Posts tagged "Layer Masks"

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.

5:03 AM Permalink
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!

5:00 AM Permalink
May 14, 2015

Using Color to Add Emotional Impact to a Photograph

In this Episode of the Complete Picture 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 its own.

5:34 AM Permalink
April 21, 2015

How to Paste into a Layer Mask in Photoshop

In this Quick Tip, Julieanne reveals a simple technique to paste content directly into a layer mask in Photoshop.

5:04 AM Permalink
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