Beginner’s Guide to Photoshop Masks – Part Two

This post is the second part of the two parts series of the “A Beginner’s Guide to Photoshop Masks” I decided to post here on PSD Vault for Photoshop Beginners.
If you have been following PSD Vault Photoshop tutorial for a while, you probably would have noticed a lot of them contain steps involving Photoshop Masks – which can be a little difficult to understand if you just started Photoshop. Here Look the Example.

In this second part, I will cover the following topics:

  • The Use of Quick Mask
  • The Use of Clipping Mask
  • Apply Mask on Image Adjustment Layer

Also if you would like to read the first part of this series, please click this link below:
A Beginner’s Guide to Photoshop Masks – Part One
OK let’s get started!

The Use of Quick Mask

Firstly download this stock image and use it for this part of the tutorial.
Before we begin, I would like to mention a bit of introduction of “Quick Mask” – although it’s got the word “Mask” in it, it’s more widely used as a tool to make selection of certain objects on an image, rather than hide or reveal them.
Quick mask can be quite useful if want to cut out one part of the image that would be otherwise difficult to select using selection tools such as lasso or marquee tools.
Now let’s load the stock image you just downloaded into Photoshop.
To enter the Quick Mask Mode, Press the “Q” key or Press the button down the bottom of the toolbox:

Choose the black colour as the foreground colour:

Now you can also adjust the brush size prior to painting the mask:

Use this brush to paint over the eagle, as shown below: (for tutorial purpose, I did not go into making a precise selection here)

Now press “Q” key to exit quick mask mode, you will see the mask become a selection:

Once the selection is made, you can copy, cut and move it anywhere you want.
That’s pretty much it for Quick Mask. If you want to make a more precise selection, adjust the brush size and use erase tool along with the brush tool when you paint the mask.

The Use of Clipping Mask

Now let’s get to the clipping mask part. Personally I think this is one of the greatest feature of Photoshop and I seriously can not be without it :)
Basically a clipping mask can take the shape of the  base layer – the base layer can be text, shape, or a filled selection.
Let’s take a look at the clipping mask in action. Download this stock image and use it for this part of the tutorial.
Create a new document sized 600px * 600px with a white background and type some texts onto it:

Load the stock image in and select a portion of it, copy and paste onto the text document you just created:

Right-click on this layer and choose “Create Clipping Mask”:

Now you can the layer has a little down arrow attached to it, meaning it has been transformed into a clipping mask:

Now if you take a look at the canvas, you will see the texture layer takes on the shape of the text layer. As a result, we successfully apply the texture to the text and make it look more stylish :)

You can also use clipping mask on shapes, just using the same method as on a text layer. Have a try with it and experiment the effect yourself :)

Applying Mask on Image Adjustment Layer

On later versions of Photoshop, we’re introduced a new featured called “Adjustment Layer”, which you can apply image adjustment options such as curves, color balance and channel mixer, etc onto it – without the need of changing the original layer content.
Now on those adjustment layers, you can also apply mask in order to hide or reveal certain portion.
As shown below, I added a color balance adjustment layer to the background layer. By default, Photoshop will automatically attach a mask to the adjustment layer:

Same as the layer mask on a normal layer, you can use brush tool/eraser tool to paint or erase on the layer mask:

As the portion on the adjustment layer will be hidden, and reveal the content on the layer below:

One more thing you need to remember is that you can make the adjustment layer as clipping mask via right-clicking menu:

This way you can apply image adjustment only on the layer that it “clips” onto, without affect other layers. Also when you combine the layer mask on the adjustment layer, and the clipping mask option together, you can add very complex effect to the image :)
OK that’s it for this tutorial! Hopefully you learn a few things about the masks in Photoshop and find those tips useful :)
Till next time, have a great day!


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