Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Adjusting mask density

From: Photoshop CS4: Layer Masks in Depth

Video: Adjusting mask density

The new Masks panel in Photoshop CS4 offers some new controls that expand the functionality of layer masking. One of those is the Density slider, which you can see here in the Masks panel. The Density slider allows you to control the strength of the effect of the pixels that you add to a layer mask. To show you that, I have an image with two layers. The letter layer, the top layer, already has a layer mask on it, but I have made that layer mask inactive. By holding the Shift key, as I clicked on the layer mask thumbnail on the letter layer, and that put this big red X on top of the layer mask thumbnail, and it allows us to see the entire content of the letter layer here in the document window.

Adjusting mask density

The new Masks panel in Photoshop CS4 offers some new controls that expand the functionality of layer masking. One of those is the Density slider, which you can see here in the Masks panel. The Density slider allows you to control the strength of the effect of the pixels that you add to a layer mask. To show you that, I have an image with two layers. The letter layer, the top layer, already has a layer mask on it, but I have made that layer mask inactive. By holding the Shift key, as I clicked on the layer mask thumbnail on the letter layer, and that put this big red X on top of the layer mask thumbnail, and it allows us to see the entire content of the letter layer here in the document window.

You can see that this layer has some old fashioned items on it, and those are lying on a plain white background, which is visible in the bottom left and the top right of the image. I really didn't like that white background. I wanted it to have more texture. So, I added another layer, the marble layer beneath the letter layer. Let me show you the content of that layer, by clicking the eye icon to the left of the letter layer. Now, you can see the orange texture on the marble layer. I'll make the letter layer visible again by clicking it's eye icon.

Now, I'm going to show you the layer mask that I had already created on the letter layer. To do that I'll just click on the layer mask thumbnail to make the layer mask active again. First, notice the effect of this layer mask. The layer mask is hiding the content of the letter layer at the bottom left, and the top right, allowing us to see through to the marble texture on the layer beneath. Let's take a look at that layer mask. I'm going to hold down the Option key on the Mac, the Alt key on the PC, and click on the layer mask thumbnail to show the layer mask in the document window.

You can see that the areas that I had selected at the bottom left and the top right, I had filled with black pixels. Those black pixels are completely hiding the content of the letter layer in those areas. Now, I'm going to make sure that I have that layer mask thumbnail selected, and I'm going to go up to take a look at the Density slider in the Masks panel. By default, the density of a layer mask is 100%. But I can lower the density or the strength of this layer mask by dragging the Density slider to the left, as I'm going to do now.

I will take it down to about, say 60% or so, and notice that there is a mark defect in the image. Now, the marble on the layer below isn't coming through strongly as it was a moment ago, because the layer mask is now only partially hiding this part, and this part of the white background content on the letter layer. To show you that, I'm going to Option or Alt click on the layer mask thumbnail again, and you can see in the document window that the pixels that have been black on the layer mask are now less dense, changing them from black to gray.

As you know, gray pixels on a layer mask only partially hide the content of the layer to which the mask is attached. In this case the letter layer. I'll Option-click or Alt-click again on the layer mask thumbnail to bring the document back in to view. So, it's very useful to have this Density slider right here, on the front of the Masks panel. Another benefit of the Density slider is that it's interactive. In other words you can always come back in, and change the density of a layer mask. So, let's say I was working on another layer in the image, and then I decided that I wanted the layer mask to be more dense.

I can come back at any time, click on the layer mask thumbnail, and then go up to the Masks panel, click on the Density slider and drag it to the right, making the layer mask denser, in other words a darker gray. So, that it's having a stronger masking effect on the corresponding portion of the letter layer. So, remember that once you have added a layer mask, you are not yet done. You can still change the density of the mask at any time by using the new Density slider in the Masks panel.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS4: Layer Masks in Depth
Photoshop CS4: Layer Masks in Depth

51 video lessons · 30166 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 5m 13s
    1. Welcome
      1m 11s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 5s
    3. Making a course workspace
      2m 57s
  2. 47m 20s
    1. What is a layer mask?
      4m 25s
    2. What are layer masks used for?
      6m 15s
    3. Introducing the Masks panel
      6m 43s
    4. Adding a layer mask
      4m 28s
    5. Converting a background layer for masking
      2m 58s
    6. Targeting a layer mask
      4m 2s
    7. Painting on a layer mask
      5m 2s
    8. Viewing a layer mask
      5m 31s
    9. Disabling a layer mask
      1m 54s
    10. Deleting and applying layer masks
      3m 29s
    11. Saving layer masks with a file
      2m 33s
  3. 30m 25s
    1. Filling a selection on a layer mask
      8m 0s
    2. Making a layer mask from a selection of the foreground
      4m 8s
    3. Making a layer mask from a selection of the background
      4m 12s
    4. Adding a gradient to a layer mask
      7m 47s
    5. Pasting into a layer mask
      6m 18s
  4. 19m 13s
    1. Adjusting mask density
      4m 1s
    2. Feathering masks
      5m 44s
    3. Fine-tuning mask edges
      9m 28s
  5. 47m 9s
    1. Moving and copying layer masks
      6m 42s
    2. Inverting layer masks
      3m 40s
    3. Loading selections from layer masks
      1m 38s
    4. Unlinking layer masks
      4m 46s
    5. Filtering layer masks
      4m 0s
    6. Adding adjustments to layer masks
      4m 46s
    7. Adding layer masks to layer groups
      8m 48s
    8. Adding layer masks to Smart Objects
      6m 26s
    9. Using layer masks with layer styles
      6m 23s
  6. 12m 21s
    1. Creating vector masks
      5m 4s
    2. Editing vector masks
      2m 53s
    3. Using vector masks with layer masks
      4m 24s
  7. 41m 38s
    1. Combining images
      9m 42s
    2. Replacing a background
      7m 48s
    3. Putting an object inside another
      6m 57s
    4. Pasting into a selection
      3m 57s
    5. Intersecting objects
      6m 26s
    6. Limiting a fill layer
      6m 48s
  8. 55m 45s
    1. Limiting adjustment layers
      7m 20s
    2. Adding grayscale pixels to an adjustment layer mask
      5m 4s
    3. Copying adjustment layer masks
      5m 14s
    4. Applying blend modes selectively
      2m 51s
    5. Retouching portraits selectively
      5m 43s
    6. Combining bracketed exposures
      8m 18s
    7. Combining Camera Raw exposures
      6m 56s
    8. Manipulating depth of field
      4m 41s
    9. Targeting image sharpening
      5m 36s
    10. Framing photographs
      4m 2s
  9. 56s
    1. Goodbye
      56s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Photoshop CS4: Layer Masks in Depth.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.