Tutorial layer mask in Gimp for beginner

Today i'll write a simple tutorial about layer mask.It is for gimp beginner and people that don’t know how to use Layer masks.The basics of Layer masks are simple but yet very powerful tool.

The nice thing about layer masks is that they are flexible and editable.Using the layer mask we do not have to erase some part of the layer because layer mask concept is hidden the layer and by that way we will look more profesional working on layers.

If u dont have gimp,you can download it here.

download the original image from here.

the result

In my example i have two layers in my layers palet

1. A background layer that is named background.there is a red car in this pic that will be our subjek.

2.Duplicate the background layer and desatured it.Colors>Desature.

3.Then create a new layer mask.Select background copy layer and right click>Add layer mask.

4.Initialize layer mask to white(full opacity).click Add.

I named my background copy layer to Layer 1.(I always renamed my layer so it is easier to me to remember the layer rather than named the layer copy)

You will notice a white image layer on the right side of our Layer 1.That is our layer mask.

5.Then pick brush tool.Select circle brush size 19.Then scale the brush to 10.Make sure our foreground color is black.

6.Then apply the brush and start painting the car at layer 1.You’ll see something like this:

You'll see that we will colorize back our car to red.dont worried about being perfect because nothing is being deleted. It’s all there.Just switch between black and white and you can fix your mistakes.

So remember black will hide our desature layer.and if u delete the layer mask u will get back the desture layer.

This is my final result using layer mask.

hope this tutorial will help some beginner user to understand how to use Layer Mask instead of erasing the layer.

some other related gimp tutorial on layer mask;

Selective color on Open Source Photography (OSP)
Layer Mask Fun With Gimp

12 Responses to "Tutorial layer mask in Gimp for beginner"

lazybug said... August 15, 2008 at 7:21 AM

Very useful. Thank you!

Putera Aladdin said... August 16, 2008 at 2:52 AM

glad to help other gimper..

Anonymous said... August 19, 2008 at 8:58 AM

One more "Thank you!", man! :)

Anonymous said... September 9, 2008 at 11:23 AM

How do you get up that 'Layers' toolbar?!! =S

Putera Aladdin said... September 9, 2008 at 12:51 PM

Go to Dialog > Layers (using the shortcut key is F7)

Harvard said... November 10, 2008 at 6:38 AM

This is awesome, thanks...

Chalk & Talk said... November 11, 2008 at 4:52 AM

Thank you, Thank you! Your blog saved my life. Keep up the good work!

I'm always clueless when my lecturer said "Layer Mask!". Now I get it!

Vivek said... November 13, 2008 at 7:35 PM

Thank You Very Much.I am a beginner and i learned this well.Thank you for your tutorial

Putera Aladin said... November 16, 2008 at 12:11 AM

@Harvard , Chalk & Talk, Vivek

welcome..:) cheers!

Anonymous said... January 31, 2009 at 4:57 AM

Thanks, it's very useful :D
Isn't it easier that way:

duplicate layer -> colorize it -> alpha -> erase?

I know, it's all about layer mask :).
Nice work, wish you luck

Anonymous said... February 26, 2009 at 5:36 PM

Oh nice! SO would this be the same thing as an opacity map kind of thing?

Anonymous said... April 8, 2009 at 9:56 PM

Wait.. I still don't quite get it.. ><
What do you do after step 6?
Ahh sorry I'm very stupid.
Thank you for the great tutorial! :D

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