Monday, April 11, 2011
Tip #101. What is a layer mask? I think of a layer mask as a shape, defined by me, that acts as a stencil to control what is and is not seen or acted on. It’s created out of black, white and any shade of gray in between. The part of the mask that is white is the ‘hole’ of the stencil. The part that is black is what will be hidden. Anything in gray is partly visible, rather like a ghost. The darker the gray, the more vague the ghost is. So the edges of the stencil can be fuzzy if I use gray, or precise if I use black. The whole layer mask could be like a screen or a filter. It’s really quite flexible in what it can do. But the most important thing about a layer mask is that it is separate from the layer that it is attached to and prevents anything permanent from happening to the item I am working on. If I remove or hide the layer mask, the item is unchanged. If these concepts aren’t really solid in your head, it is hard to work comfortably with layer masks.