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View Full Version : [Award Winner] Tutorial~The Mystery Behind the Mask ~ Photoshop Masks +



delgondahntelius
10-13-2008, 12:30 AM
Inspired by jfrazierjr's tutorial on masks in GIMP (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=3143) and decided that the few PS users around here might need a little clearing up and to clear away some of the misty confusion behind masks. I suggest you read through the above tutorial on the principals behind what a mask is and why it works. I don't feel I need to redefine what he's already explained.

But any of you PS users that have gone through a gimp tutorial with PS sooner or later got to a section where masks left you confused and frustrated. So if the principal of masks are the same, then why can you follow a tutorial for GIMP with PS and vice versa? Because the way the programs use the masks are a little bit different. How they are manipulated and so forth. Luckily and hopefully I'll try to clear some of it up and explain why these powerful little tools should be in every PS users arsenal for making maps. I don't know GIMP all that well, so if I make any references that are wrong, hopefully RobA or jfrazierjr will come along and clear that up.

Photoshop uses three different kinds of masks. Layer Masks (rasterized), Vector Masks (non-rasterized), and Clipping Masks. Outlined below:
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Since all I want to really do for this first lesson is give you a simple demonstration of what a mask is and what it does (or can do) This little mini-tut is directly ripped off from jfrazierjr's "hit and run" tut in Torq's thread (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showpost.php?p=34333&postcount=10) about masks. So simple even I could understand it and how it could be powerful little tool. It was such a fine and simple demonstration, I can't help but present one in similar fashion.

What the mask does here is allows mask to let the layer below it blend in through it. giving a very unique and (if well done) great looking ground effect. Try it with multiple layers of differieng textures with some set to overlay, hardlight and multiply.

This exercise we'll be using plain and simple, just so you can really get a good look at what a mask does. I started out with a 3"x3" 150dpi RGB white background file. We go to Edit>Fill>Pattern and choose a nice rocky pattern, I went for a nice gray rocky area and not worrying about seamless textures at the moment. Then I make a new layer (SHIFT+CTRL+N) and then Edit>Fill>Pattern and choose a nice big green grass looking texture. Which immediately covers the rocky area I put in before.
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So.... Let's make them get together and blend, Make sure you have the Grass Layer highlighted and Either go to the menu and choose Layer>Layer Mask>Hide all
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or (highlighted in the first picture) hit the little Mask Icon at the bottom of the layer palette (square with a circle in the middle) with an ALT + Left Click (**Not CTRL Click, which will add a Vector Mask**) and all your grass disappears at the same time a big black thumbnail appears next to the grass thumbnail with a linked icon in between them:
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Now take a nice bristle brush like a stipple ( I like to space it out so its stlil touching, but there is some space between the bristles), Make sureyou click on the black mask thumbnail, set your palette color to WHITE and drop down the brush opacity to about 20% and start going arond the map and brushing that grass in until you get the look you want. I kinda exaggerated some things i this one below... but you get the jist of it. We'll be going into all kinds of things a little later on, including selections, channels and paths. and how powerful they all can be in a mapper arsenal. But work with blending in multiple texture levels for land (AND water!!!) effects...<ITS FUN!!!!>

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Stay tuned for more about masks :D

delgondahntelius
10-15-2008, 03:22 PM
No responses? .... I was going to continute... but JoJo is doing such a fine job, maybe a PS version of the tutorial isn't necessary..

mmmmmpig
10-15-2008, 03:29 PM
I think adding the PS counter point to his GIMP stuff would be nice. Maybe you could merge the threads and make it all about masks?

jfrazierjr
10-15-2008, 03:37 PM
No responses? .... I was going to continute... but JoJo is doing such a fine job, maybe a PS version of the tutorial isn't necessary..


I think it is.... if nothing else, but to show the slight differences in the UI between the two programs.

delgondahntelius
10-15-2008, 03:50 PM
Does gimp use clipping masks or vector masks?

jfrazierjr
10-15-2008, 04:02 PM
Does gimp use clipping masks or vector masks?


