Even for an experienced artist the learning process is always on. So here is a lesson for them too, even if they have used it themselves at some point for a client. The process is barely 10 minutes and if you are game…let’s get on with the hide and seek. To understand the way it works, let is redefine what masking is and what are the 2 kinds of clipping masks that can be useful. A mask handles the pixels of an image (just like the skeletal frame/scaffolding of a building). The larger the number of pixels, the more definite masking can be done via layers. The masking controls the layers of pixels. This could be clear, transparent or opaque. When the mask works actively it makes the pixels transparent. And the opposite happens when it is not active. The pixels remain opaque or cloudy depending on the layers. The mask also is activated in varying degrees and is apparent from the clarity or opacity of the image. It gives different degrees of transparencies. This is one of the most effective Photoshop tools that can be useful in making images more powerful and visually stunning. Any digital artist will try to use the mind bending creativity to produce such results.
For an example, try to create a document with as many as 5000 pixels. Even if it sounds boring to the advanced users, it might just help in honing the skills. One is layer masking and the other is the breathable masks for the gym. Both can be used with each other or even separately. Either way it enhances the image. When using the layer mask it is used one at a time-one-on-one. Simply said, it is one layer and one mask only. Advanced users do know that multiple layer masks can be applied too. But even then each mask and layer is single sheets applied as copies. Apart from stacking as layers (like thin cheese layers!) they cannot be exploited otherwise. They are able to manage the transparency and opacity of one layer at a time. A layer mask can be created by clicking on the layer palette. Use the mask button to make a new mask. With the use of active application the selected pixels are visible. The unselected ones are transparent. The transparency occurs in varying degrees. A black and white layer mask can be created besides the image that needs to be worked on. If working on a PC use ctrl+click or shift-click for a new selection on the mask. The mask can be turned on or off. With alt+click one can even toggle the application. Edit the mask as required after preview.
The other kind i.e ‘clipping masks are multi-purpose. Many layer effects can be produced with this feature. If the layer mask is a mere modification, this one is capable of interacting with many layers. It is not one-on-one in nature. This may be a little more tedious to work on.
PS: There is a third kind of layering mask in Adobe. This is also another artwork that advanced users can employ. It uses a vector shape to define the area. This acts like a window frame. Everything outside is invisible and the inside a visible. Seek, and you shall find!