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Adding a layer mask

From: Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics

Video: Adding a layer mask

You know all of a sudden it occurs to me you might want to see what this lightness layer actually looks like by itself. So I am going to go ahead and turn off the normal layer for a moment here so that you can see how outrageously bright this layer is as a function of the Linear Dodge mode. The Linear Dodge mode is a very exaggerated brightening mode inside Photoshop and it completely gets rid of those dark edges, those fringes that we saw before. Problem is of course it gets rid of everything inside the image which is why we have the normal layer stacked on top of it.

Adding a layer mask

You know all of a sudden it occurs to me you might want to see what this lightness layer actually looks like by itself. So I am going to go ahead and turn off the normal layer for a moment here so that you can see how outrageously bright this layer is as a function of the Linear Dodge mode. The Linear Dodge mode is a very exaggerated brightening mode inside Photoshop and it completely gets rid of those dark edges, those fringes that we saw before. Problem is of course it gets rid of everything inside the image which is why we have the normal layer stacked on top of it.

But just having it in between does a good deal to lighten those edges, that's the before version of the dark fringes and this is the after version thanks to the lightness layer. Alright in this exercise we are going to create a layer mask. Go ahead and click on the Normal Layer that you have created assuming that you have been working along with me. Click on the top layer the one that's called Normal and set to the Normal Blend mode. Now at this point what I need is to contract the edges a little bit so that we get rid of those edge fringes.

That means I need to regain access to the original selection outline. I am going to switch back to my FaceInTheDark.tiff image that still has the selection outline intact, you can see the marching ants marching round the edges of this selected area here. But problem is as soon as I move this selection into a new background it became an independent layer and the selection outline went away. Well I still need it and it still turns out to be completely available to me, it just got converted into what's called a Transparency Mask inside Photoshop.

The Transparency Mask determines which portion of the layer's transparent and which portion of the layer is opaque. To convert that Transparency Mask to a selection press and hold the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac and then click on the layer thumbnail right here so just go ahead and Ctrl click or Command click on the Normal Layer thumbnail and that converts that Transparency Mask back into a selection outline it's the same selection outline that we have available to us inside of the FaceInTheDark image, alright, they are exactly the same.

Now I want to edit the selection outline as a layer specific mask so I am going to convert it to a layer mask and I am going to do that by going to the bottom of the Layers palette here. Notice this little circle on the square icon, if you hover over it, it says Add Layer Mask. Go ahead and click on it and that converts the selection outline, gets rid of it as well and converts it to a layer mask and you can see the mask thumbnail just to the right of the layer thumbnail. To view that mask thumbnail by itself I want you to Alt Click on it or Option click on it on the Mac and you can see that it's the exact same mask that we had before.

I am going to go back by the way, I am going to go back to the FaceInTheDark image, I am going to deselect it so we get rid of those marching ants. I am going to switch to the channels palette, scroll down to the bottom and click on My Mask. There is the original mask right the one that we converted into a selection and used to drag and drop the woman into her new background. Now check this out. I am going to now press Ctrl Tab to switch to the desertbackdrop.jpeg image and we are now viewing the layer mask by itself. Do you see any difference? This is the original alpha channel mask, this is the layer mask, they are pixel for pixel identical.

So we converted the alpha channel mask into a selection outline and then we dragged the image into a new background, the selection outline got converted into a Transparency Mask and then I Ctrl clicked on the layer thumbnail and in order to convert the Transparency Mask back into a selection outline and now we just converted the selection outline into a layer mask. So we have gone back and forth a couple of times actually I guess about 5 times in all and yet we didn't lose a darn thing. Converting between a mask and a selection outline is a completely lossless transition.

Even though a selection outline is a fairly rudimentary way to show off the edges that we have available to us it does convey all of the softness and detail information, is that not amazing? Alright anyway I am going to go back to the Layers palette here. We are looking at the layer mask by itself. In order to see the image once again you can either Alt Click or Option Click on the layer mask or I will go ahead and Option or Alt Click it again to see it by itself or you can just click on the layer thumbnail and that will take you back to the RGB Composite View of the entire layered composition.

Alright, so nothing, we didn't really do anything in this exercise, we didn't make the fringes go away all we did was gain access to this layer mask here. We are now going to set about editing that layer mask beginning in the next exercise.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics
Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics

