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Unravelling the Mystery of Photoshop's Layer Masks

Mystery. While we would probably prefer not to be involved in a serious one, people do tend to enjoy a little in  life. We read books or watch movies that titillate with questions to help find the climactic answer. There are games that focus on unravelling the clues to discover the real story at the end.  Colonel Mustard in the dining room with a candlestick, anyone?

Most would admit to a degree of fascination for the enigmatic,  the people who seem to keep at least a part of themselves hidden. Being mysterious ourselves can be fun too.  We have great fun in hiding behind masks or in costumes.  Say the word Halloween and watch the delight of not just children but grownups too as they plan the transformation that will disguise them to the world. Keeping one's identity a secret while trying to uncover that of others can be an entertaining diversion, our masks creating a level of anonymity.

The notion that there is more here than meets the eye works with image editing too. Just as the Halloween mask  hides certain facial features, the Layer Masks in Photoshop will do the same to an illustration or photo.  They allow you to reveal only what you want to see, without erasing or cropping, so that returning to the original image is as simple as removing a mask at midnight.

More on how they work can be found at these great sites:

Understanding Layer Masks in Photoshop

Photoshop's Masking Layers

Using Layer Masks With Photoshop

A Little Bit About Photoshop's Layer Masks

Remove Complex Backgrounds With Layer Masks

A Beginner's Guide to Masking in Photoshop

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