Core Skills: Photoshop
Mark White takes a look at the function of masks, vector masks and clipping masks, and shows you how to use all three effectively in your art
Make the most of masks, vector masks and clipping masks, with Mark White.
Art is all about expression, and sometimes in digital art illusion is just as important as display. Hiding is as important as showing. Just as the Eraser is as trusty as the Pencil when it comes to making sketches, Photoshop offers its own ways to hide parts of your work, leaving only the polished finished product. The most effective and accessible way is through a mask.
Let’s start at the very beginning. Photoshop’s workflow is built upon layers for you to draw. But what you draw on a layer doesn’t necessarily have to be what you see in the final image, thanks to masks. A mask defines how many pixels you actually see of that layer, while filtering out everything else. Regular layers masks consist of black and white pixels that either hide or show detail on your layer. A vector mask will create shapes to hide layers. And a clipping mask will help you to add pixels just to the layer below.
Masks are what makes digital art in Photoshop. It provides you with a non-destructive way to erase, and really, what you don’t draw is just as important as what you do.