The layer mask is one of those key features in Photoshop Elements that we use all the time while editing photos and when compositing images and text. Version 9 has a layer mask feature built in, but, with earlier versions, you need to use an adjustment layer workaround to create the mask.
If you’re running Elements 5 through 8, the process is really quite easy; the only complication comes up between Versions 7 and 8, with the changes to the Layers palette (now officially called a panel), and the change of the clipping group menu item name (called “Group with Previous” in versions 7 and lower, “Create Clipping Mask” in Version 8 and up).
Since we use layer masks quite frequently in our tutorials, things would bog down pretty quickly if we printed instructions for creating a layer mask for each version of Elements. So, in our latest entries in the Quick Video Tips reference series, Mike Rodriguez has created short videos–with written instructions–for creating layer masks in Photoshop Elements 8 and in Elements 7 and earlier versions. If you’re using Elements 9, you can check out Mike’s Easy Layer Masks video from last fall.
Don’t forget to check out our Topics page, which has links to a wide variety of tutorials and videos on many Photoshop Elements topics. You can also find links to specific videos for the key features in Elements 7, 8 and 9, as well as videos for getting started with the Elements Editor and Organizer.