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Archive 2012 · Mask versus eraser?
  
 
buffallo bill
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Mask versus eraser?


Hi all, I am just curious as to why one would use layer masks to blend exposures as opposed to just stacking two exposures and using the eraser brush to reveal detail in the lower image- are layer masks that much better therefore worth the extra effort? Posted in this forum because I know a lot of landscape photographers use blends, forgive me if this should be elsewhere, thanks, Bill.


Jul 09, 2012 at 12:47 AM
mrpalaviccini
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Mask versus eraser?


If you use a mask, you can always paint back in white if you want to reveal what you erased. So this is 'non-destructive'. If you use the eraser tool, you lose the information that you erased.


Jul 09, 2012 at 12:53 AM
Hikin Mike
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Mask versus eraser?


There's an Eraser Tool?

Seriously though, like 'mrpalavicci' said if you "erase" too much you can paint it back.



Jul 09, 2012 at 01:05 AM
cherubino
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Mask versus eraser?


Masks are much more useful. Check out these websites:
http://www.goodlight.us/writing/luminositymasks/luminositymasks-1.html
http://www.hougaardmalan.com/blog/why-luminosity-masks-are-awesome-part-1/
Cherubino



Jul 09, 2012 at 01:29 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Mask versus eraser?


Also, with mask @ layer ... you can adjust opacity of the layer, and / or paint with shades of gray to allow portions to bleed through. Sometimes I'll have one layer sharpened more than the other, then "paint" different areas black, white, shades of gray to blend sharpening the way I want it.

Tremendous amount of versatility & layers ... and very undo/repeat/adjust by simply painting on the mask. Good stuff.



Jul 09, 2012 at 03:48 AM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Mask versus eraser?


There are almost always half a dozen different ways to accomplish the same goal in Photoshop, but there's usually just one or two "best" ways to do that, and more often only one that's both best and most efficient. You've been given good answers to your question. Hopefully you'll start enjoying Layer Masks and seeing that benefit for yourself. Personally, I've been using them since 1995 and couldn't imagine doing the work I do without them.


Jul 09, 2012 at 05:38 AM
Ho1972
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Mask versus eraser?


When I discovered layer masks, it was a revelation. I was a PS user before the History palette came on the scene and back when I used the eraser to do cut-outs it was tedious at best. I cringe when I think of the nearly completed work that was ruined by a mistake followed by an inadvertent extra click (this was pre-Wacom for me too) -- thereby rendering the one lousy Undo step useless. Time to start over...

Layer masks are not extra effort, unless the one click to create them vexes you. They are a life saving godsend that allows much more flexibility and creativity than you could ever squeeze out of the Eraser tool.



Jul 09, 2012 at 09:11 AM
buffallo bill
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Mask versus eraser?


Thanks guys, these are all very helpful answers, I had no idea masks were so versatile, I will definitely give them a go and give the old eraser the "brush off". Thanks for all your time, most appreciated, Bill.


Jul 09, 2012 at 10:40 AM
 

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penpro
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Mask versus eraser?


When ever you are working in any app you want to look for the non-destructive methods for applying image changes. This is the whole point of digital and not working in a dark room. Back in the day you had to dodge and burn and hope you got it right and if you didn't you needed to start over. In PS add a layer of black, set the transfer mode to multiply and then use a layer mask to paint the effect into where you need it instead of just doing it to the final image.


Jul 09, 2012 at 06:29 PM
JBPhotog
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Mask versus eraser?


Not sure it has been mentioned but along with layer masks you can change blend modes to get just what you want. You can also copy one mask and duplicate it to apply different layer adjustments, super useful in most PP work. Personally I view the eraser tool and masks as completely different solutions.


Jul 10, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Mask versus eraser?


Here's about the only time I use the Eraser tool: When I'm working on a retouching layer - blank layer above the background layer, and I completely screw up whatever retouching I'm doing, (yeah, it happens), then I'll use the Eraser to erase just that part of the retouching layer and start over without having to delete anything else from that layer. In that case you wouldn't want to mask it because as soon as you did, you wouldn't be to work in that area. I'm working on a very complicated composite with a band I photographed last week and had to do just that. When the whole thing is done, I'll post it somewhere here.


Jul 10, 2012 at 09:34 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Mask versus eraser?


Of course, you can always combine the two functions ...

A mask on a layer, painted with various shades ranging from black to white, using your your eraser @ opacity of choice to further refine areas of the mask and then adjust layer opacity for final tuning. If you like the way an "eraser" works ... you can incorporate that mindset into mask work also.

Sometimes I find I need to adjust my mask, but only in certain areas and I'll reach for the eraser ... or other times I'll intentionally make the mask more than I want, knowing I'm coming back behind it with the opacity reduced eraser.

Most of us just avoid eraser on actual pixels 99% of the time ... and when we do work eraser on actual pixels ... it is likely never on the original, but a copied layer instead, just in case we have that "ooops".



Jul 10, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Mark Metternich
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Mask versus eraser?


RustyBug wrote:
Most of us just avoid eraser on actual pixels 99% of the time ...




I almost always erase ON real layers (and it is not destructive) and often have no more than two or three layers going at a time. I have found ways that work easy and dont require elaborate masking or tons of complicated layers. But having said that, I also use masks for certain things to, as well as the under-exploited "Blend If" (Layer / Layer Style / Blend If) sliders (one of my very favorites)! As far as masks go, an example may be that you want to isolate a certain color or tone using "Color Range" (Select / Color Range) which will create a live selection (marching ants) of the specific color or tone. Problem is that if you now tweak that live selection it is immediately rendered 8 bit even on 16 bit images (all live selections once adjusted, turn into 8 bit - and are now prone to major issues - like banding and posterization - due to the very destructive loss of data there). So, instead of tweaking the live selection I will simply make a mask by clicking on the "add a mask" icon on the bottom of the layers pallet. So, don't be afraid to erase, but learn to use masks too. You need both in a great workflow, but I don't think layers and layers of elaborate masks are necessary. Some of the very best Photoshop users in the world use very non conventional ways to get done what they want. Whatever works best for you. But do know what is "destructive" and why. Side note, I teach post production for a living and some of my current clients have done workshops and have seen how Marc Adamus works on his images. His ways are so non conventional they are even hard to understand. Some might be appalled. But for what he is after it works. So, there is no one answer to your question. The best idea is to learn it all, that way you can pick the tool that works best for you and learn to minimize the destructive stuff.



Jul 27, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Ho1972
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Mask versus eraser?


Mark Metternich wrote:
I almost always erase ON real layers (and it is not destructive)


How so? Have they added functionality to the eraser tool that I've missed since I almost never use it? How do you get the erased content back once you run out of History states?



Jul 27, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Mark Metternich
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Mask versus eraser?


Ho1972 wrote:
How so? Have they added functionality to the eraser tool that I've missed since I almost never use it? How do you get the erased content back once you run out of History states?



I know it is non conventional, but I often duplicate an image, have something done to the bottom image and then erase the top based on the need. I change my history states to over 500 (usually 1000) in performance preferences. Also, once I have done the erasure work, I flatten, make a copy (of the finished result) go back (in history states - ctrl/alt/Z...) to before the erasures and then paste (ctrl/v) the copy as the top layer to compare the before and after (clicking on and off the eyeball) and further be able to fine tune (such as adjust the layer opacity or further more finessed erasure work).



Jul 27, 2012 at 09:33 PM





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