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Convert image to layer mask - Is it possible?

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  #1  
Old 12-27-2006, 12:09 AM
Brencam Brencam is offline
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Convert image to layer mask - Is it possible?

Hi,
I've been using both PSE 3 and PWP Pro for image editing and also own the Hidden Elements books and plugins. For those who don't know PWP Pro has some very powerful masking tools and the masks can also be saved as grayscale jpg files which can then be loaded as PSE layers .

I'd like to try and use these masks in PSE 3 as well - ideally as layermasks. I know there is a tool in HE to create a layermask for any PSE layer.

However I have not found any way to make use of an existing layer as the mask for a new layer - Can this be done? AFAIK it seems you need to either create a selection and then create the layer mask from selection - not quite what I had in mind.

Since I already have a gray scale image I'd like to use that as the mask for the new layer - prefereable without creating separate selection. (Not sure if I'm explaining this very clearly - however I hope you get the idea).

BTW -I notice that HPE 4 has a new tool - 'Selection to Layer Mask' - Is there a counterpart to that in HPE 3.

TIA
Brendan
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Old 12-27-2006, 10:27 AM
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Richard_Lynch Richard_Lynch is offline
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Re: Convert image to layer mask - Is it possible?

Some of us (including me) may not have any idea what PWP Pro is. There are several acronyms you use and it is best to spell them out -- at least the first time -- unless they are Photoshop Elements (PE).

There are new tools in the Elements 4 set that do not have counterparts in Elements 3...there are 100 tools in the Elements 4 set, and only 60 in the Elements 3 set (40 in Elements 2+1). I am not sure of the value of re-creating those newer tools in older sets. I'll probably come out with a few tools for Elements 5 that will be in no earlier set.

The method you describe of making a selection and filling it will work...Can you explain why that isn't satisfactory? There is another way to do it:

1. Select All (from the layer you want to use as a mask)
2. Copy
3. Create a layer mask (Choose Layer Mask from the Hidden power tools).
4. Option-click / Alt-click [mac/pc] the layer mask.
5. Paste

This will convert any color to grayscale in a mask without any intermediate adjustments.

is that it?
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Old 12-27-2006, 11:02 AM
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Richard_Lynch Richard_Lynch is offline
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Re: Convert image to layer mask - Is it possible?

Actually, the other method is easier and shorter:

1. Choose Highlight Mask from the Hidden Power tools (this will create a selection).
2. Be sure the layer mask is active in the layers palette.
3. Fill with Black (Edit>Fill Selection).
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Old 12-27-2006, 01:25 PM
Brencam Brencam is offline
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Re: Convert image to layer mask - Is it possible?

Richard,
Thanks for the quick response my question - that solves my problem (I'd forgotten about Alt/Click on the layer mask to allow me to paste the selection - sometimes you can't see the wood for the trees)!.

I totally understand your not wanting to retrofit new tools for earlier versions of PE and that is perfectly reasonable - FWIW - I've held off on upgrading PE since (others may feel the upgrades are worthwhile):

- I can do most of what I need (except 16 bit processing) in PE or PWP

- Adobe keeps removing back door access to features (e.g. Curves) in later versions

- For the cost of version upgrades (to PE4 and 5) begins to approach the Academic pricing for CS2/CS3.

Apologies for the acronym confusion - PWP is Picture Window Pro - a windows only editor that supports full color management, works in 48 bit mode and costs about the same as PE.

I use both but have found the mask tools in PWP are more powerful than those in PE. For those interested here are some links that describe the product and the masking capabilities.

http://www.dl-c.com/

http://www.normankoren.com/PWP_masks.html

Hope this helps

Thanks again for your excellent support.
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Old 12-29-2006, 11:18 AM
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Richard_Lynch Richard_Lynch is offline
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Re: Convert image to layer mask - Is it possible?

Can you be more specific about what you like about the masking in PWP (now that we know what it is ;-), as I bet there are ways to accomplish what you need to in elements -- I just haven't marketed them yet!

Also, whether Adobe has chosen to remove "back door" means of accessing features or not, you can still do what you need to in elements--there isn't one thing they've removed that i haven't put back in -- it may just look a little different.
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Old 12-29-2006, 04:52 PM
Brencam Brencam is offline
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Re: Convert image to layer mask - Is it possible?

Richard,
You've done a great job unlocking PE's back doors and I am aware that you have found work arounds in PE3 and 4 (I have both of your HE books) - however a few critical features (IMHO) are still missing from PE (3,4 or 5):

- Full color management/proofing - this prevents the use of different working spaces (e.g. Joseph Holmes Chroma Variant sets - designed to manage saturation and control luminance correctly) - see this link - http://www.josephholmes.com/profiles.html or review his downloadable samples - they are very interesting - the link is here: http://www.josephholmes.com/propages/Examples.html

(I realize that most PE users don't need/care about this - however I like to have the option to research/experiment - I consider it as part of my overall education ).

- 16/48 bit processing for levels/layers - For some images it helps to preserve the full dynamic range (at least until the most critical corrections are done) - even though we end up printing only 8 bit images.

- Re PWP and Masks - Norm Koren's tutorial see: http://www.normankoren.com/PWP_masks.html - explains this in some detail - see the discussion of 3rd row dialog box options - re HSV/HSL color space selection; color range masking; masking with similar pixels (fixed or tracked) while painting a mask, masking based on brightness etc.).

FWIW - PWP also allows users to work in RGB/HSV or HSL modes - all in 16/48 bit mode. It also supports full color management/proofing as I described above.

BTW - I not trying to say PWP is better than PE or PE + HE - merely that there are alternatives to PE at similar cost. The PWP metaphor is also distinctly different than PE (no layer support, no plugin support) and has it's own learning curve.

Although it has a great user forum, this not compare in scope to the broad industry support and user base that PE enjoys. IMHO it does offer great value for the $. (I have no affiliation with either product/vendor here).

If you take a look at PWP I'd be interested to hear your comments/feedback.

Regards,
Brendan
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