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Part 10. Working with Layers > Task 8 How to Add a Layer Mask

Task 8 How to Add a Layer Mask

A layer mask conceals a portion of a layer without actually deleting it, allowing the lower layers to show through. Erasing the layer mask restores the layer's original appearance so that nothing is lost. The general approach to applying a layer mask is to brush it on using any of the paint tools, controlling the visibility and transparency with grayscale values. As you saw in Part 3, Task 4, “How to Use Quick Mask,” a black value conceals the layer image, white reveals it, and grayscale dictates the transparency.

1. Open the File

Select File, Open or click the Go to Bridge button on the Options bar and select the image file you want to modify. For this task, I've opened an image with two layers. The lower layer is of a misty landscape with grass in the foreground and an ancient tree in the background; the top layer is of a pull chain. By “painting” in a mask, I'll make it appear as if the pull chain was suspended in front of the camera lens when the landscape was shot.


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