Home>Tutorials>Effects V7>
Masks - layers
Download this tutorialDownload E-book
(11.7kb)
E-mail this tutorial to a friendEmail to a Friend

Masks - Layers
Created by:Kawliga

Download this tutorial fileDownload Attachment
In order to do this tutorial you should download the attachment on the left which includes a package of 7 images that we will use to make a collage.
Create a new image approx. 400 x 200 pixels, this will depend on what pictures you use, white background and 16 million colors.
Click on the Floodfill tool in your tool palette:
Blend mode = Normal
Match mode = None
Tolerance = n/a
Opacity = 100
Sample merged = unchecked
Set both your styles to Solid Color (click on the arrows in the style boxes and choose the icon on the left) and your textures to None (click on the arrows in your texture boxes and choose the icon on the right). Then click into your foreground style box and choose a color of your liking. Click into the image to fill with that color. We used a lighter color.
Check the "Lock" option below your texture boxes so that these settings are valid for the other tools throughout this tutorial.
Open all 7 images from your download.
Click on "/tutorial/html/tut7eff/logo1.jpg" to activate it and make it the current image. Go to Edit || Copy.
Now click on your collage image to make it the current image. Click on Edit || Paste || As New Layer. Use your Mover tool to place the image where you want it. You can follow our example, but it isn't necessary for this tutorial imagination is the name of the game!
Now activate "/tutorial/html/tut7eff/logo2.jpg". On the Layer palette, take logo2's background button with your mouse and drag it over the collage image. As you see, this also pastes as a new layer.

Now, do the same for the other 5 images until you have an image that looks something like the one on the left.

The key here is to use your imagination in placing the images.

You should now have an image with a background plus 7 layers. Make sure you can view your Layer palette. If it gets in the way when you are working you can press your Tab key on the keyboard to "hide" the palettes, press again to view them. If you only wish to get rid of the Layer palette, just type "L".
Now we are going to create a mask for each layer in the image. Make sure the Layer palette is visible. Click on Layer2 to make it the active layer. Go to Masks || New || From Image. A dialog box comes up:
Source window = This Window
Source luminance = selected
Invert mask data = unchecked
Now repeat the last step on each layer in the image (except the background layer) until your image looks something like the one on the left.

Now this is where the fun starts. I have to say this part is real trial and error until you get the effect you desire which is often a matter of imagination and creative opinion.

Here goes: We are going to edit each mask starting with Layer2. Click on Layer2 in the Layer palette so it is the active layer.

Make your foreground color white and your background color black. Your styles are still set to Solid Color and your textures to None since we checked the "Lock" option before.
We are going to use the Airbrush tool to reveal and hide parts of the image until we get the desired effect. White will remove the mask and black will paint out any overlapping.

Select the Airbrush tool with these settings:
Shape = Round
Size = 25
Hardness = 0
Opacity = 10
Step = 10
Density = 100

Go to Masks || Edit.

Using the Airbrush, click and hold down, "spraying" all over your layer, slowly removing the mask and revealing the picture. Reveal as much as you want. Using the right mouse button and spraying will get rid of any overlay onto another picture. Your image should look something like the one on the left.

Repeat for all layers until your image looks something like the one on the left.

Merge all layers [Layers || Merge || Merge All (Flatten)] to make the image size smaller in memory size. I usually save in psp format with the layers intact, so if I need to edit at another time it is easy to do.

You can do many different looks and let your imagination run wild. You can use this technique to create family photo collages, business collages for presentation packs, the list is endless. Just be patient and play around until you get the look you want.
Note: If you create a collage for print, please remember to change the image to a much higher resolution than you use for creating web graphics. This will ensure good print quality. Using photo quality paper also makes a big difference in the quality.