1. Technology
Mask
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 Related Terms
• selection marquee
• alpha channel
 
 
Definition: Masks in image editing software are a way of protecting specific areas of your image, just as you would use masking tape when painting your house. A mask consists of a grayscale channel, called an alpha channel and is often displayed as a ruby overlay so the underlying image can be seen through the mask. The darkest areas of a mask are the areas most protected and the white areas are unprotected. Shades of gray represent areas of partial protection that corresponds with the level of gray.

Masks are employed in various ways depending on the software program, but the basic concept is the same. Whether it is Clipping Masks in Photo-Paint, Quick Mask Mode and Layer Masks in Photoshop, Mask Mode in PhotoImpact... they all employ the basic concept of grayscale masks to perform image editing functions to selective areas of an image. Often masking is used to apply varying levels of transparency to a layer or image.

Also Known As: grayscale mask, greyscale mask, alpha channel

Related Resources:

What is a Mask?
An explanation of masks with visual examples.

Free Grayscale Masks
Over 100 grayscale masks that can be used for creating decorative frames and edge effects in most graphics programs.

Photoshop Mask & Selection Tips
Tips and tricks for refining selections and working with masks in Adobe Photoshop.

Paint Shop Pro Mask & Selection Tips
Tips and tricks for refining selections and working with masks in Jasc Paint Shop Pro.

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