Adobe Photoshop CS6 (MAC): Masking (Basics)

Posted: November 21, 2013 in Adobe Photoshop Skills
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In this part, I am going to use Masking to transform a photograph and add some effects. This will give you an idea what you can do with Masks.

Duplicate Mask

The first step is to duplicate the image into a separate layer. Right Click on the image layer and click Duplicate Layer (Command + J).

Name Layer

Now, a box will show up in which you can name your layer. Let’s call it ‘Dog Copy’, that’s easy to remember. Once you’ve filled it in, click OK to create the layer.


The next step is to adjust the saturation of the new layer. We do this by going to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation (Command + U).

Hue/Saturation Menu

In the next box, move the slider named Saturation all the way to the left (-100) to turn the image into black and white. Click OK to confirm.

Add Mask

We now need to add a Mask. Click the Add Layer Mask in the bottom of the layer box. This is the icon that looks like a little rectangle with a circle inside it.

Brush Mask

Now, by using the Brush Tool (B) and the colours Black and White as your foreground and background colours, we can add or remove the original colour in the image. Make sure you have the Layer Mask selected to do so. To increase your brush size, press  [  or  ]  . To change the hardness of your brush, press SHIFT + [  or  ]   . To open the brush palette, press CTRL + Left Click anywhere. Use this to make the dog itself appear in colour, whilst leaving the background black and white.

Your image should now look like the image above.

Mask Selection

In order to make a selection from the Mask you’ve just created, Right Click on your layer mask and choose the Add Mask to Selection option.

Marching Ants

This will create the ‘marching ants’ around your mask, indication your selection. You can easily invert your selection by pressing Command + SHIFT + I.


You could now have a play with some effects to change the look of the background (so make sure you select the correct layer now) and make it look very different indeed. Do this in the Filter menu. Once an effect has been applied (or multiple effects for that matter if you wanted) and the selection deselected, this could be your resulting image:

Dog Result


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