- Layer masks are resolution-dependent bitmap images that are edited with the painting or selection tools.
- Vector masks are resolution independent and are created with a pen or shape tool.Layer and vector masks are nondestructive, which means you can go back and re‑edit the masks later without losing the pixels they hide.In the Layers panel, both the layer and vector masks appear as an additional thumbnail to the right of the layer thumbnail. For the layer mask, this thumbnail represents the grayscale channel that is created when you add the layer mask. The vector mask thumbnail represents a path that clips out the contents of the layer.
It doesn’t matter if you are a photographer or a graphic designer, chances are that you have come across the need to fade or blend images in Photoshop. There are many different methods and techniques that will help you to blend images together. One of them is called a layer mask.
Step 1: Bring Your Image Into Photoshop
Step 2: Position Your Image
Position your image layer in the document as you wish. This may mean that you have to crop your image, or move it around. If you move it so that part of it goes off of the canvas that is okay.
Step 3: Add a New Layer Below Your Image
Create a new layer below your photo.
Step 4: Add a layer mask on Your front Image
Add a mask that shows or hides the entire layer
Make sure that no part of your image is selected. Choose Select – Deselect.In the Layers panel, select the layer or group.Do one of the following:
- To create a mask that reveals the entire layer, click the Add Layer Mask button in the Layers panel, or choose Layer – Layer Mask – Reveal All.To create a mask that hides the entire layer, Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) the Add Layer Mask button, or choose Layer – Layer Mask – Hide All.
Step 5: Blend Your Image
You know that a mask is active, when there is a black outline around the layer mask icon. Select the gradient tool, and draw a black to white gradient from the left edge of the photo, to the right.
Unlink layers and masks
- To unlink a layer from its mask, click the link icon in the Layers panel.
- To reestablish the link between a layer and its mask, click between the layer and mask path thumbnails in the Layers panel.
Apply a gradient fill
To fill part of the image, select the desired area. Otherwise, the gradient fill is applied to the entire active layer.Select the Gradient tool . (If the tool isn’t visible, hold down the Paint Bucket tool.)
In the options bar, choose a fill from the wide gradient sample:
Note:The Neutral Density preset provides a helpful photographic filter for sunsets and other high-contrast scenes.
- Click the triangle next to the sample to pick a preset gradient fill.
- Click inside the sample to view the Gradient Editor. Select a preset gradient fill, or create a new gradient fill.
Select an option to determine how the starting point (where the mouse is pressed) and ending point (where the mouse is released) affect gradient appearance.Linear Gradient-Shades from the starting point to the ending point in a straight line.Radial Gradient-Shades from the starting point to the ending point in a circular pattern.Angular GradientShades in a counterclockwise sweep around the starting point.Reflected Gradient-Mirrors the same linear gradient on either side of the starting point.Diamond Gradient-Shades from the middle to the outer corners of a diamond pattern.
Do the following in the options bar:
- Specify a blending mode and opacity for the paint.
- To reverse the order of colors in the gradient fill, select Reverse.
- To create a smoother blend with less banding, select Dither.
- To use a transparency mask for the gradient fill, select Transparency.