One of the first "new" Photoshop techniques that I wanted to learn was how to make a layer mask. Well, for that matter, I wanted to know what a layer mask was in the first place!
I say "new" because I first used Photoshop when I was a graphic production artist back in the early 1990s, but only in a very elementary fashion. I was in awe of our graphic designers who were already proficient in both Photoshop and Illustrator! I thought both programs were way over my head and it has taken me almost twenty years to find out that they're not! I will only ever be able to just scratch the surface, but that's fine with me. I am astounded by what I have learned in just the past few months!
So last year, when I realized that I could Google anything I wanted to know about Photoshop, I was amazed! I'm a little slow, but to give myself credit, it's apparently only been in the past few years that this has been possible, so I'm not that far behind :-)
In searching for tutorials about layer masks, I found pages and pages of links. This one, at OurTuts, seemed the easiest to understand. Not only does the author, Madelin Tudrose, explain a layer mask, but the example he gives is a black and white conversion with color added back, a technique that had been fascinating me and that I had wanted to learn.
My first attempt at a black and white conversion was this photo, that I posted on Flickr last year. There are many other possibilities using this technique, such as reducing the opacity of the black and white layer so that there is just a hint of color.
Here's the SOOC version for comparison.
So take a look at the tutorial and let me know if you have any questions. As always, there is usually more than one way to accomplish a Photoshop technique, but this one is very simple once you get the hang of it!.
I hope you enjoyed this post and will try it out the technique, if you haven't already!