Digital Scrapbook Tutorial | Using Masks to Blend

Hi everyone, Ona here to continue exploring the world of masks. Who is ready to blend using masks?

In the tutorial I have for you today we will be looking at how we can use masks to blend various things together.

In the past two tutorials I explained how and when you would use the Show All Layer Mask and the Hide All Layer Mask. If you missed out on reading them then click on the links to go and take a quick look as they provide important background for this tutorial.

Below you will see a layout that I created for this tutorial. I think the easiest way to demonstrate how to use layer masks with papers, photos and elements is through deconstructing my layout. It is fairly lengthy so make sure you have your favourite beverage close to hand.

The layout is comprised of quite a few layers so rather than show you a very long screen shot I have condensed it by using specific folders that we can explore separately.

Folder 1: Paper Layers:

The papers I used for this layout are from Rachel's Bring Your Own Sunshine kit. In the screen shot below you will also notice that I have used another type of mask as well which is called a clip mask. As the name implies you can 'clip' various items to the mask which will then conform to the mask's shape. The clip mask is from the Enjoy the little things: Blending Masks. I have also included an edge from Dreamer Edgy Overlays.

The layers have been numbered from bottom to top so that you can easily see what I did on each layer, so let's begin.

Paper Layer 1: I clipped my base paper to the clipping mask, using a white background so that parts of it would show through. Position the paper above the clipping mask. Holding the ALT key down hover over where the two layers join until you see a little symbol appear (tiny black arrow pointing down with a small white square next to it),  then click on it. The paper is now clipped to the mask. Layer mode - Normal; Opacity 100%.

Paper Layer 2: For this paper layer I added a Hide All mask and then, using a soft white airbrush at low opacity I 'painted' some of the paper back in. I especially wanted the white parts to be visible. Layer mode - Normal; Opacity 100%.

Paper Layer 3: Added another paper and used the same method as in the previous layer as I wanted to bring some more of the darker colour back into the right edge of the paper.  Layer mode - Normal; Opacity 100%.

Paper Layer 4: Again I used the same technique I used for the previous two paper layers. In this case I wanted the background text on this particular paper to appear in the lower bottom corner of the layout. I did the the opacity of this layer. Layer mode - Normal; Opacity 60%.

Paper Layer 5: While the edgy overlays appears here among the paper layers, I didn't introduce it into the layout until it was nearly finished. I felt that the edges looks a bit bare so I found an edge overlay to suit and changed the colour as well. I selected a colour from the layout itself, a soft teal/turquoise and then experimented with changing the blending modes until I was happy that it didn't overpower the rest of the layout. This was the main reason why I positioned it where I did, so that only parts of it would be visible. Layer mode - Linear Burn; Opacity 48%.

Folder 2 - Photo layers:

The photo I used is of my nephew's eldest daughter, running around playing with her arms stretched out wearing a wonderfully big happy smile. I ran an action on the photo first to change the colours to something that would blend better with the paper colours I had selected. After a lot of trial and error and experimentation I finally ended up with these photo layers.

Photo Layer 1: With the initial photo layer I changed the blend mode to Colour Burn and kept it at 100% Opacity. I added a Show All layer mask and using a large soft black brush at around 50% Opacity I started hiding the parts of the photo I didn't want, especially her little sister in the background. I wasn't very precise in doing this but did change down to smaller brush to get rid of the purple colours from her sister's coat that were showing up behind her arms. Layer mode - Colour Burn; Opacity 100%.

Photo Layer 2: I duplicated the photo layer to add a bit more substance to the main photo but lowered the layer opacity down to 46%. Layer mode - Colour Burn; Opacity 46%.

Photo Layer 3: I duplicated the last layer again, changed the blend mode to Multiply and kept the same 46% opacity. Again I just wanted the main photo to stand out just a bit more. Layer mode - Multiply; Opacity 46%.