I can't answer since I don't know the difference 100% but I am pretty sure based on reading yours that it is rasterized... so clipping seems to sound right....

delgondahntelius
10-15-2008, 04:08 PM
clipping mask:
clipping mask lets you use the content of a layer to mask the layers above it. The masking is determined by the content of the bottom or base layer. The non-transparent content of the base layer clips (reveals), the content of the layers above it in the clipping mask. All other content in the clipped layers is masked out.

vector mask:
basically allows you to use the pen tool to make a mask....

RobA
10-15-2008, 04:25 PM
I don't think it supports clipping or vector masks. The only mask is a simple layer mask.

-Rob A>

delgondahntelius
10-15-2008, 04:36 PM
Originally I was just going to have JoJo post up the PS equivalent... but after looking at masks again for PS and how different they could be utilized, I decided on a separate thread

delgondahntelius
10-15-2008, 04:37 PM
You think a video would be more helpful?

StillCypher
10-16-2008, 11:51 AM
I'd really like to see more info about the masks -- I'm still learning how to use them, and there are so many different ways to take advantage of their non-destructive approach. I'm not real sold on the video idea, but that's because as I'm going through a tutorial, I like to stop and try the theory out for myself -- and sometimes I go back and forth within the tutorial, which is a pain when it's in video format. But that's just my two cents!

So, I'm tuned! What's next? :)

jfrazierjr
10-16-2008, 12:41 PM
I'm not real sold on the video idea, but that's because as I'm going through a tutorial, I like to stop and try the theory out for myself -- and sometimes I go back and forth within the tutorial, which is a pain when it's in video format. But that's just my two cents!



Hmm.. I think I am quite a bit in the same boat. Would you take a quick look at my post for the GIMP version? In mine, my videos are sound less and only 20-80 seconds in length. I then explain in the post exactly (4-10 bullet points) what I am doing in each step of the video. Do you think this would be a good format for you (and most others) to learn? ie, short, quick, hit and run videos?

I broke mine up for many, many reasons, but one of the primary ones was the total size of the video. I wanted to make sure the video quality we pretty darn high so people could see the details well... of course, this bumps up the total size. So, instead of creating one 1 GB 10 minute video file I opted for hit and run do these 2-3 techniques enough to see a difference in the visible image. Another reason I did short ones was because I tend to hit the wrong thing (wrong menus, etc) and I did not want to waste bandwidth with my mistakes and short videos are easy to rerecord quickly.

I personnaly think that this short video technique has many good benefits to it, and at least for me... is the way I will be going from now on. Of course, I need to find a better place to host them instead of from my dropbox account site.. but thats a different story.

Arcana? Any thoughts on posssibly having moderated access to upload videos or something like that hosted on the main site?

delgondahntelius
10-16-2008, 05:20 PM
hey jojo... sent you an email detailing account permissions on my website... for hosting your video files... : D no need to worry about where to host them :D

StillCypher
10-17-2008, 05:10 PM
Hmm.. I think I am quite a bit in the same boat. Would you take a quick look at my post for the GIMP version? In mine, my videos are sound less and only 20-80 seconds in length. I then explain in the post exactly (4-10 bullet points) what I am doing in each step of the video. Do you think this would be a good format for you (and most others) to learn? ie, short, quick, hit and run videos?


All right, once again, my two cents -- for whatever it's worth!

I went through your entire tutorial (Hey! It's not done yet! There's a cliffhanger at the end!), and I still think my personal favorite is the text version with screenshots. I'm not saying that the videos would not be helpful -- but not only did these go off of my screen and cut off the view of what was happening, but they were very fast, and I missed what you were doing (not helped by the missing portions, I think!).

I think that in a text-type tutorial, one could assume that the viewer has some basic skills with the graphics program they're using (PS, GIMP, etc.) and some of the screenshot examples could be left out -- things like 'create a new layer and name it 'Water Texture' and other such basic instructions -- thus cutting down on the number of screenshots you'd actually need to use.

