In my last post, What Lies Beneath – Part 1, I explained the function of layer masks in Photoshop and how to create them. In today’s post, I’ll explain a few easy ways to edit layer masks in Photoshop once they have been created.

Painting a mask in and out:

  1. Click on the mask thumbnail to make it the editing area of focus in Photoshop.
  2. Use your favourite brush and paint with white to show more, black to hide or a shade of grey to partially show or hide more of the image layer.

Painting tips with masks

  • By reducing the opacity of your brush tool, you can simply paint in white or black to slowly bring in or hide the image area.
  • Set your foreground and background swatches to be black and white by typing the letter “D” on your keyboard or by clicking the default button in the toolbox.
  • You can also swap the foreground or background by typing the letter “X” on your keyboard or by clicking the switch button.

Altering a mask by selecting and filling the area with black, white or shades of grey:

  1. Use your favourite selection tools to select the area that you wish to show or hide in the image.
  2. Click the layer’s mask thumbnail button.
  3. In the menu bar, go to ‘Edit’ and select ‘Fill.’
  4. In the dialog box, select black, white or a shade of grey to alter the mask area.

Alternative shortcuts to fill areas

  • Fill with the foreground swatch: Click Alt+Delete (on a PC) or Option+Delete (on a Mac)
  • Fill with the background swatch: Click Ctrl+Delete (on a PC) or Command+Delete (on a Mac)

For more tips, tricks and help in Photoshop and other Adobe software, I’d recommend you take a look at the broad range of New Horizons’ Adobe training programs. ‘Til next time…happy editing!