As we move on up the ladder of layer concepts, we find ourselves on the rung known as Preserve Transparency. Now Preserve Transparency is kind of a geeky sounding word but it's actually a very useful tool and one way I often describe it as is a poor man's mask. It's a really cool way to do some masking work without even having to think in terms of mask because that's yet another rung on the layers ladder that sometimes gets a little challenging for folks. So I'm going to show you, what I called poor man's masking here.
I am going to start and create a new layer and I'm just going to draw just a simple shape here, just kind of a star element with the brush. So the idea here is just to get something on this layer, okay. I have done that and you will notice over in the Layers palette, just above Pick Up Underlying Color, there is another possible checkbox, which is Preserve Transparency. I am going to go ahead and enable that now and we are going to get a very different tool. So let's go and we are going to grab the Sponge here, down at the bottom. Let's just switch this background.
I am going to go and just get a very different color and now remember Preserve Transparency is on. What that means is and again, not to get too geeky on you, but when you paint on a layer, unbeknownst to you, you are actually creating a mask. It's just an invisible mask that you are not really thinking about and you don't have to think about. But because it's there, that information can be used to do this Preserve Transparency trick. Wherever I haven't painted, that's transparency and by enabling this, I'm locking that area of the image off so that it can't be altered.
So what that means is I can go in here with my little Sponge tool and I can now use the transparency or the non- transparency in this case, the places that I have painted, in order to create a mask. So if you know this in advance, you can start to do some amazing tricks with Preserve Transparency to treat something as a mask. For example, now that this is on, I could go in and grab an Airbrush and just kind of doing some shading work here. Maybe I'll make this a little smaller.
You know, I can start to give this the illusion that it's somewhat of a three-dimensional element. You know it's not, but just by kind of using the fact that I have a mask, I can start to create a pretty cool illusion here that makes this scene a bit like it's a pillowed or rounded three-dimensional shape. So Preserve Transparency is totally a feature that probably sits there for lot of people that have no idea what it means and it's very valuable. So take advantage of Preserve Transparency.
It enables you to modify various painted areas on your layer without disturbing the non-painted areas and that just opens up an entire world of expressive possibilities. So, take advantage of this rung on the layers ladder.
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