Adobe Photoshop CS comes with an amazing asortment of tools to help you edit your images. The latest version includes a wide range of features to make things easier, but how can you get the most out of it? In this first part of Chapter 5 from Mordy Golding's Adobe Creative Suite, (Sams, ISBN: 0672325918), you'll learn how to use masks, layers, filters, feathers, and more.
Using Adobe Photoshop CS, Part 1 - Working with Masks (Page 12 of 15 )
Some superheroes wear masks on their faces. The mask hides certain parts of their face, yet lets other parts show through. Masking in graphic design isn't much different. A mask hides some parts of an image and lets other parts "show through." This is extremely useful when you want to mask parts of an image but don't want to lose any data in your file by having to delete parts of it.
Earlier, we discussed one kind of mask: creating a clipping path for placing images into page layout applications. But there are also needs for masking inside Photoshop itself-such as when you want to have one photo blend into another, or when you want to make a quick selection.
When it comes to creating a mask for a layer, Photoshop makes the task pretty easy. Using your selection method of choice, choose the layer in the Layers palette, select the area of the image that you want to remain visible, and click on the Add Layer Mask button at the bottom of the Layers palette. This does two things right off the bat: First, it masks the image in your document; second, it creates a second thumbnail in your layer (see Figure 5.60). In fact, let's take a closer look at what's going on in the Layers palette.
Figure 5.60 A layer mask applied to a layer.
You'll notice that a masked layer has two thumbnails with a link icon in between them. The thumbnail on the left is the image itself, and the thumbnail on the right is the mask. To edit and work with your image, click on the left icon to highlight it. Any edits you make to that layer will occur to the image itself. If you click and highlight the thumbnail on the right, you can edit the mask itself (see Figure 5.61).
Figure 5.61 In this illustration, the mask thumbnail is highlighted.
Tip -If you're unsure whether you're in the image editing mode or the mask-editing mode, take a quick look at your document's title bar.
If you move the image with the Move tool, the mask will move along with it, because the link icon between the two thumbnails indicates that they are locked to each other. If you click on the link, it will disappear, allowing you to the move the image and mask independently of each other (see Figure 5.62).
Figure 5.62 The image and the layer mask, unlinked.
To remove a mask, drag the mask thumbnail to the Layer's palette Trash icon (in the lower right). You'll get a dialog asking whether you want to apply the mask (which will delete the parts of the image that are masked) or discard it (and the image will return to its full view).
Although Photoshop has vector tools, it's not a vector-based drawing program. What Photoshop does is use vector outlines to create masks filled with color. For example, when you draw a rectangle using Photoshop's Rectangle tool, it creates a vector mask (which is vector), filled with the color of your choice (which is raster). You can create vector masks by choosing Layer, Add Vector Mask, Reveal All, or by simply drawing a shape with any of Photoshop's vector tools (see Figure 5.63).
Figure 5.63 A layer with a vector mask applied.
Quick Mask Mode
Masks and selections are nearly one and the same. Sometimes you want to create a simple quick selection, and you can best do that by using one of Photoshop's many painting tools. That's where Quick Mask comes into play. Press the Q key on your keyboard to enter Quick Mask mode. You can tell you're in Quick Mask mode because it's indicated in the document's title bar.
When you're in Quick Mask mode, anything you paint or draw shows up in a transparent red color (see Figure 5.64). Press Q again and whatever was not red becomes your selection (see Figure 5.65). This is extremely useful for creating selections that you will use in a layer mask. For example, you want a photo to fade into the layer under it. So you select the layer that the photo is on, press Q, select the Gradient tool, drag a gradient, and press Q again-your selection is now the gradient. Then you click on the New Layer Mask button and you're done.
Figure 5.64 "Painting" a mask. Areas that are painted become a tint of red.
Figure 5.65 Exiting Quick Mask mode converts the painted areas to a selection.
This chapter is from Adobe Creative Suite, by Mordy Golding (Sams, 2003, ISBN: 0672325918). Check it out at your favorite bookstore today. Buy this book now.