Posts tagged "Masking"

January 28, 2016

Unifying Images Through Color in Photoshop

When creating composite images, I am often trying to unify multiple elements that were photographed at different times, in different locations, under different light conditions. One of the techniques that I use to establish consistency throughout the disparate elements is to use one of the source images as a color overlay for the entire canvas. In this example, I wanted to use the color from the wings layer to unite the other elements (such as the overly saturated table).



First, I selected the wings layer, duplicated it, and repositioned it at the top of the layer stack.

First, I selected the wing layer, duplicated it and positioned it at the top of the layer stack.
To resize the layer, I selected Edit > Free Transform > Scale (so that it would cover the entire canvas).

To resize the layer, I selected Edit > Free Transform > Scale so that it would cover the entire canvas.
On the Layers panel, I changed the Layer’s blend mode to Color.



I selected Filter > Blur > Gaussian to remove detail, while still maintaining the color.



Then, I chose Edit > Free Transform, to flip the layer and reposition and resize the layer as needed.



Finally, I added a Layer Mask and used the Brush tool to paint with black to hide the color from areas such as the figure.


Note: If you want to use more than one layer as the source for your “color”, select the desired area (using the marquee tool or whatever tool works) and choose Edit > Copy Merged to copy the information to the clipboard. Then, choose Edit > Paste. Photoshop will create a new layer that you can reposition, resize, etc. as needed.

Before and after unifying eh composite using color.

Before and after unifying the composite using color.

For more information about compositing images in Photoshop, be sure to check out my two training courses on

Introduction to Compositing

The Art of Photoshop Compositing

5:26 AM Comments (2) Permalink
January 26, 2016

Masking Multiple Layers using Layer Groups

Not only are Layer Groups great for organizing your layers, they can also be used to mask the contents of multiple layers at one time. With the Layer Group targeted in the Layers panel, click the Add Layer Mask icon from the bottom of the Layers panel. Paint in the mask to control the visibility of all layers within the Layer Group.


This shortcut also works with vector masks (and a combination of both vector and raster) as shown below.


5:00 AM Comments (0) Permalink
October 30, 2015

Viewing Layer Masks in Photoshop

To view a Layer mask, Option -click (Mac) / Alt -click (Win)  on the mask thumbnail in the Layers panel.   Tapping the  “\”(backslash) toggles the display of a layer mask on and off (as a red rubylith overlay).  Looking at the Channels panel, you can see that this shortcut toggles the channels visibility.

5:04 AM Permalink
October 29, 2015

Targeting the Layer Mask in Photoshop

Command (Mac) / Control (Win) + “\” (backslash) targets the layer mask in the Layers panel. Command (Mac) / Control (Win) + 2 targets the layer.

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October 28, 2015

Moving and Duplicating Masks in Photoshop

Drag a layer mask or vector mask thumbnail in the Layers panel to move it from one layer to another.

Option -drag (Mac) | Alt -drag (Win) a layer or vector mask thumbnail in the Layers panel to create a copy of the mask.

Option + Shift -drag (Mac) | Alt  + Shift -drag (Win) to create copy of a layer mask while simultaneously inverting the mask. (Note: this shortcut does not work with a vector mask – in order to invert a vector mask, select the path with the Direct Selection tool and click the “Subtract From Shapes Area” icon  in the Options bar.)

5:02 AM Permalink
October 27, 2015

Deleting Masks in Photoshop

To delete a mask, target it on the Properties panel and click the Trash icon at the bottom of the panel.

If you prefer to use the layers panel,  target the mask and click the Trash icon, or drag the mask thumbnail to the Trash icon at the bottom of Layers panel. If you prefer to bypass the option dialog box, add Option (Mac) / Alt (Win) while clicking the trash icon will delete the mask without applying it.

Most of the time, I prefer to Control -click (Mac) | right -click (Win) on the layer mask and choose delete or apply the mask from the context sensitive menu.

5:01 AM Permalink
October 26, 2015

Adding Masks in Photoshop

To add a mask to a layer, click on the “Add Layer Mask”  icon in the Layers panel. Click once to add a layer mask and click again to add a vector mask (or you can Command -click (Mac) | Control -click (Win) the mask icon to add a vector mask).

To add a layer mask that automatically hides the content of the layer (or the selection), as opposed to revealing it as it does by default, Option -click (Mac) | Alt -click (Win) the icon.

Use Command + I (Mac ) | Control + I (Win) to invert a layer mask, or click the Invert button on the Properties panel!

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September 8, 2015

Swapping Heads in a Family Portrait in Photoshop

Learn how to swap heads in a family portrait in my free video (Swapping Heads in a Family Portrait in Photoshop) from

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September 4, 2015

Using Blend Modes to Emulate an Image Transfer Effect in Photoshop

See how easy it is to use blend modes to emulate an image transfer effect in Photoshop in my free video (Using Blend Modes to Emulate an Image Transfer Effect in Photoshop) from


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September 3, 2015

Selecting Soft Edge Objects using Refine Edge in Photoshop

Discover how to Select Soft Edge Objects using the Refine Edge  feature in Photoshop in my free video from

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September 1, 2015

Blending Two Photos Together using Layer Masks in Photoshop

Discover how to “Quickly Blend Two Images Together Using Layer Masks in Photoshop in my free video from


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June 25, 2015

Cyclical – The Creative Process

In this episode of The Complete Picture, Julieanne reveals her Lightroom to Photoshop workflow used to create the still life “Cyclical”.

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June 12, 2015

The Creative Composite – Hindsight

In this Episode of the Complete Picture I demonstrate some basic compositing techniques in Photoshop, used to illustrate the feeling and mood of Iceland. In this tutorial, you’ll discover how easy it is to combine multiple images together using Layers, masking, blend modes, and transparency in Photoshop.

5:11 AM Permalink
May 8, 2015

Creating Masks to Move Over Time in Photoshop

In this Quick Tip, Julieanne reveals a technique to create a mask using the reflected gradient which can quickly be repositioned over time without retouching.

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March 19, 2015

Masking Videos for Special Effects in Photoshop

Learn how easy it is to mask a video clip in Photoshop – to selectively reveal motion over time.

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