Using masking layers can seem like a daunting prospect to a Photoshop artist - a complicated task and maybe even unnecessary. But the truth is they are a very powerful tool for producing complex-looking composite effects. And, with the help of this tutorial, they're nothing to be afraid of.
Over the next five pages we also take a brief look at clipping groups and apply a few blending modes to the creation of our illustration. Most of the elements have already been created for this tutorial, which gives us more time to focus on new techniques. This walkthrough assumes that you're relatively proficient in the basic tools and editing procedures of Photoshop.