Join Ted LoCascio for an in-depth discussion in this video Filling selections and painting in layer masks, part of Combining Images with Photoshop Elements 9.
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With this movie, I'd like to show you how you can conceal specific image areas for a selected layer by filling selections and painting inside of a layer mask. I'm currently in the Elements Organizer application and I'm viewing our exercise files here in thumbnail view. What if I click on the Display button in the upper right corner, I could choose Folder Location. And now, I have access to the individual sub-folders that contain different exercise files for each chapter. So, I'm going to click on Compositing with Layer Masks chapter sub-folder. And then, scroll down over here on the right and select weddingstart2.psd. I'm going to the Fix tab and chose Full Photo Edit. And then, open up the image inside of the editor application. Click and drag up until I see that blue rectangle, then let go of the mouse button.
And I now have the image docked into the work area. If you look over here int the Layers panel, you could see we have three layers that make up this composite image. I'll go ahead and hide these. We'll look at them one by one. Here is the background layer, which is a nice starter image for our wedding composite, our wedding montage. And then, there is the second image here, where I have the prayer book and rings with a nice opacity blend created using a gradient inside of an attached layer mask, okay. Looking very nice there. And then, we have our top layer, the bride layer, and this is the layer that we're going to focus on in this particular movie.
And what we want to do here is blend the bride into this montage as well. The way to do that, we're going to use Layer Masks. Okay, we want to get rid of this extraneous black area around the photograph of the bride. We also want to do a little bit of opacity blending down here. Only this time, instead of using a gradient blend like in the book rings layer, we want to use a brush inside of the mask. Okay, so let's take a look at home we can do this. With the bride layer selected, the first thing we need to do is add a layer mask. And at the very bottom of the Layers panel, the second icon from the left is the Add Layer Mask icon. We'll go ahead and click that.
And it adds a Layer Mask, automatically links it to the image layer, which means that if I were to move this layer around inside of the document window, the mask would automatically move with it. That's why it's linked. Notice it's also highlighted here, the thumbnail is highlighted. Okay, that means that we're going to work inside of the layer mask. If you click on the Image Layer thumbnail, now you can work on the image layer. All right? So, you can work separately, even though these guys are linked together and they, they work together. You have to be careful and make sure that where you want to work is actually selected here in the layer. So, with the layer mask selected, we're going to paint and fill a selection inside of this layer mask.
Now, when working with layer masks, we know that black conceals and white reveals. And when we added the layer mask, take a look, it's completely white and that means we're seeing everything on the image layer. We haven't hidden anything yet. Okay. It's because we haven't added any color. So, let's do that, let's add some color in here. And before we do that, we have to indicate to Elements what we want to hide, right. So that means we need to make a selection. And I think the quickest and easiest way to select this bride is to use the Quick Selection tool. So, we'll go ahead and click on the Quick Selection tool. Over here in the tools panel.
And make sure that our brush cursor is sized appropriately. I think it is. And then, we'll just click and drag in here, to very quickly and loosely select the bride image. All right now, if you watched the movie on how to use Quick Selection tool, all you need to do is size your cursor appropriately, click and drag on the area you want to select and Elements looks for those areas of high contrast in order to select the image for you. Okay, as you click and drag with the brush cursor, it's able to figure out exactly what it is you want to select and go ahead and make the selection for you. So, you don't have to do a lot of precise tracing or anything like you would with the Magnetic Lasso tool or any of the other Selection tools, available in here in the tools panel.
All right, so that's the beauty of working with the Quick Selection tool. We now have our selection, let's go ahead and invert it. We'll choose Select, Inverse. Now, we have the surrounding area selected. All right, and that's what we want to hide, right? So, if we go under the Edit menu now and choose Fill Selection, that brings up a separate dialog box. That's Fill Layer. We can choose whether we want to use the foreground or background color. We know that black conceals, right? So, we're going to use the foreground color. That's what we have as our foreground color is black.
And opacity 100% because I want to hide everything, right? This is at 100%, we're going to hide it entirety. All right, so we're going to click OK. And there we have it. You see what's been added here in the Layer Mask is black, in that entire selection. All right, so let's go ahead and deselect. Select, Deselect, you can see what we've done here. It's already starting to look better. Right? But the next thing I want to do is soften the area around this selection, around this mask.
Okay? And we can do that using the Brush tool. The quickest and easiest way to select the Brush tool from the tools panel is to press the letter B on your keyboard. Okay? And here it is down here. All right, so we can choose a nice, soft brush. Maybe somewhere up in here. Maybe 100 or 200 pixels. Somewhere in there. All right, and we have our opacity set to 100%. Let's go ahead and lower that a bit. Down to about 60%, something like that. Now, we can click and drag and paint with black inside of the mask, all right? So, let's see what happens when we do that.
You can soften up the edge a little bit. Okay. I think the brush cursor's a little bit too big. So, let's undo that and resize the brush by either dragging this to the left, or you can use the left bracket key to do it on the fly. Press the left bracket key, maybe make it a little bit smaller. And then, start to hide that edge by clicking and dragging. See? So now, we can see through the veil a little bit more over here when we do that. I like that. And we can also soften up these flowers a little bit. And hide some of this area down here.
All right. Now, I was talking about creating a bit of an opacity blend down here at the bottom. And because we're painting at a lower opacity, let's go ahead and lower it even more, about 43, 40, somewhere around there. And let's increase the brush size. I'm going to use the right bracket key this time and paint over a larger area. All right, see what's happening? You could start to see through her arm and through the flowers on the bottom. We're creating a really nice, soft transition between the bride layer and the background layer underneath. All right? And that's exactly what we want to do. Okay.
Now, if we go a little bit too far with it and we want to see a little bit more of the flowers in here. We just need to reverse this and paint with white. All right, black conceals, white reveals. So, if we want to reveal this again, just paint over it. Adding white, so that we can see more of those flowers, like so. Okay, starting to look really, really good. So, you can always undo anything that you just did. All right? Just switching between these two colors, black and white. And changing the opacity level of the brush.
That's exactly what we're doing in here. All right? Let's go ahead, flip this around again, cuz I see a little corner that I want to get rid of. Here. Get a little bit more of that. Let's bring this up. 100%. All right. It must be in the background layer. It looks pretty good though at the other way. All right. So, what we learned in this movie is that working with layer masks, we can control exactly how much we're revealing and concealing. And we can do that by filling selections on a layer mask.
Okay? Or by painting inside of the layer mask using a brush and using various opacity settings inside of the layer mask as we're painting. Okay? To control how much you're revealing and concealing. All right, you paint with black and white at various opacity levels to control how much you're revealing and concealing.
- Making difficult selections quickly and easily
- Saving and loading selections
- Working with adjustment layers, clipping masks, and layer masks
- Using the Straighten and Crop tools
- Adjusting layer opacity
- Applying blend modes