Tricky layer masking


So i have been working with layer masks lately and i know how you can apply the layer mask and then whatever you draw on that layer in black goes transparent and white stays opaque and greyscale inbetween.

but instead of applying fades or solid colours to the layer after applying the mask id like to apply a greyscale image so as to get the pattern of that greyscale image as a transparency on the original.

Anyone know how i can do this?

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This should be fairly simple:

. Create your Layer Mask.
. Select the Grayscale image you want to use as your pattern.
. Select your Layer mask by holding down the Alt key while clicking on the mask in the Layers palette
. Paste

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One more thing...

To get the right effect, you might want to invert your grayscale image before copying and pasting it into your mask (Since black is transparent and White is solid). To invert the image hit Ctrl+I on your keyboard.

Quintin79Author Commented:
yes you raise an interesting point with the inversion.  what im doing is trying to apply colors to certain areas of photos like on buildings and cars.

i am selecting say the wall of the bilding that is to be colored and cutting it out into another image and changing it ti grayscale.  then im applying the layer mask and i thought that i'd apply that cutting over the top of itself again (inverted) in layer mask mode to make the dark parts stay dark and t he light parts transparent, then paste it back into the original and putting a color underneath it to show throught the shadows. i also found that removing the white matte was a nice touch.

i am so surprised at how accurate this color is becoming.  but this is a lot of stuffing around.  im wondering if theres another way.
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>> what im doing is trying to apply colors to certain areas of photos like on buildings and cars.

ain't there adjustment layers for that purpose?
Quintin79Author Commented:
um...  maybe?

can you explain how this would work.  never used adjustment layers.  Thanks
Quintin79Author Commented:
andyetanotherloginname :

no adjustment layers are for something else.  they cant do the trick that i am trying to do.  basically i need to extract the shadow as a black only transparency.  then create a solid color and apply the shadow ovver the top.

that way no matter what color i change underneath, the shadow will always be the same over the top.  i have figured out a way to do it but its very complicated.
You should try to experiment with blend modes of the layer and  / or the layer mask.  Blend modes are found in the layers palette in a drop down menu.
Perhaps a copy of the PSD would be helpful to fully understand what you want to do.

Other nice tool that could be useful is "Select color range" (if I understand what you are trying to do...):

1) From the menu:  Select > Color Range
2) Make sure the Selection Preview dropdown reads Grayscale
3) Click on some dark(est) area of the image
4) Adjust Fuzziness to quite high value (this means that the selection will include colors that are not exactly the color you clicked on but similar, the more fuzziness the larger the selection)
5) click ok
6) Click "Add layer mask" on the Layers palette, voila!


you can add a mask as an image in the "Channels" pallette, next to "Layers".

1: open your original image that you would like to apply a mask to.
2: set the image so it is not on the "background" layer. I typically do this by duplicating it. then make sure that new layer is selected.  You can delete the background layer now if you want to keep things clean.
3: open the image that you would like to use AS a mask. Convert it to greyscale if it is not already.
4: with that image open and selected, select all (ctl-A, cmd-A) and Copy (ctl C, cmd-C) to you clipboard.
5: go back to the original image, and select "Add Layer Mask" (its the icon that looks like a circle inside a square at the footer of your layers pallette, next to the effects icon and the new layer, delete layer, etc)
6: go to your Channels pallette again, and you will see the mask layer there, labeled "Layer (x) Mask".  it is defaulted to be invisible.  Select the View icon (the eyeball) next to it so you can view it.  
7: With that mask layer selected, paste the image you copied to the clipboard to it. You should see a ghost image of the mask there.  It will initially be pink in color-- turn off the view icon again to see it they way you'd like it.  
8: select the Layers pallette again, and you will see the image as a mask!

hope this helps.


PS: forgot to mention you may need to invert your grayscale image, as it will be reversed once it's applied as a mask.  
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