Working with Layer Masks

Photofocus (old site)

When you are first learning Photoshop, layer masks can seem overwhelming and confusing. It’s ok, photoshop itself can be overwhelming and confusing. I promise, once you understand the basics of Layer Masks, you’ll be glad to utilize this skill in your post processing workflow. In fact, you will find that using layer masks is one of the most essential parts of Photoshop.

What is a Layer Mask?

Mask might be a deceiving term. Think of Transparency instead. If you think of it as Layer Transparency, that often will make a difference in understanding how it works. The bottom line, a Layer Mask allows you to control the level of transparency on a Layer. Yes, it’s that simple.

However, don’t think of it as Opacity. Opacity changes the transparency on the whole layer. If you adjust the opacity it’s going to adjust the transparency for the entire layer which can be…

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