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Photography Question 
Steven P. Hambrick
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/17/2005

Vector Mask Vs. Layer Mask

What is the difference between a vector mask and a layer mask in PS? And "reveal all" and "hide all"?

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6/12/2005 10:30:45 AM

Vince Broesch   A vector mask is vector-based, and a layer mask is raster-based. If I was going to draw with a vector tool, like the pen tool, I would want a vector mask. You will see, if you look in the path palette, that the path has been saved there. If I was going to paint with a raster tool like the paint brush, I would want a layer mask.

Either mask will allow you any level of transparency. "Reveal all" or "hide all" is just going to fill your new layer with black or white initially.

If you were doing much vector work, you would be using Adobe Illustrator ... it is the king of drawing programs - like PS is the king of raster programs, and the two programs work great together. But If you just want to draw a heart shape around your picture, PS has the drawing tools to do that without going into Illustrator.
Once a vector is rasterized, it is no longer editable as a vector. If you were printing to a Postscript printer, you would probably want to maintain vector data. Vectors will print at the resolution of the output device - they are “resolution independent”, where rasters will degrade as the print size goes up, because they are “resolution dependent”. Most of this won’t matter much if you are printing an 8x10 on your inkjet at home, but if you are printing a 4-foot by 16-foot display for a trade-show booth, it becomes very important.

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6/12/2005 11:07:50 PM

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