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Adobe Photoshop CS4 Studio Techniques by Dan Ablan, Ben Willmore

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Vector Masks

Vector masks allow you to control which area of a layer will be visible by using an easily editable, smooth-shaped, crisp-edged path; anything outside of the path will be hidden onscreen and when printed.

By the time they make it to your computer screen, all photographs are made out of pixels, and the resolution of the file determines how large the pixels will be when printed. If those pixels are large enough, the image will appear jaggy when printed. But with vector masks, you can create a low-resolution, jaggy image and still get a smooth, crisp transition between the content of a layer and the underlying image when printing to a PostScript printer.

Adding a Vector Mask

The simplest way to add a vector mask is to choose Layer ...

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