November 17, 2010

Tutorial – Behind the Mask

or How to make a fading mask (or any other mask Very Happy)

Recently I attended a discussion about fading/blending masks. I found out that for some the making of one’s own masks is not that easy as I thought and I decided that showing you how to make them by yourself can be a piece of useful information.

My graphic tutorial is posted here in the Weeds&Wildflowers Forum. You might feel a bit unfamiliar with the pictures as I am a GIMP user but I usually find PS tutorials easily convertible to GIMP and I hope it would work vice-versa too.

In the first post I deal with a simple shape fading mask, turning a forest Christmas tree photo into this:

In the second post I explain the benefits and the use of the QuickMask.

While writing the tutorial I realized I use masks all the time. Not only as a main effect of the layout. In fact I use them everywhere I extract, blend or enhance a detail.

Here I used a curved shape with blur about 600 pixels to get the fading effect for the photo. The mask I used I offer you here.

Here I selected “by color” the pumpkin first. Then I corrected the shape using eraser/brush in the QuickMask and cut the pumpkin out. I kept the selection, went back to the QuickMask, enlarged the selection by about 100 and heavily blurred the edges. When I cut this out of the original photo it made a great natural shadow effect, adding a lot of plasticity to the pumpkin.

Here I used the fading mask made roughly around the figure to create a gradual fading effect to the background without losing the opacity and colors of the figure and the scarf. High blur is applied to the right edge of the photo to blend smoothly into the paper.

I hope I tempted you enough into using the masks in your layouts starting from now!  😀 Have fun!