Step 4: Paint On The Layer Mask To Reveal The Lower Layer

In the prior step, a layer mask was created, a brush was selected, and Opacity was set to 10%. As the layer mask is painted with black, it allows the lower layer to show through. If you paint with white, it will once again hide the lower layer. To get the best results, try painting with Opacity set to 10%, which makes your painting be a 10% gray. Using this setting, you can more carefully build up the mask to show precisely what you want. Each time you click, you increase the buildup of the mask by 10%. Painting an image like this one is vastly easier, more fun, and more accurate if you have a pen tablet like one of the Wacom tablets.

■ Begin carefully painting the sky with the Brush tool until you have increased the image density to match the foreground. I suggest that you vary the size of the brush and that you increase the image to 100% when painting the edges between the sky and the distant mountain range, especially when

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painting the edge between the middle mountain range and the foreground trees. Later when you make further adjustments to the image, your careful painting eliminates the need to go back and try again. Yes, there is a corollary to this — don't paint carefully and you'll have to paint again! After some painting, your image should look similar to the one shown in Figure 28.5.

If you change your Brush to a Soft Round 65 or Soft Round 100 Pixel brush, you can increase contrast in the mountains in the middle of the image by painting only on the denser green areas. You could never do this with a split neutral density filter!

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