Masking in Procreate: Understanding Clipping and Layer Masks | Lettie Blue | Skillshare

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Masking in Procreate: Understanding Clipping and Layer Masks

teacher avatar Lettie Blue, Architect & Digital Illustrator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

15 Lessons (60m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. What's masking?

    • 3. Layer Masks

    • 4. Clipping Masks

    • 5. Sketching

    • 6. Textures & Gradients

    • 7. Animations

    • 8. Intertwine Text & Images

    • 9. Photo Composition

    • 10. Collages

    • 11. Pattern Letters

    • 12. Shadows & Lights

    • 13. Mockups

    • 14. Text Effects

    • 15. Thank you

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About This Class

Digital painting is a great addition to our creative repertoire. It permits us to include texture, transparency, symmetry, repetition, distortion, perfect shapes... to our artworks super quickly but, if we want to get the most of it, we must learn how to use properly the tools that it has to offer.


In this class, we will learn all about two fantastic tools that will make our lives much more easier: layer masks and clipping masks. Thanks to these tools we will speed up our drawing process and stop making destructive edits to our drawings.


We will start learning what masking is and the different ways we have to mask an image in Procreate. Then we will talk about layer masks and clipping mask, how to create, modify and the differences between them. And finally, I will show you when and how I use them to create illustrations, lettering effects, animations...

We will learn:

  • How clipping and layer masks work and when to use them.
  • To create smooth transitions between textures and colors (gradients).
  • To intertwine letters and images.
  • To add a pattern, gradient or texture to our lettering.
  • To composite and blend images.
  • To animate a drawing.
  • To make collages.
  • To make mockups.

This class is perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to use Procreate to its fullest potential. I will explain everything step by step but you will make the most of this class if you have basic knowledge of Procreate.

Did you just discover Procreate? Are you looking for a basic, intermediate or advanced tutorials? Check out my previous classes on my profile page!

Didn’t you find the tutorial that you are looking for? I am all ears! :) Contact me on IG @lettieblueillustrator or send me an e-mail [email protected]

Let’s stop erasing and start masking! 

Meet Your Teacher

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Lettie Blue

Architect & Digital Illustrator


Here you will find my most comprehensive Procreate classes. They will take you from Procreate beginner to master in a few days. Each class is designed to teach you all the essential tools and techniques needed to master Procreate. You can watch the classes in order or jump into the specific tool or feature you want to learn more about. The choice is yours!

