Earlier this week we featured an easy five-minute fix for poorly exposed photos using Layer Masks in Lightroom. But that simple task provided just a taste of what these powerful tools can do.
So in response to a couple requests from our readers, we’re taking a deeper dive today, with the complete beginners guide below that will enable inexperienced users to unlock the power of layer masks in Photoshop for a wide variety of purposes.
Instructor Unmesh Dinda is a globally acclaimed image-editing specialist with 4.5 million subscribers to his YouTube channel. In this detailed episode he describes how layer Masks work, when and how to use them, and provides real-world examples of just about everything they can do to enhance your photos.
Dinda begins with an unusual analogy comparing Photoshop Layer Masks to facial mask worn as part of a costume. Just as the latter are employed to hide the wearer’s identity, “the only purpose of an image-editing layer mask is to hide the layer. That’s it.”
To clarify this curious comparison Dinda pulls up a photo of a beautiful ballerina in motion, with some text that he want to move from in front of the subject to behind her. This is a very basic example, and he demonstrates how easy it is to achieve with a simple masking technique.
Of course there are far more practical uses of Layers Mask for photos shot indoors and out, and Dinda provides clear examples while explaining how to get the job done. He also discusses several advantages of these powerful tools, including their “non-destructive” abilities and compatibility with non-rasterized layers.
You’ll also learn how to turn these Masks on and off, how to link and unlink multiple Masks, easily create duplicate Masks, and a technique he calls “double masking.” He also reviews a few potential pitfalls like potential problems when copying Masks,
This comprehensive demonstration runs almost 30 minutes and Dinda covers a lot of ground in a hurry. So be sure to have pen and paper by your side to you can take a few notes for future reference.
This particular lesson is Part 4 of Dinda’s popular “Photoshop for Beginners” series, and you can find earlier episodes on his YouTube channel where there are a variety of other tips and tricks for editing your work.
And don’t forget to watch to watch the tutorial mentioned above, with a five-minute fix for poorly-exposed photos using Layer Masks in Lightroom.