Understanding Alpha Lock, Clipping Mask & Layer Mask In Procreate | Leo Mateus | Skillshare

Understanding Alpha Lock, Clipping Mask & Layer Mask In Procreate

Leo Mateus, Illustrator | Content Creator | Mentor

Understanding Alpha Lock, Clipping Mask & Layer Mask In Procreate

Leo Mateus, Illustrator | Content Creator | Mentor

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5 Lessons (23m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Alpha Lock: Quick And Mighty

    • 3. Clipping Mask: The Unsung Hero

    • 4. Layer Mask: The Masked Hero

    • 5. Conclusion And Graduation Day

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About This Class

Have you ever wondered if there was an easier way to paint shadows and lights in Procreate!? Well, as a matter of fact, there is - welcome to Understanding Aplha Lock, Clipping Mask & Layer Mask in Procreate! Join this special class from artist and illustrator Ghost Paper and learn all of the ins and outs of these Layer Panel features - including the way of 'Non-destructive work' on all of your illustrations! After you master these techniques, we can't wait to see what you can create!

Love digital illustration? Learn how to use Procreate, the best drawing & digital illustration app for the iPad, with this special class from from artist and illustrator Ghostpaper!

Important: This mini-class is directed at  a powerful feature of Procreate -  but there's still so much more to learn on this amazing digital illustration application. If you do want to start learning from the beginning, and cover all of the bases of Procreate, please refer to my other class below:

Here's a few key things you'll learn in this course:

  • What is Alpha Lock and what are the best case scenarios for using it
  • How Clipping Masks can make your life much easier in Procreate
  • The power of Non-destructive work with Layer Masks
  • and more!

Plus, we will share with you the files for this class so you can choose to follow step-by-step from the finished project file or the starting file in order to create your class assignment.

Whether you’re new to digital art or curious about Procreate, you’ll gain an arsenal of tips, tricks and tools you can use to start creating right away. After this class, you'll never be far from your iPad and your favourite creations on Procreate, wherever you happen to be.

Meet Your Teacher

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Leo Mateus

Illustrator | Content Creator | Mentor


Hi there! My name is Leo and I'm a Designer, Illustrator & content creator at Ghostpaper - a space dedicated to all kinds of Art and Digital Illustration. My goal is to help and guide you to create your best illustration work while using the iPad and other graphic tablets as a medium. I also offer guidance in the fundamentals of design, creativity self-help, tutorials and much more. I look forward to optmize your skills and time spent while learning, so you can focus on what's important - developing your art and crafting your style. Please feel free to also check my Youtube channel and other social media links for more content, and welcome to this learning community of artists!

