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Andy's Workshop > Project 7: Managing Images with Masks

Project 7: Managing Images with Masks

Skills and Tools: Multiple Images, Layer Masks, Paintbrush, and Selection

Layer masks are one of those powerful features in Photoshop that have been around for a long time. The technique you are about to learn will give you a greater understanding of Layer masks, and how they can be used to combine image elements from multiple images. Layer masks let you control the visible elements of a layer by simply painting on the mask. Think of the mask as a piece of black construction paper. You take a pair of scissors and cut a shape out of the construction paper, and lay it directly over the image. The area cut out of the construction paper becomes the visible elements of the image, and the black areas of the construction paper mask everything else. When you work with a Layer mask, you paint with black, white, and shades of gray. Areas of the mask painted black appear transparent, areas painted white are visible (the cutout in the construction paper), and shades of gray produce values of transparency. For example, painting with fifty percent gray, produces fifty percent transparency. Each layer in an image can have its own layer mask, and the mask will control only the elements in the layer they're attached. As you can see Layer masks are a very powerful, and creative tool.

The Project

In this project you'll learn the creative potential of using layer masks to control the visible portions of any layer in Photoshop.


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