Layer Mask

Just like in Photoshop, the layer mask function in Luminar is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal. Simply-put, adding a layer mask will allow you to blend multiple layers together in one image. This may sound modest, but the implications of this ability will take you far in the editing world! A layer mask can allow you to both selectively blend different pictures together, as well as strategically apply editing effects only to the areas of your photo that you want. And Luminar make’s it an easy, effective process — for both newcomers, and seasoned Photoshop editors.

How does a layer mask work?

Layer masks work their magic through a process of revealing, or concealing a layer. At first this may seem
confusing — but it’s actually quite simple once you see it in action. Here are some starting concepts:

Understanding "Layers"

Like in Photoshop, your starting image in Luminar is called ‘Layer 0’. And just like in Photoshop — you can also add more layers on top, and edit them each separately.

Think of it like a deck of stacked cards — each card represents a new layer. You can make each one look completely different using Luminar’s presets and filters.

Understanding "Masks"

Adding a mask to a layer simply enables you to create different areas of transparency. This allows you to reveal parts of the layer below, and it’s different editing effects.

Think of it like tool that can create eye-holes in a mask, to reveal the person underneath. You can even use a mask on ‘Layer 0’ without adding more layers. This will allow you to simply reveal parts of the original picture, before your editing changes.

Blend different
images together

A layer mask is a useful way to combine elements of two different pictures together. For example, we’ve all had that one friend who blinks in every group portrait sequence — except for the shot where everyone else is blinking. You can use a layer mask to smoothly change her face to the better capture. Upload the shot where your friend has her eyes open, and then press the ‘+’ icon in the top right corner next to ‘Layers’. Click ‘Add New Image Layer’ and upload the shot where your friend is blinking, and everyone else looks good.

In Photoshop this is where you would click to ‘add a mask’— but in Luminar you simply press the brush icon on the top right. Begin to draw over your friend’s face. This will automatically add the mask and reveal the scene below, where her eyes are opened. Similar to Photoshop, you’ll want to make sure the pictures line up well, which you can do before hand with the “Transform” option, under “Tools.”

Adjust selected parts
of the same image

Let’s say you’d like the sky in your landscape to be dramatic and saturated, but you’d like the foreground to be cold and grey. You can use layer masks to accomplish this difference. One way is to right click ‘Layer 0’ and to duplicate it. Using presets and various filters, now you can adjust the top layer for saturation and drama, and the bottom layer for a cold grey effect. It’s even easier than Photoshop!

Again, simply click the brush and start to paint the foreground areas where you’d like to reveal the bottom layer. Another option to achieve the same effect is to click the ‘+’ then ‘Add an Adjustment Layer’ and choose something like ‘Dramatic.’ Then you can once again reveal elements of the layer below using the brush. A third way to adjust selected areas in the same picture, is to use a ‘Luminosity Mask,’ found by right clicking a layer. This automatically masks the darkest parts of your picture so you can control highlights. If you want this reversed, simply right click on the mask and click ‘Invert.’

Masking features
in Luminar

To get the most out of these processes in Luminar, it’s best to become familiar with the control bars, at the top of the screen and to the far right. At the top, this is where you can change brush size, opacity strength, size and softness. You can also turn the brush from black (reveal) to white (conceal). On the right bar, ‘Mask Gradient’ is found underneath the brush — an excellent option to blend the differences gradually between layers, especially in landscapes.

Below this, there is also the ‘Radial Mask’ option, which applies a gradient in a circular fashion, a perfect option for sunsets. Give it a try!

Learn more about Luminar…

The world’s first photo editor
that adapts to the way you edit photos

Luminar advantage

Luminar makes your photos more beautiful, vivid and sharp. It is the next generation photo software that is adapts to your skill level and photography style.

Photo effects

With Luminar’s numerous photo-editing options you can achieve a diverse range of creative photo effects, and create your own effects using various filter controls.

Dehaze Filter

Shooting RAW files or in a bit of light fog can occasionally make our photos look a bit washed out. For these times, Luminar offers the “Dehaze” filter.

Clone Stamp Tool

Clone Stamp in Luminar is a powerful tool that can be used for a variety of purposes. You can easily remove, duplicate objects, retouch skin and much more.

The Luminar Creative Bundle

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