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Chapter 14. More Layers > Layer masks

Layer masks

A layer mask is an eight-bit grayscale channel that has white or black as its background color. By default, white areas on a layer mask permit pixels to be seen, black areas hide pixels, and gray areas partially mask pixels. You can use a mask to temporarily hide pixels on a layer so you can view the rest of the composite picture without them. Later, you can modify the mask, apply the mask effect to make it permanent, or discard the mask altogether.

An advantage of using a layer mask is that you can access it from both the Layers and Channels palettes. You’ll see a thumbnail for the layer mask on the Layers palette and on the Channels palette when a layer that contains a mask is highlighted. Unlike an alpha channel selection, however, which can be loaded onto any layer, a layer mask can only be turned on or off for the layer or clipping group (group of layers) with which it’s associated.


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