Posts tagged "Layer Masks"

October 31, 2014

Duplicating Smart Filters Masks in Photoshop CC 2014

Option + (Mac) | Alt  + (Win) -dragging a Smart Filter from one layer to another has different behavior based on where in the Layers panel you click and drag from. For example, Option + (Mac) | Alt  + (Win) -dragging from the text “Smart Filters” will duplicate the Smart Filter including the layer mask:


While Option + (Mac) | Alt  + (Win) -dragging the name of the Smart Filter duplicates without copying the mask.


5:32 AM Permalink
June 5, 2014

Refining the Edge of a Mask in Photoshop

If a section of a mask isn’t quite correct, try using the Dodge or Burn tool in the mask to subtly adjust the edge (by lightening or darkening the grayscale values within the transitional area). In this example, the original mask is too soft and as a result, we can see  a green halo around the edge of the leaf.

The original mask shows a green fringe around the edge of the leaf.

Looking at the original mask, we can see that the edge of the mask needs to be reduced in width as well as shifted towards the edge of the leaf. Note: This is also known as “choking” the mask. Moving in the other direction would be “spreading” the mask.

The original mask's transitional area needs to be reduced and shifted into (choked) the leaf.

Using the Burn tool on the mask’s edge, darkens the values in the transitional areas of the mask, narrowing the transitional area and moving the mask in towards the leaf. (I realize that the change is subtle in this illustration, but notice how the edge of the mask in the illustration below appears sharper than in the illustration above.)

Using the burn tool on the transitional edge of the mask (in the grayscale areas), darkened the

As a result of choking the mask, the green halo is removed from around the edge of the leaf.



5:11 AM Permalink
May 8, 2014

Are Layer Masks Transparent or White in Photoshop?

Layer masks in Photoshop are white by default, they are not transparent—even though they control the opacity/transparency of the contents of the layer.

If you Option + (Mac) | Alt  + (Win) -click on the layer mask thumbnail in the layers panel, you can view the contents of the mask. You will not see the checkerboard which, in Photoshop, represents transparency. Instead you will see white, black, or any shade of gray.

Where it might seem confusing is that the result of the mask is to show or hide the contents of the layer – in essence, hiding/revealing varying levels of transparency. But this is achieved by painting with shades of gray in the mask, not transparency.

5:04 AM Permalink
May 7, 2014

Customizable Keyboard Shortcuts to Add Layer Masks in Photoshop

To customize Photoshop’s keyboard shortcuts to add a layer mask, select Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts. Set the “Shortcuts For” to Application Menus and toggle the disclosure triangle for the Layer menu. Scroll down to layer Mask and add your own shortcuts by clicking in the blank area to the right of the command. Click Accept and then OK. Assigning shortcuts is a quick way to add a layer mask while ignoring/respecting the current selection.



6:05 AM Permalink
May 5, 2014

Adding Layer Masks in Photoshop

If you make a selection in your image and then add a layer mask by clicking the add layer mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, the layer mask will be created based on the selection. If you need Photoshop to ignore the selection when making the mask, Option + (Mac) | Alt  + (Win) -click the add layer mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel or, choose Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All.

5:35 AM Permalink
March 11, 2014

My Favorite Shortcuts for Working with Layers

Click here (2014 Favorite Layer Shortcuts) to download a compilation of some of the Layer shortcuts that I am going to share today in my compositing course at ADIM. Of course this isn’t a complete list, so feel free to search the blog for more in-depth tutorials, training, techniques and shortcuts for working with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.

5:00 AM Permalink
October 11, 2013

Making a Mask From Transparency in a Layer

To create a mask on a layer based on the transparency of another layer, in the Layers panel, select the layer that you want the mask to be added to. Then, drag the layer that you want to become the contents for the mask to the Add Mask Icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. Important: don’t click and release the mouse on the layer that you want to become the contents of the mask – clicking will select the layer, you need to drag that layer instead.

With the tree layer selected, drag the leaves layer to the mask icon.

