How to Use Photoshop Layer Masks

How to Use Photoshop Layer Masks

Bored of old messy photos and unwanted features around your beautiful pictures. So now the trend has changed from imagination to visualization through editing the pictures to refresh the memories with better contrast and make them look alive. This interesting topic of photoshop was coined in the market to mix up with the layers of the photo with transparency of the pixels.

Layer masks are a better way of cutting out layers and photos than using the eraser tool. They are non destructive and provide much more control. These mask the resolution-dependent images are edited with selection tools.

What is layer masking ?

This is mainly abstracting the some unwanted features of the pictures which gives the flexibility more than permanent erasing or deleting the part of the pictures. Layer masking is useful for making image composites, cutting out objects for use in other documents, and limiting edits to part of a layer.

You can add black, white, or gray color to a layer mask. One way to do that is by painting on the layer mask. Black on a layer mask hides the layer that contains the mask, so you can see what is underneath that layer.

Why use layer masking?

–> Helps in basic image manipulation.

–> Selective modification with opacity.

–> It controls the visibility between layers.

–> The efficient and non-destructive way of working.

–> It enhances the creativity of the user.

–> No wastage of data is taken care of.

How to use the layer masking?

Layer masking needs the 2 main images to combine and a tool to perform the photoshop. Once initiated the layer masking it has white page and painting with black will reveal the underlying layer.

Before starting the layer masking, you need to unlock it first by clicking the padlock icon on the background in the layers panel, in some of the applications.

1. Loading the photos into photoshop

Each application of photoshop has two layers. It means that 2 images need to be imported into the application in order to mask each other.  So to import the images on the menu bar go to File → Scripts → Load files into stack.

That leads to browsing the page of the images, browsing the image and selecting the image click on open and then ok. This adds the both images to the layer panel as layer1 and layer2. And they sit on each other as overlapping.

In order to differentiate the images if you want can rename it by double clicking the name and type the name as you want and clicking on enter is changed.

2. Reposition and visibility

Before getting started separating the images is important as it helps in distinguishing the position of images. Repositioning helps in moving the images with the shift key and move. Click on images inside there is visibility option select which you want to keep visible. This visibility option helps in transparency of one of the images with background.

Visibility can also be performed by varying the opacity of the images. Just select the image, click on opacity and vary according to blending measure.

3. Add layer mask to hide the

This procedure can be done in two ways

–> Follow  Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection or Hide Selection

–> Click the New Layer Mask button in the Layers panel to create a mask that reveals the selection.

4. Apply or delete the layer mask

This helps in reducing the file size and stored as alpha content this can be done as

–> After permanently masking, layer masking can be removed by clicking on   mask icon which is available at the properties

–> Delete the layer masking without applying by clicking on the delete button in properties option.

Steps to create layer masking 

File importing

–> Image left side there are layers layer 1 and layer2.

–> And at left there opacity version option helps in transparency of the images.

–> Right side there is tool box which has following options

–>>> Repositioning

–>>> Selecting in rectangular form

–>>> Selecting in circular form

–>>> Brush

–>>> Crop and so on..

Feather mask Edging

-> In the Layers panel, select the layer containing the mask you want to edit.

-> In the Layers panel, click the Mask thumbnail. A border appears around the thumbnail.

-> Drag the Feather slider to apply feathering to the mask edges.

-> Feathering blurs the edges of the mask to create a softer transition between the masked and unmasked areas.

Unlink the images once the masking is done using the unlink key as shown below

Fine-tune the layer mask with black, white, and gray

A white layer mask thumbnail appears on the selected layer, revealing everything on the selected layer.Adding black to a layer mask hides the layer that contains the mask.

Switching between black and white as you paint on a layer mask is a flexible way to fine-tune the mask edge. If you use a soft brush, the edges of the brush will apply shades of gray, partially hiding that part of the layer with the mask.

Save your work with layers

Save the image in .PSD or .TIFF format to retain the layers and layer masks for future editing.


The photoshopping is never ending procedure and the way you dig it keeps on growing and nowadays a technology growth has developed so adverse that imagination is put out in editing with creativity. Each texture has its own performance layer masking is just one part of photoshop and now it has set a trend with animated movies and action movies like iron man, wonder woman so if you want to pursue a career this would be a great platform with high level creativity and chances of growth.

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