Layer Masking – Basics

Layer Masking

What is layer masking?

When it comes to removing an area of your image and approaching it in a professional way you will do this using a layer mask.  If you haven’t used a layer mask before this will be your first retouching technique using a non-destructive workflow.  This means if you make a change and then later down the track you or your client changes their mind you will be instantly able to revert your image and bring something you erased back again.  Using layer masking may appear as though you are erasing an area of your image but intact you are not.  you are airbrushing on a ‘mask’ that then makes that part of the image transparent.  The concept works like this: on a layer mask painting black makes it transparent and painting white back on it brings it back.

How to use layer masking

Watch this brief video demonstrating how to create a layer mask and how to remove your background.  I will also show several handy options that are available when using layer masks.  This is not a simple task and is aimed for students receiving tuition to revise their lesson.  Watch the below video and take note of the keys I use like the ‘X’ key to swop my foreground and background colours to either remove or bring back a part of the image. also hitting the option key and kicking the layer mask to view the layer mask.  You can also hold command to make the layer mask into a selection or hit the shift key while clicking the layer mask to disable it.  Lots to explore and practice.  When I run through this with you it will be a very good revision exercise to refer back to.