Mask Notes

For an Grayscale mask, the layer being masked is

  • Transparent where the mask color is black (#000000-hexadecimal or R000G000B000-decimal). The masked layer becomes less transparent as the numerical value increases.
  • 50% transparent where the mask color has a value of #808080 or R128 G128 B128 (Gray), that is, the mask color is composed of a color that is 50% black (#000000, R000 G000 B000) plus 50% white  (#FFFFFF, R255 G255 B255).
  • Opaque when the mask color is white.

A quick table using various shades of gray can also help. The colors are presented in RED, GREEN, and BLUE sequence for the numbers below. Each hexadecimal value is a two-number value while the RGB decimal values are given as Rxyz, Gxyz, and Bxyz where “xyz’ is a whole number value from 0 to 255 (for a total of 256 different colors).


  • BLUE is a darker color than RED which is darker than GREEN.
  • RED’s ( #FF0000/R255G000B000) inverse is TURQUOISE (#00ffff/R000G255B255)
  • GREEN’s (#00FF00/R000G255B000) inverse is MAGENTA (#ff00ff/R255/G000/B255)
  • BLUE’s (#0000FF/R000G000B255) inverse is YELLOW (#FFFFFF00/R255G255B000)
Color Masks
Figure 1 Color Masks
Color vs  Transparency
Figure 2 Color vs Transparency

COLOR Value vs Transparency Table

       Numeric Value         Percent (%)
Hexadecimal    Decimal     |    Opaque
#FFFFFF   R255 G255 B255  100     0
#AAAAAA   R170 G170 B170   67    33
#808080   R128 G128 B128   50    50
#555555   R085 B085 G085   33    67
#000000   R000 G000 B000    0   100

Color Transparency
Figure 3 Colors vs Transparency
Color Value and Transparency
Figure 4 Transparency of Color In a Grayscale Mask

© 20110413-1500, Dale Fenimore, All Rights Reserved

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