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Layer Masks

cave man
1) When using layer masks and the Filter gallery for PS-CS is there anyway to just see the area that you didn't mask off? Instead of the whole image (masked and unmasked). You know what I'm saying?

2) Is there a PS tutorial out there that you can change a Pic into a painting. I was using the, Merging Drew and Bouguereau one from W1k (hence the layer mask epiphany) but the guy doesn't really change it into a painting he just masks a face.

2004-05-27 06:38:26 AM travis08
I don't have CS but I am suprised that the filter gallery doesn't show the applied affect of the layer mask. I have 7.0 and if I apply any filter that you get to see the layer in an option window, the options preview shows the applied layer mask.

But if what you say is true about CS filter gallery then a relatively quick and painless option would be to make sure the layer you want is the only one showing. You do this by unchecking the eyes for all the other layers

Then switch to your history tab and click the open in new document button at the bottom. This might seem like a pain but it opens up really fast. The new doc it opens will be the layer(or layers) you have showing with layer mask applied.

So all you have to do then is use the filter gallery on that new doc. You could then remember setting, close the new doc, and apply same filter to your original. Or you could drag the filtered layer to the original, or even select then copy and paste the filtered layer into the original layer with mask.

BTW a lot of filters you may not want to apply to a layer that is linked to a layer mask. Because once applied it will change the shape of the mask(this could be good or bad depending on how you are using the mask) But you can uncheck the link between the mask and the layer first or even check the little preserve transparency button above the layers so that a filter doesn't screw up your layout

2004-05-27 06:58:26 AM rtreynor
Okay..since the overnight conversation seemed to be about layer masks, i have a question about 'em. Do you create a layer mask by creating a new layer; tracing over the image with the paintbrush; selecting the tracing; going back to the source layer, and then selecting "add layer mask"? The Photoshop Help is amazingly vague on this..and i have a feeling I'm missing something, since there are more precise tools available when you "Quick Mask" something

2004-05-27 07:49:32 AM travis08
You create a layer mask by having the layer you want the mask applied to highlighted, then click the add layer mask button. If you do this you will get a white square next to the layer icon. Thats how you make them, The real question is what do you do with it

Basically a layer mask works on the same idea as "masking" something off. except instead of masking a layer (or a wall) so that whatever is applied to it doesn't go through, layer masks actually block or mask what you can see of the layer they are applied to. This makes them different than selections (which is what a quickmask is) When you apply one you will notice that nothing happens, but once applied you can then click on the layer mask and go to work.

Using your brush(or whatever you like) and with your layer mask selected paint on your canvas. Notice when you paint with black it erases(actually it is just covering up) Did a little to much? Switch your color to white and bring it back. You can also use levels of opacity when painting on the mask so you can mask off subtly and have images fade.

Better to use masks then to use an eraser to get rid of pixels, cause once they are gone they are gone(unless you go back in history, but then you might lose changes you have made since then) where with a mask you are just hiding and showing them, you can keep editing the mask later on. A cool thing is a layer mask can be painted on, use filters on, even filled with a gradient. If you take a layer , make a mask, fill the mask with a black to white gradient you will get a slow fade of the layer following the gradient on the map.

One last thing, If you make a selection(say you used the magic wand or lasso) and with the layer you want hi-lighted, click the add layer mask button and the new mask will not be all white this time, it will be black where your selection was. By doing this you can say select an object you want isolated and instead of hitting backspace and deleting all around it just hit the layer mask button and it will look the exact same, except pixels will still be there for later, like if you trimmed off someone's ear without noticing you could down the road still just adjust the mask and get it back.

2004-05-27 09:15:27 AM modified_dangler
Healing brush doesn't work in a mask unfortunately. The program will let you use the tool, but it won't actually change any of the pixels.

2004-05-27 10:09:12 AM b0rg9
you can always do Layer > Rasterize > Vector Mask to change your vector mask to a layer mask. Only thing though is it can't be changed back into a vector object, so you need to do all your vector type stuff first before rasterizing.

2004-05-27 12:29:25 PM Dr. Rosenrosen
In addition to travis08's excellent overview, I would suggest using shades of gray to get some transparency in a layer mask rather than adjust the opacity of the brush. Although both will get the job done, the shades of gray gives you a little more control over things since it is not cumulative like opacity it. If you go over an area multiple times (with multiple brush strokes) with the opacity lowered, it will change the opacity multiple times. If you go over an area with gray, the transparency will not be affected even when you go over it multiple times. I hope I explained this in a way that makes sense to somebody!

2004-05-27 12:44:09 PM Peteykins
Very true, Rosenrosen. Another thing you can do with layer masks is to use grayscale gradients for some interesting results involving gradual fades, etc.

2004-07-22 09:20:18 PM oddballgeek
Basically masks are simple. just picture them as something that you lay over your picture (or layer). Wherever the mask is black, you cannot see the picture, and wherever the mask is white, you can see the picture. whenever you use gray, the pixels are half visible, for instance, with a 30% gray. the larger the white portion of the gray, the more visible the pixels are, the more black they have, the less visible they are.

Quickmasks work the same, really, in that you paint with grayscale values. However, the color seems to be red, but that's just a convention, the same rules apply. the only difference is that the moment you leave quickmask mode, the mask turns into a selection - the same could be done by using a normal layer mask and ctrl-clicking it later.

Now, here's a couple more cool things:
One nice trick is to use black-white gradients in layer masks. Say you want to slowly fade an image out. You could simply use the gradient tool to achieve that, it would take literally 2 seconds. You can control click layer masks and then use the selection-contract/feather/expand/smooth etc. commands on it. If you put a foreground object into an ever so slightly blurry background, simply control click the layer mask of the foreground object, expand the selection by 1px, feather the selection by 1 px, inverse the selection and fill with black. That way the object "fades" into the background. All of that happens in the layer mask. Done typing now, I hope at least some of that made some sense and is usable :o)