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1. Introduction: hi there. And welcome to understanding buffalo clipping masks and later masks inappropriate. In this short class, I'm going to show you how I use each one of these three tools. What are the best use case scenarios? Any pros and cons of beach as well. I'm also going to show you the best way of working on procreate, which is what it called the known destructive way, which will help you and your ability to change things quickly, especially if you're doing more. As a freelance illustrator, this glass is also dedicated for users from all levels off appropriate. If you've never heard, for example, about a block flipping minister or layer masks, this is the best place for you to get your knowledge and also understand what are the best use gets in areas for each unity stools. Also, I'm going to be sharing the file that we use here in this class so that you can follow every step of the way. You can either start with the blank file and just build from there, or you can start with the file that already has all of the layers, and you can just kind of work your way backwards, if that makes sense. So you see the file with everything enabled, or if you just want to work with the you know less and start kind of file, you can do that as well and work your way up as you watch these videos. So at this point, just grab your iPad, grab your apple pencil and let's get started. 2. Alpha Lock: Quick And Mighty: all right now the way here in procreate five, let me first stick it through the file that were going to be using in order to go through this class. So this is the file. It's a small plant over a pink background and in terms, off a breakdown off layers, it basically has three layers. It's just that the 1st 1 is a group which we will not go through right now. We will leave it. We will leave this group for the following lessons as I'll show you what's actually inside here. So for now, let's just pretend that this file has three layers. First layer is the plant pot and the branches second layer are the leaves, and third layer is deep background. So for this video work going to talk about Alfa Lock, what is L flock? When do we use it? And when is best to use? Awful. So for me to actually go through these concepts off Alfa lock clipping masks and layer masks were always going to be using the leaves layer for that explanation. And just because you know, the plant and the background are just basically supporting roles in this illustration really the magic or where I'm going to be showing you how things work is going to be in this middle layer. So how do we actually use Alfa Locks? So we're going to click on the leaves layer, and as you can see here, there's this option. Al Flock, We're just gonna click on that option. And as you can see, the thumb they off the layer receives this kind of a grid texture and is very similar to you. The grid they that we see when we start. For example, a new file on photo shop and we don't really have a background. That's the exact agreed. That grid that we see in this grid represents Alfa. And the name is it says Alfa Lock. What that means is, for example, for this class, we're going to be using a lot of the noise brush so the noise brush is actually located. I've saved into my favorites, but the noise brush is located in the touch up section off procreate and is right here the nice brush. So let me just go back to my favorites. And here is the united brush. I'm going to be using so we have to have our later selected the one without flock. I'm gonna go back to the brushes, make sure that I have about, you know, 65 for size and for rapacity weaken just for now. Leave it at maximum capacity. So, basically, without flock, I can just draw on the leaves themselves, as you can see. And I don't really have to be careful about just drawing anywhere on the canvas because what Al Flock sexually doing, as the name says, is locking the Alfa to the layer that we have selected. So if we sat out flock to these leaves, it means that we can paint anything that we want. So now, for example, let me just, uh, get a white color reduced the size. And let's just say that I want to paint some highlights to the sleeves. So I'm just painting some highlights right here. And as you can see, this was really, really quick and uneasy way for me to add shading to this leave. So when do we use Alfa Lock? This is a great example. It's whenever you haven't asset. You have an element and you want to add shading. You want to make modifications. But you really don't want to create new layers so you can add shading to it. You can put some new collars in the Alfa lock is going to respect the boundaries off that layer so that you really don't have to worry. As you can see, I keep painting on the outside of these leaves, and I don't really have to worry about painting, you know, about splashing collars outside of the area that actually want to paint. So in conclusion, what are the pros about Al Flock and what are the cons? So the pros about all flock is that is a very quick, easy way toe add shading and add elements to a locked layer. Also, it saves you from creating new layers. And as we know, procreate does have a limit. The painting on your iPad model for how many layers you get when creating a new file. Now, what are the cons about Alfa lock? Well, basically, one of the major cons of Alva lock is that you're basically creating something that I call a destructive way of working in procreate, meaning that once you save this file because we're drawing everything is in one layer. There is no way once you reopen this Falcons procreate does not save history, wants you, say files. You will have to basically recreate this element because these shadows and highlights are baked within this layer they're painted on, and there is no way for you to turn them on or off. The 2nd 1 is that there is not really a way to use blend modes because everything is in one layer. There's not really a way for me to use that dark color was sad it as an overly once, um, painting shadows. There's not really a way to use that white color the white you that was using for light to set that one as ad or ah, screen mode or, once again, overly moat. So that is another big let down when it comes to Al Flock. But in conclusion, Alfa locks a very quick way to add shading with a few compromises 3. Clipping Mask: The Unsung Hero: All right, So now for this video, we're going to talk about clipping Mask. What? It's clipping mask. How do we use it? And what are the best ways to use? Clipping mask? So now let's just say that we want to do the same thing. We want to add