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1. Introduction: Yes, everybody talking about masking name asks or clipping masks on. You don't know what they mean or you don't know the lay my sexist, but you think they are too tricky to get your head around. If the answer is yes or it's nobody, you want to learn a few extra tricks. This class will be a fun way to dive into Maskin. In procreate, we will understand what masks are, how they work, when to use them and the difference between layer masks. I'm could be masks. You've You've been saying away from using them because you thought they were too difficult to understand. At the end of this class, the only thing you won't understand will be how you could leave without them. 2. What's masking?: Basically masking is a way to control what part offer layer. We want to be visible on its level off transparency appropriate. We have a few ways to mask an image that is method too high. An area off a drawing is by simply erasing or painting the parts off the drawing we don't want as we do when we are not drawing digitally. This is a destructive way to change the appearance off our join because this change is permanent. Yeah, we cannot do it right away, but we won't be able to undo it. If we exit to the gallery or we change our mind much later, we will try not to work this way. Okay. Digital painting allows us to draw using layers. We can always group less to keep our layer panel organized or merch them in case you are running out off less. As you probably know, layers are like transparent sheets of glass put on top of each other, on which we can paint or place images. We can see through the transparent areas off a layer to the layers below. So another method to hide apart off the layer is to create a layer on top, enjoying it. This is the way we should work when drawing digitally, because we can modify any part off the drawing without compromising the rest. Let's ask some texture to our facial masks. How would you do it? I bet some of you said you just have to turn on Alfa Lock so you can Onley pain on the green area. Grab a nice Braasch. I'm pain on it wrong. We just said that we were going to try not to do that. Come on, let's think about a different way to did it. I bet some of you get said, see, led the lake content, create a new layer. I'm being there. That would be a better option, but still we can do it better. The fastest easiest on nondestructive option would be to create a new layer. Don't make the texture day. That's right. But then we just have to turn this layer into a clipping mask. That, uh, Now, if we modify the content off these layer, we want me to redo the texture. We will talk deeply about this later. Okay? What if we want now to get rid off apart off that facial mask. How do we do it? We felt use in the eraser. The answer is yes. In a layer mask, a layer mask is something that we apply to an existent layer to control the transparency off that layer. You're probably asking Is that all? Really? I can already control the capacity off my layer here. Yeah, you're right. But there is an important difference. Yes, In the layer Rapacity offshoot, we control the transparency off the entire layer at once. Using a layer mask, we control the transparency off very specific areas off the layer independently. For example, we can make these half semi transparent or even completely transparent. So it disappears. Also, when he is in a layer mask, we make known destructive edits to our drawing. Meaning we can make it visible again any time. Let's see how exactly layer mask work 3. Layer Masks: I flattened all my group's off layers for you to see easily. Whole layer masks work, but don't do days unless you're 100% sure that you won't modify these parts off your drawing anymore. Okay, having said that, let's greet the layer mask to create a layer mask. Just select a layer on top on it to invoke the layer options menu. Stop mask l am ask well appear above unattached to selectively we will go this layer. Partly, we cannot attach more than one layer mask to another layer. I lay a mask will only affect the layer that it is a touch too. Okay, when we apply a mask to a lair, we won't see any immediate visual difference because bite if all appropriate, keeps, then Tyler fully visible and wait for us to design what parts off it. We want to hide well, unless we have an active selection at the time that we created. If we have an active selection at the time we create a mask, the selected area will be the visible part off our parlay on. The rest will be hidden. That's cool, huh? Let's create another layer mask as you see the layer mass thumbnail is filled with white. Keep in mind that these kind off layers are nothing else than a tool to control the transparency or opacity off the layer that they are attached to, so we won't be able to add color to them. This layer will be always grayscale images, which means that we can Onley paint in white, black on the shades off. Great in between. Don't try to treat the color picker. It will ignore the human selecting colors. As I was saying, When we create a layer mask, it appears fighting full field with white. We will use why to paint the area start, we want to remain fully visible as a whole layer mask is feel with white. Now they are touch layer. It's fully visible. If we tap on the layer mask, we can invert the color. As you see now, our layer mask is field with black. That content off the parlor is a still there, but we cannot see it. That's because the opacity off the areas that we pain with black will be sea route. As we said in the previous video, if we turn off the layer mask and Satya pass ity off the parlor to zero. We will get the same result. So white means 100% capacity that is visible or opaque. Black means 0% 0 positive that is invisible or transparent, and the various shapes off brain in between means semi transparent areas. Field with darker