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Some quickie tutorial notes for discriminating intermediate users

OK, you've got that one-in-a-million shot and know you'll never have a chance to get it again. But when you look at it, the sky is a solid white/grey/light blue - or, it's there but looks overexposed in relation to your picture's foreground.

What to do? Well, there are several approaches. Which one you use will be a combination of personal preference and image considerations - but try them all to get a feel for what they do.

1. Multiply. Make a selection of your sky and promote it to a layer. Set the Layer Blend Mode to Multiply, and adjust the opacity to suit. This is a good way of getting cloud detail back.

2. Soft Light painting - make a selection of your sky. Add a new raster layer on top (leaving the selection active) and set your blend mode to soft light. Flood fill your selection with black and adjust the opacity to suit. Note that a soft light layer can be used to darken *or* lighten an image; to lighten, just use white instead of black. You can even use the paintbrush to add high- or lowlights where you want them.

3. Replace it. Make a selection of your sky and add a new raster layer above. Without releasing the selection, add a sky picture that you like as an upper layer. On the new sky layer, do Selections->Invert and hit the delete key. Merge layers to replace your sky. There are tons of sky photos available on the net, or you can use KPT6's Sky Effects to make one of your own. Whichever you do, try to match the general lighting conditions of the pic - if you use a sunset sky, it won't match the foreground of a noon-time photo. Particularly pay attention to shadows and reflections in water, or your finished pic may just look "wrong".

4. Here's a trick that can improve a sky quickly - just add a splash of colour. Again, select your sky and add an upper raster layer, leaving the selection active. Flood fill your image with a gradient -darker blue on top to light blue on the bottom. Set your blend mode to Colour and drop the opacity as suits you. For a slightly different effect, try the Burn blend mode.

5. Forget realism and go for dramatic license . Duplicate your layer and on the upper copy, go to Masks->New->From Image. Choose "Source Luminance" and make sure "Invert Mask Data" is unchecked. Now flood fill the mask with a gradient. Set the blend mode to Hue. You can generate some interesting false colour effects this way.

There's probably a dozen other possibilities; play with the program and don't settle for those washed out skies again.

Jackie

So you have a filter or effect that you really like, but it's just too much for your image.

Kris has already mentioned that by applying the effect to a duplicate layer and using the opacity control, you can adjust the degree to which an effect impacts your image. And most of us realize that we can constrain most effects by using a selection... but wouldn't it be nice to actually "paint" on an effect just where we want it. Well, you can - just follow along.

The starting point should be familiar - open your image and duplicate the background to a new layer. Now, pick your effect - could be a built in effect, a plugin, whatever suits your fancy. You'll now be seeing the totally altered layer. So how are we going to convert this to being "painted on" just where we want it?

Well, this is where the magic of masks comes in. A mask is a greyscale image that controls the transparency of a layer. Where the mask is totally black, the layer will be totally transparent. Where the mask is totally white, the layer will be totally opaque. With the 254 intermediate shades of grey, you will get more transparency with darker greys and less with lighter ones.

(view in a fixed-width font)

black.................> medium grey ..................> white
transparent...........> 50% transparent ..............> opaque

So, we are going to add a mask to our filtered layer. Where the mask is black, we will see right through it to the background. Where the mask is white, we will see the filtered layer fully opaque and covering the background. The darker the shade of grey in between, the less of the filter we will see.

So let's run through it and see what happens. We have our image, opened and with the background layer duplicated and filtered. Now, go Masks->New. Here we have two options - "Hide All" and "Show All". Remember, masks affect the transparency of the layer. If we choose "Hide All", PSP will create an all-black mask that will make our filtered layer transparent. Let's do that. The filtering seems to disappear, but what has really happened is that the mask is making the upper layer act totally transparent. So far, so good.

But we want to be able to paint some of that filter back in - to do so, we have to edit the mask to alter that layer transparency. Go to Masks->Edit. Now we will be working directly on the greyscale mask. Notice that our Colour palette has changed to greyscale automatically. So, choose the paintbrush and set your foreground colour to white, with no texture. Scribble over the mask... and voila, everywhere you paint, the filtered image is revealed.

Change your foreground colour to 50% grey and try it in another area -notice how you get a muted filter effect. That's because the top layer there is 50% transparent, so you are seeing the filter image and the original mixed half-and-half.

