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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

The Layer Mask

We have used a layer mask in two examples in this chapter, so we should talk a little about this marvelous feature. What is a layer mask? The layer mask shares a layer controlling the image on the layer it occupies, determining what is visible and what is not. Areas on the mask that are white are 100% opaque or visible, while areas of the mask that are black are completely transparent. So it figures that if we were to paint a brushstroke on the layer mask that was 50% gray, the contents of the layer under the brushstroke would be 50% transparent. In the last exercise, we made the glass semi-transparent by using a gray tone and painting part of the layer mask under the glass with brush tools set at an opacity of 35%. That resulted in the layer containing the glass to become 65% transparent (100% – 35% = 65%). Don't worry about the math. It isn't like I calculated the amount, I just tried several different settings (God bless Undo) until I found one I liked.

In the previous examples, we created a layer mask by either clicking the Add layer mask icon at the bottom of the Layers palette or by converting an existing selection into a layer mask with the Paste Into command.

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