How to Mask a Digital Image

One of the advantages of digital photography is that the artist can modify an image after it has been shot. Manipulating images can involve cropping the image or modifying the brightness or contrast of an image. You will need to use a computer programme to mask an image. The task should be fairly easy. However, it may take longer than expected and for this reason you will have to remain patient. Apart from patience, you will have to practice a lot. Here is how you can mask a digital image using GIMP Image Editing software.


  • 1

    Launch a new session of GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Programme) Image Editing software, click ‘Open’ in the ‘File’ menu and browse to the location of the image on your computer’s hard drive which you want to edit and select it. The image will be opened in GIMP so that you can edit it.

  • 2

    It is understandable that you would want to leave some areas of the image unmasked. Make use of the ‘Fuzzy Select’ tool or ‘Lasso’ tool for this purpose. ‘Fuzzy Select’ tool would work better for images with complex background whereas ‘Lasso’ tool would be better for an image with plain background. Zooming in on the image will help you make the selection of a particular area easier.

  • 3

    After you are done using the ‘Fuzzy Select’ tool or ‘Lasso’, only the selected area would be left unmasked. In case you want to toggle the mask on or off, simply press ‘Q’ while holding down the ‘Shift’ key. Alternatively, you point to ‘Select’ menu and choose ‘Toggle Quickmask’ from the dropdown menu.

  • 4

    You will need to create a new image now which should have a transparent or white background. In order to do this, click ‘File’ and choose ‘New’ from the dropdown menu. From the original image that you masked in the earlier step, select copy and then paste the selection into the new file that you just created. Simply save the new file to your computer’s hard drive. A mask of the original image has now been created.

  • 5

    The new image you just created can be used either as a printing mask or as an original art file. A programme like Adobe Illustrator can be used to make an illustration using the new image file.

  • 6

    There are a number of image properties that can be modified using the mask such as changing the colour of a particular section of an image. With enough practice, you can master the art of image reproduction which will allow you to dramatically alter the properties of any image.

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