The Photopia Blog

Tips, tutorials & inspiration for making slideshows

JUNE 6, By Photopia

Masking Layers vs Adjustment Layers

Masking Layers and Adjustment Layers are available in both Photopia Director and Creator.  They are applied in the same manner, but function differently. In today’s blog we’ll discuss the similarities and differences between these two features. (Read more)

Masking Layers and Adjustment Layers affect layers underneath them. They affect layers based on either Greyscale (white/gray/black) or Transparency (alpha/transparency) settings.

In this example, a white Solid Layer is added above an image layer. A circle shape is applied to the Solid Layer. To set this solid layer as either a Masking Layer or Adjustment Layer, right click and choose one of those options. Our examples have the Channel set to Greyscale.

When viewing the white circle as a Masking Layer, the image underneath is masked into a circle shape.


Tip: There is a difference between applying a circle Shape and applying a circle Mask.  When a shape is applied to a layer, the shape is a part of that layer.  They can not be adjusted or animated separately. When a mask is added above a layer, the mask and layers under it can be animated or adjusted separately.

If the white circle layer is set as an Adjustment Layer, there is no immediate visible difference.  This is because Adjustment Layers affect the image adjustment settings, which are only visible after Adjustment settings have been changed. Masking Layers affect the image visibility, which happens immediately.

Select the Adjustment Settings Layer (beneath the solid layer) in the Layers List and more options become available in the Options Panel.  Click on the arrow next to Adjustments to open those options.

Any adjustments changes will become visible inside the circle, but not outside the circle.  In the example above, the blur was increased.

When using a Gradient as the Adjustment Layer instead of a solid (channel is set to Greyscale), the Adjustment settings will gradually become less visible as the color shifts from White (100% in strength) to Black (0% in strength).

The result is a gradual fade of the blur effect, from the center of the circle to the outer edge.

Using the same gradient as a Masking Layer results in a gradual fade in opacity from the white at the center to the black at the outer edge.

Both Masking Layers and Adjustment Layers can have multiple layers underneath them.  They can also be added inside a Group, to make animating all of the layers together easier.

Back to Blog Index