Trent’s Tips: Masking and Grouping Layers in SketchBook

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Our favorite YouTuber Trent Kaniuga has created a great set of short videos showing how to approach some of the most important features in SketchBook. Some of these tutorials — or as we like to think of them, “Trent’s Tips” — are as good as our own tutorial content, so we wanted to make sure you’re aware of this excellent resource. Subscribe to his channel if you’re a SketchBook devotee but someone who still hasn’t explored all the options. Or just someone who likes character design, which is Trent’s specialty.

Can You Mask and Group Layers in SketchBook?

In this video, Trent starts out by answering a common user question: “How do you group and mask layers in SketchBook?” As he notes, it may not seem that these things exist in SketchBook unless you dig down a bit more. For example, if you’ve always been a Photoshop user who is used to seeing the Photoshop interface in your mind, you’ll find that things work a little differently in SketchBook. Trent uncovers the details and puts it all into context in his video:

The way to accomplish grouping is to link layers together and nest them in a folder. You simply choose multiple layers (hold the Command key) and hit Command G (Group Layer). That will place those layers into a folder, and you’ll see a folder icon with the layers nested underneath.

Layer grouping and masking all happens in the Layers menu using either marking menus or hot keys.

Masking and Lock Transparency

When it comes to masking, Trent shows how he uses Selection Tools (Lasso, Polyline, Magic Wand, etc.) to quickly define an area. You can then draw only on that area or use the Invert option to draw on everything else. One thing that also different from Photoshop is the Lock Transparency option for layers in SketchBook. You do this by clicking on the little lock icon. Lock Transparency creates a mask that locks out the transparent portion of the layer. You are only able to make changes to that area of the image on that layer. We’ve noticed that most people use this feature for changing the color of an object they’ve drawn or adding Layer Styles.