OK, so let's delete the masks. Go back to Masks->Edit to toggle the edit mode off, then go to Masks->Delete. Answer "Yes" to the question "Would you like this mask merged into the current layer?". Now, toggle the view of the background layer off - see how our painted mask has become the layer transparency? That's what merging the mask does.

Now, delete the upper layer, make a new duplicate and filter it with another filter. Add a mask, but this time use Masks->New->Show All. Nothing seems to happen - but it has. We have added a mask, just like last time, but this time the mask is totally white. Now we can paint with black to "erase" the filtering effect. You'd probably use this route more in situations where you want most of the image filtered and just want to remove filtering in specific areas.

Play around - we'll go a bit further into depth on masks next time with some specific effects you can achieve with this technique.

Have fun!
Jackie

Those of us who have been around PSP for quite some time remember all too well the days
when Hot Wax was the only game in town.

Well, it's still a neat effect, but we can really make it sing with some layer tricks. It works best on an image with a strong central subject (I used an image of a flower against a neutral light background).

Open your image, create a duplicate and close the original (don't want to overwrite those files).

Now, duplicate your background layer. Set the background colour to white and apply your wax: Effects->Artistic Effects->Hot Wax Coating.

Now for the fun - play with your blend modes. Saturation gives a subtle edge definition. Overlay can give an almost 3-D, shadowed effect; Hard Light is more defined. Difference is my favourite - a dark image with neon highlights. Exclusion gives an alien world version. ;-)

Or set your top layer back to normal, and try the Effects->Edge->Find Horizontal or Vertical filters.

Or try doing Effects->Edge->Erode on the Hot Wax layer, followed by Effects->Edge->Trace Contour. Set this layer mode to Multiply for an outlining effect.

Have fun.
Jackie

Tried it on a human face, and it left black speckles all over it?

Yeah, faces don't take well to Hot Wax. ;-) But here - this can work sometimes. Duplicate your face. Apply a Gaussian Blur of between 4 and 5, then Hot Wax. Do Edge->Erode, then set your blend mode to Difference. This can be effective on a dark background; sort of a "reverse sketch"
effect.

heres.gif
that can give interest to a photo -

Open your image Create a duplicate (Window->Duplicate or Shift-D) and close the original.

Now, create a duplicate of the duplicate (we'll call this Image 2).

On Image 2, adjust the contrast - you're looking for drama here. Try Effects->Enhance Photo->Automatic Contrast Enhancement. Use the Normal and Bold settings, and whichever of Lighter, Neutral or Darker that suits the image.

Still on Image 2, go to Colours->Decrease Colour Depth->2 Colours. Choose Grey Values, Error Diffusion, Floyd-Steinberg, Weighted.

Now, go to Edit->Copy and close Image 2 (you don't need to save it).

Open Image 1, and go to Edit->Paste->As New Layer. Before going any further, play with your layer blend modes - look at Darken, Lighten, Multiply, Screen, Overlay, Soft Light, Dodge and Burn. Some of these may interest you in themselves, or give you ideas for other effect. For now, set the blend mode back to Normal.

Go to Effects->Blur->Motion Blur. Set your angle to 45 degrees, and set the Intensity to give you nice streaks (I used 20, but this will vary with image and size).

Now, set the Blend Mode to Screen. (Try some others - Luminance can work well, Hard Light too).

For a slightly different effect, promote the background to a layer and drag it above your sketchy layer. Try changing the blend modes from this configuration (Color and Soft Light can look good).

Remember that there is no "right" way to do this. Play with the Layer Blend Modes and see what suits the image.

Jackie

 

Similar in approach to the
watermarking and raindrop effect.

Open your image. Create a duplicate and close the original.

Add a raster layer above. Open your text tool(fatter fonts show the effect best). Make sure "Antialias" and "Floating" are checked. Click the "Standard Text" button and set the fill to grey (128,128,128) and lay down some text. Move it to wherever you like, and defloat the text. Save the selection to an alpha channel - you might want it later.

Now, go to Effects->3D Effects->Inner Bevel. Choose any one of the presets - let's try "Angled". So now we have ugly grey beveled text on its own layer. ;-)

Time for some blend mode magic. Set the layer blend to "Hard Light". Voila!

Wait - what's that? Someone saying "But I wanted *coloured* glass"? OK, let's see what we can do.

Duplicate your text layer (note that the new layer comes in with the blend mode duplicated, too - leave it set to Hard Light). Now, go to Colourize and give this layer your tint. Use whatever Hue you like and a saturation *below* 150 (higher than this and you will lose the "see-through" effect). I prefer Saturation in the 40-60 range, but play with the slider and see what works for you.

