• Wednesday , 3 June 2020

How to Use Layer Masks in Photoshop

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How to Use Layer Masks in Photoshop
Layer Masks are one of the most important tools in Photoshop. In short, they make part of a layer visible and part invisible. The main advantage to using layer masks is they can be changed at any time – they are “non-destructive”, meaning they will never destroy image pixels!

What do Layer Masks Do?
Layer masks control the visibility of a layer, group, or adjustment layer. When a layer mask is completely white, the layer is completely visible. When a layer mask is completely black, the layer is completely invisible.

You can choose to make parts of a layer invisible by painting black in certain areas. You can use most of the tools in the tool panel on a layer mask including the brush tool, clone stamp tool, gradient tool and selections.

For instance, if you want to cut the subject out of their background, make a selection around the subject and load that selection as a layer mask, the subject will be visible and the background will be invisible.

Destructive vs. Non-Destructive Editing
When it comes to editing images in Photoshop, the ultimate goal is to do everything in a ‘non-destructive’ manner – meaning any change can be undone at any point in time.

For example, if you want part of a layer to disappear, using the eraser tool is destructive because it destroys the image, rather than just hiding it. If you use the eraser tool, then save and close an image, you won’t be able to undo those changes the next time you open the image in Photoshop.

In contrast, layer masks allow you to make changes at any time – even years from now. Rather than destroying image pixels, they simply hide them.

How to Create and Use Layer Masks
To add a layer mask to a layer, click on the layer mask icon at the bottom of the layers panel (it looks like a square with a circle inside).

You can also use the menu, go to ‘Layer – Layer Mask – Reveal All’ to make a white layer mask.

Adjustment layers come pre-loaded with layer masks, simply paint white or black on them to determine the visibility of the layer.

Helpful Keyboard Shortcuts
When working with Layer masks, a few keyboard shortcuts can go a long way.

SHIFT+CLICK on Layer Mask – Disable Layer Mask Temporarily
ALT/OPTN+CLICK on Layer Mask – Show Contents of Layer Mask
CTRL/CMD+CLICK on Layer Mask – Turn Layer Mask into Selection
CTRL/CMD+I – Invert Layer Mask
/ – View Layer Mask in Quick Mask Mode

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47 Comments

  1. Alecsey Sisk
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    Take a shot every time he says "ok."

  2. Marcelo Evangelista
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    Great!

  3. Roberto Pizano
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    I am a beginner in Photoshop and you miss to say which are the keys that we have to click to
    do a lot of things, you go fast and fast, and we miss a lot of details, sorry to said it.
    Roberto Pizano

  4. Mehdi Taba
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    ThAnX man, it was very helpful.

  5. J Lee
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    This video is amazing! You truly are the best out there.

  6. Baig 360
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    nicee it was beneficial for me about the layerr mask. upload more so that we can learn more. i am a fan of videos and a learner too.

  7. Ahmed Wanus
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    Great and simple thank you for such turtourial❤

  8. Ayesha M. Ali
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    thank you so much for this wisdom! so helpful

  9. Mugume Nebo
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    Wow, I have been educated on layer masking
    Thank you
    More of tutorials on brushes!

  10. DeeLaa77
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    Thank you, very well explained and extremely helpful. You have a great teaching style, keep them coming.

  11. Eric Fischer
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    Thanks! I phlearned a lot.

  12. Chio
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    Thank you so much Aaron. Really really helpful.

  13. Rahul Yadav
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    send me the link of of that photo

  14. Isa Kuliev
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    Hi! Shift + Delete is not working in my case. What is that hotkeys for? Can anybody help?

  15. Joe Connor
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    You say ok to many times – ok?

  16. Bret Wills
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    ok?

  17. Jamie Marcelle
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    Thank you so much for the help!

  18. CHETAN BHALLA
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    thanks for making it more understandable…… very helpful

  19. Riven Yasuo
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    Awesome..

  20. Altini IT-teacher
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    Bravo, it’s perfect lesson!

  21. Mpower
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    The video would be better if you went slower through the steps. You talk too fast for beginners.

  22. My Friend Aj
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    Thanks man. ok

  23. meremortal
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    "…and that's all there is to it…" ha ha ha ha! I better watch many more times! Well explained!

  24. Lynn Smith
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    Thankyou

  25. Tasnia Akter
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    excellent!!

  26. DaFreshLab
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    stop saying "ok" ok.

  27. Niren Cunthen
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    Thank you explication on point.

  28. ABIG FAN
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    lovely video!Thank You

  29. lala nurfalah
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    Karen ajigg! Mantap!

  30. UY Studios
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    You are just amazing at teaching. I loved your workplace:)

  31. Ritik
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    wonderful explained

  32. Rami Nirel
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    man .. you made my life much easier , your tutorials are so easy to understand ,also good video and sound quality i watch them over and over again

  33. yosef Alsharif
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    this is first time i understand mask

  34. yosef Alsharif
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    thank you so much it is so helpful

  35. Mr. Laxr
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    2019 , i've been working with photoshop for several works for my simple editing needs. but now i thought i need to learn some fundamentals .. so i searched and got really helpful information with this video. Thank you so much for making this lesson so easy and great. I'd be better if you've added info. about how to do same thing on windows and mention the keyboard shortcuts . BTW, great tutorial. Thanks again . 🙂

  36. Leonardo Felici
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    My Lord and Saviour

  37. Patricia Sweeting
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    Finally I understand, whew chile thank you Mr. Nace.

  38. Tom Cushnie
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    20 minutes!?

  39. Alex Rashkov
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    I like the way you are explaining things, short and simple, just what it's needed. I gladly subscribed to your channel.

  40. no no
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    Very easy to follow. Concise. Great quality.

    Easy like and here I go to the rest of your videos lol.
    Thanks.

  41. Ken Anderson
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    How many times can one person say OKAY in a 20 minute video. Please someone do a count because this guy is the king of repeating the word OKAY. Great content but I couldn't stand to watch more than 10 minutes of the video.

  42. Image lush
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    the eraser is not destructive, its just permanent

  43. Jonprit Pritam
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    cool!!

  44. Kiran Chauhan
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    Can you please help to as to where I can find these images to do this tutorial myself I would appreciate it. If there’s a link for the images or something.

  45. Looven z
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    i've learn a lot !! thx

  46. Cecil D'Souza
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    You are a real expert in this subject. It's incredible that you know every topic by heart and don't show a single note of hesitation even in your speech. And your voice and tone and timing are perfectly suited for presentation videos. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

  47. Zlatko Ivanoski
    June 1, 2019 at 16:08

    Nice explanation.Thank you

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