably 10 times the size of my hard drive a few years ago. So storage is cheap, Really? So, yes, it does add more file size. But I've never heard of many situations where someone gets a point of saying, I have so many layers. I can't proceed like the file sizes So big other possibly Bert Monroy. Because have you ever seen Burt Munro's work? He creates these gigantic like four feet by 20 feet, things that he builds from scratch. You should look it up. It's really quite spectacular his He has to break his images down into multiple files because they all have. I mean, to me. A big layered file would be like 20 layers to him that's like 20 layers, please, as 5000 layers. There's probably some technical limit I did hear once of a guy that added, like 800 layers, all of the layer mask, and his brain exploded cause he couldn't just keep track. There was so much stuff happening, but so there's probably some technical limitation. But to me, the simple answer is yes. It has more file size, but I'd rather have that than the alternative of opening. It always makes me sad when I'm working with someone, they say, Well, let me show you my artwork and they open it and it says background. And that's all I'm like. Oh, do you not have? Ah another? Oh, no, I just Once I was finished, I flattened and save ugly. So I've said this probably 1000 times before in Creativelive. But I'll say it again. Flatten this photo shops f word. You should not use it. It's bad. Don't do it other than save a flattened version that's different, right? Savior Master file with all the layers and mast, etcetera. Then once you're happy, save as J. Peg whatever. That's flat. But you still have all the layers and mass because the worst thing in the world to be okay, I'm finished, flatten and save, and then someone says, Can you just and you're like Oh, no, I can't because I don't have layers anymore, so I just live with the fact that my files are gonna be bigger. So that was a long answer, but an important one because it's it always concerns me. When I hear people say, Well, just merge. Those are all just flattened those or will just erase this. I'm like all that's nondestructive, nondestructive, nondestructive. Don't do it. Give yourself mawr ability because we can. Now, years ago, we had to worry about file size, not anymore.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Layer Masks Workbook

Ratings and Reviews


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.

Student Work