129 video lessons · 39072 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
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  1. 1h 15m
    1. Welcome to Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics
      2m 5s
    2. Selecting glass and water
      5m 23s
    3. Establishing a base layer
      4m 0s
    4. The Color Range command
      6m 45s
    5. Selecting sparkles
      3m 19s
    6. Setting sparkles to Screen
      4m 19s
    7. Selecting and compositing hair
      2m 59s
    8. When Color Range falls short
      7m 25s
    9. Selecting a base channel
      4m 25s
    10. Enhancing the channel's contrast
      4m 4s
    11. Dodging the highlights
      5m 55s
    12. Putting the mask in play
      3m 20s
    13. Reducing the edge fringes
      4m 21s
    14. Adding a layer mask
      4m 53s
    15. Creating a gradient quick mask
      5m 26s
    16. Blurring the layer mask
      5m 51s
    17. And that's just the beginning...
      1m 15s
  2. 1h 13m
    1. Edge-enhancement parlor tricks
      1m 30s
    2. The subterfuge of sharpness
      3m 14s
    3. The single-shot sharpness
      3m 47s
    4. Unsharp Mask
      5m 17s
    5. Understanding the Radius value
      4m 31s
    6. Gauging the best settings
      7m 14s
    7. Sharpening the luminance data
      8m 25s
    8. USM vs. Smart Sharpen
      6m 0s
    9. Smart Sharpen's Remove settings
      6m 23s
    10. High-resolution sharpening
      6m 4s
    11. Leave More Accurate off!
      2m 29s
    12. Turn More Accurate on
      2m 58s
    13. The Advanced options
      5m 17s
    14. Saving Smart Sharpen settings
      4m 18s
    15. Accounting for camera shake
      6m 0s
  3. 1h 24m
    1. Why the heck would you blur?
      1m 20s
    2. The "bell-shaped" Gaussian Blur
      7m 16s
    3. The Linear Box Blur
      2m 58s
    4. Median and its badly named progeny
      6m 3s
    5. Surface Blur and the rest
      5m 36s
    6. The Motion Blur filter
      3m 2s
    7. The Radial Blur variations: Spin and Zoom
      5m 55s
    8. The Captain Kirk-in-love effect
      6m 50s
    9. Averaging skin tones
      6m 2s
    10. Addressing the stubborn patches
      6m 0s
    11. Combining Gaussian Blur and Average
      4m 8s
    12. Blurring surface details
      7m 2s
    13. Smoothing blemishes while matching noise
      7m 52s
    14. Reducing digital noise
      8m 22s
    15. Smoothing out JPEG artifacts
      6m 1s
  4. 45m 28s
    1. Behold, the layered composition
      1m 13s
    2. The Layers palette
      5m 8s
    3. Enlarging the hand
      4m 40s
    4. Erasing with a layer mask
      6m 28s
    5. Moving a layer
      4m 3s
    6. Combining layers into a clipping mask
      4m 42s
    7. Hair and stacking order
      6m 12s
    8. Adding a frame and expanding the canvas
      6m 2s
    9. Adding a vignette
      7m 0s
  5. 42m 27s
    1. Organization: It sounds dull, but it rocks
      1m 8s
    2. The terrible battle
      3m 3s
    3. Assembling the base composition
      5m 46s
    4. Adding adjustment layers
      4m 55s
    5. Creating a layer group
      2m 24s
    6. Grouping selected layers
      3m 13s
    7. Making the TV lines
      4m 17s
    8. Introducing layer comps
      5m 52s
    9. Saving your own layer comps
      6m 40s
    10. Final footnotes
      5m 9s
  6. 1h 23m
    1. Parametric operations
      1m 4s
    2. The power of blend modes
      6m 44s
    3. Changing the Opacity value
      5m 35s
    4. Opacity vs. Fill Opacity
      4m 37s
    5. Meet the blend modes
      5m 38s
    6. Blend mode shortcuts
      5m 52s
    7. The darkening modes
      6m 12s
    8. Tempering a Burn effect with the Fill value
      3m 53s
    9. Saving a blended state
      2m 54s
    10. The lightening modes
      4m 55s
    11. The contrast modes
      7m 13s
    12. The comparative modes
      7m 25s
    13. The composite (HSL) modes
      6m 2s
    14. The brush-only modes
      8m 11s
    15. Blending groups
      7m 10s
  7. 1h 27m
    1. At this point, there is a great shift...
      59s
    2. Messing with the masters
      2m 28s
    3. Scaling a layer to fit a composition
      6m 39s
    4. Merging clock face and cardinal
      2m 2s
    5. Rotating the minute hand
      7m 42s
    6. Replaying the last transformation
      3m 50s
    7. Second hand and shadows
      5m 0s
    8. Series duplication
      3m 23s
    9. Skews and perspective-style distortions
      6m 43s
    10. The envelope-style Warp function
      7m 32s
    11. Introducing the Liquify command
      5m 9s
    12. Adjusting the brush settings
      4m 2s
    13. Viewing layers and the mesh
      4m 18s
    14. Incrementally undoing undesirable effects
      4m 5s
    15. Twirl, pucker, and bloat
      2m 2s
    16. Push, mirror, and turbulence
      4m 37s
    17. Protecting regions with a mask
      3m 41s
    18. Applying a digital facelift
      10m 53s
    19. Saving and loading mesh settings
      2m 31s
  8. 1h 18m
    1. Planes and perspective
      1m 7s
    2. The Blue Gallery
      2m 47s
    3. Introducing Vanishing Point 2.0
      5m 30s
    4. Drawing out perpendicular planes
      6m 54s
    5. Exporting the gridlines to a layer
      4m 45s
    6. Cloning an image from one plane to another
      7m 58s
    7. Blending the image into its new home
      6m 31s
    8. Healing away the sockets
      7m 48s
    9. Importing a new image
      6m 20s
    10. Masking and shading the image
      7m 27s
    11. Flat in, perspective out
      5m 57s
    12. Adding perspective type
      4m 50s
    13. Swinging planes to custom angles
      6m 2s
    14. Wrapping art around multiple surfaces
      4m 35s
  9. 1h 15m
    1. Type: The great imaging exception
      54s
    2. Creating an independent text layer
      6m 39s
    3. Editing vector-based text
      6m 38s
    4. Working with area text
      6m 15s
    5. Resizing the text frame
      6m 4s
    6. Obscure but important formatting options
      7m 25s
    7. Text editing tricks and shortcuts
      9m 38s
    8. Adding a ghostly cast shadow
      6m 19s
    9. Backlighting the text
      2m 48s
    10. Creating type on a path
      7m 37s
    11. Pasting text along the bottom of a circle
      3m 50s
    12. Flip and baseline shift
      3m 15s
    13. Warping text
      3m 58s
    14. Scaling the warped text to taste
      4m 18s
  10. 1m 11s
    1. See ya for now
      1m 11s

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