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Photographic Mask Help


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I am a keen photographer and often use a paper mask to isolate interesting areas in a photograph.

Is it possible to create such an idea in Paint.net?

I was thinking along the lines of creating an opaque overlay with a rectangular or square transparent window in the centre.

Ideally the the aperture should be of variable size.

Any suggestions.



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Hello Des.

I was thinking along the lines of creating an opaque overlay with a rectangular or square transparent window in the centre.

Exactly that. Create a new layer, fill that with the colour of your choice, select the part you want removing and hit delete to remove that area.

As for adjustability, if you're using any of the selection tools you can use the Move Selection Tool (:MoveSelectionTool:) to adjust the bounding before you take action.

Of course, you are not limited to a solid colour, you may try out some blurring, colour adjustment or another effect to give focus to a certain area. If you are going to be using an effect remember to select the area you want preserving first, invert the selection - to highlight all but your desired section - and then apply the effect.

Does this help?

EDIT: the Move Selection Tool icon does not seem to be appearing here in the, but you can find it on the second row, second tool down on the Tools window.

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Thanks for the reply Myrddin.

I had tried that idea. But the move selection tool moves the area I selected. What I want to achieve is to move the mask, and the transparent window around the picture.



To do that, I'd say the easiest thing would be to select the entire "mask" layer and move it (just like you would move the entire "mask" sheet of actual paper). The transparent window will still be in the middle of the non-transparent pixels, and you'll get the effect that you want, I think.

drakaan sig jan 2020.png

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I solved it!

Here is how I did it.

1. Create a canvas much larger than the proposed picture you want to use.

2. Create a new canvas the size of the picture you want to use (or slightly larger might be better).

Draw a rectangle the size of this new canvas.

Use a solid fill (bucket tool), e.g. Black.

Cut out a square/rectangle from the middle the size you want.

Save and close this canvas.

3. Open the image you want to use. Select all and cut it. Close the image without saving.

4. Paste the cut image into the first (large canvas) as new layer. Merge down layers if you want.

5. Open mask image. Select all and cut. Close this image without saving.

6. Paste the mask image into the 'picture canvas' as new layer. Move it around until the cut-out section shows the part of

the picture that you want. Then set it in place.

Not a very elegant solution. But it works for me.

Thanks for your help.

Hope it proves useful for other members.


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You might also try the Alpha Mask plugin. It would speed this up considerably. :-)


The Doctor: There was a goblin, or a trickster, or a warrior... A nameless, terrible thing, soaked in the blood of a billion galaxies. The most feared being in all the cosmos. And nothing could stop it, or hold it, or reason with it. One day it would just drop out of the sky and tear down your world.
Amy: But how did it end up in there?
The Doctor: You know fairy tales. A good wizard tricked it.
River Song: I hate good wizards in fairy tales; they always turn out to be him.

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This tutorial of mine goes through creating a black / white mask and masking out a portion of a photo. It's geared specifically toward isolating the foreground, but it can be used for other such things.

For instance, you can draw your outline on a new layer in the general shape you want the cut out area, fill the outer area with black, then move the layer around until the portion of the image you want to show is inside of it. Fill any extra areas around the outside resulting from the move with black, and create a new layer underneath this one and fill it with white. Then follow the directions for saving and importing the mask as per the tutorial.


I am not a mechanism, I am part of the resistance;

I am an organism, an animal, a creature, I am a beast.

~ Becoming the Archetype

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