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Layer Mask How to use it

Layer Masks need no introduction. They have been part of Photoshop for a long time. White Layer Mask reveals all and a Black Layer Mask hides all. There are also shades of gray which partially reveal. In Photoshop CS5 masking has become easier. There are ways that you can tinker with a mask which you could not do earlier. Let us see how it works and in what way it is different. This is made up of two images blended together with a Layer Mask. I have opened these two images in photoshop. I admit that the lighting in two images are different. But let us see if they can be made part of a single image as above. Step 1 : I have these two images stacked one on top of the other. Step 2 : The easiest way to open the Masks panel is to go to Windows>Masks. Step 3 : In the Masks panel click the button shown. Step 4 : The Layer Mask has been added on Layer 1. Earlier or even now you can also add the Layer Mask by clicking on the Add Layer Mask button. But it has been made simpler with the Mask panel. Step 5 : Click the Gradient Tool. Step 6 : In the Gradient Editor in the top panel click on the small black arrow to reveal the Gradients and click on the first one which is Foreground to Background. By default the Linear Gradient is selected. Select it if it is not. Step 7 : Reverse should be unchecked in the top panel. Step 8 : Let the Mode remain at Normal and Opacity set to 100{0024a325378293d44bbfde08338a1b5a5993525c3fc828ac304446c779020bb4}. I am going to Flip the canvas by going to Image>Image>Rotation>Flip Canvas Horizontal. I am doing this for better blending of the two images. It is not a necessary step. It is only necessary with these two images. This has to be done before pasting the image above the sunset layer. Step 9 : Drag down with the Gradient Tool. I have dragged till just below the horizon. You may not get it correct at one go. Press CTRL+Z to undo and drag till you are satisfied. The image looks like this. Though the two images have blended together but the face of the woman has faded, while the tree trunks from the lower image has come into the second image. This has to be corrected. Step 10 : Press b on the keyboard for the Brush Tool or click on it from the flyout. Step 11 : You can set the Size and Hardness from the top panel, but you will have to going back to it to make adjustments in size and softness every now and then. There is an easier way. Press SHIFT+ (left square bracket) to make the Brush soft and SHIFT+ (right square bracket) to make it hard. To make a brush small press and to make it large . Step 12 : In the top panel lower the Opacity to 25{0024a325378293d44bbfde08338a1b5a5993525c3fc828ac304446c779020bb4}. We are now ready to paint. Step 13 : Switch the Foreground Color to White by pressing x or use the small bent arrow above the Foreground and Background Colors. Step 14 : Zoom into the image by pressing CTRL and the Plus sign. (zoom out by pressing CTRL and minus sign). You are painting at 25{0024a325378293d44bbfde08338a1b5a5993525c3fc828ac304446c779020bb4} per cent Opacity therefore you will have to go over the parts you want to reveal quite a number of times with the Brush. Go over the dress and arms too. Step 15 : You can also increase the Opacity of the Brush as you paint. Look at the Layer Mask as you paint. You can make out where you have painted on the Mask. The two images have blended together. Step 16 : Now lower the Density of the Mask in the Masks panel. The Layer Mask fades. And this is the finished image. Other photoshop tutorials are here <!– google_ad_client = “pub-0945270783907167”; google_ad_width = 300; google_ad_height = 250; google_ad_format = “300x250_as”; google_cpa_choice = “CAEQoMe7zgQaCAdbJr4H4S4tKIjt5qEC”; //–>
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