Add layer mask.
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15-05-12, 11:27 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Kingston, Ontario
Thanks Mark - in the meantime, I'll try a shorter version..........
You're right - Elements up to version 8 did not have a layer mask (in fact it did, but it was a 'hidden' feature - people writing Actions in Photoshop could actually 'call up' the layer mask in Elements with not problem.... excuse the cynicism but it appears to be Adobe way of marketing - "don't re-design it, just hide stuff - that'll make them buy full Photoshop").
There are still two ways to use a Layer Mask in Elements up to and including version 8...... A 'clipping mask' is a simple one. Create a duplicate layer of the Background, or whatever is the 'base' version. Go back to the Background and create an Adjustment Layer (Levels is easiest) - do not make any adjustments, just OK it. Press the Alt button (or the equivalent on a Mac) and hover the mouse around the line in the Layers Palette between the top (duplicate) layer and the Adjustment Layer - the pointer will turn into a chain link. Click the mouse - you will have created a 'clipped mask'. For your purposes, you can treat the Layer Mask Box in the Adjustment Layer as your Layer Mask - try it out, like turn the top layer black and white or give it some blur. Now click on the Layer Mask box to activate it (it will get a double border) and hit D to get the default black and white in the colour palette (foreground and background colours). Using a Brush, paint in black over the main image in the editing window. You will notice that it will remove the b&w or blur that you added. The technique includes changing brush sizes (you can hit the ( or ) on the fly to resize), select - in most cases - a soft-edged brush and turn the opacity of the brush (not the layer) down to perhaps 50%. You can do stylistic work with Gradient and other tools, while the layer mask is 'active'. Done too much? OK, switch over to white to return things gradually to their original (blurred/b&w state). Hard-edged brushes are good for following lines etc. Practice!
Alternatively, go to Google and search for "Photoshop Elements Free Layer Mask". You should find several but the clearest (and with the best instructions) is probably the 'Graphicssoft' page. Follow the installation instructions carefully. The layer mask will appear (after a restart of Elements) as an Action, in your Effects palette..... just double click the icon while the layer you want to mask in 'active'.
Right, I'm copying this to a Notepad file, just in case it gets wiped out again.
Edit - Odd - it appears ok this time - perhaps we're not supposed to put links in Forum posts - now that
Last edited by GeoffWessex; 15-05-12 at
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