Once you’ve added a mask, you can now add or subtract using a variety of tools. You can freely switch between the Brush, Radial Mask, and Gradient Mask tools while working. Once you’ve chosen one of these tools, a new toolbar appears. Let’s explore the essential controls.
Global Mask Controls
Once you start to edit a mask, you’ll see global mask controls. These make it easier to visualize a mask or edit its contents. These controls are found under the Mask menu in the toolbar.
- Fill. This option attaches a mask filled with white that reveals all details of the filter. Use the Brush tool to paint with black and subtract from the mask.
- Invert. Inverts any mask that you’ve created so that its opacity and transparency values are reversed.
- Clear. This option hides the results of the filter entirely. Use the paint brush or gradient tools to add details back to the image.
- Copy. Copies the current mask to the clipboard. To use this, create a new layer and paste it into the new layer.
- Paste. Pastes the current mask stored on the clipboard for use on another layer.
- Show Mask/Hide Mask. This controls the visibility of the mask. It makes it easy to view the mask as a rubylith (red) overlay. You may also continue drawing while the layer mask is shown, for even more precision. Alternatively you can click the eyeball icon.
- Density. Controls the transparency of pixels outside of a mask so the overall the mask fades into the background better.
- Feather. Blurs the edges of a mask to more naturally fade the mask adjustments into the image.
Layer and Tool Mask Extras
Here are some extra techniques you can use when masking a layer or adjustment layer.
- While masking or erasing, right-clicking the mouse causes a context window of parameter settings of the brush, and includes additional controls for pen pressure sensitivity.
- For handy reference, in the Layers panel on the upper right side of the Side Panel, you’ll see a thumbnail image of the current mask.
- To quickly switch between Paint and Erase modes, use a shortcut key X.
- To quickly change the Diameter of the brush, use the shortcut keys [ and ]. This is very convenient and greatly speeds up brush work.
- To quickly change the Softness of the brush, use the shortcut keys Shift + [ and Shift + ].
- If you hold down the space bar in Painting mode you can switch to Move the image. This is very convenient when zoomed in for detailed brush strokes.