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Layer Mask Tutorial

Last update:  12-31-1969

Submitted by SteveB2005

This tutorial will help people understand how to use and apply layer masks in Photoshop. I am using Photoshop CS2 on a Macintosh laptop.

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This Tutorial 2006SteveB

Layer Mask Tutorial

This tutorial will help people understand, apply and use layer masks to create some unique alterations to an image. I tutor beginning Photoshop users and I use examples like this one to help them grasp the concept. I have learned so much from so many tutorials here, that I wanted to post one and see if it helps anyone. Please make any comments. Here goes. BTW, I'm using Photoshop CS2, but this tutorial will work on earlier versions.

1. Open your image and drag the image to the new layer icon to duplicate it. You can also go to the Window menu and select Arrange, New Window of the same image to have an additional view.

2. Go to layer Menu and Select Layer, Layer Mask, Reveal All. The layer mask icon will pop up next to the duplicate layer. It will have a double frame around it when it is active. You can also click the layer mask icon on the bottom of the layers palette.

3. Click the image icon, which will deactivate the layer mask. Go to the Filter Menu. I selected Cutout just as an example, but you can choose and experiment with other options. You will see the result of the filter's application

4. Select the layer mask icon. Make sure your foreground color is selected black and white is selected for background. Select a medium to large brush. Important! Black paint reveals original image and "erases" the filter effect. Switching to white paint brings back the filter effect.

5. Turn off the eye icon on the duplicate, layer mask image and you will see the original, unaltered image. This is a very basic, easy way to understand how a layer mask works and what you can do with it. There are many other techniques and hopefully this tutorial will get you started.