Close Window Print Document

Epson Computer Tip: Layer Mask
By Barbara Kotsos

For project ideas and more, visit

Some wonderful effects can be achieved by layering photos and background papers then using a brush to create an artistic effect. Although the results are stunning, the steps are fairly simple and straightforward!

Step 1: Open Photoshop Elements and then open 2 files, either photos or background papers, by going to File | Open and browsing your system for the proper files. Here we’ve opened a photo and a background paper.


Step 2: With one file open in your workspace (the photo), and your Move Tool selected, drag your photo on top of the background paper in the photo bin. You now have one file with two separate layers.



Step 3: Click on the background layer in the layers palette to highlight it, then create an adjustment layer by clicking on the adjustment layer icon. You can choose any type of adjustment layer – here we’ve chosen Levels. Once the levels box opens, just click OK without making any adjustments.


Step 4: Click on the top layer to highlight it, the click CTRL + G to group the top layer to the adjustment layer.




Step 5: Click on the adjustment layer to highlight it. Switch to your brush tool and select an artistic brush. Make sure that your foreground color is set to black (you can reset it by clicking on the black/white boxes).

Step 6: While you still have your adjustment layer highlighted and an artistic brush selected, click on the photo with your brush to “remove” a portion of the top layer (photo) so the bottom layer (background paper) shows through!

Here are two more samples of what you can achieve with this technique!

Sponsor: Epson America, Inc.

Close Window Print Document