shading. You know, shadows and lights to the leaves, but we don't want to work in a destructive way. So let's just create a new layer here. And within this new layer, we're going to click on this layer and select clipping mask. We can create more layers, so I'm just gonna create a couple more leaders here. Click on those layers select clipping mask. And on these on this 3rd 1 I'm also going to select clipping mask. As you can see, there is a little arrow pointing down, and all of these arrows point down in, almost like in a chain reaction to the base layer or deep parent lier. So water clipping masks clipping masks are new layers that you always set above the base layer, so clipping masks will always be on top of the base layer, and once you set them, ask clipping masks, they all respect in a chain reaction. They all respect the boundaries off the base layer. So right here you get a lot of good things for free the 1st 1 and let's just go back setting the black collar and making sure we are in the noise brush. And I'm most again going to set this about 65%. I get that same effect that I had on Alfa Lock. So as I'm drawing here, I'm just drawing these shadows. And I don't really have to worry about drawing, you know, just kind of splashing by any mistake on the outside of the campus, it's not going to paint anywhere but on the inside boundary off the leaves. So we already get that, which is really, really great. So now I also have that in a separate layer. So look what happens when I used the visibility button right here. I can turn shadows on and off, and even better, I can click on the blend mode icon right here, and I can say I can set, for example, into overly I can set to multiply, which is the top option, and it can also set some capacity down the road. As you know, I can paint first and then decide the opacity later on Alpha lock as soon as a paint. If I don't like something, I have to undo that action. Repaint with the lower capacity because once again, everything was set in one layer with the alpha lock. So here I have a lot of freedom and even, you know, for example, if I'm painting with black and I'm not really liking the result, I can click on this layer I can click on clear. And now I'm just going, going to use my eye dropper to so that it can go back into my colors. And I'm just gonna use classic and just get more of a darker shade. I'm going to use the um actually, I do need to make this a little bit darker so you can see on screen. So I'm just gonna paint the shadows right here and now I'm just using a darker tone off green, which probably looks better than if I just use, you know, pure black. So now with this leader selected, I'm just going to go into overly and the effect here. I can control it so I'm just gonna sat it to about 47 about 50%. So here's one of my layers. So now on the second Lear here, that is also clipping mask. We're just gonna bring it all the way to White and make this a little smaller unless just paint some lights onto our leaves. And now a suggested with the shadows that can click on a blend mode, and I'm going to set it to this one. Let's just set it to overly because I think yes is going to give a really, really nice effect. I'm gonna leave it at 100% so you can see this a little bit better. And as you can see, we've painted light and shadows as separate layers because clipping mask once again is a chain reaction, and they're all respecting the boundaries off the base layer. So as I was just saying, Let's just see, the client wants to change something here, and he doesn't want to have any lights and leaves. There you go. This is done. It was as quick as turning off layer. Let's just say he doesn't want any shadows on the leaves or let's just say he only wants the light hitting on the Leafs. So all of a sudden you have a file with a known destructive way of working. And this is, for me, in my opinion, the most professional way off, working in procreate, whatever the version that you have working in that fashion so that you're able to do changes with on a very quick, fast paced way by just turning layers on and off and being very organized in a way that everything is not just merged. So you that you have access to these elements. It's one of the best ways to work as a freelance professional and even as a harvest, because it will never take you a lot of work to change your files. So the pros, when using clipping masks, is that it definitely gives you more freedom by having separate layers for your elements, which also allow you to control capacity and blend modes. And I believe the only corn off clipping masks is that by using clipping masks, you are definitely taking from the maximum allowance off layers. That procreate gives you one starting a new file, so you have to be careful that you don't use a lot and a lot of clipping masks. You have to kind of manage the your usage off clipping masks so that you don't take away from new layers that you can create for new elements. 4. Layer Mask: The Masked Hero: all right. Now, for the third part off this class, we're going to talk about layer masks. But just before that, First, as you can see, I've left my clipping mask layers on because layer mask is going to really work together here with clipping masks. So we're basically evolving. So we started without flock, which is the quickest, cheapest way to actually do this kind of work or any modifications on your illustration, but in a destructive way. And now we've started with since then started with clipping masks, which starts to create known destructive work. And then later mask is just really the culmination off a beautiful way off, working in a known destructive way. So just before we get into layer masks, I just want to show you back at the beginning. Off this course, when I was talking about this group layer here, the plant I just want to open this group so I can show you some of the magic that I had prepared in this file. So, as you can see, this file has several clipping masks, which are the shadows that have painted for many off these elements. The shadows in the branches the shadow in the plant pot itself, and I've just decided to keep it hidden because of the very beginning. It wouldn't make a lot of sense for me to talk about these features before even explaining what these features are. So now let's talk about layer masks, water, earlier masks. How do we use layer masks and what are the best use case scenarios? So here's an example. Say that we have this illustration. It's looking like this at the moment you've delivered. Since then. Let's just say this is a Nikon or an element in an illustration itself part of a bigger kind