Masking is it that good?

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  1. #1
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    Masking is it that good?

    Hey, so I'm watching some videos on painting in photoshop and they are using the mask function a lot, somehow I'm clearly stupid and don't understand why everyone praises it so much, I never used it, can someone explain me the principles and when and why to use it instead of sth else.


    Also can anyone answer me this, so when I paint with a wacom tablet and let's say I use a round brush with opacity on pen pressure and I paint an opaque line and I paint another line with the same transparity over it the part I paint over gets darker, is there anyway to set up photoshop not to do this, to make it look like traditional media or can only painter to this?

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    Sorry I'm not gonna be of any help here, cuz I'm in kinda the same boat as you in both your questions. I've never used masking seriously, and I feel there is so much potential in that tool, so I'm curious too. And to also the smaller font question as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by La Ligne Noire View Post
    Hey, so I'm watching some videos on painting in photoshop and they are using the mask function a lot, somehow I'm clearly stupid and don't understand why everyone praises it so much, I never used it, can someone explain me the principles and when and why to use it instead of sth else.


    Also can anyone answer me this, so when I paint with a wacom tablet and let's say I use a round brush with opacity on pen pressure and I paint an opaque line and I paint another line with the same transparity over it the part I paint over gets darker, is there anyway to set up photoshop not to do this, to make it look like traditional media or can only painter to this?
    Whit Brachna's "Masks Demonstration" video download costs a mere $5 from this very site.

    My 'doh' moment when I realised how great masking was came with reading a tutorial that involved adjustment layers and masking. Up until that point I just didn't get it either.

    Masks are great because they are non-destructive. You can remove parts of a layer fully or partially and just as easily bring them back... something you can't do with the eraser or otherwise deleting pixel information.

    Your second problem is harder. As long as you keep pressing down and continuing the one stroke you can go back over lines and areas... as soon as you lift the pen at all you will get the behaviour you describe. If you want a an area to be (for example) 50% grey, then don't use black with less pressure - use 50% grey at high pressure. You can't expect the Brush tool in Photoshop to read your mind.

    What you are seeing as an unwanted behaviour is something that is key to the way many people use Photoshop for digital art. They allow tone and colour to build up successively in stages, ALT click to sample intermediate tones and colours that are created by building up strokes and do a bit of smoothing that way.

    I always found I preferred both opacity and flow to be controlled by pressure, while leaving Opacity set at 100% (allowing pen to control fully) and capping Flow at a lower figure around 15% (pen pressure controls flow but it can't be higher than 15)

    I do however far prefer Painter 11 these days.

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    I suggest putting a mask layer at the tip top of your layers bar to 'desaturate.' You can check it on and off to check your values in B&W (Black and white). I learned this from Feng Zhu videos.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnMalcolm1970 View Post
    Whit Brachna's "Masks Demonstration" video download costs a mere $5 from this very site.

    My 'doh' moment when I realised how great masking was came with reading a tutorial that involved adjustment layers and masking. Up until that point I just didn't get it either.

    Masks are great because they are non-destructive. You can remove parts of a layer fully or partially and just as easily bring them back... something you can't do with the eraser or otherwise deleting pixel information.

    Your second problem is harder. As long as you keep pressing down and continuing the one stroke you can go back over lines and areas... as soon as you lift the pen at all you will get the behaviour you describe. If you want a an area to be (for example) 50% grey, then don't use black with less pressure - use 50% grey at high pressure. You can't expect the Brush tool in Photoshop to read your mind.

    What you are seeing as an unwanted behaviour is something that is key to the way many people use Photoshop for digital art. They allow tone and colour to build up successively in stages, ALT click to sample intermediate tones and colours that are created by building up strokes and do a bit of smoothing that way.

    I always found I preferred both opacity and flow to be controlled by pressure, while leaving Opacity set at 100% (allowing pen to control fully) and capping Flow at a lower figure around 15% (pen pressure controls flow but it can't be higher than 15)

    I do however far prefer Painter 11 these days.
    Damn fine explanation! Thank you very much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadlyhazard View Post
    I suggest putting a mask layer at the tip top of your layers bar to 'desaturate.' You can check it on and off to check your values in B&W (Black and white). I learned this from Feng Zhu videos.
    Thanks this is great but I think you're thinking about layer styles.

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    Hi La Ligne Noire,

    Interesting thread, I remember being in your shoes about a year ago - I also remember how I avoided using masks at any cost because I just couldn't get my head around how they worked, or get them to work! Nowadays with all my website designs I use masks because they are perfect for non-destructive photo editing. Once you figure out how they work you'll love them and they will quickly become your best friend. Good luck!

    P.S you might wanna check out my blog - there's a lot of really useful tutorials on there for beginners to advanced users of photoshop. http://www.crearedesign.co.uk/blog/

    Last edited by Wozza; December 14th, 2010 at 04:59 AM. Reason: wrong link
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    I love masks because they are non-destructive methods utilized in a painterly manner.

    If I delete pixel data on the layer, it's modified, and I can't get it back.
    If I modify the pixel data via a mask (even better, a mask on it's own layer), then I haven't modified the base data in anyway that I can't go back on down the line.

    Simply put, what's white is fully opaque; what's black is fully transparent, and the shades of gray are varying levels between.

    "Doing something half-assed more than once just makes you more of an ass."
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