Brush Painting on a Layer Mask:

Masks are incredibly useful for blending photos and hiding portions of images without altering them directly.  In this tutorial we'll learn how to use the brush palette and fill layer
with mask to make a photo layer mask.

Creating attractive photo borders or creative cutouts can be an easy and fun task when using masks. In this short tutorial I will show you how to give your photos an easy and creative cutout while painting on a mask with brushes.

1. Open a photo that you intend to use.  This is what I’ll use to demonstrate.
LAYER MASK-1





2. Make a solid fill adjustment layer by clicking Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid, or click on the half black/half white circle in the bottom of the layers palette and choose Solid fill. Choose white as the color.  Follow images shown below.

LAYER MASK-2b
LAYER MASK-3b
LAYER MASK-4a
3. Lower the opacity of the fill layer to reveal the photo underneath. Somewhere around 75% should do nicely.

LAYER MASK-4c
Now you should be able to see the image underneath as shown below.

LAYER MASK-4d 
4. Choose the Brush Tool[B] and select a big brush, preferably a paint stroke brush, something with character and ragged edges. Choose black as your foreground color.
LAYER MASK-5a
LAYER MASK-5b

LAYER MASK-5c
5. Select the mask on the Fill Layer, now start painting with your brush to reveal what you want visible, if you feel you messed up on a spot, just select white as your foreground and paint over it to cover it up, then switch your foreground back to black and continue till you feel satisfied with the results. When done be sure to raise your opacity back to 100% and flatten and save.
LAYER MASK-4c
Here’s what I have using the brush selected from above step 5.

LAYER MASK-5d 
Something I like doing also, is to use some swirl or decorative brushes to add some flair.

LAYER MASK-5e
6. Optional, you can always reduce the opacity of the brush in the options bar at the top of the screen if you want to reveal less of the photo.
NOTE: Black cuts away the mask and reveals what's underneath,while white hides and any shades of gray are varying opacities.  Don’t forget to set your opacity back to 100% and flatten and save.