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I am excited to introduce to you today our Designer for the Designer Technique, Kathy Moore. Kathy is sharing with us today an actual technique used in making papers (as compared to a technique for layouts). This is wonderful! Using layer masks opens up whole new worlds for those creating papers.
Kathy Moore was one of the first designers I met online when I was learning this hobby. She spent a while with me privately in a chat room teaching me the Control J method. Wow! Did it open up whole new worlds for me! I feel it was the turning point in my learning Photoshop Elements and scrapping. So I owe a lot of thanks to Kathy! Oh, thanks Kathy!
This is what I love about the digiworld; that being people helping people so that they can help more people. Kathy taught me and I taught many others -- and who have they taught? It is a big loving domino effect. From Kathy's writing, you can see that Kim Christensen taught her about layer masks, and now Kathy is teaching whoever reads this blog. Feeling warm and fuzzie yet?
I have a lot of kits on my harddrive, but I must say that all of Kathy's kits have a uniqueness of her own style which I have trouble putting words to. Much of her style really suits those who scrap paper-like style layouts. She has quality elements. I know she loves to use the staple element too! Here are a few layouts in this post that I did with her kits.
One of her best sellers is a kit called "Forever Boy" which I have used over and over. I do not see it in her store, but maybe she will get it up sometimes soon.
She has two beautiful children and you can see them in her gallery here.
Kathy was the first owner of Digiscrapdivas. However, sometime last year she made a very hard decision to get out of designing and sold the store. How delighted I was a few weeks back when I read that she was once again designing. You can find Kathy's store here a Scrapbookgraphics.
Be sure to look below for a coupon to use for 20% off in Kathy's store!
I'm going to talk about a very powerful feature of Photoshop called Layer Masks. When I first learned about them, I didn't really understand their purpose and you may not at first, either. But if you'll stick with me, I think by the end you'll see how wonderful they are.
I started with a paper of mine with no alterations.
I added a layer and filled with white, then added a layer mask.
You add the mask by clicking on the icon at the bottom of the layer palette that looks like a gray rectangle with a white circle in it.
You should see that your foreground and background colors change to white and black respectively. These are really the only colors you should use on a layer mask. You will also see that after you add the layer mask, there's a new square beside your layer icon. That is your mask.
Now, select that icon and grab a big round brush. Switch your foreground and background colors so that the foreground color is black. Now, with the layer mask icon selected in the layers palette, draw a stroke with your brush. You will see the white of the layer disappear, revealing the paper underneath.
So you're saying, um, couldn't I have just used the eraser and done the same thing? Well, yes. But here's the cool part. Say you erase too much. You have to undo, undo, undo, undo and sometimes you even come to a point where you can't undo anymore. With a layer mask, you simply switch back to white and brush back over what you want to show up again. Perhaps these examples will help a bit more. The first is the same paper again, but with an overlay on it.
I don't want the overlay to be that heavy so I add a layer mask, grab a grungy brush, change my foreground color to black and brush over the areas that I want to lighten up. Now I have this.
But wait...I think that's too light. Let's bring some of it back. Change back to white, brush over the areas you want to bring back and they come back. Now, does that make more sense?
Once you get the hang of layer masks, you'll find lots of uses for them. If you ever extract, they're a fabulous tool because if you get too close and erase something you didn't mean to, you have to rely on that undo tool...but if you use a layer mask, you can just grab the white color and bring it back. Oh, and one more thing. When you're finished with a layer mask and want to apply it so that it's permanent and only what is showing is actually on the layer, just right click on the layer mask icon and hit apply layer mask. Voila, you'll see the mask disappear and your layer exactly the same, but will be ready for styles or anything else you need to do to it.
I have to give some credit to Kim Christensen for teaching me about layer masks in the first place...thanks, Kim!
The paper you see in this tutorial is from one of my favorite kits, Boathouse, which is available in Studio Kathy at Scrapbook Graphics.
Use coupon code DT_Hummie to get 20% off your entire order between now and May 10th in my store.