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Combining Multiple Masks

By default, all masks are drawn in Add mode, meaning that the contents of the mask are added to the layer selection, and the area outside all of the masks is excluded. There are other options for combining them, however; the five primary mask modes are

  • Add: The default mode; adds the density (luminance) values to the image as a whole, including masks higher in the stack (Figure 3.15)

    Figure 3.15. In Add mode, the luminance values of the overlapping masks are combined, increasing the masked area.

  • Subtract: Subtracts density (luminance) values from masks higher in the stack or from the image as a whole if no other masks precede it (Figure 3.16)

    Figure 3.16. Subtract mode is the inverse of Add mode.

  • Intersect: Combines only the areas of the density that overlap with masks higher in the stack (Figure 3.17)

    Figure 3.17. Intersect mode adds only the overlapping areas of opacity.

  • Difference: Subtracts overlapping areas. (Figure 3.18)

    Figure 3.18. The inverse of Intersect, Difference mode subtracts overlapping areas.

  • None: Has no effect on the image whatsoever; it can be useful as a placeholder or for effects that use masks (Figure 3.19)

    Figure 3.19. In None mode, the mask is effectively switched off.


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