I am learning how to use layer masks in Photoshop Elements, in a class at Scrapgirls. The class consists of two online meetings in a dimdim chat room on consecutive Wednesday evenings, an ebook text you can buy at Scrapgirls, and practice assignments.
A layer mask is like a window on which you digitally paint, masking and revealing parts of a photo. Here I used a layer mask to apply filters to only the background of this photo, leaving my son untouched. This is a “non-destructive” technique because it can easily be changed or undone at any point by just removing the layer mask; you’re not making changes directly to the photo.
There are a lot of filters in Photoshop. The categories include artistic, blur, brush stroke, distort, noise, pixelate, render, sketch, stylize, texture, and more. You can also apply styles to layers, giving you endless options! Digital designers are always creating new styles to apply to our pictures and scrapbook elements.
The first picture is a layout showing my favorite filter effects I tried. The squiggly lines are from a product I received in the ScrapSimple Club at Scrapgirls: AWI_SSPaper_TradMade_Swirls1. Click to see the layout larger. I made the second picture as I was typing this blog entry because it was just now that it occurred to me to try using a layer style; so I had to check to see if it would work. This layer style, which came with Photoshop Elements 5 is called angled spectrum, in the patterns list. Pretty cool, huh?