With the tree layer selected, drag the leaves layer to the mask icon.

The transparency of the leaves layer defines the new mask.

The transparency of the leaves layer defines the new mask.

5:11 AM Permalink
September 6, 2013

Simultaneously Duplicate and Invert a Layer Mask

Option (Mac) / Alt (Win) + Shift -drag to create copy of a layer mask while simultaneously inverting the mask.

I suppose that some of you are thinking, “Julieanne, you’ve posted this shortcut before”, but here’s the tip: if the mask’s Density or Feather slider has been altered from their defaults (of 100% and 0.0 px) using the Properties panel, this shortcut will not work.

With that said, you can still use the shortcut to duplicate the layer mask (Option (Mac) / Alt (Win) -drag the layer mask thumbnail in the Layers panel). Then, to invert the mask, click the Invert button in the Properties panel (or use the shortcut Command (Mac) | Control (Win) + I to invert).

Many thanks to Meredith for identifying the cause of the disabled shortcut!

5:31 AM Permalink
February 7, 2013

Creating a Selection from a Layer or Mask in Photoshop

To load the transparency of a layer or the contents of a Layer Mask as a selection, Command (Mac) / Control (Win) -click on a layer or layer mask thumbnail in the Layers panel. You can then add, subtract or intersect the transparency mask of that layer (or any other layer) to that initial selection by right mouse clicking on the layer thumbnail, or with the following shortcuts:

• Command (Mac) / Control (Win) + Shift to add additional layer and or layer mask to the selection.

• Option-Command (Mac) / Alt-Control (Win) to subtract another layer and or layer mask from the selection.

• Option-Command (Mac) / Alt-Control (Win) + Shift to create the intersection of two layers and or layer masks.

5:46 AM Permalink
December 19, 2012

Quick Tip – How to Paste into a Layer Mask in Photoshop CS6

In this Quick Tip (How to Paste into a Layer Mask in Photoshop CS6), Julieanne reveals a simple technique to paste content directly into a layer mask in Photoshop CS6.


5:28 AM Permalink
May 24, 2012

More Powerful Layer Groups in Photoshop CS6

In Photoshop CS6, not only can you use a Layer Group as the bottom of a Clipping Mask (so that you can clip the contents of a layer(s) to the contents of an entire group) but you can also add Layer Effects/Styles to a Layer Group to have the style applied to all of the layers in the Group (as a single unit).

5:22 AM Permalink
February 3, 2011

Video Tutorial – Using Color to Add Emotional Impact to a Photograph

In this Episode of the Complete Picture  (Using Color to Add Emotional Impact to a Photograph) Julieanne discusses how the addition of color as well as  supporting imagery can  help reinforce the mood and message of a composite image that a single photograph may fail to do on it’s own. Discover how to composite images through the use of masking, blend modes, smart objects, gradients and edge effects.

6:25 PM Permalink
September 13, 2010

Double Check your Layer Mask

When working on intricately composited, multi layered documents, I often find it useful to check each of the layer masks before finalizing the image. To do this, Option (Mac) / Alt (Win) -click on the mask thumbnail in the Layers panel to display it. With the mask visible, check to see if there are any unwanted awkward transitional areas that might not have been visible in the complex composite (a sharp edge from a selection or gradient for example).

6:51 AM Permalink
June 4, 2010

Create Layer Mask from Transparency

In order to automatically convert the transparent areas of a layer into a mask, select Layer > Layer Mask > From Transparency.

5:58 AM Permalink
February 9, 2010

Delicate Mask Clean-Up

After adding a layer mask to hide portions of a layer, it can sometimes be difficult to determine if there are any small bits of the layer that have been accidently left behind. In this case, it might be helpful to temporarily add a layer effect such as a bright red stroke ( Layer > Layer Style > Stroke and click the color swatch to choose a vibrant color) . The stroke will now appear around any small areas of the mask that you may need to clean up. When finished, simply remove the layer effect by dragging the “fx” icon on the Layers panel to the Trash icon).

6:58 AM Permalink