Flypaper Textures

Basic Layer mask tutorial

Another wet day here so I decided to do a very basic tutorial on masking in photoshop. Using a mask is how I remove unwanted texture from parts of an image, it’s a great way to do this as it’s fully reversible and adjustable.
Mouseover the image above to see the before photo.
I started with a layer of Chlorophyll @ hard light 80%. It looked okay but the texture was covering the flower a bit too much. So I added a layer mask to that layer. Make sure your texture layer is selected, click on the mask button at the bottom of the layers palette and the white layer mask box appears beside the texture layer in the palette.
(click on the following screenshots for a bigger view)

Select a large soft brush, I used one of around 20 % opacity, and make sure your foreground and background colours are set to black and white -if you press “D” on the keyboard they will reset automatically.
You can toggle between black and white by pressing the “X” key.
Make sure your mask layer is active by clicking in the white square and with black as the brush colour, softly brush over parts of the image that you want to remove texture. If you make a mistake simply change the brush colour to white.  Here is the flower after some texture removal.

On some subjects I use a graduated fill rather than a brush to remove the texture. Once again make sure your colours are set to black and white and that your mask is active.  Select the gradient tool and the type of gradient – for this photo I would choose a  a circular gradient. Then it’s just a matter of drawing a line from the centre of your subject outwards to remove some of the texture. This can be redone until you get the effect you like.  On landscapes I often use a linear gradient to remove texture from the sky (or the ground).
Next I added a couple more textures.
Archival Canvas @ multiply 62%
Fly edge 15 @ multiply 78 %

At this stage I decided that the Chlorophyll layer was a bit too green and dominant  so I reduced its opacity to 43%
And finally added a levels adjustment to tweak the tone

Hope this has been helpful and as always if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask.

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21 Responses to “Basic Layer mask tutorial”

  1. lawatha says:

    I just put the mask tutorial to work on a lupine photo that my daughter took. I love the results- thank you for sharing your knowledge!

  2. Borealnz (Jill) says:

    Thanks Lawatha, I'm so glad it's been helpful 🙂

  3. Sabinche says:

    well, jill, this is a great service! 🙂
    very helpful.

    i will have a more detailed look into it as soon as i have more time and i will give myself a try.

    thank you so much for this tutorial!!! 🙂

  4. Just Me says:

    This was an awesome tutorial. I followed your instructions and it worked. It seems that using a mask to remove texture works so much better than using the eraser. It gives a much softer effect. Thanks so much! I can't wait for your next one!!

  5. Borealnz (Jill) says:

    Thanks 🙂 I should add that you can alter the opacity of your brush to take off more or less texture and that this masking technique can be used for more than just texture, it can be used on any adjustment layer.

  6. paulgrand says:

    Superb tut Jill, cant wait to use it! 🙂

  7. I have purchased some of your textures in the past.I have not used them for some time. I am having a problem.
    After I place the texture over my image in PS, select the an adjustment layer such as overlay, select a brush size and start to take off some of the texture I GET THE CIRCLE WITH THE LINE THROUGH IT. That’s my problem. Now I can not make any adjustments. I do IO overcome this problem.


    • PaulGrand says:

      Hi George, Sounds like the layer is ‘locked’?
      Simply click on the first texture icon again and it should unlock the layer!
      Let us know here, how you get on?

  8. Shelly says:

    This is great. A nice, simple explanation of masks. Thanks so much! 🙂

  9. This is a very basic question about layers … before using the mask on the texture layer, I assume I hve to combine the texture layer and my photo that I want to use it on. How do I do that? Once I know that, I can follow your great instructions on how to remove part of the texture. Thanks!!!

    • JillFerry says:

      Hi Susanne, the texture layer should be above the photo in the layer stack with its blending mode and opacity changed to taste, you can then add a layer mask. If you click on the photos in the tutorial you’ll be able to see them bigger and you’ll see what the layers should look like. Hope that helps? ~Jill~

  10. Tracy Mitchell Griggs says:

    Assuming that Flypaper can only be used in Photoshop?

    • JillFerry says:

      HiTracy, No our textures can be used in any editing programme that allows the use of layers, Photoshop, PS Elements, Gimp and there are others if you google, they can also be used in Lightroom or Aperture if you use a plugin such as OnOne’s Perfect Layers.
      Hope that helps?

  11. […] Textures. They have an array of backgrounds to choose from and they have an easy to follow tutorial on how to apply the backgrounds with Photoshop and Photoshop […]

  12. Kandace says:

    How do you remove the texture from the subject but not the tone? Once I apply the texture I love how the subject looks but I do not want lines going through my subject, i.e., hummingbird, person, flower, etc.

    • JillFerry says:

      Hi Kandace, sorry about the delay in replying, we missed your question, which is a tricky one. The only thing I can think of is to selectively blur the texture layer so the tone remains but the texture itself disappears. Perhaps try a fairly high guassian blur layer adjustment on just the texture layer, then apply a layer mask to the blur adjustment layer and remove the blur from your subject and then invert the mask. This would blur the texture over just the subject. Sorry it’s a fairly round about way of doing things so I hope you follow?
      I do remember a similar question we have had previously and found a thread in our Flypaper group which might help too


  13. Terri says:

    I don’t have photo shop. I do own topaz texture effects & topaz impression. How do I mask??

  14. Maria Olga Meneses says:

    Hi, my question is how do you bring your textures into Photoshop to keep them there.

    • JillFerry says:

      Hi Maria,sorry, only just found your question. Do you mean leave the textures in Photoshop for future use? If that’s the case then the only way to do that is to use the free Adobe Texture panel photoshop extension. The Adobe texture panel for CC only lets you use one set of textures at a time though, one workaround is to make one large folder of textures and add that to the panel, but you have to be wary of adding too many textures to the panel or it might slow down your system.
      Hope that helps?

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