Welcome back to those following the “Tips & Tricks in Photo Shop” mini tutorials on Kate’s Blog. To all of the new followers, my name is Christa, and I hope you enjoy these tutorials! My goal is to help you have fun with all those wonderful tools in your graphics software. I hope you learn a few new techniques and start using them, to make your digital scrapping experience more fun!
Today’s Tips & Tricks will be on “Simple Masking”. I say “simple” masking as it may be just that….to get rid of a particular portion of a “doodle” or element to have your layout look more realistic, or “cleaner”. For the tutorial header picture, that is what I did. I used a layer mask on the “mini layout picture” so I could “erase” the corners to fit under the doodled rounded pocket element.
So-what exactly does a “Mask” do? Just like you would wear a “Mask” to a costume party to hide your facial identity, the Mask tool in Photo Shop does exactly the same thing without damaging, or changing the original element or photo. This is wonderful as you can change things at any time if you are not satisfied with something you did. You can also delete the layer mask totally, and you will be back at your original image. Once you start playing with Masks (if you haven’t already), you will find it/them, to be a “go to” tool in your “Tool Box” arsenal!
Without further adieu, let’s dive in!
We are going to be exploring 2 Mask techniques. Layer masking (Part 1) that can be done in all Photo Shop editions, and Clipping Masks (part 2) that are available in CS3 (and above), and PSE10/PSE11 versions.
Layer Mask: is inside the actual Layer. To invoke this you would go to the bottom of your layer palette and click on the little “lens” icon.
- What we want to do is “Mask” the portion of the paper clip to appear like it is physically clipped to the book holding the paper down. As we place the element down, it looks like it is just laying there with no use. We can either mask the inside curl or the outside curl whichever is your preference. In this example I will mask the outside curl/bend of the paper clip as it will be easier to show in the screen shot.
- Make sure the paper clip layer is highlighted in your layer palette and then select the icon at the bottom of the palette that looks like a camera or lens. (If you hover over it with your mouse, it will show that it is the “Add Layer Mask” icon.)
- In order to “Mask” we will need to use a brush to “paint out” what we do not want to show or hide so to speak. Since this is an element, choose a hard brush from your brush drop down – not too large as we want to have a brush that will just be sized about the diameter of the wire on the paper clip.
- Select a Hard brush sized about 5 from the Brush palette. Mode is Normal, with Opacity of 100%.
- Make sure the foreground color is Black.
- Select the layer mask (white box) in the layer palette.
- “Zoom/Magnify” your workspace so you have a larger screen to see as you mask. In the white box in the layer palette you will see the paint brush strokes of black. This is “hiding/masking” the area we do not want to see.
- Using the brush, I will start “painting” the outer edge of the clip that I wish to hide/mask.
- Make sure you have selected the layer mask before you start painting. It will have 4 darkened corners to let you know the mask layer is invoked.
- Masking is now complete. I am going to add a drop shadow to the remaining portion of the paper clip.
- After applying shadow I looked at it, and the shadow wasn’t right so I adjusted to change the distance from 5 to 2 as reflected above. As you can see it looks more “real”.
- The below screen shot will show the layer mask turned off and then turned back on. Look at the layer palette. When you turn off the layer mask it places a red X there. You can also delete the layer mask if you decide you do not want to hide anything.
- If you changed your mind and want to keep the outer loop of the paper clip and mask the inner layer, you could delete the mask and re-invoke add layer mask to redo or you can switch your paint color to white and paint over the outer loop. Then switch back to black and mask the inner loop.
- That is it… Pretty simple to hide what you don’t want to show in an element layout.
- I am not going to go into detail here, but you would use the same effect of the layer masking to blend a photo into the background. See my layer palette… as you can see I duplicated the photo layer several times and used different blend modes, but it is the layer mask I want you to see in this example. Layer Masking is a lot of fun… experiment! (Face of the little girl is blurred in the sample as I did this for one of ladies at TLP and did not want to post her daughter’s face without permission.)
That’s it for today! Thank you for joining me on this “Masking Adventure”! Please leave me a comment if you have any questions.
Stay tuned for Part 2 Clipping Masks in the next “Photoshop Tips & Tricks” on the Kate Hadfield Designs Blog.