Using Photo Masks in Digital Layouts



There have been some requests to do a little PSE tutorial using clipping masks, or as I call them photo masks.  I love photo masks!  They really add quite a bit of interest to layouts and they are easier than you probably thought to use!  Check out an example below using one of these clipping masks from Silver Winter:

To use a photo mask in PSE, first you need to open up your photo of choice and the photo mask you wish to use.

Here I have chosen a photo of my youngest son when we were in Paris and a photo mask I created using my When In Paris Kit (no longer available).

Once you have chosen your photo and mask, you simply drag the photo with your mouse from the Project Bin below (note the small thumbnails at the bottom of screen) onto your photo mask.

You will note that the photo doesn’t match the size of the photo mask.  Here is where you will need to adjust the photo to fit:

  • Reduce the transparency of the photo just so you can still see the photo and see the photo mask so you can see how much you need to move your photo around and adjust the size. I would reduce it to about 60%.  The transparency slider is on the left under “Layers” marked “Opacity”.  Just move the slider to the left to reduce.
  • Now you will need to adjust the photo size and/or move your photo around the way you want it. To adjust the size of the photo, just take the edges of your photo corners and pull with your mouse.  Make sure your tool is set to “Move Tool” at the top left of your tool bar that looks like an arrow.
  • Click the check mark on the photo to set the photo where you have placed it.
  • Go back to the Opacity tool slider and adjust the transparency back to 100%.
  • Now move your mouse on the line in between the two images in the layers section on the right (circled).
  • Next you will need to merge the photo to the mask.  To do that simply click “alt+mouse click” at the same time on the line between the two images in layers.  This will adjust the photo to the exact same shape as the photo mask.
  • Then go to “Layers” at the top of your tool bar, click “Merge Visible”.  Do NOT click “Merge All” as that will convert your image to a .jpg flat file.  It will lose it’s transparency.  Short Cut:  Click on top image in layers on left to high light, then click “Ctrl+E” to merge the two layers.
That’s it!  Save your mask or put it on your digital scrap layout.  And, have fun!  I hope you have found this helpful and informative.

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