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photoshop, masks

I'm trying to learn how to use masks. I have this image with 2 layers. I inserted a mask on the top layer. The mask is white, so obviously the entire top layer is visible. I start painting with black to reveal the bottom layer.
     Here is my problem (and question): If I reveal too much of the lower layer, I thought I could just paint with white to cover the lower layer, but when I paint with white, nothing happens. Why? If the mask is white, then painting with black reveals the lower layer and painting with white covers the lower layer again, right? How do I undo the areas that I over-painted with black?
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john8217
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john8217
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BillDLCommented:
It sounds to me as though you are not switching focus between the layer and the layer mask.  Layers are just like pieces of tracing paper stacked one on top of the other, and you can move them up or down the stack like you could do with playing cards.  To make any changes to a particular layer you have to select that layer first.  Can you see a dialog that probably contains 3 tabs for layers, channels, and paths?  The "layers" dialog should show little thumbnails of what each layer contains and you can select that layer and then go to the main image and work on it.

As far as I know you have the following keyboard shortcuts when working with a layer and a mask:
Ctrl and \  = switch to the layer mask
Ctrl and ~  = switch to the layer

This is a very generic (version-wise) tutorial for Photoshop that might help you to visualise how layers work:
http://www.tutorial9.net/tutorials/photoshop-tutorials/working-with-layers-in-photoshop/

Two very well explained video tutorials:
Layers Explained:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_w-khpEU8n8
Layer Masks Explained:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d61rRKm-msw

I hope this helps.
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john8217Author Commented:
Thanks
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BillDLCommented:
You're welcome John
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