Artist Q&A

ImagineFX - - Contents - Sarah Skel­ton, Eng­land

How to paint dirt, rust, fog, fall­ing snow, calm­ing colours, a quick en­vi­ron­ment, draw from ref­er­ence, and more.

An­swer Bram replies

Layer masks are one way to give a clean sur­face, such as metal, a lived-in look. I of­ten use masks be­cause they help me to fo­cus on the shape and form of the dirt while at the same time sav­ing a se­lec­tion of the pat­tern, which can al­ways be changed later on if nec­es­sary.

Masks are fairly easy to use once you un­der­stand how they work, and they can speed up your work­flow sig­nif­i­cantly. You can see them as a con­stant se­lec­tion in which you work, and while the Lasso tool can help to do the same, the down­side of it is that its se­lec­tions are al­ways fully opaque.

On the other hand, a mask is an im­age map in black and white that will in­struct the layer to which it’s ap­plied to only show the parts from its map that aren’t pure black. So ar­eas of pure white will be fully shown, while grey parts will be ‘ half’ shown depend­ing on how dark they are. Now let’s see how that knowl­edge can be put to use!

Map­ping out dirt and stains in an or­ganic way

be­comes easy when you make good use of

layer masks.

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