Not that I want to make things hard for new users!

For part of your tutorial I went along in Photoshop and found your instructions pretty easy to 'translate' from GIMP. I wonder if it is possible or practical to author some of these tutorials with a partner who uses the other program, making notes of how the procedure would be performed (or if it is not available) in that other program.

For instance:

What if you want to see the image without the layer mask? You can temporarily disable a layer mask if you like. [In Photoshop, Shift-click on the layer mask thumbnail in the Layers Palette. A red X will show on the layer mask thumbnail.]

And here's another totally outrageous idea... There are some tutorials that I like to refer back to frequently. How about providing a downloadable (PDF) version I can keep forever and ever and ever?? :D

I know. I'm making MORE WORK. :shock: I'd actually be willing to help out some. I'm a pretty good editor, and although my PS skills are hardly up to professional quality, I'd be happy to try to fill in the PS equivalents to GIMP commands.

(And I'm probably up to about 25˘ now, huh?)

jfrazierjr
10-17-2008, 08:40 PM
All right, once again, my two cents -- for whatever it's worth!

I went through your entire tutorial (Hey! It's not done yet! There's a cliffhanger at the end!),


Actually, I hope to get that part done tonight. However, EVEN when I get that cliffhanger part finished, I plan to throw up several more posts/videos adding additional tips and tricks.




and I still think my personal favorite is the text version with screenshots. I'm not saying that the videos would not be helpful -- but not only did these go off of my screen and cut off the view of what was happening, but they were very fast, and I missed what you were doing (not helped by the missing portions, I think!).


Even the later ones? I actually plan to redo the original one and get the physical dimensions down some to avoid the off the screen problem. As for the speed, I tried to go at slightly slower than my normal speed, but no so slow that I wasted a lot of time which would bloat the file sizes of the video (which as stated is why I did very short videos as stated before)




I think that in a text-type tutorial, one could assume that the viewer has some basic skills with the graphics program they're using (PS, GIMP, etc.) and some of the screenshot examples could be left out -- things like 'create a new layer and name it 'Water Texture' and other such basic instructions -- thus cutting down on the number of screenshots you'd actually need to use.


I wanted to make this tutorial accessible to anyone, no matter what their level of experience was, however, it was made for intermediate people in mind. Typed out bullet points are much less time consuming for me than taking screen shots.




And here's another totally outrageous idea... There are some tutorials that I like to refer back to frequently. How about providing a downloadable (PDF) version I can keep forever and ever and ever?? :D

I know. I'm making MORE WORK. :shock: I'd actually be willing to help out some. I'm a pretty good editor, and although my PS skills are hardly up to professional quality, I'd be happy to try to fill in the PS equivalents to GIMP commands.

(And I'm probably up to about 25˘ now, huh?)

I would love to do the whole PDF thing, and wanted to... but... I really don't have any way that I know of to do such, at least not that I know of. If someone could point me in the right direction to some free software for layout that would export to PDF, that would be ok. However, it has to be something brain dead simple. While I am a techie and fairly smart, I just don't have the time to learn any new programs right now...

RobA
10-17-2008, 08:44 PM
I appreciate the comments, StillCypher.
It takes a lot of effort to make a decent tutorial. If you consider my "arstic regional map tut" I did the technique once. Then I repeated it while jotting down the steps and taking screen grabs. Then a third time through following the directions to see if they make sense. After that I uploaded the tutorial steps. Then I made them into pdf's.

It was so much work it has kept me from making another one. The video tutorials certianly are a lot easier to author.

-Rob A>

StillCypher
10-18-2008, 08:19 PM
I can (and do!) appreciate all the work you tutorial-writers go to -- and by that I mean that I can feel for you. It *is* a lot of work.

Joe: I don't know if this is Mac-centric, but when I create a text + data file > print, I can choose the option to save it as a PDF file (with PDF options, too! Most of which I'm afraid I'm ignorant about).