More grumbling - "But what about textured glass?" "Gradient Glass?". Some people are never satisfied.

But let's modify that glass anyway. Back up to your original glass text above the background. Make sure your selection is loaded - if you've lost your selection, remember that we saved it to an alpha channel, so load it from there.

Duplicate your layer - now you'll be seeing the marquee on the topmost layer. Grab your fill tool, and fill the selection with a pattern or gradient. Now play with the blend mode on this layer - Hard Light (where we started) works, but you might find it too intense. Try them all - you'll find they all give different effects (you can give Normal, Luminance, and Dissolve a miss, as they will all lose your 3D effect). Try a rainbow gradient with Colour layer blend. Find the effect too intense? Drop the opacity on that top layer. Want wavy glass? Run Effects->Texture Effects->Texture on the top layer - I like "Plastic Wrinkles".

So there you go - Clear Glass, Coloured Glass, Gradient Glass, Textured Glass and even Wavy Glass - all from the same basic technique.

Have fun with it.
Jackie

 

Another in a series of {mumble} mini-tuts - we've had some discussion of Image Arithmetic and what to do with it.

Here's a fun way to make plaids or quilt block patterns.

Open a new image, 256 pixels square. Flood fill this with a linear gradient set to 0 degrees and 3 or 4 repeats. Now open a second image of the same size, and fill with a second gradient set to 90 degrees and 3 or 4 repeats.

Now play with Image Arithmetic. Try these combinations:

Binary AND, All Channels Checked, Clip Colour Values Checked, Divisor 1, Bias 0

Binary OR, All Channels Checked, Clip Colour Values Checked, Divisor 1, Bias 0

Average, All Channels Checked, Clip Colour Values Checked, Divisor 1, Bias 0 (I may have cornered the Madras Plaid market here <g>).

Add, All Channels Checked, Clip Colour Values Checked, Divisor 1, Bias -128

Subtract, All Channels Checked, Clip Colour Values Checked, Divisor 1, Bias 128

Difference, All Channels Checked, Clip Colour Values Checked, Divisor 1, Bias 128

Lightest, All Channels Checked, Clip Colour Values Checked, Divisor 1, Bias -128

Then play around with the basic technique. Combine gradients at different angles, try more or less repeats. Want more control? Paint lines of colour instead of using a gradient.

Have fun.
Jackie

 

 lets.gif


Some folk claim that they want to avoid layers at all costs. Fair enough, but by doing so they're missing out on some of the neatest little tricks in PSP. Anyway, this isn't a step-by-step tut, but rather a few things to try out. So, let's poke around under the hood and see what these thingies can do....

1. My picture is too dark. OK - before you whip out those contrast tools, try this. Duplicate the picture and set the layer blend mode to "Screen". This can pull a whole lot of details out of those shadows. This works well with a promoted selection instead of a duplicated layer - say you have a picture of a person standing partly in shadow, or with a shadow falling across their face. On the pic, select the darkened area with the freehand tool, then feather the selection so it won't be too stark a correction. Then Selections->Promote to Layer and set the blend mode to Screen.

2. My picture is too light. Same trick - duplicate that layer and set it to Multiply.

3. My picture lacks "oomph" - you know the type. Composition is good, but colours are muddy. Or maybe the shadows lack detail and light areas are blown out. Duplicate that layer and try Overlay, Hard Light, and Soft Light. They all give different effects - overlay can really accentuate colours, hard light and soft light can play up contrast.

4. My picture is in shadow because of backlighting - so you look at the pic and wonder why you ever decided to shoot that precious family reunion photo in front of the big picture window... well, try this trick. (OK, so this *is* a mini-tut... I lied. So sue me <g>.)Duplicate the layer, then go to Colour->Adjust-> Hue/Saturation/ Lightness and run the saturation down to -100, and the lightness up to between 5 and 10 - this will greyscale and slightly brighten the layer. Now, apply a Gaussian blur (Effects->Blur-> Gaussian Blur) of between 3 and 6 (depending on the size of your image). Now, go to Masks->New->From Image. Choose "Source Luminance", and make sure "Invert Mask Data" is checked. Flood fill this layer with a mid-grey (128,128,128) and set the Layer Blend Mode to "Dodge". Oooh - magic. <g> Too much or too little correction? Flood fill with darker or lighter grey (all true greys will have equal values in the R,G and B channels).

