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The Book of GIMP by Karine Delvare, Olivier Lecarme

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Chapter 14. Masks

A mask is a grayscale image that is used to represent either a selection within an image (called a selection mask) or the transparency of a layer (called a layer mask).

You use a selection mask to save a particular selection. This way you can maintain a collection of selections that you’ve built, ready to use when you need them. In a selection mask, pixels that are completely selected in the image are represented as white, pixels that are not selected at all are represented as black, and pixels that are partially selected are represented as intermediate shades.

Although a selection mask is an independent object, a layer mask is part of a specific layer used to specify the transparency of the layer’s pixels. The pixels themselves ...

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