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Using layer masks

From: Bert Monroy: Dreamscapes Volume 1

Video: Using layer masks

Layer Masks is something that I use quite a bit throughout the series. So I am going to show you what a layer mask is. Now, this is the file I use to explain the Alpha Channel. Well, a Layer Mask is very much like an Alpha Channel, and that it uses the same concept of going from zero black to 255 white with the 254 levels of gray in between. Except in the Layer Mask, they are for a different purpose. They are also part of the image. Their very presence will affect the image, unlike an Alpha Channel whose presence is only there and does nothing to the image until you do something through that Alpha Channel.

Using layer masks

Layer Masks is something that I use quite a bit throughout the series. So I am going to show you what a layer mask is. Now, this is the file I use to explain the Alpha Channel. Well, a Layer Mask is very much like an Alpha Channel, and that it uses the same concept of going from zero black to 255 white with the 254 levels of gray in between. Except in the Layer Mask, they are for a different purpose. They are also part of the image. Their very presence will affect the image, unlike an Alpha Channel whose presence is only there and does nothing to the image until you do something through that Alpha Channel.

This image before we created with the Alpha Channel to blur the shadow as it got further away, well, something else should happen to this shadow. It should get lighter as it gets further away, because it gets affected by ambient light. It should be darkest down here, and lightest up here. Now, it's blurry, but it's still just as equally dark all the way through. We need this shadow to get lighter as it gets further away. So basically, I need to start to hide it, gradually. And that's where the Layer Mask comes into play, because the Layer Mask allows me to control how something is going to be seen.

Where the Layer Mask is white, we will see it 100%, where it is black, it will be completely hidden. The level of gray will determine how much we see it, 50% gray, we will see the layer content by 50%. So, I am going to add a Layer Mask to my shadow. There it is It automatically came in white, because nothing was selected. Had something been selected, it would have come in with that selection as I will do in a second. But in that Layer Mask, I want this to get softer as it gets further away.

So, white is where it's going to be visible. I don't want it to completely disappear, because I am not going to use black, I am going to use a gray. Remember, the level of gray, level of visibility. So, I am going to draw a gradient right inside of my Layer Mask, which is currently selected like this. And you see that the shadow got lighter as it got further away because it's being hidden by the layer mask. I am going to Option-click on the mask to show you the mask. There is the mask.

It's going from white where it's visible to very light where it's gray. So, that's why it slowly disappeared. Now, I am going to go to this rod layer here, and if I had selected something like right here, if I go in there and select this and then say make a Layer Mask, notice that the Layer Mask automatically reflected what was selected. There it is. I did that in a couple of situations throughout the series where I can go in there, and select an area and then created the mask.

Now, if I want to turn off the mask slightly, I can easily hold down the Shift key and click on the mask, the mask will temporarily be disabled, Shift-click on it, it brings it back. Right there, you see that lock? If I took my little rod now and moved it over here, you notice that it moved just the way it was. If I unlink the mask from the layer itself, I can now move the layer around, and it's going to stay inside the area of the mask.

I could also move the mask around, which will give me a whole different feel of how I see the contents of that layer. So, the Layer Mask is just a way of going in there, and hiding parts of a layer in a controlled fashion, whether it's 100% or just gradually. But you have full control over what and how is being masked.

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This video is part of

Image for Bert Monroy: Dreamscapes Volume 1
Bert Monroy: Dreamscapes Volume 1

58 video lessons · 14502 viewers

Bert Monroy
Author

 
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  1. 2m 12s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 14s
  2. 23m 11s
    1. Using clipping groups
      3m 33s
    2. Explaining alpha channels
      6m 29s
    3. Using layer masks
      3m 47s
    4. Creating alpha channels
      5m 56s
    5. Using Adobe Bridge to stay organized
      3m 26s
  3. 26m 6s
    1. Introduction
      14s
    2. Preparing the scene: Retouching
      7m 36s
    3. Turning day into night
      6m 18s
    4. Creating the sky
      6m 24s
    5. Creating chimney smoke
      5m 34s
  4. 16m 23s
    1. Introduction
      14s
    2. Creating the castle
      6m 14s
    3. Creating a floating island
      3m 29s
    4. The final composite
      6m 26s
  5. 29m 22s
    1. Introduction
      30s
    2. Creating the basic cliff
      4m 50s
    3. Including cliff details
      2m 38s
    4. Adding plateau details
      8m 53s
    5. Creating a cascading waterfall
      5m 31s
    6. Building a rock cliff
      2m 13s
    7. The final composite
      4m 47s
  6. 30m 49s
    1. Introduction
      40s
    2. Creating terrain
      3m 47s
    3. Adding buildings
      9m 18s
    4. Creating the planet
      4m 7s
    5. Creating planet rings
      9m 39s
    6. Adding atmosphere
      3m 18s
  7. 25m 4s
    1. Introduction
      49s
    2. Creating islands
      5m 56s
    3. Creating a beach
      4m 28s
    4. Adding a planet and a moon
      6m 42s
    5. Adding the secret base
      7m 9s
  8. 49m 34s
    1. Introduction
      33s
    2. Manipulating the plane with the Pen tool
      8m 12s
    3. Adding the logo to a curved surface
      4m 14s
    4. Compositing and aging the plane
      6m 14s
    5. Busting up the plane
      8m 54s
    6. Breaking glass
      5m 53s
    7. Adding moss and lighting
      7m 15s
    8. Adding water and reflection
      5m 2s
    9. Applying finishing touches
      3m 17s
  9. 26m 41s
    1. Introduction
      15s
    2. Creating the sea
      4m 15s
    3. Creating the dome
      8m 4s
    4. Compositing and colorizing the city
      9m 3s
    5. Adding a flock of birds with the Pen tool
      5m 4s
  10. 21m 6s
    1. Introduction
      22s
    2. Creating the scene
      7m 49s
    3. Making a castle on an island
      7m 16s
    4. Adding foliage
      5m 39s
  11. 27m 12s
    1. Introduction
      53s
    2. Composing the scene
      9m 6s
    3. Creating explosions
      8m 54s
    4. Adding flying debris
      3m 30s
    5. Applying finishing touches
      4m 49s
  12. 26s
    1. Final thoughts
      26s

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