Layers and Masks

April 28

10 min. to read

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Selective and nondestructive editing has never been so exciting. Read and check it out!

Photo editor layers offer a simplistic and efficient approach to masking, editing or bringing out the best in your photos. Its flexibility provides users with an unusual editing capability to hide pixels rather than erase them. Editing your photo by applying a photo layer effect on it, apart from being fast, is non-destructible, and can be easily undone.

Take, for example, you’re working on an image of you in your car. If peradventure you mask-off a necessary detail like your arm or ear in the course of editing, you need not start all over, or get into some complex undo-actions. Since the layer mask only accidently hid the ‘ear’ or ‘arm’ pixels along with the others, it can be easily un-erased without any sweat at all.

With the likes of Photoshop, Pixlr, FotoFlexer, Pixelmator, iPiccy and others, there are almost as many photo editors with layers as there are the editing tasks themselves.

The Skylum Creative Kit is by far one of the most efficient photo editing application with ultramodern layer mask tools that give you incredible flexibility, ease, and control.

Of all six extremely competent award-winning apps, namely Snapheal, Focus, Tonality, Intensify, FX Photo Studio and Noiseless, three of them are well-suited for photo layering among several other tasks.

Skylum Photo Laying Apps

FX Photo Studio, Intensify, and Tonality are three outstanding Mac-only photo layering apps that can be used to achieve smart and stunning layering effects. Like most professional photo editor layers, one can perform all kind of non-destructive techniques designs with Luminar, Intensify or Tonality. The plus is that these Skylum apps are much easier to use, flexible and intuitive.

A Closer Look at FX Photo Studio, Tonality, and Intensify

Tonality, Apple-tagged Editor’s Choice is one of its kinds. Whether you’re using the photo layer app’s tools to create diverse enhancements on distinct layers, or masking specific areas of your images for desired enhancements, Tonality’s Layer Mask tools would wow you.

Like Tonality, Intensify features creative layer mask tools like Erase Mask, Brush Tool, Gradient Tool, Histogram and Layer Panels as well as the Layer Controls which are great for creating charming and realistic photo effects.

FX Photo Studio masking tool is beyond the ordinary. Its selective mask edit tools and controls among its numerous capabilities make it an incredible powerhouse for users of all skill levels

Let’s take a quick look at these tools as we familiarize with the amazing possibilities achievable in unimaginable record times within the photo layer editor.

The Brush and Erase Mask Tool

The Brush tool is a unique and powerful one, having its modus operandi similar to that of the traditional drawing or painting brush. Its effect can be selectively applied to predetermined portions of your image. The Brush tool can be engaged by click-holding your mouse to drag the tool to your choice area to paint in the mask effect on any layer of your own choosing. The Erase Mask tool makes it possible for you to erase mask undesirable effects that have been applied. Its engagement is similar to that of the Brush tool.

FX Photo Studio, Tonality, and Intensify; the trio highlight easily accessible controls for simplified application of desired effects. Their controls include the Brush and Mask Controls, Gradient Tool and others.

Brush Controls

Characteristic of all Skylum apps whose tools are easy to use and understand, FX Photo Studio, Tonality and Intensify feature slider controls that enable prompt application of adjustments for desirable layer mask effects. The Brush Control sliders comprise of ‘size’, ‘softness’ and ‘opacity’.

The Size slider, just as its name implies, is used in controlling the brush’s size in pixel. Larger brush sizes are great for editing large portions of the image while smaller brush sizes are effective for a more detailed work.

Opacity Slider can be used to determine the strength of the painting brush. A 100% brush opacity equals a full 100% brush strength.

The softness slider is used in determining the degree of hardness or otherwise of the brush’s edge. A 100% softness value will have a feathered edge while a “zero” will produce a hard edge.

Mask Controls

They comprise of three checkbox options. The ‘Show’ ‘Invert’ and ‘Clear’. Selecting the ‘show’ option reveals the created mask effect, in red, while the ‘invert,' as its name, can be used to easily invert an already created mask effect. The ‘clear’ simply clears your mask.

The Gradient Tool

This photo layer editor also features the Gradient tool. Working in tango with the Mask, this tool can be used easily to perform generalized or localized effects on your image. All you need to do is simply click-hold on the Gradient tool to drag its center point to a desirable position. Adjusting the top and bottom gradients until you achieve the desired exposure/masking effect is the next thing to do.

Using the Opacity and Angle controls, the Gradient-Mask effects can be altered to choice. The Opacity is used in determining the degree of saturation of the applied effect. An Opacity value of zero reflects a transition from ‘partial effect’ to ‘no effect’ while a value of hundred would reflect a transition to ‘no effect’, from ‘full effect’.

The Photo Layering Apps’ Histogram Tool

Playing a vital role in Layer Masking, the tool displays relevant details about your photo’s Zone system, in hash marks. On a scale of “1 to 10”, a value of zero indicates absolutely black regions with no detail whatsoever, while “10” indicates the absolute white regions without any detail. Clicking on the upper right and upper left buttons would display both regions respectively.

FX Photo Studio, Tonality, and Intensify’s Layers Controls

The Layers control of these layering photos apps offers smart and efficient ways to organize your photo editing for the purpose of creating perfect or near perfect images. The tools also offer new and intuitive possibilities for you to explore probable image-editing alternatives.

The photo layering apps provide you with the unique ability to add multiple layer effects to your image, beginning with a layer. The Tonality CK app, for example, offers as much as 8 layers with each layer its own distinct effect, mask, and opacity. Each layer also has its custom Opacity slider which can be used to control the overall strength of the applied effect.

The apps ease of usage allows users to easily add or remove layers effect by simply clicking on the ‘plus icon’ or ‘subtract icon’ respectively. The visibility control tool, an eye icon, allows for seamless switching on or off of the layering effect on the entire image.

The Layer Mask Control

Having distinct icons, each layer mask option can be used to selectively regulate the brush or gradient controls while applying specific effects to your images. Right-clicking on a Layer helps to reveal more options, one of which is the “Create Luminosity Mask” among several others.

Irrespective of how complex (or simple) your photo’s defects are, Skylum’s Layer Mask apps (FX Photo Studio, Intensify, and Tonality) are great for achieving perfect, professional-quality layer-mask effects.

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