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Working with multiple masks

From: Photoshop CC Selections and Layer Masking Workshop

Video: Working with multiple masks

Every now and then I have a situation where I essentially need multiple masks. For example with this image, I might want to apply some adjustments that only affect the sky. But I might also want those adjustments to affect the sky in a gradient fashion. So I essentially need a layer mask that defines the sky and I also need a layer mask that defines a gradient. And then I want to use both of those layer masks in order to constrain the effect of some adjustments. Let's take a look at how it can be done. I'll start by creating the selection of the sky.

Working with multiple masks

Every now and then I have a situation where I essentially need multiple masks. For example with this image, I might want to apply some adjustments that only affect the sky. But I might also want those adjustments to affect the sky in a gradient fashion. So I essentially need a layer mask that defines the sky and I also need a layer mask that defines a gradient. And then I want to use both of those layer masks in order to constrain the effect of some adjustments. Let's take a look at how it can be done. I'll start by creating the selection of the sky.

So, I'll chose the Quick Selection tool, for example and then I can simply paint within the sky in order to define that selection. In this case, I need to clean things up a little bit, so I'll hold the Alt key on Windows or the Option key on Macintosh. In order to access the Subtract from Selection option. And then I'll paint along the area of the herron here that should not have been selected and remove it from that selection. We'll assume that this is a perfect selection at the moment and then we'll go about creating an environment where we can apply these focused adjustments.

And I'm going to use a Layer group for that. In fact, I'll use a couple of Layer groups. But one of which will be specific to the sky. I'll click on the Add Layer Group button, the folder icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. And then I'm going to add a layer mask based on this selection to that layer group. So I'll click on the Add Layer Mask button, and that will add a layer mask based on the selection to this layer group. I'll go ahead and rename this layer group by double clicking on the name and typing a new name. I'll just call it Sky and then press Enter or Return on the keyboard. So now, if I add an adjustment to this layer group, that adjustment will only affect the sky.

I'll go ahead and click on the Add Adjustment Layer button, for example. And I'll apply a Curves adjustment, and you can see that Curves adjustment is only effecting the sky. Of course, I specified right up front that I want my adjustments to only effect the sky in a gradient fashion. And so I need a gradient. But I don't want to add that gradient to the layer mask for my adjustment layer because I think I'm going to add additional adjustments as well. Instead, I want to utilize a layer group. So I'll click on the Sky Layer group, so that's the active layer and then I'll add an additional layer group that will appear above the sky layer.

I'll go ahead and rename this layer group to Gradient and then I'm going to add a layer mask to that layer group. I'll then chose a Gradient tool and I'm going to draw a Linear Gradient that goes from the foreground color to the background color. In this case, I want the gradient to cause the adjustment to affect the top of the image, but not the bottom of the image, with a smooth transition in between. So I'll draw a linear gradient going from near the top of the image to near the bottom of the image, something along these lines will work nicely I think. So you can see I've added a Gradient to the layer mask for my gradient layer group.

But it's not having any effect whatsoever. And that's because there's nothing inside my Gradient layer group. I could add an adjustment layer inside this layer group. But then that adjustment would only affect the image based on the gradient. Instead I want to combine this Sky layer mask with the Gradient layer mask. So that both of them weill constrain the behavior of my adjustments. To do that, I'll simply drag my Sky layer and drop it onto my Gradient layer so that now that sky layer group is inside my gradient layer group. So now, my curves adjustment is only affecting the sky. Because it is inside the sky layer group, with Which has a layer mask defining the sky.

But that curve's adjustment is also affecting that sky in a gradient fashion, because my sky layer group is inside my gradient group. So, I can go back to my adjustment and you'll see that I'm now only affecting the sky. And effecting the sky in a gradient fashion. So I'm able to combine multiple layer groups, each with their own layer mask, to constrain the behavior of adjustments in some very sophisticated ways.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CC Selections and Layer Masking Workshop
Photoshop CC Selections and Layer Masking Workshop

51 video lessons · 11228 viewers

Tim Grey
Author

 
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  1. 1m 27s
    1. Welcome
      1m 27s
  2. 46m 26s
    1. Selections, alpha channels, and layer masks, oh my!
      5m 48s
    2. Anti-aliasing and selections
      6m 6s
    3. The case for not feathering selections
      6m 50s
    4. Adding, subtracting, and intersecting
      7m 31s
    5. Inverting a selection
      3m 4s
    6. Mixing and matching selection tools
      2m 32s
    7. Using Deselect and Reselect
      3m 47s
    8. Temporarily hiding a selection
      2m 7s
    9. Saving and loading selections
      6m 14s
    10. Using the cursor for selections
      2m 27s
  3. 51m 42s
    1. The Rectangular Marquee tool
      8m 24s
    2. The Elliptical Marquee tool
      6m 2s
    3. The Lasso tool
      4m 55s
    4. The Polygonal Lasso tool
      6m 27s
    5. The Magnetic Lasso tool
      10m 9s
    6. The Quick Selection tool
      5m 33s
    7. The Magic Wand tool
      10m 12s
  4. 38m 38s
    1. Selecting the border of an existing selection
      1m 50s
    2. The Color Range command
      7m 19s
    3. Focusing a Color Range selection
      2m 55s
    4. Selecting faces with Color Range
      2m 31s
    5. The Pen tool
      5m 40s
    6. Selecting by luminosity
      3m 39s
    7. Selecting from a channel
      6m 13s
    8. Transforming a selection
      4m 4s
    9. Quick Mask mode
      4m 27s
  5. 50m 46s
    1. Combining layers into a single document
      1m 49s
    2. Layering images manually
      1m 55s
    3. Assembling a panorama automatically
      3m 1s
    4. Advanced blending
      4m 0s
    5. Painting to hide and reveal
      3m 24s
    6. Creating a selection-based composite
      2m 43s
    7. Select, then paint
      3m 28s
    8. Advanced mask cleanup
      6m 18s
    9. Creating an edge-fade effect
      2m 23s
    10. Using a filter to add an artistic edge
      3m 6s
    11. Using a brush effect to add an artistic edge
      5m 30s
    12. Transforming a masked object
      1m 51s
    13. Unlinking image and mask
      2m 53s
    14. Matching composite images
      2m 17s
    15. Adding layer effects with masks
      2m 21s
    16. Reviewing layer masks
      3m 47s
  6. 28m 58s
    1. Painting in an adjustment
      3m 20s
    2. Shades of gray
      3m 14s
    3. Using the Gradient tool
      4m 4s
    4. Adjusting a selected area
      1m 42s
    5. Creating a vignette effect with masking
      2m 13s
    6. Using a layer group
      3m 34s
    7. Working with multiple masks
      4m 5s
    8. Refining an adjustment mask
      6m 46s

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