Masks Are Easy pg 2: Production Graphics with Wendy Peck at | WebReference

Masks Are Easy pg 2: Production Graphics with Wendy Peck at

Masks Are Easy 2: The Power of Gray



We have to talk black, white and gray for a minute to be able to understand mask editing. Masks are stored and executed as a grayscale image. Black areas on the mask protect that layer completely. White areas on the mask do not mask anything. They let any action or color onto the layer. The shades of gray between black and white allow a graduated amount of the effect through the mask. Dark grays protect the layer almost completely, very light grays, hardly at all. See the sample to the left – note how the gray areas in the mask translate to the feathered areas in the drawing.

I have included selections of samples below which show a variety of mask and fill combinations, with the layer information that created that effect. These are very simple examples that should help you to understand the more complex uses for masks. Any effect that can be applied to a grayscale document can be applied to a mask.

In this sample, the mask is constraining the pattern fill that is applied to the entire layer to the two squares in the mask. Note how the white square allows all of the pattern fill to come through, while the 50% gray square only allows 50% of the effect to show through.

In this sample, the mask has the pattern fill applied. The layer is filled with solid green, but the mask allows the color to come through only as the pattern in the mask specifies.

Here the pattern fill is applied to the full layer, but the graduated mask prevents all pattern from appearing on the left (black on the mask) and permits the full effect to appear on the right (white on the mask).






If you focus on what is happening in the samples here, masks should start to make sense. If you can imagine having masking tape that you can place on an area to protect, but also be able to let only part of the paint through the tape, you will have the concept of masks nailed completely. That is all they are – fancy digital masking tape. Digital masking tape that is usually the answer any time you wondering how you can possibly create an effect.

Let's take a look at a few more possibilities for editing masks on the next page, and then we will get to specific program instructions.




Next page

Masks Are Easy Tutorial Index

Masks Are Easy Start
The Power of Gray
Why Bother?
PhotoShop Mask Basics
PhotoShop Quick Mask
PaintShop Pro Masks
PaintShop Pro Artistic
CorelDraw Masks
Mask Power with Fireworks

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Created: Mar. 29, 2000
Revised: Mar. 29, 2000