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JanosHunyadi
06-13-2011, 08:28 PM
As a complete amateur, why are masks necessary? What do they do for the graphical artwork?

Searching around the forum suggests they isolate the image to a certain amount of pixels, but I'm still unclear about what that means...and how do you apply a mask. Is it just a question of a monochrome color applied in a layer (whether in Zbrush, photoshop, painter, etc.) or is there a certain technique to it?

Ashford
06-14-2011, 06:30 PM
Hi JanosHunyadi,

Sounds like more of a general question than a specific one so the answer below might be more vague than you'd like...

Sometimes you just want to make an adjustment in a particular location in your model or painting without affecting other portions of the piece. A mask defines a region where you want a particular effect / stroke to be effective, and is often considered in terms of grey scale values, where white is 'full strength' and black is 'zero strength'. In some cases, masks will be considered as coloured images where, their particular strength in a channel (eg. red, green, blue) correspondingly modify the red, green or blue channels in the piece that's being worked on.

The actual implementation of how the mask is generated / connected / drawn / used, and how the mask need to be setup (ie. grayscale, not colour etc) depends on the software you're using. In most cases, the manual for the software will explain how to do this, and is usually worth checking out under 'mask(s)' or 'selection(s)'. Because artists will often want to draw some kind of region mask quickly while working, often you can find hints on how to do it interactively in the hotkey listing for the software.

JanosHunyadi
06-14-2011, 06:55 PM
Thanks for the response.

I was digging around youtube, and I actually found a pretty cool video clip wherein a user is showing various forms of masking in photoshop.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zw30GfWeR1E&feature=related

Lunatique
06-15-2011, 03:58 AM
Even in traditional artworks, masks were used, such as Frisket--one of the most important pieces of tool for airbrush artists. Watercolor artists can also use masks when doing splatters and sprays with toothbrush. Painters in general can all use masks to protect areas they don't want to paint over.

JanosHunyadi
06-15-2011, 08:28 AM
Even in traditional artworks, masks were used, such as Frisket--one of the most important pieces of tool for airbrush artists. Watercolor artists can also use masks when doing splatters and sprays with toothbrush. Painters in general can all use masks to protect areas they don't want to paint over.

I was a little blurry on what their function was, but when you put it like that, I more fully understand their purpose. As opposed to erasing what was there, the mask just "covers" that particular part of the painting.

Brilliant stuff.

CosmicRage
06-20-2011, 08:29 PM
If you ever dig into some of the other adobe programs you can see other uses for masking. Like animating masks in after effects

JanosHunyadi
08-22-2011, 12:57 AM
If you ever dig into some of the other adobe programs you can see other uses for masking. Like animating masks in after effects

I'm actually at that stage now. In photoshop, I have a character whose eyes I want to animate narrowing (half blink). I created a separate layer, titled eyeR_mask and colored over the eye a color that will accurately depict this. Do I apply a mask in photoshop? And if so, do I actively start masking (e.g. brushing over an area with the black brush) or do I just apply the mask (by clicking the mask button) and then worry about animation once I import to after effects?


The adobe site isn't giving me a straight answer on this.

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08-22-2011, 12:57 AM
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