Layer masking

A layer mask is used to reveal a portion of a layer while the rest of the layer remains hidden. This means that you can use a mask layer to 'delete' areas of a layer that you don't want.

In Affinity Photo, two types of masking are possible:

Gradations of grey in a pixel mask can be used in various ways. For example:

The non-destructive power of masking

Masks are applied as a separate layer, allowing them to be freely edited and moved. Mask layers affect any layer below them within the Layers Panel. They can also be clipped to individual layers so that only that layer is affected. Alternatively, mask layers can be added to layer groups so they only affect that group.

Mask Layer To create a mask layer:

Do one of the following:

Mask Layer To create a luminosity mask:
  1. On the Layers Panel, click on the layer's thumbnail with the and s pressed.
  2. On the Layers Panel, click on the layer's thumbnail with the and s pressed.
  3. From the Layers Panel, click Mask Layer.
Erase Brush Tool Paint Brush To edit a pixel mask:
  1. On the Layers Panel, select the mask thumbnail representing the mask layer.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • To 'erase' from the mask, paint on the page using the Erase Brush Tool.
    • To 'restore' the mask, paint on the page using the Paint Brush Tool. A white fill completely restores, while greyscale fills partially restore the mask by varying amounts.
    • To apply a gradient mask, select the Gradient tool from the Tools Panel and drag across the layer. Adjust the gradient colours from the context toolbar.
To refine a pixel mask:
  1. On the Layers Panel, select the mask's thumbnail.
  2. From the Layer menu, select Refine Mask.
Invert Channel To invert a pixel mask:
  1. On the Layers Panel, select the mask's thumbnail.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • From the Layer menu, select Invert.
    • On the Channels Panel, -click the mask's alpha channel entry and select Invert.
    • Press +I.
To change pixel mask properties:
To view/edit a pixel mask in isolation:

To return to normal view, click the thumbnail or press the .

To hide/show a pixel mask:
To add a vector mask:
  1. Add vector content, e.g., draw a line or shape or add text.
  2. On the Layers Panel, drag the created vector content's layer directly onto the thumbnail of another 'target' layer. The thumbnail of the target layer changes to indicate that a mask (and crop) has been applied.
Erase Brush Tool To add a pixel mask to vector content:
  1. On the Layers Panel, select a layer with vector content.
  2. Paint on the page using the Erase Brush Tool.

    By default, the Assistant will add a layer mask to the selected layer to accommodate your paint strokes. Once the mask is in place, you can 'restore' the mask using the Paint Brush Tool.

To delete a mask:
  1. On the Layers Panel, select the mask's thumbnail.
  2. Press the .
  3. Press the .

SEE ALSO: