Just for Beginners, post your questions, ask for help, get opinions...
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bwtmom wrote: Rusty.....I'm so sorry but I'm not getting it. I've never worked with clipping masks. Not sure of two things:
1. how to group face layer with middle layer and 2. where does clipping masks come into play. Basically once I moved photo onto canvas and draw selective with margquee I'm lost. Please help.

Thanks for your patience with me.....I'll get it eventually.


to group a layer with the underlying one, use menu/layers/group with previous (the shortcut is Ctrl G).
There is another shortcut: in the layer palette, move your cursor on the horizontale line separating the two layers, and hit Alt + click
The layer is grouped when it is moved slightly on the right.

Using clipping masks and grouping layers are not obvious at first, but once you get the hang of it, this is very powerful!
Michel B
PSE6, 11,12,13.1 - LR 5.7 Windows 7 64 - OneOne Photo Perfect Suite - Canon 20D, Pana TZ6 - Fuji X100S
Most used add-ons: Elements+

Mes Galeries
Bridget, as Michel says ... it is not obvious. Do this:

Make a new file, about 500 x 500 (doesn't matter that much). Make your background layer white. Make a copy of that layer and fill the entire layer with some other color (I used red). Put a blank layer in between those two layers. Get on the top (red layer) and use the menu bar to "group with previous" (as Michel described). Look what happens...
clipping mask 3.jpg
clipping mask 3.jpg (36.79 KiB) Viewed 1401 times

The red layer has totally disappeared. The red layer is "grouped with previous" and the layer immediately below "is previous". That becomes "the clipping mask" and I have no idea why it is called that. That layer is totally blank so it operates exactly the opposite of a mask (I told you I had no idea why it is called a "clipping mask")

Now, get onto that blank layer and use your paint brush to scribble something. The color doesn't matter; I happened to use blue. Watch what happens...
clipping mask 4.jpg
clipping mask 4.jpg (59.07 KiB) Viewed 1402 times

Whatever is on the top layer, red in this case, is revealed wherever there is some color on the "clipping mask layer"

And that is what is happening in my original example. The clipping mask is a feathered oval filled with some color. The top layer is the face, part of a square or rectangular image. The feathered oval is acting the same as the blue scribbles in this example.

It took me quite some time to get comfortable with understanding this. Now I use it all the time.

There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness" - Dave Barry

If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough. - Robert Capa

Hi Bridget,

This video tutorial may help you to understand layer masks: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... pr=goog-sl

It is written for PS Elements users who do not have true masks as a way to sort of cheat and create one. Since I don't have CS, I don't know, but maybe you have "real" masks. Regardless, check out the video and it may help illustrate what is being suggested here.

And if you just can't get the effect you've envisioned, I think a nice alternative would be to put the husband's picture in am oval frame instead of fading out the edges. It's up to you.

Bridget, I agree with Courtney's suggestion that an oval frame would be a good alternative if your first plan doesn't work out.
A square frame was suggested in my earlier post, because a square frame is usually easier to create.

BTW: Should you ever wish to explore the custom shapes tool, there are many different shapes/frames from which to choose. Tapping the letter U brings up the custom shapes tool. It is on the same tools bar as the brush & other tools. CS2 help section offers an explanation of it's use. Doing a google search for "custom shapes photoshop" lists many tutorials.
Win 8.1, PS CC, Canon bridge P&S
Wahooo....I figured it out. Thanks so much for the replies. I hope she likes it.

I finally figured it out and my client loves it. Thanks so much for help on this.

Glad it "clicked", Bridget,
come around again ... many helpful people here.

There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness" - Dave Barry

If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough. - Robert Capa

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