shades of gray will appear more transparent than areas. Field with lighter shapes as you see these layer mask affect on Lee to its parley. An easy way to remember what White on black do is to think what happens if we turn off the light. Everything turns black and we cannot see anything right? Well, the same happens when using masks. There is a little trick to hide and show some areas often image without constantly changing between black and white. We will hear Stay racer to hide on the paintbrush always said toe white to make something visible again. When you send a racer, we can decrease the brass a pass ity to get semi transparent effects. The difference between using, for example, a 50% brightness great on a 50% capacity brush is that in the first case we never go brighter or darker than a 50% no matter how many times we paint over the same area. However, if we reduce the brush capacity the first time, we will get the same result. But look what happens if we do it again. It's time we paint. We will be changing the capacity of the area. If the brush your using does not show anything, go to the brush, saddens General and said the blend mode to normal. Remember to reset the broth settings once you are finished or duplicated. If you want to use it, it often okay. It happened on holding on the layer mask or its bar lair. We can move or duplicate them as you see the layer. Must Willis stick to the parlor like a doctor? A bone. If we swipe to the left on a layer mask, we will be able to look or dilated. If we ducked delete, we will deal it on Lee the layer mask. But if we swiped two left on a personal air on top till it both players will be gone, we can select just one off them to perform different actions by dis electing the other one . Let's see this in action. We have both selected. We will move their content off both layers. If we only have two parn one selected, we will be able to modify its content without changing the layer mask on. The same happens if we select only the layer mask tap on the layer mask. Now, as you see, we can rename it, select its content and create another mask with it. We will use feel to fill the hole A Remember that if we feel the layer with white, all the content off the parlor and will be visible with gray will be a semi transparent. I'm with black. Everything will be hidden. We can also select a few areas. Still it black, gray or white on top Fuel As you see it feels on Lee the selected areas. Okay, inverted layer. This will hide what it's visible right now on make visible what was hidden See, I'm finally merch. Then this will combine both less. You know that we can create a maximum number. So place for campus, right? Well, their masks count towards that maximum. So I only is the assumption when I run out off less because we cannot. Under these, we can use filters like ocean blur noise make we find when using filters on effects, be sure to have the part lair deactivated. Okay? Or we will be applying those effects to both less. And we can also add justice saturation and brightness off our layer masks. 4. Clipping Masks: Another nondestructive way to draw is to use clipping masks. A clipping mask is a lair that borrows the transparency off its spiral air. It will be visible where its content alliance with the content off its partner there and in visible where there is no content in the parley. Wait, What? What content? What's invisible on wind? Okay, much. And you're looking through this telescope. You wouldn't be able to see the whole landscape. But something like this. The last cape will be clipped by the circle of shape, right, Coming back to procreate. That circular shape will be the content off our part of layer on the landscape. Our clipping mask. See, we can move the telescope on aimed a difference part off the landscape. Right? Well, we can do that in procreative. We can move to content off our parent lair, which is just a circle. In this case. I'm place it here, for example. And also we can move the landscape image instead. Well, we cannot do this in real life, but we can in procreate, so just be careful. We're moving their content off the clipping mask or you can lose part off your image Okay, So coming back to the clipping mask definition in our case, the only visible or pay or painted part. Call it what you like off our per layer is the circle. The rest is completely transparent because we have not drawn anything there yet. That's why we only say the landscape image here. What do you think it will happen if we draw something else in our parlor? We will reveal more areas off our clipping mask. Andi, what if we draw more things, but using different colors? It doesn't matter what color we use. We use in a baked Breslin model and brush. All this stroke we make will be opaque. So we will continue revealing more parts off the content off our tipping mask. On what about dropping the brush capacity? Let's set it about 50%. Now. We can see the content off our clipping mask in this area, but a 50% more transparent than it release. And what if we drop capacity off the hole? There? As you see, everything depends on the transparency off. The probably the lower its capacity, the more transport it is on. This will affect the clipping mask attached to it. As you saw, we can turn any layer into a clipping mask, just stopping here and turn it into a normal layer the same way we can clip more than one layer to another. But the visibility off all of them will be determined by the content on transparency off the borderland. We only can clip a layer to another lay. We cannot sleep a group of less to another layer as you see the layer. Actions and lay options available for sleeping masks are the same us and you'll delay because they are not grayscale. Images like layer masks, they really are normalised were just attaching them to another layer to control what we want to see and what we want to be hidden or semi