How to create masks in Photoshop

Photoshop can seem a little tricky to get to grips with in the beginning. But once you start investigating its extensive toolset, your design portfolio will soon start to reap the benefits. We could spend hours talking about the various features every artist should know about, but today we're going to focus on masks. 

Masks come in two flavours: Layer masks and Clipping masks. Think of the former as the ultimate replacement for the Eraser tool: while an Eraser serves one purpose (the removal of information on a layer), Layer masks give you plenty of control over the image, enabling you to paint information out and back in using your brushes. Clipping masks, on the other hand, are essentially stacks of linked layers in which the bottom image defines the boundaries for the rest. This is great for separating elements of your image, and means you can add texture to a character and not her environment, for example.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Paul Canavan is the lead artist at Scottish indie game studio Blazing Griffin, a freelance illustrator and father to two handsome ferrets.