On Mon, Aug 13, 2012 at 5:50 PM, Jessica Tomlinson wrote:

> am still quite foggy on this whole selecting with a layer mask thing.  Why
> would one want some pixels to be partially selected, or partially
> transparent?


There are many uses for that. In general, this way you can make
gradual transitions between two layers.

For example, a typical sunset photo has a sky that looks OK, but the
ground/water is a bit too dark.

You can duplicate the original layer, then raise brightness of one of
the layers, then combine them via a layer mask, where selection
gradually changes. As the result, both sky and ground/water will look
just like when you were taking the picture.

Here is another example of, ahem, artistic use of this feature:

Alexandre Prokoudine
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