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Non-Destructive Use of Brushes with a Layer Mask

Note: Tutorial written with screenshots from a Mac running Adobe Photoshop CS2.

Open a New Document and SAVE it. And don't forget to save it periodically while working on it!

Add your background paper (the paper shown here is from Solids: JEWEL Paper Biggie) and a photo. I chose a photo with a solid background to really show off the brushwork.

 

Scrap Girls University - Digital Scrapbooking Tutorial - Non-Destructive Use of Brushes with a Layer Mask

I wanted to trim off a little of the blue, so I selected an area smaller than the photo with the Marquee Tool, this area will be your base Mask. If you do not need to trim the photo, with your layer selected, Cmd+Click [PC: Ctrl+Click] on the layer thumbnail in the Layers Palette and that will select the photo area.

 

Scrap Girls University - Digital Scrapbooking Tutorial - Non-Destructive Use of Brushes with a Layer Mask

With your area selected, click on the "Add Layer Mask" icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette.

 

Scrap Girls University - Digital Scrapbooking Tutorial - Non-Destructive Use of Brushes with a Layer Mask

You will now see the masked area to the right of the photo layer. Click on the Mask in the Layers Palette to activate it. You will notice the Mask now has L-shaped lines in the corners of the active item (the Mask).

 

Scrap Girls University - Digital Scrapbooking Tutorial - Non-Destructive Use of Brushes with a Layer Mask

Make sure your foreground color is set to Black. Simply typing the letter "D" sets the foreground color to Black and the background color to White. Now get the Brush Tool.

TIP: To switch your foreground and background colors, type the letter "X." That can come in handy when working with brushes!

 

Scrap Girls University - Digital Scrapbooking Tutorial - Non-Destructive Use of Brushes with a Layer Mask

Select your desired brush by going up to the Options Bar and clicking on the Brush Preset Picker pull-down. I am starting out with the Bitsy BOLD Brush Set.

 

Scrap Girls University - Digital Scrapbooking Tutorial - Non-Destructive Use of Brushes with a Layer Mask

Open the Brushes Palette [Windows> Brushes or F5]. You may need to adjust the size of the brush by dragging the slider below the brush diameter or typing in the desired size. I also like to rotate the brush to get a variety of effects. You can do so by selecting the arrow and dragging it around the cross hair. If you grab the black dots on either side of the arrow, that will cause your brush to squish un-proportionately, and we don't want to do that. If you accidentally do that, type 100% in the Roundness box to restore the proportions.

 

Scrap Girls University - Digital Scrapbooking Tutorial - Non-Destructive Use of Brushes with a Layer Mask

Click on your photo, where you want the brushwork to appear, rotating and adjusting the brush as desired. If it looks like you are painting on the photo, you have the Photo Layer selected and not the Mask. Go into your History Palette, restore your photo and start over with the Mask selected.

 

Scrap Girls University - Digital Scrapbooking Tutorial - Non-Destructive Use of Brushes with a Layer Mask

Now set your foreground color to a medium grey and continue to brush onto the mask layer. This will give you a transparent effect on the photo. Don't forget to keep rotating that brush. You can even use different brushes to vary the effect. Keep changing your gray color. A lighter gray (a grey closer to white) will have less transparency.

 

Scrap Girls University - Digital Scrapbooking Tutorial - Non-Destructive Use of Brushes with a Layer Mask

If you are not happy with your Mask, no problem. Unlock the Mask by clicking on the Link between the Layer and the Mask. Option+Drag the Mask to the Trash Can at the bottom of the Layers Palette, and the Mask is gone. Your photo is untouched! Non-destructive is a good thing!

Computer scrapbooking layout "Signs of Spring" by Diane Miller [dinny] uses brushes and layer masks.

Layout by Diane Miller [dinny]
larger view

Digital Scrapbook Supplies from Scrap Girls: Bitsy BOLD Brush Set Digital Scrapbook Supplies from Scrap Girls: Living Brush Set Digital Scrapbook Supplies from Scrap Girls: Solids: JEWEL Paper Biggie
Digital Scrapbook Supplies from Scrap Girls: Solids: LIVING Paper Biggie   Digital Scrapbook Supplies from Scrap Girls: Love Always Collection Biggie

Note: Commercial license versions of Bitsy BOLD Brush Set and Living Brush Set are also available.

Tutorial written by Diane Miller [dinny]
Scrap Girls Digital Scrapbook Product Designer Diane Miller [dinny]


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