5. Paint on high and low-lights - add a blank raster layer above your background and set the layer blend to "Soft Light". Paint with black to darken areas, white to lighten. Too extreme? Try shades of grey, or drop the opacity on your upper layer.

6. Argh - you're stuck. You need to sharpen that photo, but to get the detail you want you're introducing halos on the edges... and you just know it's going to get worse if you have to save as JPEG. Well, here comes layers to the rescue - duplicate your background layer and sharpen (or unsharp mask) away _on the background_. The halos? Ditch them by setting your layer blend mode on the _upper_ layer to "Soft Light". The halos will blend away.

Have fun!
Jackie

more.gif

So, we've been playing with layers. Let's keep going.

Open any image and duplicate the layer. Now, select the background layer and give it a Gaussian blur of 5-8 pixels.

Now, let's take a look at what those blend modes can do for us.

Try Darken, for a dark-edged effect.

Lighten will give you blurred highlights.

Multiply will give you a dark, moody effect.

Screen will give you a bright overall glow.

Overlay gives a glowing, contrasty image - as does Hard Light.

Soft Light gives a dreamy, soft focus effect.

Difference gives neon edges on a very dark background.

Dodge gives a very bright glow.

Burn gives a very dark, highly contrasted effect (try running the opacity down on this one).

Exclusion gives a false-colour, bright-edged effect.

So - one effect plus two layers gives at least ten effects.

Another idea to try - duplicate your background layer and run the Sculpture filter set to the "Silver" preset on the upper layer. Run through your blend modes. I particularly like Luminance and Multiply.

Try other effects, too - I think you'll find an interesting
combination or two
.

Jackie

  easy.gifHere's an easy method of making a grid I haven't seen anywhere before.

Simply open your image, go to Effects-> Texture Effects-> Tiles and choose the "squares" preset. I can't tell if this is a preset I added or if it comes with PSP, but the parameters are:

Tile Shape - square Smoothness - 0
Tile Angularity - 0 Depth - 1
Tile Size - 10 Ambience - 0
Border - 1 Shininess - 0
Color - white
Angle - 315
Intensity - 40
Elevation - 90

And there you go.

Alter the Tile Size to get whatever sized squares you like. Adjust the Border for thicker lines. Change the Tile Shape to hexagon to produce a hex graph (wargamers and the like will know what to do with this ).

Let's try some variation. Open a new image and flood-fill the background with medium grey (128,128,128). Go to Effects-> Texture Effects-> Tiles. Use the Squares preset as your starting point, but change your Tile Size to 20, and your Border Size to 2.

Set the tolerance on your Magic Wand to 0, and click into the center of one of the squares. Use Selections-> Modify-> Select Similar to select all the background. Now, Selections-> Invert to select just the lines.

Now some magic - go to Effects-> 3D Effects-> Outer Bevel. Use the Angled preset.

Now, layer this image over something else, and set the blend mode on the upper layer to Overlay for a glass-block effect or Soft Light for a quilted effect.

Have fun.
Jackie

Carrying on from our easy grids...

Open a new image with a white background. Go to Effects-> Texture Effects-> Tiles and use the squares preset to make your grid.

Now, go to Effects-> Geometric Effects-> Pixelate. Make sure "symmetric" is checked, and set the horizontal and vertical offsets to 5.

Voila - gray gingham. Tres drab - let's colour it.

You can add colour using Colors-> Colorize, or try adding a new raster layer above, flood-filling with a colour or gradient and setting the layer blend mode to Colour.

Just for variety, your gingham doesn't have to have a square pattern. Try a pixelation of 6 or 7 for variants. Or try an asymmetrical check - 6 and 3 work well as a pairing.

Have fun.
Jackie

Just a variant on the easy grid, really - open an image 200 px by 200 px with a white background. Go to Effects-> Texture Effects-> Tiles and choose the "squares" preset. Increase the "Border Size" to 2 and apply.

Now, go to Effects-> Reflection Effects-> Kaleidoscope. Press the reset button to ensure you are on the defaults, then change the "Number of Petals" to 20 and the "Number of Orbits" to 5. Presto -concentric circles.

Or play with the "Radial" Suction before you apply - you'll get some nice variants.

Have fun.
Jackie

another.gif

Kris' mention of using a blurred/thresholded mask to smooth selections edges reminded me of this little trick -

Ever have a piece of text or black-and-white clipart with the jaggies, and were dying to rescue it without having to trace over it? Read on...

