July 20, 2012
When working with Layer Masks, the Properties panel can be used to non-destructively soften the edge of the mask enabling it to be re-edited at a later time. This can be very useful if the size of the original file or even layer needs to be changed in the editing process.
To add a non-destructive feather, select the desired layer mask on the Layers panel. Then, on the Properties panel, adjust the Feather slider as needed. Although this feature was in Photoshop CS5 (via the Masks panel), in Photoshop CS6 the Feather values support decimal places.
Note: in Photoshop CS6, the Marquee, and Lasso tool’s feather values (in the Options bar), support decimal places as well.
June 22, 2012
When adding a mask to a layer in Photoshop, instead of guessing at the size of a feather that should be applied (because we know that the feather amount will vary depending on the resolution of the image and the desired softness of the edge that is being feathered), use the non-destructive Feather option on the Properties panel. To access the mask properties, click on the mask icon on the Properties Panel. Now, you can add a feather to soften an edge yet, if the image is resized or other adjustments need to be made at a later time, the feather can be appropriately adjusted.
And while you’re in the Properties panel, and the focus is on the mask, be sure to check out the non-destructive Density slider to reduce the opacity (density) of the mask.
September 13, 2010
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).
July 30, 2010
• “Q” will toggle between Quick Mask and Normal Mode.
• Double click the Quick Mask icon on the tool panel to view Quick Mask Options.
• Command (Mac) / Control (Win) + 2 to view the Quick Mask, yet edit the composite image. Note: You can view the Channels panel to see what’s happening under the hood – notice how Command (Mac) / Control (Win) + 2 targets the RGB image instead of Quick Mask and that Command (Mac) / Control (Win) + 6 will target the Quick Mask).
June 4, 2010
In order to automatically convert the transparent areas of a layer into a mask, select Layer > Layer Mask > From Transparency.
February 12, 2010
Option-Command (Mac) / Alt-Control (Win) + D is the shortcut to add a feather to a selection. But remember, in Photoshop CS4, if you’re adding a soft edge to a mask, I find that using the nondestructive Feather slider in the Masks panel much more flexible.
February 9, 2010
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).
January 7, 2010
•Command (Mac) / Control (Win) -click on a layer or layer mask thumbnail in the Layers panel to load it as a selection.
• 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.
October 30, 2009
In this video tutorial (Photomerge, Auto Align and Content Aware Scale), Julieanne Kost shows you how Photoshop CS4 will help you with it’s content aware fill, intelligent scaling, alignment and auto-blending.
You’ll be amazed how much faster you can fine tune your images with the new Adjustments and Masks Panel in Photoshop CS4. Julieanne Kost shows you how in this video tutorial – The New Adjustments and Masks Panels in Photoshop CS4.
Option (Mac)/ Alt (Win) -click on the Quick Mask icon to invert the selection when entering Quick Mask mode.
October 29, 2009
Double click on the quick mask icon to access the Quick Mask Options dialog box to change color, transparency and opacity options.
July 17, 2009
After drawing a path with the Pen tool, Command (Mac) / Control (Win) + Return (Mac) / Enter (Win) crates a selection from the path. Note: this shortcut works with any selected path (shape layer, vector mask etc.).
July 3, 2009
Not only are Layer Groups great for organizing your layers, you can also use them to mask the contents of multiple layers at a time. With the Group targeted in the Layers panel, click the Add Pixel (or Vector) Mask icon from the Masks panel. This mask will control the visibility of all layers within the Group.
June 12, 2009
Clipping masks are most commonly used when an adjustment needs to be applied to a single layer in a multi-layer document. For example, if you have a triptych of images (each on their own layer) within a single document and need to brighten only one of the images, you can add an adjustment layer and “clip” it so that it only effects that single layer.
The easiest way to “clip” an adjustment layer to the layer below it is to target the layer that needs the adjustment in the Layers panel, then click the clipping icon at the bottom of the Adjustment panel before adding the adjustment, (or, if you forget, you can click the clipping the icon after adding the adjustment at the bottom of the Adjustment panel). As you make the adjustment, you will notice that the modification is only effecting the layer that the adjustment is “clipped” to.
Another use of clipping masks is to clip content suce as a photo to a shape such as type. In order to do this, put the type layer under the photo layer on the Layer’s panel, target the type layer (by clicking in it in the Layer’s panel) and select Command-Opt (Mac) / Control-Alt (Win) + G to create a Clipping Mask.
Or, on the Layers panel, hold the Option (Mac) / Alt (Win) key and position the cursor over the line that separates the two layers in the Layer’s panel. When you see the icon switch to a triangle with two overlapping circles -click to create a Clipping Mask.
You can have multiple layers clipped to a base layer. Visually, you will know that the layers are clipped because the bottom most layer’s name will be underlined in the Layers panel, and the clipped layer(s) will be indented with an arrow pointing downwards towards the base layer.