Digital Scrapbook Tutorial | Using a Hide All Mask

Hi everyone, Ona here with a digital scrapbooking tutorial on creating and using a Hide All layer mask.

Note: I have used Photoshop CC2015.5 for this tutorial. No doubt Photoshop Elements versions that have the masking tool can be used as well as other programs that have a masking tool - one of the CT sample pages below was done in PSPX5. 

In my last tutorial How to Create & Use Layer Masks  I explained how to create and use a Show All layer mask. The Show All layer mask is the standard mask that Photoshop or Photoshop Elements will provide after clicking the Add Layer Mask button located at the bottom of the Layers Panel (shown below).

After clicking the Add Layer Mask button, your Layers panel will display a WHITE mask on the layer and the layout in the viewing area will be visible, as shown below.

In this tutorial we will look at the Hide All layer mask and how it can be used. To create a Hide All mask, hold the ALT key down while clicking the Add Layer Mask button.

After ALT clicking the Add Layer Mask button, your Layers panel will display a BLACK mask on the layer and the layout in the viewing area will NOT be visible, as shown below.

As you will have already worked out, a Hide All layer mask is the opposite of a Show All layer mask. As you can see in the screen image above, once the Hide All layer mask is applied to the background, the layout 'disappears' in your main viewing area. This is because the mask is black so it will hide anything it has been applied to. Remember the fundamental masking principle: BLACK is used to HIDE, WHITE is used to REVEAL.

Using a Hide All layer mask is the ideal tool to bring just small parts of the image back into view using a WHITE brush. Let's look at two examples of where a Hide All layer mask could be used instead of the standard Show All layer mask.

Papers: Blending two or more papers
In this example I want to blend just a small part of a patterned paper together with the solid background paper. Patterned paper is from Rachel's Dreamer kit  and the solid background paper from Dreamer: Shabby Solids.

4 Paper from Dreamer kit.jpg

I used the shabby solid paper as my background and placed the patterned paper on the layer above it, then applied a Hide All mask (ALT key + click Apply Mask Layer button). Using a WHITE soft brush at low opacity I then started to 'paint' some of the paper back into view. Always start with a low opacity brush and build up the parts of the paper you want by going over it a few times. As I wanted to highlight just the roses, I then increased the opacity and lowered the brush size and then just worked on the roses alone. This is the final result of using the Hide All layer mask on these papers as well as what my layers panel looks like.

But of course, you don't have to stop at using two pages! Using this technique you can blend quite a number of pages together. In the example below I continued on using the Dreamer papers and blended three more papers to the original two.

For two layers (4 and 6) I changed the blend mode and opacity but all the rest remain in Normal blend mode and 100% Opacity. Refer to the image and layer list below:

Layer 6: Colour Burn Blend Mode + 43% Opacity

Layer 5: Normal Blend Mode + 100% Opacity

Layer 4: Normal Blend Mode +  91% Opacity

Layer 3: Normal Blend Mode + 100% Opacity

Layer 2: Normal Blend Mode + 100% Opacity

Layer 1: Normal Blend Mode + 100% Opacity

Photos: Bring focus to just one area of a photo
Just like papers, you can use the Hide All layer mask to bring back only certain parts of it. This is a photo of one of our Foxie pups, Batfink - one day he had floppy ears and the next they were sitting up straight and looked like a bat so that is how he got his name! We call him Bat for short!  

I only want to focus on his cute little face and not the background. Of course I could have cropped the photo but I didn't want any harsh border lines. Using the Hide All mask I was able to paint just the parts of the photo I wanted back into view. I used a large white soft brush (airbrush) with a very low opacity to bring back the initial area and then continued on, changing the brush size and opacity, until I was happy with it. I changed back to black quite often to correct the areas I had revealed too much of. It really does feel like painting to see your image appear on your page! :)

Photo on white background after using Hide All layer mask:

This is what the layers panel look like. As you can see the hide all mask looks very much like a negative, the white parts showing what is visible on the page.

As you can see, using a Hide All layer mask can be used in different ways to really emphasize a specific area of a photo or background paper but don't limit yourself to just those items, experiment with other things like overlays, page borders, elements etc.

Final tips and hints:
-  Use the opposite colour brush to reverse anything you have done. For instance, if you have used a white brush to bring some detail in and have changed your mind, change over to a black brush to hide the detail again.
- To hide the layer mask itself use the SHIFT key as you click on the actual mask in the layers panel - this will place a red cross on the mask to show it is no longer visible (the object will be visible in the viewing area). To activate the mask again, simply click on the actual mask in the layers panel.
- Use the Eye symbol to hide various layer when blending a lot of papers together. If the layer does not add anything to your overall design then get rid of it - this will help in keeping your file size smaller as well.

What about some inspiration from the Captivated Visions Sistas to finish off the tutorial?

By me: I ended up using the photo of our puppy Bat that was created using a Hide All layer mask.

By Eszter: "I used this technique to combine two of Rachel's papers. I fell in love with the texture of a paper, but I wanted to add some parts of another paper. I applied the Hide All layer mask on the 2nd paper, then hid the layer mask using SHIFT key, and selected the areas I wanted with the Quick Selection Tool. Then I activated the layer mask and fill the selected areas with SHIFT+Backspace keys, selected White Contents. Finally, I painted with a soft white brush (with very low opacity and Lighten Mode) to correct the edges of the objects."

By Ange:  "I used four papers from A Little Birdie Told Me kit as I couldn't choose one. I applied the Hide All layer mask on three papers and I also used it on several elements. The use of this technique in PXP is a bit different but can be done."

I hope you all have a go at using the Hide All layer mask technique. Rachel and I would be really thrilled to see any layouts you create using this technique. Upload them to Rachel's Captivated Visions Gallery at Sweet Shoppe Designs or simply post them here. If you have any questions then please ask away, I will certainly keep an eye on the blog and help in any way I can.

Until next time,
Ona.