2007 SLP Curriculum Guide #08, Creating Masks
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In Guide #07 we explored Masks as ways to either allow or disallow sections or portions of an image or photograph to be viewed. Thus, one can use masks to create interesting results, either in framing a photograph or presenting it in an unique fashion. In this guide we will explore how to Make Masks, which is fairly easy to do.


A mask is a special type of image that PSP will use when using masks to hide, show, and/or show parts of another image. Basically a mask is a White/Black/Grey image. White areas of the image will HIDE the same area on another picture, while Black areas will SHOW the same area on the picture and the GREY areas dependent upon how grey will PARTIALLY SHOW those same areas on a picture.

Another way to describe a mask is that White areas are blockers at full opacity, Black areas are revealers at no opacity and Grey areas are opacity between none to full and display those areas similarly on the photograph or picture that uses a mask. One way to fully understand how a mask works is to briefly study the masks one uses such as done in Guide #07. Just notice how the White/Black/Grey areas create the result in a picture.


Simply speaking to create a mask one creates a White/Black/Grey image in which a particular design, outline, areas will be used on a picture. For purposes of learning how to make a mask we will explore very simple designs.


  1. Create the design
    • Start with a 600 x 600 white background new image.
    • Promote background to a layer.
    • Draw a rectangular selection inside to leave a white border of around 20 pixels or so.
    • Flood fill the selection with Black.
  2. Then use the steps from Guide #07.
    • Right Click on Mask Layer and Delete and select Yes in the popup window to merge mask with lower layer.
    • Then Click on Ungroup Layers.
  3. SAVE the image as a jpeg or pspimage to your PSP MASKS folder.
That is all there is to it. Just test out your new mask on a photograph to see how a white border is the result which now can be saved to your computer and used on a web page to look like a printed photograph.


  1. Using a Grey area
    • Start with the White Border Image with its Black middle area.
    • Use the Magic Wand and click inside of the White Border.
    • Use Selections || Invert
    • Then use the Selections Tool and set it to Circle.
    • Use Guides set at horizontal and vertical 300 to have a cross hair at 300,300.
    • In Selection Tool set it to 'REMOVE' and Check ANTI-Alias and then draw a circle starting at the crosshairs leaving about 1/4 inch at each of the top/left/bottom/right sides.
    • Create a new layer
    • Flood fill the selection with White.
    • Lower the Opacity to 50%.
    • Save image as a jpeg in your Masks Folder
    Note when you use this new mask on a picture you not only have a white border but an oval or circle area (dependent upon dimensions of picture) that is opaque showing some of the picture background through it.
  2. An Approach
    • One can use various techniques to create masks. One could use a 'paintbrush' with a small tip and paint a frame design. One could use the selection tool and create various types of selections either adding and/or removing sections of the selection. One could also use various brush tips to design sections of the mask such as a flower design or other design that a brush tip would produce.
    • In Illustration #4, the mask I created started with just finding a flower like brush tip and setting it at each corner (black on a white background). Then I started with a circle selection and added a circle section at each corner to get the odd circle shaped frame. Finally I used Selections || Invert to get the selection around the white frame and then used Selections || Modify || Inside/Outside Feather set at about 30.
    • Finally I created a new black background layer and then saved the image as a mask in my Masks folder.
    • The mask is displayed as a final image following the steps used in Guide #07.

Illustration #1:
The plain white border Frame

Illustration #2: The plain white border Frame with a grey oval area.

Illustration #3: My created frame using a flower tip brush plus selections to create the shaped frame then feathered to allow background to show through (greyed areas).

Illustration #4: My created frame using various brush tips, a name plate and after the mask was set blurred the area of background photograph to create a different inner area look for the frame.

Masks are 600x600 black, white and grey images saved as Jpeg files. Members are free to download them and use them as they wish.
Click on the mask for its full size image.


  1. When completing a tutorial or series of tutorials, and having placed them upon your web page, post in the SLP Forum your completed work using this layout:
    • Name or Screen Name.
    • Web Site URL.
    • Version of PSP using.
    • List of Tutorials completed.
  2. Post your Work:
    • List what you did, feature, options used, values.
    • Indicate steps taken and results.
    • Indicate things you found interesting, worthwhile and any other comments.
  3. List some of the similarities you found between the Menu System, Palettes, and Keyboard shortcuts.
  4. Post any questions and comments in the SLP Forum.

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