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Layer Masks for Beginners

Lesson 7 of 12

The Magic of Overlay

Dave Cross

Layer Masks for Beginners

Dave Cross

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Lesson Info

7. The Magic of Overlay

Lesson Info

The Magic of Overlay

So here's another example of where layer mass just changed everything completely. Because remember years ago, I used to teach a class info shop before layers, which was fun back in those days you had. This is gonna sound so ancient, but the type tool when you click of the type to actually brought up a text box and you type the text in the box. And then it was edit Herbal since you clicked. Okay, it was just painted onto your image. So you had there was one undo. So every time you do anything and kind of stared and go, Okay, move on. But for something like I'm about to do here, it would have been so difficult and non edible. So, for example, let's just do something fun here. I'm gonna take my type tool, type something in here. Make it nice, big. Let's put it right around there. And I Let's pick a different color just because we can Ah, let's do something here. Maybe doesn't really matter, but I want to make it look like that word was on the wall behind her. And normally in Photoshop you...

'd look at a photo. A photo is just one level. So you can't say, Let me just put this text behind her body because you can't put anything behind. But we sure can make it look that way, thanks to a layer mask. So, for example, I could take this and change the blend mode to something like Multiply so that right away it already looks more like it's on the wall except for the fact the letter C is in front of her. So that presents a problem. So to save time ahead of time, I already made a selection of her. So because it's not a selecting class, it takes like five minutes to make a decent selections. I've already done that just to show you. So now if I have my type player selected on, let's think about what's happening here, I have loaded this selection of her. So if I added a mask right now, what would happen? You'd see the letter C over her body, and the rest will be hidden right, cause a mask is made based on what is selected. So I already know the mass is gonna be the wrong way around. So as a little tip for you, If you have that scenario where you know already that I want to make a mask based on the opposite of what I have selected, then there's a little keyhole down in photo shop. That's a wonderful little team. Timesaver key. And that's option or ault. Optional in lots of things in Photoshopped modifies the operation of whatever you're doing in the case of a layer mask. If you option all, click on the add layer mass button. It makes a mask in the inverse instead of adding a mask, then pressing. Invert. It doesn't automatically, so I've got my finger on option. All I click on the add layer mask button. You see how it automatically made the mask in the opposite. Okay, so earlier we talked about linked masks versus unlinked masked. I would now like to reposition my text somewhere else on the image. So the question is, should the layer mask be linked or unlinked if you think about it for a second? If it's linked, it's not gonna work, because watch what would happen if I move the type. It's still moving the mass, so it's getting this letter. C is getting cut off so What I really want to happen is have the mask stay put so I could move the type independently and you do that by on linking. Then I click on my type. Thumbnail this again. It's remember those two thumbnails and now I take my move tool and I mean, doesn't it look like the type is behind her? But it's not. It's in front of her because you can't put things behind someone, but you can sure make it look that way. And what's really fun about this compared to the old way of doing it? This is still a type player. So if I decide it's the wrong font or the wrong size, or I want to change whatever I want, I can still edit it because it's still let's just pick something totally different. It's still type. You can have all this level of control and try all these different things, okay, because in this case I saved some time by making a selection first. If you knew of you were let me rephrase that. If you were pretty certain that you were gonna Onley put it behind her one shoulder that in theory you could make a Mass just of that little part of her shoulder, and that would work. But the problem would happen. Is that made you change your mind and move the type of further? Suddenly, the letter would start appearing in the middle of her chest because we don't have a big enough mask. So by making a mask, the full size, you know, took a little longer. Now I have complete ability to just go on my can. Put anywhere I want, doesn't matter, and let's take this little step further. Go back to our type tool. Ah, that's amore type. It also changed. That, too, multiplies. It looks similar, and now I want it to be the same. So unfortunately, that means I'll have to start all over. Getting the good part is like a lot of things in photo shop. If you have existing information in this case, a mask, you could duplicate it very easily. Anything you're doing in photo shop if you ever have anything, whether it's a layer by itself or in this case type player or a mask, if you can click on it, hold down, option or alter and drag it. It copies it so I can copy the mask simply by going clicking on this mask optional drag, and I have a mask on that one, too, and I can take this type player, put it wherever I want to. So if you've done the work to create one layer mask, if you're trying to mask this exact same information, there would be no point in starting again and saying, Well, let me click on the add layer, mask, button and paint if you've already done it, just duplicated. And unfortunately, it's one of those things where often Photoshopped, there's different ways to get the same result. This is one of the ones we just kind of have to know. That option are all dragged to copy is the simplest way to do it all right, And I could I'm old in this case, but I could end up with 10 type players, all with the same mask. Now, having said that, this is assuming that my mask is incredibly accurate and would never change. So if I had added five type players and copied the mast each one and then realized, oops, I missed a bit, I'd have to edit five separate masks, so that could be a little awkward. So let me just do one more type player just to make huh example. Change this again. Do multiply. And again I could drag the same mask. But here is the problem. Like I said, if I decide, realized who I missed, part of her arm or whatever, I have to edit all three. So the alternative this is a little more advance, perhaps, but important to know. I just get rid of these. Photo shop has a function called a group, which means you can take multiple layers and put them in one group. Usually people do that from an organizational standpoint, just cause it's easier. So, for example, if I take all these three layers and I hit command Control G for group, it just means now I can move all three the same time. However, a group can also have a mask. So if I take that same selection and on my group do that same thing I did before optional click to do an opposite mask. Now you see, there's one mask for everything in this group on link it, and now I can take each layer. However, I want, but all being used by the same mask. So for if I was only doing will say, like, two layers, I might be OK. I'll just duplicate the mask. But if as soon as I get three or more, I think enough guy, just unless I'm absolutely certain that mask is bang on and I'm not going to edit it, I'd probably lean more towards putting things in a group. Because now, if I add five more type players into the same group, they'll all be affected by that same mask. Okay, so the couple of important parts about this one is This is a good example of when you're looking at that link button. The thing you have to remember is, with one exception, I'm gonna show you in a moment, typically by default. When you add a layer mask, it's always linked because a lot of the time that's what you want. But the thing is not always so. You have to look at it on a case by case basis and say, OK, let me think about this. Do I want the mass to move with my layer or not? And you look at it in this case say well, not because I'm asking that person and I want the type two moves on this case. It makes sense not to have them linked. In other cases, you look and say, Oh, no, I want that rectangle to go with that layer because they make sense to go together. And like I said before, the good news is, you always have the option of turning it on and off any time. Sometimes it makes sense to temporarily unlinked do something and then link the back again. Just remember, like almost anything in photo shop. However you leave it. That's how it will be from now on. So because in this document I have unlinked the layer from everything in the group, if I save this the next time I open it, it will be the same way. Which was in this case is fine because it makes sense to do that

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.