Being able to target adjustments precisely to selected parts of an image is extremely useful – that is where masks come in and why they are so important to master. Here I keep a record of useful tips and tricks on the use of photoshop masks:
- ‘White reveals, black conceals’ – I heard this a few times before I worked it out. The question is reveals or conceals what? I thought it might be the image, but not necessarily. In the case of an adjustment layer it refers to the adjustment itself being concealed or revealed – so if you desaturate using a saturation adjustment layer, any blacked-out areas in the mask will remain in colour.
- Copying a mask to a different layer – alt-cmd-click and drag.
- Mask properties – double-clicking on the mask icon brings up the properties box. This includes some useful functions, including creating the mask by colour selection and inverting the mask. Cmd-I also inverts the mask.
- Switch between black and white short-cut – ‘X’
- To show the mask in the main screen, alt-click on the mask icon. The mask can then be ‘choked’ using the levels adjustment (cmd+L) image/adjustments/levels. This is used to refine the mask by adjusting the contrast between black and white.
- Set the brush opacity between 8 and 20% to allow a gradual build up of the mask / effect.