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Traditionally a ruby lith, a transparent deep
red material, was used as a mask. The mask covered and protected
parts of an image. The masks were cut with an X-acto knife and
the process was tedious, taxing, and tiresome.
With Photoshop this process has been simplified.
Make a single or multiple Selections. Shifted Selection
allows for adding to Selections. The resulting area outside the
selection automatically becomes a mask.
Sometimes this outside/inside thing can get
confusing. No problem, it is easy to reverse a mask. Inverse the
Use the resulting mask, modify it, or even save
it for later use. Eliminate any masks or Selections with Ctrl+D.
This is a much easier and faster process than
making a new mask in the traditional X-acto method.
Save masks to the alpha channel. The Select >
Save Select... opens the Save Selection dialog box.
Click OK and accept the default settings.
Click on the Channels tab to see the result. The
new channel is inactive (no eye icon).
Notice that the Display box is missing the
The mask shape is shown as a b/w mini icon with
a #4 label.
The mini mask icon shows the exact silhouette
in black and white.
Activate the mask by clicking in the empty
Display box. The eye icon appears and the red mask becomes
visible over Stevie (see sample below).
The active mask color resembles the traditional
ruby lith. Everything under the mask is protected.
All changes to the image will occur in the
non-masked area, the wall behind Stevie.
Multiple masks can be used and masks can also be
affected by any of the modifiers which interact with the Selections
In this example, the wall is also masked but the
mask has been modified by Feather (Selections > Feather... value
Notice that the Channels Palette now shows two
mask channels and the new mask icon even reflects the feathering.
The next topic is Layers.
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