Brush Painting on a Layer Mask:

Masks are incredibly useful for blending photos and hiding portions of images without altering them directly.  In this tutorial we'll learn how to use the brush palette and fill layer
with mask to make a photo layer mask.

Creating attractive photo borders or creative cutouts can be an easy and fun task when using masks. In this short tutorial I will show you how to give your photos an easy and creative cutout while painting on a mask with brushes.

1. Open a photo that you intend to use.  This is what I’ll use to demonstrate.
LAYER MASK-1





2. Make a solid fill adjustment layer by clicking Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid, or click on the half black/half white circle in the bottom of the layers palette and choose Solid fill. Choose white as the color.  Follow images shown below.

LAYER MASK-2b
LAYER MASK-3b
LAYER MASK-4a
3. Lower the opacity of the fill layer to reveal the photo underneath. Somewhere around 75% should do nicely.

LAYER MASK-4c
Now you should be able to see the image underneath as shown below.

LAYER MASK-4d 
4. Choose the Brush Tool[B] and select a big brush, preferably a paint stroke brush, something with character and ragged edges. Choose black as your foreground color.
LAYER MASK-5a
LAYER MASK-5b

LAYER MASK-5c
5. Select the mask on the Fill Layer, now start painting with your brush to reveal what you want visible, if you feel you messed up on a spot, just select white as your foreground and paint over it to cover it up, then switch your foreground back to black and continue till you feel satisfied with the results. When done be sure to raise your opacity back to 100% and flatten and save.
LAYER MASK-4c
Here’s what I have using the brush selected from above step 5.

LAYER MASK-5d 
Something I like doing also, is to use some swirl or decorative brushes to add some flair.

LAYER MASK-5e
6. Optional, you can always reduce the opacity of the brush in the options bar at the top of the screen if you want to reveal less of the photo.
NOTE: Black cuts away the mask and reveals what's underneath,while white hides and any shades of gray are varying opacities.  Don’t forget to set your opacity back to 100% and flatten and save.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice write-up. One quick tip also would be using "Shift + |" (Shift + pipe) which reveals the mask as you paint while also showing you the layer without having to reduce opacity.

Jerry Jones said...

Cool, thanks for the heads up tip.

:) Tiff said...

cool!!!

Bonnie said...

Thanks Jerry - always love your tutorials. Easy to understand and offering something out of the norm.

jynene Hartman said...

...can't wait to try it! thanks. :o)

hypersky5 said...

tysvm, I am thankful for this tutorial and I can't wait to try it out =D

SuviAnniina said...

Wow, have to try this one, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much. This is very cool..
Regards from France!
Samia

Caryl said...

Oh wow this is awesome, gotta try this, thank you.

Kathleen said...

I have been wondering how to do this for awhile now! Thanks so much for the great tutorial.

Ann said...

Great tutorial, thanks so much for sharing that. I'm definitely going to have to give this a try.

Mystique Designs said...

Fantastic, again , thank you Jerry :)

Wendy said...

Thanks so much for making this so easy to understand! I'm going to go play now!:)

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jerry. Will be fun to try.

Am unable to download from BrushKing, for some reason--just keep getting looped back to page with the choice of downloads. Anyone else having problems?

Country Girl said...

Great tutorial! Thanks, Jerry.

wisteriax said...

This is a great tutorial, thank you!

I am a digital art newbie, and the inspirational resources you've shared here and on flickr have introduced me to the joys of photoshop experimentation - I am hooked.

Thank you for your generosity!

Caroline said...

OMG...great trick!!! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jerry! I've been trying to figure this out forever. So simple!

kristianne said...

Thank You so much for sharing your knowledge!!

Anonymous said...

:)

dust and light said...

Wow, thanks a lot, Jerry, for all this cool stuff. I discovered it right now and I look forward to apply it to my own photo stuff:) Thanks a lot!

Anonymous said...

thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed visiting your site! Your tutorials are easy to read and understand. Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

fun, thx

suruha said...

Thank you for this tut. Our group at Digital Whisper is using it for one of our challenges. It's definitely a good one.

Su

Brendamb said...

Thank you so much for these so easy to follow instructions. I've just done my first masking project and I'm so pleased with the result:-)

Anonymous said...

So easy. Thank you.

Chris

Di Mancino said...

Just found your website through Flikr and I just want to say how great it is your giving away free your hard work, which you obviously love doing. Thanks for sharing. Now I must get back into Photoshop and try your tutorials.

michaeltuuk said...

Such a simple idea for using a mask...but I never thought of it myself. Thanks for posting it!

Liz said...

This is so useful and simple! Many thanks. I used it here and gave you credit. http://www.flickr.com/photos/calliope/6525710889/

Anonymous said...

Fabulous! Thanks so much!

Rechard Johon said...

You can add a mask to a layer and use the mask to hide portions of the layer and reveal the layers below. Maksing layers is a valuable compositing technique for combining multiple photos into a single image or for removing a person or object from a photo.

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