Mike Rankin demonstrates different ways to make layer masks in Photoshop, how to refine layer masks, and where to find mask-related commands that you can use to disable, delete, and apply layer masks.
- [Instructor] For the Photoshop ACA Exam, you should know how to create and manipulate layer masks. So, let's see how they work. In our Exercise File we have this image of hands making a heart shape, and let's say we needed to silhouette this in order to use it as part of a composition. So we need to hide the white background, and for that we can use a layer mask. There are several ways to make layer masks and here we'll look at three different ways. First is to use the Magic Wand tool and make a selection, and then convert that selection to a mask. I'll start by making sure that I have the Magic Wand layer targeted in the Layers panel, and that the other layers with hands are not visible. Then I'll take the Magic Wand tool, and in the options bar I'll set the tolerance all the way down to one since the background we're masking is one solid color. I'll also make sure to select Anti-alias to get smoother edges of the selection. And Contiguous so I don't select any pure white pixels inside the hands and arms. And then I'll click on the white background, and then hold Shift to add to the selection and click the other white areas. I'll zoom way in on the fingertips. And then take the Magic Wand tool again, and again hold Shift and click in those areas as well. And then zoom back out by pressing Command or Control + 0. Now I'll invert the selection by choosing Select, Inverse. Now I have the hand selected instead of the background and in the Layers panel I'll click the button to convert the selection to a mask. And now I can see the red from the underlying layer. Now let's try a different way of making a mask with the Select Subject command. I'll turn off the top layer, and turn on the Select Subject layer. And with the Magic Wand tool I'll target the Select subject layer. And with the Magic Wand tool I'll click the button in the options bar for Select Subject. Photoshop analyzes the image to take a guess at what the subject is, and in this case it's pretty easy so the results seem pretty good. I'll go ahead and click the button to make a mask based on this selection. But if I zoom in on that tricky area around the fingertips, you can see that it's not quite perfect. So what we often have to do is edit a mask after creating it. To do that we can use any of the painting tools and paint black on the mask to hide pixels or paint white on the mask to reveal pixels. So I'll take the Brush tool, go to my General Brushes and pick one of the soft round brushes. And a pretty small size. I'll make sure the layer mask is targeted, and paint on the mask with white to reveal some of the finger that got masked. Now I need to paint on the mask with black to mask these small areas in between the fingertips. I'll swap the foreground and background color so I'm painting with black, by pressing the X key on my keyboard. And make my brush tip very small by pressing the left bracket key. And paint out those areas. And I'll zoom out. And those results look pretty good. Let's try one more method. Again I'll turn off this layer. Turn on select and mask, and target it. And again take the Magic Wand tool and click the Select and Mask button in the options bar. We enter a new workspace where all the other tools and panels are hidden, and everything here is used for making a mask. The image is shown with an overlay, and we have the Quick Select tool. I'll set the size to 50. And start dragging on the hands and arms to select them. And you can see the overlay disappear as I drag, indicating what's selected. Note that I could have also clicked the Select Subject button up here. And there are a lot of other controls here to refine the selection, but for our purposes this is going to be good enough. So I'll just scroll down, and point out at the bottom of the Properties panel, the option here to output a layer mask. So we'll instantly get a mask based on our work here. I'll click OK, and the layer is masked. Like I did with the other layer, I could continue to refine this mask and fix the little problems here at the fingertips, and on the side of the hand by brushing on the mask with the Brush tool. So here we saw three different methods for creating layer mask. We used select and mask, select subject, and the good old Magic Wand tool. We also looked at how to refine masks, and where to find mask-related commands.
- Benefits of ACA certification
- Creating a study plan
- Planning a project
- Identifying design elements such as typography
- Using layers and masks
- Using brushes, shapes, and patterns
- Drawing and painting
- Transforming graphical elements
- Preparing images for print and web