of canvas. But the client has asked you to add some variation to dis plants. So right now all all of the leaves are looking a little bit too similar. The plant doesn't have a lot of visual interest because everything is looking quite quite the same. So you could say OK, so if I'm going to add some modifications, some variants to the leaves, I could just go to the leaves layer, and I'm going to use my race stool. I'm just going to use a flat studio pin and just make it a little bigger, about 20%. And I could do something like this. I'm just gonna do very, very crude manner here. I'm just heading some holes to the leaves, something like this. And it definitely adds some mawr visual interest to the plant. But as you can see a Z, you can see that I've used the array stool. You probably realize that I'm using a destructive way. Do you create work here once again in procreate? So although using the race to on the base layer and why do we use in the base layer is once again that basically air holds deep boundaries off all of the clipping mask. So if I the lead pixels from the base layer, I'm also obscuring that section from the clipping masks. So the clipping masks have not bean erased, especially from these holes right here. So if I just uncheck clipping mask, you see, it's just because his lier set as overly so. If I said it, for example, as Azzam just flipping through, you can definitely see the texture is still here. So if I click once again clipping mask, I have to click on the other ones as well because I've actually unchecked the bottom off the chain. So let's just click on all those three layers Septimus clipping mask so once again have deleted pixels from the leaves. So if I save this file, I will lose that information forever because appropriate doesn't really hold history. So I'm just going to undo that all of those modifications. And that's where Layer Mask comes in like a glove. So we're just going to go into the layers panel. We're going to click on our base layer and select mask, so know that we have a layer mask selected. You see that is full white. So how does Leader Mass works? Basically, earlier Masks works with the values off full white and full black in order to reveal things with full white or completely obscure things or hind things with full black. You can, for example, use the all of the values of great, but that it's almost like a capacity sliders. So if you use like a medium grey, you're going to hide things or review things about 50%. So just to give you a quick example by using gray and and then the other thing is that We don't need to use the erase stool because it's not destructive work. We're just going to be using or brush with these values that have just mentioned full white to reveal full black, to hide, graze to partially hide or review. So I just want to show you what happens with Grace. I just want to make sure that I have this brush a little bit bigger. Okay, So as you can see with Grace, you see that there is a little bit of transparency, and that is because it's hiding things on Lee about 50% because we're using Grace. So it's gonna bring this down to about 20% on a says the brush and on the color of the brush itself, we're going to use black in order to hide things. So now, as you can see, I am achieving that same kind of effect that we have before with the rays brush. But I'm getting that done with layer masks. So I'm just gonna do a couple here and a couple more here. All right, so now we've achieved a very similar effect practically, you know, almost identical to what we had with the race tool. But going back into my layers panel, we see that the layer mask is full white with a few a few lines of black and those lines of black are the lines that we just drew with my brush and the black you. So if I were to turn off layer mask you see that all of the leaves air still here. And that is because we haven't deleted any pixels with Onley hidden them with a layer mask . And that is the power off layer masks combined with the power off Phillipe masks. Now you have, ah, full file that contains non destructive work. If the client says, Oh, I really want the variation of thes leaves on Lee on these first you I don't really want on the 3rd 1 you can go back to your brush now because we want to review things. We want to get rid of this. We're just gonna go back into full white, and I can paint back these details, as you can see, like magic, we're bringing back not only believe, but also these shadows and the highlights. Now, let's just say that the client also says, Well, I actually think that there are too many holes in the leaves itself. Can you Can you get rid of some of these? And you definitely can't. So let's just say again, read of Ah, couple here and maybe a couple here as well. So this is a really, really cool method that opens so many possibilities. Once you actually put into practice Alfa lock layer masks and clipping masks into your advantage. Say, if you have only like five more minutes to finish a job, you're really going down. You know you don't have a lot of free time. Maybe Alfa Locks is the way to go, but once again knowing that it doesn't allow a lot of freedom. So if you have been using Alfa Lock, it might be time for you to actually test out clipping masks and layer masks for a known destructive workplace when you're working on appropriate five. So in conclusion, layer masks are great when you need to hide or review things without actually having to delete pixels. And I would say that the only con off layer masks is that you can only apply one per layer so you cannot apply multiple layer masks to a certain layer 5. Conclusion And Graduation Day: welcome back and congratulations and finishing the course understanding Alfa lock clipping masks and layer masks in procreate. By now, we should have a really good understanding off each one of these three tools. What are the best use cases for for each of the stools and what you should try to avoid when creating new illustrations? Inappropriate. Also, if you are working as a freelance illustrator, this is a great chance for you to start using the nondestructive way of working in procreate as well give you once again he will help you get the maximum productivity on your side whenever you need to change things on the fly or have you know options available to you in a quick way so you don't have to recreate assets whenever you're creating illustrations for a client or for a project. Now I can't wait to see what you can create on procreate using these principles. Thank you so much for watching and again. Congratulations on finishing this glass and I'll see you on the next one. Joe