Using Masks
Tutorials by Dennis Wilkins


Masks are an extremely powerful tool for editing images selectively. Amateur photographer Dennis Wilkins has combed through his portfolio for different situations in which he has found masking indispensible. In this series of guest articles he shares with us his techniques -- and perhaps even more importantly -- gives us a window into his approach and thinking processes.


Combining Images

To obtain the extreme depth of field in this image, Dennis Wilkins stitched three exposures focused at different distances, to create a powerful vertical panorama. He then used a mask to bring out the depth of the sky area. He describes his techniques in Combining Images for Panaromas

< Rollover image for the "Before" view.




Editing Selected Areas - Part I

For many images, no amount of manipulation of the overall image can bring out its full potential. This image is a case in point. In Dennis's original exposure, the reflection in the water had very low contrast. However simply raising the contrast improved the reflection but lead to problems in other areas of the image. The solution was to mask the reflection and treat it differently from the rest of the image. Dennis describes exactly how he did this in Controlling Transformations Using Area Masks

< Rollover image for the "Before" view.





Editing Selected Areas - Part II

In the original scene, the aspens were absolutely brilliant -- almost aflame. Yet the raw image captured by the camera looked dull and subdued. To bring out the original brilliance, Dennis demonstrates a different masking technique -- the brightness mask in Controlling Transformations Using Brightness Masks

< Rollover image for the "Before" view.





Making Masks

Making masks doesn't have to be difficult or time consuming. Here Dennis discusses the principles of masks and demonstrates a number of techniques for making masks quickly. Making Masks

< Rollover image for the "Before" view.