Photo Layer 4: At this point the subject's face had become too dark so I needed to lighten it a bit. I did this by duplicating the previous layer again and changing the blend mode to Screen. Of course the current mask is not suitable as it is making the photo much too light. I only want to lighten the face. You can change the mask quickly into a Hide All mask by doing the following: a) Check that your colours are the default, black as foreground and white background. b) Click on the mask in the layer panel. d) Use ALT + Backspace key to fill the mask with black. Now I used a soft white brush at low opacity to paint some lightness back into her face. Layer mode - Screen; Opacity 37%.

Folder 3 : Element layers:

Element Layer 1: Caramel Creme Overlay (sub folder)

Note that I have a sub folder within the Elements folder called Caramel Creme Cluster which refers to the Caramel Creme Overlay I used to create interest in the top right hand corner of the layout. I really liked the composition of the overlay but I needed to change the colour so that it would blend in with the rest of the layout's colours. Simply changing the overlay to one colour was not an option, but changing the overlay to two coordinating colours and then using a Hide All layer mask, along with some layer blending, worked really well.

Overlay Layer 1: For the original overlay layer I lowered the opacity down to 21% and I also added a very fine drop down shadow as I wanted to define the shape a bit more and add some texture. Layer mode - Normal; Opacity 21%.

Overlay Layer 2: I duplicated the overlay layer and selected one of the brownish colours from the layout and used the Colorize option in the Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation panel, using the sliders to tweak the colour. Then I played around with blend modes. Layer mode - Colour Burn; Opacity 63%.

Overlay Layer 3: Duplicated the original overlay panel again and this time used a soft teal/turquoise colour from the layout to recolour it. At this point I add a Hide All layer mask and using a soft white brush I painted parts of the teal/turquoise overlay back in. Layer mode - Normal; Opacity 82%.

Element Layer 2: I used some paint splatters to add interest on these two layers. Originally the paint splatters, from the Creme Caramel kit, were black but I recoloured them white to blend in more. Layer mode - Normal; Opacity 100%.

Element Layer 3: The leafy branch is from Bring Your Own Sunshine and has been used here to bring focus back to the photo, note how it dips down and then seems to point towards the photo subject. I used a Show All layer mask to simply hide the part of the branch so that it appears as if it is behind the subject. If I had actually placed the branch under the photo layers then most of it would have been obscured due to the messy/grungy way in which the photo background had been removed. Layer mode - Normal; Opacity 100%.

Element Layer 4: After adding the wordart, also from Bring Your Own Sunshine,  it didn't seem to standout much so I duplicated it and changed the blend mode and added a fine drop shadow as well. Original WA Layer mode - Normal; Opacity 100%. Duplicated WA Layer Mode - Overlay; Opacity 47%.

Element Layer 5: Finished off with placing a butterfly in the top right hand corner and applying a drop down shadow. Layer mode - Normal; Opacity 100%.

Finishing Off Layers:


Layer 4: I created a composite layer by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+E and then I sharpened it using Filter>Other>High Pass. I added a Show All layer mask to hide to soften some of the layout that had been sharpened too much.

Layer 5:Added a Level Adjustment layer to give the whole layout a final brightening tweak.

Layer 6: Finally added a text label.

Still with me?? Sorry if it was a bit too long but I really wanted to explain and show you how layer masks can be used in different ways to create a layout that is uniquely yours.

Before I go I want to share a couple of pages made by the very talented Captivating Sistas:

From Dalis: "Used Hide It All mask to create the background paper and to blend the image into the background. There are multiple copies of the picture with different blend modes and opacity."

From Rae: "I used hide all mask on 4 papers, brushing back black striping, red dotted paper, peach paint and white flower edging, and 3 solid shapes (which I typed title onto). Used show all mask on image and with soft black brush I erased some of the edging to blend into the background papers."

In the next tutorial I will spend some time on blending modes and how to use them with various masks to achieve different effects, hope you can join me.

As always, if you have any question then please do not hesitate to ask here, I am more than happy to help.

For more inspiration check out Rachel's Captivated Visions Gallery at Sweet Shoppe Designs or perhaps share your own layout there with us, we would love to see it!

Until next time,