How To create and use a mask

by / Tuesday, 12 March 2013 / Published in How To

This article contains information on using masks for Darkroom borders. Masks are custom shapes that are used to show or hide effects in Darkroom borders. The mask covers up certain parts of the effect. For instance, a mask could be used to create a vignette effect. Darkroom includes a number of useful mask shapes, but you can also create and use your custom shapes using image editing software.

If you want to use a border to make the photo take on a specific shape or you want to transform a regular rectangular photo into a curved or circular one, you would need to create a mask for the border. If you want to limit an effect to a particular area of an image, you can use a mask to control where the effect is applied.

You must be using Darkroom Assembly, Darkroom Professional, or Darkroom Core 9.0 or higher.

Choose a mask and apply it to the border in conjunction with an effect. Follow the instructions below to do this:

Apply the mask

1. Create or edit a border with your Darkroom software. Refer to the Application User Guide for more information on how to create or edit a border.

2. Locate the photo placeholder you want to apply the mask to (usually marked by a number 1). If you don’t have a photo placeholder, add one by using the Add Photo button on the left. Refer to the Application User Guide for more information.

3. Click on “Add Effect” on the left side.

4. Choose the effect you want to apply to part of your image. In this example we willl choose and use the “Blur” effect from the dropdown menu to blur some of the underlying image while keeping other areas sharp.

5. Choose “Pre-Defined Mask” as the option.

6. Click on the “Edit” button located on the right.

You can choose to use one of the provided masks. If you want to use your custom mask, check the Custom Mask checkbox on the bottom, and Browse to the mask you created. See instructions below for creating your own masks.

7. Click “OK,” and when the software asks you again, click “OK” again.



You will see your masked effect. Move and size it for the effect you want by dragging he handles of the edge of the effect.

Creating a custom mask

If you want to create your own custom mask shape, use your favorite image editor to create the mask file. Many of our photographers use Adobe PhotoShop. You can use any picture file type as a mask. For example, the file type could be: .jpg, .gif, or .bmp. For best results you should use black and white and shades of gray to construct the mask. White is going to be the hole for the photo to show through and black will completely mask the photo. A mnemonic to help remember this is “white reveals, black conceals”. Grays will blend, i.e. make the photo transparent to some degree.

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