Join Tanya Staples for an in-depth discussion in this video layer masks, part of Getting Started with Corel Painter 8.
- Next we're going to look at layer masking. This is a way that you can create selections based on painting. That can be useful for many different kinds of images. I think for the duck, I would still prefer to work with the Pen tool, but I'm going to use this image just to demonstrate the difference between working with a layer mask and working with other kinds of selection tools. The first thing that I wanna do is I wanna take this image and I wanna float it to its own layer. I can do that by choosing Select, All, coming to the Select menu and choosing Float.
Notice that just floated the image layer to its own layer. If I undo that for a minute, I'm going to command or control z, notice in my Layers palette that this particular icon is dimmed out. That is the layer mask icon. If I do this process where I Select, All, and then choose to Select, Float, notice that this icon becomes available. This is the layer mask icon.
If I click on this icon, I get a little thumbnail, which comes right next to the image. What this is showing me is if I make a stroke right now on my canvas, I'm going to be making a stroke on the duck. However, if I click over to the right thumbnail and I make a stroke, I'm actually going to be masking my image. I'm gonna turn off the Canvas layer so that this becomes more obvious. I'm also going to check my Colors because whenever you draw a mask, it's important, if you want the mask to be opaque, that you draw with a black color in your foreground color palette.
As well, I'm going to pick a Pen, and I have one selected already that is circular in nature. I'm just looking for a very basic kind of pen here so that I can make a stroke and a mask. I'm gonna close up the Color palette for a moment, just so that you can see what happens as I start to draw. Also notice in the Channels palette that the Layer Mask has appeared down below the RGB layer. This all happened automatically, as soon as I created the layer mask.
I'm going to press the letter b to return to my Brush tool. Notice, as I begin to paint, that I see checkerboards beneath my image here. That is helping me recognize that I'm erasing pixels here. If I turn this top layer off all together, you'll see that I have transparency below this layer. This is showing that as I'm painting, I'm painting with black, that I'm knocking out the pixels that are on this screen.
You can imagine that certain kinds of selections are much easier to make by painting them than by using the Pen tool or using some of the selection tools. One thing that I like to do when I'm making a mask like this, is I like to fill my canvas with another color. I'm gonna click on the Canvas over here, return to Colors, and I'm just gonna select a color that's different from my main image. With the Canvas layer targeted, I'm going to come up to Effects and choose Fill.
I'm gonna fill with Current Color. What that is now doing, if I turn this top layer off, is it's showing me that below my image, I have a solid field of blue. It's really helping me see the edge of my painting to see if I'm happy with it or not. I would also probably choose to zoom way in on a detail if I'm trying hard to paint something perfectly. With this shape being so mechanical, I do think that the Pen tool would be the best tool to use, but you can really see now, if I were to paint, that I would be able to recognize easily whether I was masking something in a way that I was happy with.
One of the benefits of painting a mask is that you can paint it in or out, depending on whether you're using black or white. I'm gonna return to a black color in my Color choice here, and click once again on that mask. I have to make sure that this side becomes highlighted. When I return to my canvas and press the letter b and get my paint brush again, you can see that as I make a stroke, I'm erasing out to blue. One of the neat things about painting a mask is you can paint it back in by painting with white.
So if I flip my colors over here, which I can do with the arrow either in the color picker or over here in the toolbox, and I paint with white, notice that I can paint it back in. It's very forgiving. You can get different size brushes and go in and paint to your heart's content. Another thing that I could do is I could take a soft-edge brush. I'm going to press my space bar so that I can just scroll to another part of this image while we're real zoomed in on it. Let's say that I wanted to do a soft-edge selection.
I could go grab a different kind of tool. Let's say that I go over and grab an Airbrush. I wanna get something that's soft edge. So if I paint in black, which I'm not doing. I have to flip that once again. And I make sure that my layer mask thumbnail is targeted and I start to paint, notice how I get a very soft vignetted edge. Once again, I'm seeing through to the blue color that I created earlier. The more pressure I apply, the more opaque this mask becomes.
If I turn this blue color off, you'll see that I'm just painting to a transparent layer and that I'm getting a soft edge around here because I'm painting my mask with the Airbrush tool. You'll find that there are times where you're gonna really prefer to paint your mask, and times where you'll really prefer to use a Pen tool, and times where you'll prefer to use a selection tool. Now you've seen all the options, and hopefully understand when you would choose which tool.