Different Types of Masking in Photoshop [with Keyboard Shortcuts]

Photoshop is a computer application tool for handling complex digital arts, animation, and graphic design. Sometimes when you use the software, you might make mistakes and wants to erase part of an image during your design. But, the only way you can easily undo image alteration action is by applying masking.

There are different kinds of Masking for different tasks or purposes. Some of them include clipping masking, layer mask, quick mask, etc. The best part is that you can execute these types using keyboard shortcuts. These shortcuts are a quick way of executing computer programs. For example, if you want to display a dropdown menu in the Windows operating system, you take your mouse and right-click. You can quickly accomplish that task with a keyboard shortcut. Shift + F10 will display your menu like your mouse right-click will do. So, this article will share the different types of masking in Photoshop with Keyboard shortcuts.

Different Types of Masking in Photoshop

There are different types of masking in Photoshop with Keyboard shortcuts. Masking is a way of making parts of a layer (some image) invisible. The effect of masking an image or a layer in Photoshop is usually described as non-destructive. This means that the image or layer you make invisible can still come back to be visible again.

Different Types of Masking in Photoshop

The Types of Masking

Layer Mask

The application of masks to hide or show all or parts of images allows artists to produce composite images that has discrete elements. A layer Mask comprises a grayscale bitmap. You can either paint a Mask with your hand or simply make selections to define its shape. In addition, you can turn its visibility on and off by Shift-clicking on its icon in the Layers panel to view your image layer with or without its effect.

Layer Mask

Vector Mask

The traditional pixel-based layer masks can be blurred, partially transparent or soft. Vector mask always shows opaque visible parts with hard edges. You can turn vector masks’ visibility on and off in the Layers panel the same way you turn off layer masks. If you transform vector mask to a layer mask, it covers the layer mask or create another layer without one.

vector masking in photoshop

Quick Mask

A Quick Mask provides a temporary pixel-based visualization of a selection. It’s the one that improves on the animated dotted line called “marching ants” that appears in the document window.

Quick masking in photoshop

The Quick Mask displays a small areas in complete detail, whereas the “marching ants” displays the outlines of the areas that are fully selected. Unfortunately, a Photoshop document can’t contain more than one Quick Mask, though you can save the selection it represents as an alpha channel or turn it into a layer mask.

Adjustment Layer Mask

The adjustment layer works like the image-layer masks except in the type of layer they work on. Adjustment layer masks different the areas of an image that will be affected or not by an individual adjustment. This includes Levels, Curves, Hue/Saturation, Selective Color, and non-destructive correction layers. These pixel-based masks extend the functionality of adjustment layers, making it possible to create slight specific color correction on defined portion of a layer.

Adjustment Layer Mask

Clipping Mask

The technology of Clipping Mask allows a layer mask or vector mask to apply not only to the base layer on which it’s saved but to any layer above the base in the image’s layer stack. Hold down the “Alt” key (Windows) or “Option” key (Mac) and clicking on the dividing line between the base layer and the one above it in the Layers panel specifies a clipping mask.

Clipping Mask

How image masking works

You can simply achieve Masking and Unmasking by using the Paint Brush and the colors Black and White. The rules of masking are very simple. When you apply the color white, you are making your image visible. Applying the color black makes your image invisible. When you talk about masking, there must be at least two layers. If you set your foreground color (the color on top) to black, you erase something. If, on the other hand, you want to un-erase something, all you do is to set your foreground color to white.

Whenever we create a mask, the default color of the Layer Mask is White, as you can see in figure-1 below. We already know that white means visible in the business of masking. It means, of course, that the layer in figure-1 below is completely visible.

Figure-2 is a layer with “Hello and Goodbye” on it, and it’s completely visible on the white layer (Figure-1). We already know that setting our foreground color to black is to erase. Now to erase the “Hello and Goodbye” layer, we just use our paintbrush to set the foreground color to black. See figure-3 below.
Let’s say that we made a mistake by erasing a portion of the layer. All we need to do is to set our foreground color to white and simply paint over the area we have erased. This action will bring back the layer to its original state.

If the edges of your image are clear and straightforward, removing the background is very easy. However, if, by any means, the edge of the image is unclear, like irregular flower branches or pet wool, then difficulty shows up. At this point, masking service for images is the solution.

Final Words

To sum up, Photoshop image masking is a great technique by which the quality of an image can be improved. By using this technique, you can improve the clarity of an image and adapt the background to match the image.

The best part is that you can carry out masking even faster with many keyboard shortcuts. So, if you can start executing the different types of masking in photoshop [With Keyboard Shortcuts] as we have shared above.

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