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Layer Mask

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  • Layer Mask

    I have just downloaded the Hidden Power tools for PS Elements 2.0.

    I wanted to learn how to isolate a subject easier than using the background erase tool, which took forever to use! I was told to use the poly lasso and then apply the layer mask to clean up the edges. Well... once I click on the layer mask link in the Hidden Power panel, I get a message saying the "make" command is not available yet - Cancel or Continue.

    I'm pretty new to photo editing and I have no idea what that means.

    I guess I need help understanding what the layer mask really is and how do I get it to work. Is it the easiest way to do what I want to do?

    Thank you for your help

  • #2
    I suspect that you are working on the background layer ... and layers masks don't work on that layer. Go to the layers palette and double click on the background layer then when the menu pops up just click on OK. Layer Masks will work once you have done that.

    Another way is to duplicate the background layer (Layer>Duplicate Layer or in the Layers Palette drag the Background layer down to the create layer icon) that will also make your layer mask work.



    • #3
      Good answer Wendy.


      • #4
        Thank you Wendy for helping. I did go and check and it wasn't labeled Background. I did duplicate the layer just in case. I still get the same response.

        Maybe I don't understand how the layer mask works, how to use it or even what it is.

        What should be happening when I click on the the layer mask link in hidden power? Is it much different than using the erase tool? Is it better or easier?
        I still don't understand the text box that appears... "The Make command is not available yet."

        I know... lots of questions - sorry, I'm still stumped.

        Richard, thank you for checking in


        • #5
          Just try something out for me . Go to Image>Mode .... what does it say? The reason I ask is that layer masks don't work in some modes (Bitmap and Indexed Colour).

          OK then if it says RGB or Grayscale it should be OK so start again with the things I said in my last post ... if it doesn't work with that image then try it out on another image and lets see if it works on that. If it works on another image we maybe able to work out what is going wrong.

          A layer mask is rather difficult to describe simply but I will try. It is something that shows in the layer palette attached to one of the layers and if you paint on the layer mask in black then the image vanishes and if you paint on it in white then the image shows again.

          Now where this comes in useful is if you want to remove something from your photograph (like the background) ... so you apply a layer mask and paint out the background using black BUT if you paint out a little too much you can then switch to white and paint it back in again. It is very versatile and once you get used to it ... easy to use.

          Try it again and lets see what happens ... sorry but I won't be around for a week or so as I am going on holiday tomorrow but hopefully someone else will be able to carry on from here.

          Maybe we have sorted it out this time ... fingers crossed



          • #6
            Thank you Wendy... I'm going to have a look and try it. I think you've cleared up for me what the layer mask is and how to use it.

            Now I'll get to a pic and see what I can do.

            Thanks again... I'll let you know what happens.
            Enjoy your vacation!
            Last edited by MrMarco; 06-26-2004, 05:38 AM. Reason: mis-spelled and forgot to add something


            • #7
              Again, Wendy is right on...Thanks Wendy. just to emphasize; The difference in the eraser and masking is, the eraser is permanent in removing pixel information, masking can be reversed.


              • #8
                HI Richard,

                Thanks, that makes alot of sense. The next thing I have to do is get your book and probably one for a real beginner! Do you also have a beginner's book out?

                I did figure out the painting with the black to clean up the edges. BUT, now I still see the black when I put the image on another layer. Of course I'm still missing something.

                I promise I'll go out today and get the books. Hopefully I won't be such a pest after actually reading the directions! (not used to that you know... hehehe)

                Thanks again ~