Tutorial Makers: I'm going to guess that the process of copying and pasting your instructions AND inserting the appropriate pictures (screen captures) into the appropriate slots in a post is a pain in the keester. What if you create them as graphic documents? I know a lot of folks over on deviantArt do that. It might require dividing the document into a couple of sections, but then it could be uploaded in one shot and easily saved as a complete document by anyone.

jfrazierjr
10-18-2008, 10:13 PM
I can (and do!) appreciate all the work you tutorial-writers go to -- and by that I mean that I can feel for you. It *is* a lot of work.

Joe: I don't know if this is Mac-centric, but when I create a text + data file > print, I can choose the option to save it as a PDF file (with PDF options, too! Most of which I'm afraid I'm ignorant about).

Tutorial Makers: I'm going to guess that the process of copying and pasting your instructions AND inserting the appropriate pictures (screen captures) into the appropriate slots in a post is a pain in the keester. What if you create them as graphic documents? I know a lot of folks over on deviantArt do that. It might require dividing the document into a couple of sections, but then it could be uploaded in one shot and easily saved as a complete document by anyone.



Nope.. Can't do PDF. This is a new machine... so perhaps when I install Open Office on it, there will be some default stuff installed to convert to PDF. Also, I think I can grab frames out of Camstudio, so perhaps I can make screenshots and if so will work on making up a PDF.

Midgardsormr
10-19-2008, 09:27 AM
If someone could point me in the right direction to some free software for layout that would export to PDF, that would be ok. However, it has to be something brain dead simple. While I am a techie and fairly smart, I just don't have the time to learn any new programs right now...

The easiest free way to export PDF that I have yet found is to get one of those programs that acts like a printer but "prints" a pdf instead. Pdf995 is the one I've used to print from CorelDRAW. Then use whatever layout tool you like--as long as it can print you can make a simple pdf.

As for video tutorials, I find them somewhat cumbersome. I prefer a text-and-pic approach. However, I'd rather have a video tutorial than no tutorial.

And finally, yes, the PS counterpart to the Gimp tutorial is very helpful. I am not as accomplished with masks as I should be, and I've already learned a bit more about them from this thread. I learned a bit from the Gimp tutorial, but it's difficult to keep on target when you have to keep stopping to poke around the UI looking for equivalent commands.

delgondahntelius
10-23-2008, 06:13 PM
I'm going to continue the tutorials then ... doing it with text and pictures.... :D

don't forget to rate it :D or add some rep!! :lol:

delgondahntelius
10-23-2008, 07:04 PM
Okay, So what can you do with masks that apply directly to mapping?
The answer: A whole !@#$ load of stuff. This particular excersize will deal with a simple pattern and layer mask and how you can manipulate the mask to gain a desired effect.

I started a new psd file with my custom web setting, which I will be using over and over again (6"x6" 150 dpi with a white background.)

The first thing we have to do is create a seamless forest pattern. So here is how you do that. (small note: for anything professional you do, you should try it at 600dpi and a broader selection, what I use here is for tutorial purposes and not meant to look very pretty.)

Create a new file, 1"x1" 300 dpi is what I used here, then start to draw in some trees. Stay away from the edges of the picture. Once you have some trees in the middle run the offset filter (Filter>Other>Offset) you can play around with the settings some or use the ones I did (+137, -178 with Wrap Around checkmarked)

Then go in and start making some more trees in the center (always keep to the center) and use CTRL + F to run the filter repeatedly until you have filled the whole thing in. Then save the pattern (Edit>Define Pattern)
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Go back to the original file you created for your map. Create a new layer (CTRL + SHIFT + N) named Forest. Or optionally you can just go to Layer>New Layer Fill>Pattern and choose the pattern you just made. I prefer this option to Edit>Fill>Pattern because you can adjust the scale of the pattern you are using. I scaled this one down to 40%