transparent. So as they are normal less, we cannot touch a layer mask to a clipping mask. In the following videos, I will show you how and when I use layer masks and clipping masks 5. Sketching: I used layer masks to redraw a specific part off a drawing without erasing it. How many times have you re drunk apart off your drawing on ended up thinking that the first version was the best. But the first version is gone because we raise it'd Oh, no. This is why I used layer must when I am not very happy with a part of my drawing on. I would like to make it look better. This is just a sketch off a project that I am currently working on. I didn't like the legs, so I created a land mask heat that part of my drawing created, and you layer on drew the legs again. You can create us many lays as you need to read or any part of your drawn. If you don't get a bear aversion. Just delayed a mask and keep what you have before. If you get something better, Merch delays 6. Textures & Gradients: to create smooth transitions between textures, colors or even shadows. Let's make a few examples. Sometimes our campus is bigger than the image that we want to use. And we don't want to increase the size off that image because we don't want to lose quality or just because the pattern it's perfect at that size. If we're simply duplicate and move the image, it doesn't look right. So what we have to do is to create a layer mask, choose a brush. I mostly use a soft brush for these degrees. The brush about a D. Be sure you are on the mask layer on a started racing. Now it looks perfect. Murch the layers on. Repeat the process. Duplicate the lair movie tear. In this case, we can also flip it, create a mask and use a razor again. Too soft in the edges. Okay, this is done. What do you think? Quite seamless, right? We can also create greedy INTs. We just need to have a layer per color creatively a mask. Feel apart off our layer mask with black and apply girl Schindler. Let's repeat the process, but this time we will feel with black only 1/3 off our campus. Apply Kocian blur again on lick water. Wonderful grading. We got in no time making Grady ins this way. Allows us to change the colors super quickly by using color drop or going to a testaments. Insulating hue, saturation and brightness, color balance curves or recall er we can turn these lays into clipping mask to make, for example, coffee with milk Or turn discovery into a vanilla and chocolate milkshake by simply changing the colors and using the liquefy toe. I will use pushed this time, but play around with the other options to create different effects. Okay. As you see, I never know when to stop. Does this happen to you too? I can be ours just drawing pain from here to there like I'm doing right now. Okay, I will stop now. You got the idea right? Next. Turn off the visibility of your bag layer because now I will show you how to create a shadow off a drawing in no time, we can easily create a shadow using the three fingers downwards Jester Couple on, then paste. As you see when we do this appropriate, duplicate and merch all our visible less. Let's make this black by such into zero the layer brightness on. Now let's use the transform tool to the started Zilin days. We get a hard shattered to get rid of the heart nge. We will use Go Schindler and too soft in the whole shadow we will is a layer mask. I'm creative grading as we did before, or use a brush instead. We can also decrease the Neha positive if it's necessary. 7. Animations: do you animate drawings? Sometimes I used it. Time lapse recording toe raise short and simple animations in pro create layer masks are really useful to make things disappear like this road. As you see, I attached a layer. Master this layer. How do we make things disappear? Progressively easy. Using a layer mask, we will duplicate the model and brush on. Increase its size to make it huge the's way. The brush shape will be as big as the road on. We will control the capacity off. It's a stroke easily. Let's decrease the brush capacity. Now it's time we touch the screen. The capacity off these area will be reduced. See, I also use layer masks to create animations off my drawing process or the layers involved in that process. Basically, you just need to duplicate your artwork so you don't lose your drawing process. Create a few layer must. Hmm. Let me clear them first. Okay, layer musts created. Now. Invert them. We need to hide the content off the par layers. Once everything is set. Goto actions video perched the time lapse recording. I'm turning it on again. Cylinder brush. Senate White on a star revealing the content off, all the less. Remember to race your pencil frequently or D animation will no look good. Okay. If you want to learn more about these, you can check out my tutorial Challenger drawings into animations using only procreate. 8. Intertwine Text & Images: to intertwine letters, images, joins, etcetera. There are a couple ways to do this. The 1st 1 is by simply raising carefully. We will use this method when one off, the less we want to weave together. It's also our back room. The second method is to make a sandwich. These two layers will be the brand on these one. The filling. We will attach a llamas to the top layer only raise the part we want to look like there were behind. Once we have our letters nicely intertwined, we can at colors grade ins, shadows on highlights again. If you want to learn the INS announced off this, you can check out my tutorial interlaced lettering in procreate. 