First, make sure your piece is in 16-million colours (Colours-> Increase Colour Depth->16-million colours). (For those of you without such a piece handy, use a new image with a white background. Place some large, rounded black text on it with Anti-aliasing unchecked. That should give you something to play with.)

Now, zoom in and look at those edges - ugly stair stepping on the curves, undoubtedly. Now, how to get rid of them?

Start with our old friend Effects->Blur->Gaussian Blur. Start with a blur of 1.5 and check the preview - are those jaggies blurred away? If not, keep dialing up the blur until you have a smooth, if blurry, curve. Most images will take a blur between 1.5 and 3, depending on the size of your lines.

OK, so now it's smooth, but quite blurry. Not to worry - take a hike over to Colours->Adjust->Levels. Grab the left-most, diamond-shaped handle on the Input line, and drag it over to the right. The more blur you've applied, the more you'll need to drag it over. If it looks like you may run off the end, try applying Levels twice, first at 200 and then again until you get the desired effect.

Now, the image is cleaner, but still blurry. Follow up with a touch of Unsharp Mask (Effects->Sharpen->Unsharp Mask). Things should be looking pretty good by now, but if you zoom in you may find faint shadows outside your nice smooth curves - so let's get rid of those.

Using the Magic Wand, set to a tolerance of 100, click on your smooth black line. Choose Selections->Modify->Select Similar. Now, invert your selection with Selections->Invert and use the delete key to clean up the "ghosts".

And there you have it - a nicely smoothed edge.
Jackie

Thank you for the tutorial. I saved it but will it work in PSP5?

In PSP 5, try this:
Open your image and set the colours to 16-million (Colours->Increase Color Depth->16-million Colours). Resize your image by 200% (Image->Resize). Apply a Gaussian Blur of 2 to 4 (or until the jaggies look smooth). Go to Colors->Adjust->Highlight, Midtone and Shadow set to Shadow -100; Midtone -100, Highlight 100. (If you're trying this in PSP 7, use the dynamic adjustment method.) Then resize back to 50% (will give you your original image size). Sharpen with Unsharp Mask if needed.

Jackie

 another.gif
(quicker to do than to write <g>).

Open a new graphic with a white background. Make it large - mine's 500 x 500. Go to "Effects", "Noise", "Add Noise". Put it up to 100%, Random, and hit enter. Hit Ctrl-Y to repeat four times (five applications total).

Go to "Colors", "Adjust", "Hue/Saturation/Lightness" and run the Saturation down to -100 to grey-scale the image. Go to "Effects", "Blur", "Gaussian Blur" and apply at strength 4.

Now go to "Colors", "Adjust", "Threshold". Try setting the threshold at about 150-155 - you're looking for a mottled black and white effect. The black areas will be your puddled/streaked drops in the final version.

Now, "Effects", "Blur", "Gaussian Blur" at a higher setting - try 5 or 6. Back to "Colors", "Adjust", "Threshold". Set it a little higher than the last time - I used 180.

"Effects", "Blur", "Gaussian Blur" at 1 to smooth the edges. Click on the white background with the magic wand and invert to select all the black portions of the image. Save your selection to the alpha channel.
-
"Selections", "Save to Alpha Channel", press OK twice. Then go to "Selections", "Select None".

Now, duplicate the layer. "Layers", "Duplicate". "Effects", "Blur", "Gaussian Blur" 5 pixels on the duplicate layer. Load your saved selection - "Selections", "Load from Alpha Channel", OK.

With the selection showing on the upper (blurred) layer, press the
Delete key on your keyboard. Deselect, and go to "Layers", "Merge Visible".

Save this image as your waterdrops template.

Now, you have a couple of options:

Method One:

Open the image you want to put water drops on. Open your saved template. Copy the template, click on your image and go to "Edit", "Paste", "As New Layer". Use the mover tool to move the layer around until you're happy with the distribution of drops (this is why you made the image as large as you did).

On your template layer, go to "Masks", "New", "From Image" - make sure "Invert Mask Data" is checked. You'll now see only the "drops". Flood fill with white. Go to "Masks", "Delete" and answer "Yes" to the dialog.

If you've followed along to this point, you now have a two layer image. The background layer is the image that you want to add drops to; the upper layer consists of white areas that we will now make into drops.

