Photoshop Tutorial for Fashion Design (Part 20)
Layer Mask, Paste Into
- Use layer masking to fill fashion drawings with partial transparency
- Render illustrations with textile swatches and use this techinique to set and control patterns, prints, plaids, stripes placement, direction, and size
- 0:08 Layer Mask
- 5:27 Paste Into
Adobe Photoshop also allows you to create a layer specific mask. First select the layer, then go to the Layer menu, choose “Layer Mask” and “Reveal All” or “Hide All”. I’m going with “Reveal All”. The mask thumbnail will show in the respective layer. If you click on the mask thumb you will work in the Mask mode. You can see the black and white colors in the toolbox indicating that. Now I can use the Brush tool to hide parts of my image. Keep in mind: I’m not deleting, I’m simply masking. And if I switch foreground and background colors, I can restore the desired parts of my image. In this case I will make them partially transparent.
To exit the Mask mode and work on the image itself, simply click on the image thumb. The colors in the toolbox went back to their original settings which is a very good indicator of the RGB mode. In the RGB mode, I can do any kind of editing to my image.
If you have a selection in your document you can create a layer specific mask based on that selection. Go to the Layer menu, Layer Mask, and choose to “Reveal Selection” or “Hide Selection”. When you create a layer mask, Adobe Photoshop links it to the layer image. You can see a link symbol between the thumbs. That feature allows you to move and transform both mask and image at the same time. To unlink, simply click on the symbol and now you can move your mask and image independently. And you can always go to the Layer menu to delete, apply or simply disable a layer mask.
You can use layer masks for many different purposes. One of my favorites is to apply partial transparency to the image. To make your image transparent, you need to work with grayscale set as your foreground color. Lighter grays will produce lower transparency. Darker grays will produce higher transparency. It becomes more evident when you use a gradient. To set the gray in the mask mode, you can pick any color and Adobe Photoshop will convert it
to the equivalent of gray.
Now let’s see what’s going on in the Channels palette when we are working with a layer specific mask. I’m going to change my image color to avoid the confusion. To work with the image, click on the image thumb and I will use the Hue/Saturation command. If the mask layer is active mask channel will be listed in the Channels palette. You can see “Layer 2 Mask”. Let’s unhide it. And that’s how our mask looks. And if I click on RGB and go back to Layers, you can see that the image thumb is active. If I click on the mask, in Channels palette, it will go back to “Layer 2 Mask” active. Although it is hidden, we will still be working in the Mask mode. Keep in mind: this is a layer specific mask so if I were to select a different layer Channels palette content will change. “Layer 2 Mask” is no longer listed.
There is one more command that works with selections and creates a layer specific mask: Paste Into. In the fashion industry, you will be using this command quite often to manipulate a pattern or swatch in order to have more control while rendering your sketch. For example, I want to render this coat with a pattern. I can’t just use Fill Pattern because it gives me no control over pattern placement and direction. In this case, I need a sleeve pattern to go on the angle for an accurate grain line direction. So instead of using the Fill command, I’m going to copy a swatch using the Rectangular Marquee Selection tool to select the area: Edit > Copy, then, select my sleeve or make sure it’s selected and choose Edit > Paste Into and go back to Edit for Free Transform. Now I can scale, rotate, and move the pattern if necessary. You can see that Adobe Photoshop pasted the swatch onto a different layer. masking everything outside of my selection. I’ll proceed with other parts of the coat rendering them one by one.
Once again, here are the steps:
- Step 1: Copy swatch / pattern
- Step 2: Select areas to fill
- Step 3: Edit > Paste Into
- Step 4: Edit > Free Transform
When you are happy with the rendering, in order to avoid pattern placement changes, make sure you link the mask to the image. The down side to this technique is the number of layers created for each rendered part of the coat. To deal with this issue, you can either select all rendered layers and merge them into one. This will remove the mask and finalize the pixels, clipping everything outside of their initial selection. So you will no longer be able to make any changes to the pattern placement or direction. If you are not completely sure with your rendering and would like to preserve layer masks, I suggest you simply group them together and make sure to link your group to the coat.
As you can see, grouping layers still allows you to work on each part individually yet it saves the space in the palette and keeps things organized. When it comes to my source document, I always prefer to group the layers rather than merge them together. Quite often I need to go back and make some changes or use my mask to load it as a selection.