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Lesson 10. Masking and Pop-up Menus > Masking Using the Layers Panel

Masking Using the Layers Panel

Another method for creating a mask is to use the Layers panel. Using the Layers panel is a quick way to add a white bitmap mask to an image. Then you can use any of the bitmap tools to “paint” on the mask to customize its look.

Create a new document 400 by 400 pixels with a white canvas. Import the founder.psd image.

For this exercise, you will use the same founder image as you used in the previous exercise. Then you can choose which image you want to use on your About page.

Click Add Mask at the bottom of the Layers panel.

An empty mask is applied to the image. You see a mask thumbnail on the Layers panel. A green border around the mask thumbnail on the Layers panel indicates that it is selected.

Select the Brush tool from the Tools panel. Click Set Default Stroke/Fill Colors on the Tools panel.

The default stroke color is set to black; the default fill color is set to white. The Property inspector displays the settings for the Brush tool. You can experiment with different strokes and brush sizes as you complete this step. For example, try Viscous Alien Paint from the Unnatural category for an interesting effect.

Draw along the outside edge of the image.

Remember that you are actually painting on the mask. As you paint with black on the mask, you are hiding that portion of the image. (If you see black brush strokes, you are painting on the image, not the mask. Undo your brush strokes and then click the mask thumbnail on the Layers panel.) If you hide too much of the image, you can switch the stroke color to white and paint over the hidden area to reveal the image.

When you paint on the mask, you are altering the visibility of the masked image. Painting with white makes the masked image completely visible. Painting with black makes the masked area invisible. Painting on the mask with shades of gray makes the masked area partially visible. The lighter the shade of gray, the more you see of the image; the darker the shade, the less you see of the image.


You can press X to quickly swap the stroke and fill colors as you paint on the mask. This is the shortcut key for Swap Stroke and Fill colors on the Tools panel.

When you achieve a look that you like, use the Scale tool to resize the image. You can replace the image of the founder on your About page with this image if you prefer. Save and close this file.



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