OK - you do have a copy of Eye Candy 3.1, no? No? It comes with PSP AE or you can download a free copy at http://www.planetphotoshop.com/showcase_ec3.html. Well worth it.

So, on your upper layer, let's turn those white blobs into drops and streaks.

Go to "Effects", "Plug-in Filters", "Eye Candy", "Inner Bevel". Play with the settings until you are happy with the drops, or use these settings - Bevel Width 8; Bevel Shape Rounded; Smoothness 10; Shadow Depth 80; Highlight Brightness 100; Highlight Sharpness 80; Direction 135; and Inclination 45. Press the Check mark to apply.

"But they're grey" - yup, that's because there's still one more step.

Play with your Layer Blend modes and Opacity. I like Soft Light at 100%, Burn at 75%; Multiply at 100% - just play around 'til you find a combination you like.

And there you go.

[Of course, now that you've downloaded Eye Candy, you'll have discovered the Water Drops filter - they're very good, too, but all perfectly round. The manual method I've given you gives blobs and streaks.]


Method Two:

An extension of the watermarking tut - open the image you want to put water drops on. Open your saved template. Copy the template, click on your image and go to "Edit", "Paste", "As New Layer". Use the mover tool to move the layer around until you're happy with the distribution of drops (this is why you made the image as large as you did).

On the drops layer, go to Effects -> Texture Effects -> Emboss. Now
play with your blend modes. Soft Light gives a light mist effect, Hard Light with the Layer Opacity at about 70% gives a more dramatic effect.

Have fun!
Jackie

 

reduce.gif
So you have a filter or effect that you really like,
but it's just too much for your image.

Kris has already mentioned that by applying the effect to a duplicate layer and using the opacity control, you can adjust the degree to which an effect impacts your image. And most of us realize that we can constrain most effects by using a selection... but wouldn't it be nice to actually "paint" on an effect just where we want it. Well, you can - just follow along.

The starting point should be familiar - open your image and duplicate
the background to a new layer. Now, pick your effect - could be a built in effect, a plugin, whatever suits your fancy. You'll now be seeing the totally altered layer. So how are we going to convert this to being "painted on" just where we want it?

Well, this is where the magic of masks comes in. A mask is a greyscale image that controls the transparency of a layer. Where the mask is totally black, the layer will be totally transparent. Where the mask is totally white, the layer will be totally opaque. With the 254 intermediate shades of grey, you will get more transparency with darker greys and less with lighter ones.

(view in a fixed-width font)

black.................> medium grey ..................> white
transparent...........> 50% transparent ..............> opaque

So, we are going to add a mask to our filtered layer. Where the mask is black, we will see right through it to the background. Where the mask is white, we will see the filtered layer fully opaque and covering the background. The darker the shade of grey in between, the less of the filter we will see.

So let's run through it and see what happens. We have our image, opened and with the background layer duplicated and filtered. Now, go Masks->New. Here we have two options - "Hide All" and "Show All". Remember, masks affect the transparency of the layer. If we choose "Hide All", PSP will create an all-black mask that will make our filtered layer transparent. Let's do that. The filtering seems to disappear, but what has really happened is that the mask is making the upper layer act totally transparent. So far, so good.

But we want to be able to paint some of that filter back in - to do so, we have to edit the mask to alter that layer transparency. Go to Masks->Edit. Now we will be working directly on the greyscale mask. Notice that our Colour palette has changed to greyscale automatically. So, choose the paintbrush and set your foreground colour to white, with no texture. Scribble over the mask... and voila, everywhere you paint, the filtered image is revealed.

Change your foreground colour to 50% grey and try it in another area -notice how you get a muted filter effect. That's because the top layer there is 50% transparent, so you are seeing the filter image and the original mixed half-and-half.

OK, so let's delete the masks. Go back to Masks->Edit to toggle the edit mode off, then go to Masks->Delete. Answer "Yes" to the question "Would you like this mask merged into the current layer?". Now, toggle the view of the background layer off - see how our painted mask has become the layer transparency? That's what merging the mask does.

Now, delete the upper layer, make a new duplicate and filter it with another filter. Add a mask, but this time use Masks->New->Show All. Nothing seems to happen - but it has. We have added a mask, just like last time, but this time the mask is totally white. Now we can paint with black to "erase" the filtering effect. You'd probably use this route more in situations where you want most of the image filtered and just want to remove filtering in specific areas.

Play around - we'll go a bit further into depth on masks next time with some specific effects you can achieve with this technique.

Have fun!
Jackie


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