What do YOU use layer masks for?

kevinkt

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In one of my classes on visual effects we learned about the use of layer masks. Obviously, they are useful if you want to do any kind of background swapping, but is there anything else you would use it for?
 

MTVision

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kevinkt said:
In one of my classes on visual effects we learned about the use of layer masks. Obviously, they are useful if you want to do any kind of background swapping, but is there anything else you would use it for?

I use layer masks to do local adjustments. For example if I added contrast on a portrait I might erase it off the skin. Instead of sharpening the whole photo I might use a layer mask to apply it to only certain parts. Layer masks are awesome because you don't have to do global adjustments - you can apply to only the parts you want.
 

e.rose

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Everything.

Beat me to it. :lol:

Before I make ANY kind of edit in PS, I ask myself, "Can I do this with masking? Yes? ::proceeds to mask:: No? ::duplicates current layer to work on a new one just in case I royally screw up::

I try to work as "non destructively", if you will, as possible.
 

Joey_Ricard

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There are too many reasons to even start a list
But for the sake of BREVITY lets pick just one for example which is the most common reason I use

Local adjustment of whatever......could be color, tone, exposure etc etc - local adjustment meaning a specific area only
In other words, when making an adjustment to a portion of the image and not the whole thing.

Sure you understand the mask, where you can apply specifically where you want or dont want it
The layer itself, if the adjustment is on a layer, you can remove or hid it later in the process if needed, even adjust it further.

Just one of tons of examples
 

Big Mike

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The ability to use layers (and masks), is the true power of a program like Photoshop.

It allows you to use any of the tools at your disposal in any specific parts of the image that you could want (or not apply those tools to areas that you don't want). And it's not just on/off. You can blend layer masks and you can adjust layer opacity. The options are almost limitless.

They also give you more freedom and adaptability with your workflow. For example, you can use an adjustment layer to change your image. If later in the editing, you want to go back and change or remove that adjustment layer, you can do that.
 
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kevinkt

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Are there any good video tutorials on useful things you can do with masks on your photographs?
 

tingeliM

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Check out Phlearn. There's loads of useful photoshop stuff there.

I use masks for everything. There aren't many images of mine that I wouldn't use them for. Once you unlock the door of adjustment layers + layer masks, there is no going back. ;)
 

Joey_Ricard

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In one of my classes on visual effects we learned about the use of layer masks. Obviously, they are useful if you want to do any kind of background swapping, but is there anything else you would use it for?

While I am in a commenting mood,

In a case like you were talking about (backgrounds, skies, etc), just don't get sloppy. TAKE YOUR TIME - Sometimes it is a lot of work/time but if you do it right it will be convincing and pleasant.
 

MTVision

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kevinkt said:
Are there any good video tutorials on useful things you can do with masks on your photographs?

Try YouTube
Photoshopessentials.com (I think)
Google for layer masks
 

Kolander

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...I use masks for everything. There aren't many images of mine that I wouldn't use them for. Once you unlock the door of adjustment layers + layer masks, there is no going back. ;)

So do I. In combination with blend modes, it is one of the resources I use in most pictures.
 

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