Image masking techniques

2018-02-14 13:15:57

What is Image Masking? In Photoshop, Image Masking is a function that hides some portions of an image under layers and keeps some other parts exposed. 


This is very popularly known as the non-destructive way of removing backgrounds of images. This leaves you with the option of recovering the hidden portions and editing the image, if needed. This method has proved to be efficient and an innovative way of photo editing.

There are mainly three types of masking in Photoshop –

Layer Masking: The Layer mask is the basic masking which is widely used. Layer masking is great when you want to create a changeover effect in photos, e.g. the sky or clouds. Some parts can be hidden while others can remain as is. Or you can adjust the opacity level of the photo or objects using Layer masking.
The layers visibility can be tampered with by using this function and anything can be made invisible, as you wish!

Clipping Mask: Many may claim that Clipping Mask technique is the inverse of layer mask technique.
Clipping mask uses one layer to establish the opacity level of another layer. For clipping mask, one layer needs to be at the bottom of the layer where you want it to be transparent. This bottom layer controls the visibility of the top layer.

In case of clipping mask, the top layer of the mask will be detectable if the bottom layer contains pixels. If the bottom layer is void of pixels, the top layer will be invisible.

Alpha Channel Masking: Each image is unique and needs to be handled in specific ways. Which is why different methods exist and need to be applied. In case of removing background, Alpha Channel masking is a little unorthodox in terms of masking technique.

In case of small detailed objects like hair or fur, it is difficult and time consuming to use brush strokes. By bringing about a certain level of contrast in the photo, Alpha channel masking technique can help you mask and isolate easily.

In short, to toil with this method of masking, we use the channel palate to see which channel brings about the jazziest contrast. In case of the blue channel, a duplicate copy of that channel is required and applied on that to increase the contrast adequately. If necessary, it is possible to paint over the inner part of the new blue channel with black layers to make it totally black. Then it can be inversed to turn the white to black and the black to white. Afterwards one has to copy the channel and paste it on the layer tab to make a new layer. The dodge and burn tools can be used to enhance the contrast around the edges. Sometimes you can obtain astonishing outcomes with this option.