Over the past 3 weeks we’ve been exploring Photoshop Masks and how they can help us in digital scrapbooking.

This tutorial will provide an overview of general techniques. For specifics, such as how to apply a mask, please review our previous tutorials:

Masking with the Gradient Tool     PDF     You Tube

Stretching your Digi-Stash using Layer Masks     PDF     You Tube

Using Layer Masks in Photoshop     PDF     You Tube

Today let’s look at 4 different ways to Stretch your Digi-Stash using Photoshop Masking Techniques and/or Photo Clipping Masks.

1. Photo Clipping Masks are great tools that allow us to quickly and easily cause one layer to take the shape of another layer.  Very often we will see photos clipped to Photo Clipping Masks.  Below is an example of a photo clipped to one of my Garden Masks.


Sometimes we might need to tweak a mask, depending upon the photo we are using. In the image above,  I don’t like the positioning of my photo where the butterfly is. A brown branch and the top of the photo itself is showing at the top of the butterfly wings. Moving the photo around in the mask didn’t solve the problem, so modifying the mask was the next step.

I applied a clipping mask to the photo mask, chose a soft-edged brush, and painted away the butterfly.

By using this technique to modify photo masks, you can use them over and over again, without ever having them look the same!



2. Modifying a Mask by adding to it is also a great option when working with certain photographs.  In the image below, I have clipped a photo of my grandson Owen to my Garden Mask 3.  I would prefer not to see the few little “blobs” (transparent areas of the mask) on his forehead.


In this case it is a simple matter of grabbing a brush, choosing a color from the color picker (here I chose black to match the mask), and painting in the areas of the mask that I didn’t want to see.  To make it easy, I made the photo layer invisible, and brushed away the obvious “blobs.”


 I then clipped the photo to the mask (for visibility), and making sure my mask layer was selected, brushed over the finer scratches that were visible on Owen’s face, removing those also.


3. Blend a Photo Mask into a background paper.

Who says we have to use Photo Masks as they are intended? Let’s think outside the box!

Norma, a member of my creative team,  placed Mask #3 on a background paper and changed the mask Blend Mode to Overlay.  She was using the Mask as a “design element” on her page, rather than as a clipping mask.


Here is her final layout (Kits used: Scenic Route, The Long Road Home):


4.  Use only part of a Photo Clipping Mask to create a border design. This works better with some masks than others, but experiment and see what you can come up with! Norma flipped  this Masks – Garden #3 to take advantage of the designs on the left side.


She stretched the flipped mask to 12″ in height, and positioned it on the left side of her background paper.  Norma next clipped her photograph to her newly created mask-border.  She used the original mask in the body of her layout, to create this stunning page. (Kit used: Rocky Mountain Dreams).


Masks.  I love them! Photoshop Masking Techniques and Photo Masks!  We can get soooo much more out of our digi-supplies with using these tools and our imagination!  Just look at the 3 different looks Norma achieved using the same mask!

I created a sampler for you to try some of these techniques on.  Just click the image below to download.


I hope you have found this series on masking helpful.

What should we talk about next? I welcome your suggestions! Just leave them in the Comment area at the bottom of this post!

If you would like to keep this tutorial on your computer for easy reference, you may download a PDF here.