With the mask highlighted go down to you mask button and ALT+Click the the layer mask which will add a Vector mask, Right click on this new mask and choose Rasterize and you will then have a black mask over the pattern you just layed down (It will disappear, don't freak out :D)
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Choose a nice soft brush and make sure your layer mask is selected, Your foreground color should be white, then brush in a nice sized forest or two.
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Zoom in and touch it up by switching between your black and white colors to edit out stray edges.
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Once you have that done, create a new layer underneat the Forest layer, then paint in some tree trunks to give it that ISO feel.
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Granted this particular forest isn't that great, but I did it in about 15 minutes (the entire tutorial excersize) but hopefully you can see how this process can work for mapping.

delgondahntelius
10-24-2008, 10:24 PM
SOOOO..... why do you need to use a Vector Mask??
Well I used this technique on the monthly challenge and so I will demonstrate a good use of vector masks for mapping.

I wanted all the objects in the map to resemble each other and maintain a semblance of uniformity.

So lets get right into it. For my original map I used quite a few layers for the stonework, but for this mini-tut I we'll be using a lot less. I also used nothing but brushes but again, for simplicities sake, we'll be using textures. Create your new file (As above tutorial instructed) Create a new layer which will name "stone" and well do it simple this time and Edit>Fill>Pattern and choose a nice rock pattern. Then go to Layer>Vector Mask>Hide All.
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I used a backdrop on my original, but we are going to freehand some objects this time around. Grab the pen tool, make sure your path option is chosen and that you have Add to Selection marked. You'll notice that unlike a layer mask, your thumbnail of the layer as well as the mask will be selected at the same time. (Rasterized Layer Masks you either select the mask or the layer). So make sure your have the Vector mask selected as well and start laying down som straight line objects. If you want to get fancy, drop down a circle or two... up to you. Throw down a shape or two... HAVE SOME FUN! :D

Now create another layer "Overlay" and set it to overlay. Hold down the ALT key and LCdrag the vector mask to the new layer, making a copy of it.


Chose you a rough brush like a stipple brush, set your brush settings to pen pressure, min size halfway up, angle jitter 90%, click on the color dynamics, run the jitter up about 90%, brightness of 15%. Make sure your vector layer is unclicked, choose some nice ugly colors like (r177 g198 b84) and (r129 g129 b84) and start swathing the rocks and symbols you created.
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Now create a new layer "Edge" and ALT copy the vector layer as before. Right Click on that vector mask and choose Rasterize Vector Mask,Right click the mask and choose "Add mask to Selection" With the mask still selected go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur with 12 pix radius. (Now get ready for some fun) Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur with 9 px, CTRL+F to run it again, then Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur 6px, CTRL+F to run it again. Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur 3px. (Whew... glad that was done huh?... I have an action command set up to do this as it works well when rendering logos and text), Now select the Layer thumbnail and not the mask, make Black your foreground color and the ALT+Backspace to fill the selection .... set the layer to Overlay .... You can adjust the opacity if you think it is too dark...
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I filled the background with a dark gray in the final picture so you could see it a bit better.
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Congratulations.. you just made some rocks :D

I'm sure however that you can see that many applications that vector masks will have to mapping.

StillCypher
10-29-2008, 11:36 PM
I hate getting stuck so early in the tutorial! :(


Now create another layer "Overlay" and set it to overlay. Hold down the ALT key and LCdrag the vector mask to the new layer, making a copy of it.

I could NOT get the previous key command to work. I don't know if it's because I'm using PS 7 or because the key command didn't translate to Mac properly. After doing some fiddling, I discovered that this works:

1. Go to the Paths Palette. Command Click (PC: Control Click) on the path you just created to make a selection of the shapes. Command+C to copy. Make Work Path From Selection (from bottom of palette).

2. Go back to the Layers Palette. Click on the Overlay Layer to activate it. Go to the Menu > Layer > Add Vector Mask > Current Path.

Voilá!

Everything else worked like a dream. That was fun! Thanks!