9. Photo Composition: to combine images. I'm not an expert on blending photos together. I just do it for fun. But I know there are a few things we need to keep in mind. One light in the background on all the subjects in a photo should always share the same light in sources, or we will break the illusion. Okay to objects in same sin should follow the same rules of perspective. Three. Pay attention to details such as men's blur. Textures are color temperature. Having said that, and once we have chosen a couple off images so combined, decrease the lay opacity off one of them and move, Rotate and place it where you want it to be raised. Their pasta de creates a layer mask top. Invert. Use a brush. I used to be used this self airbrush, so I get a smooth transition between the two images and reveal the area you want to be visible. - If the lighten doesn't go inside, try adding some shadows on lights on. If an area off one of your pictures is blurry, use go Schindler on the other image to If the color temperature does not coincide, try applying a blending mood or using any off thes dudes don't put too much pressure and you just have fun making a two heads drew off, turned in a mushroom into a normal house. Would you like to know if a beer suits you? You can do it. It doesn't need to look perfect. He doesn't need to look really either. Just enjoy creating new images. You will get better our days over time. This is not a good composition, right? But isn't it funny? 10. Collages: I used layer musk and clipping masks to make collages. There are a few different ways to create these in procreate. Let's a start using layer masks. Once we have our sketch done on our paper pattern or textured images imported, we just need to attach a llamas to each one off them. I'm then inverting now. Simply use why to pain on your lame asks. Easy, right. As you see, I am making their outline first on, then feeling the shape using color drop. But you can just paint the area using your favorite brush. I am doing need this way because this time I want to get sharp edges. Like if we were using Caesar's to conduct the paper. - If we use online our work instead off us catch, we can feel each area off our drawing super quickly, using the automatic selection tool on creating layer masks. Using that selection as our lying work is not attached to anything, we can keep it or get rid of it as you prefer. Another way to do this is by using clipping masks in these guys. We need to make a shape, fill it and then turn one off our important images into a clipping mask. I usually create those areas in black so I can duplicate the layers on make drop shadows, simply moving the bottom one a little bit to smooth the shadow. Goto adjustments and use. Go, Schindler. You can also decrease the layer Opacity. Yeah, This is how we get a paper cut out. If it in procreate, let me go ahead and finish this. We need to create a lot of players on it. Takes a little bit of time to clip all the images on make all the shadows But it is worth it, don't you think? 11. Pattern Letters: are you escaping masks to a grainy in texture or pattern to our images, joins and lettering. Let's turn this buttered into a clipping mask by dragging around the pattern layer. We moved the position off the potter inside the bones off the letters. Why the tax itself? It's a steal. The cool thing about Kevin masks, it's that we can apply filters at adjustments and use it transform to to mollify each off the last independently. 12. Shadows & Lights: to add shadows on lights, not only tour lettering, but also to our joints. Let's make a quick sample and draw a mushroom. The first thing we have to do is to draw the basic shapes in different layers. I don't feel them with a base color. Then create a new layer, turn it into a clipping mask and duplicated the same here. Choose a nice brush and draw a few white spots. Go to the next lay. Choose the dark color on. Draw the shadow area. Claire, draw the lights. Repeat the process. Here, - you see, right on. We have not using razor even once. 13. Mockups: to make mo cups off course. We can also create more cups using clipping masks. We just need to choose an image. Create a new layer on dro carefully the area that we want to be mosque. I usually draw it using black or white because we will apply a blending mode to this layer on black and white are more predictable than the rest off the colors once you're done. If the object or cloth in this case is not white, create a new layer above, fill it with black un apply saturation. Now we have a grayscale image, but we only need the cloth in grayscale. So what should we do now? Yeah, create a layer mask. Let the lake content and create a layer mask. Now go to these lengths on select multiply or cleaner burn so we keep the fabric folds and shadows. The markup template is ready to showcase your designs. Just insert an image, unturned it into a clipping mosque 14. Text Effects: and finally we will use clipping masks on layer masks to create super cool effects. Okay, one last example. How would you do this or this for this? Well, this solution is pretty easy Created. Lay mask si lent the content off your text layer. Go to the layer mask on used a razor to make the letters is appear as you already know how layer musts work. You are probably wondering why I didn't just see let to content and create a mass directly . Well, to get rid of these now, create a new layer on, draw something or in certain image, - turn these layer into a clipping mask. It's a little a mask. This leads to per layer. Don't forget about this on top liquefy seriously. These two is like a box full of brand new toys for us to play with. So let's get the party started 15. Thank you: Okay, that's all for now. I hope you have enjoyed this class and learned a lot. Don't forget to leave a review so more people know these classicists. If you have any question, drop it on the discussion board. I will be happy to help you if you post your class brooded on Instagram Talk me a letter Blue illustrator I love to see What do you create? Do you want to know When I published new content? Be sure to follow me And if you want to get his Nick picks off what I am up to Or do you want to support my work? You can do it on my patron page. Thank you so much for taking this class and see you soon.