Mask v1.00.120 by BlaizEnterprises.com
Turn an opaque image into a translucent one quickly and easily. Open or paste an image. Select the mask style (dark, light or both) and watch as dark colors become translucent shades, and bright colors opaque. Save the image as a PNG. That's it.
Free to use
, fully functional portable software program, with no installation or setup. Your existing computer libraries/files remain unchanged/unmodified.
Mask is portable and will run from within the folder you downloaded to.
- Classification - Free to use
- Type - Desktop Application
- Usage - Personal and business use
- Operating System - Microsoft Windows 95-11 and Wine
- Security - Anti-tamper, multi-layer and realtime aware
- Blaiz Enterprises
- WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) display
- Mask Style: None, Dark, Light and Both
- Mask Options: Soften, Boost and Boost 2
- Bias, Opacity and Quality controls
- Fit to Screen
- Options: Mirror, Flip, Grey, Sepia, Noise, Invert and Soften
- Drag and Drop support - drag image on to program to open
- Open Formats: PNG, GIF, JPG, JIF, JPEG, BMP and TEA
- Save Formats: PNG
- Preview link - view image in web browser
- Realtime status bar information of: Status, Dimensions, PNG Size and Color count
- Definable screen color
- Uniquely framed window with style, size and sparkle options
- " Options" window for customising the entire look and feel
- 150+ built-in color schemes (Aqua Marine -> Wild White)
- 32 built-in frame styles (Classic -> Traditional 3)
- 9 built-in cursors (Orange -> White) + Custom + Default
- 11 GUI fonts (Arial -> DejaVu Serif) + Custom
- 10 customisable color schemes (Custom 1-10 / set your own colors)
- Simple and easy to use
- Fast, lightweight and modern user interface
- Portable - No installation/alteration to your operating system
- Built-in Help - View detailed information directly in program
- No Internet Required - Run completely offline
- Free To Use - 100% freeware, no cost, no membership, no nags, no strings attached
- Options Window - Detailed options for changing colors, frame style, font and various effects and settings, and creating/removing Start button and Desktop links (shortcuts)
- Curved or square controls, menus and windows
- Realtime Help - Hover over a link, control or menu item for instant, scrolling help
- Soft Close windows - Click outside window to close
- Auto-Close windows - Countdown timer close window after set time
- Options > Color > Menu:
Copy - Copy color scheme to Clipboard as plain text (safe, compact to share on social media)
Paste and Use - Paste color scheme from Clipboard and display
Save As... - Save color scheme to file
- Options > Settings > Effects:
+ Special Colors - Color coordinate important settings panels
+ Enhanced - Shade control backgrounds and foregrounds
+ Curved Shading - Circular shading
+ Colorise Images - Shade all images with current color scheme for a low-impact look
- Options > Settings:
+ Large Title - 34 or 24 pixel high top title and icon
+ 32bit Graphics - 32bit or 24bit graphics (hint - 24bit is faster on older computers)
+ Frame Maximised - Display frame when maximised
+ On Top - Place Mask above all others
+ Minimal Scrollbars - Clutter free scrollbars (no arrows, less visual distraction)
+ Economy - Reduce paint cycles/CPU consumption for lower power usage
+ Scrollbar Size - Set from 5 to 72 pixels
+ Touch - Enlarge controls for easy touch access
- Uniquely Framed Window(s)
+ Decorative and functional - Click and drag to resize Mask easily
+ Size 0 to 72 pixels
+ Sparkle 0 to 20
Running Mask for the first time
- Options > Font > Zoom - Automatically scale Mask for best viewing on 2K, 4K and 8k monitors
- Options > Misc > Wine compatibility support (Wine Is Not an Emulator - see www.winehq.org for more information) - various special enhancements to improve performance in Wine on Linux, e.g. Ubuntu v20
- Customise a folder's image - Portable and independent of operating system
- And many more...
When starting Mask for the first time default options are enabled. The sample image "Banner.jpg" is loaded each time Mask starts.
Mask supports realtime changes to options and updates the display to reflect this automatically.
Main toolbar links and their function
The main toolbar is located near the top of Mask's window. From left to right, it has the links of:
Preview - View image with current options applied in web browser
Open - Open an image from disk
Save As - Save image to disk
Menu - Show menu
Settings - Show the settings menu
Copy - Copy image to clipboard
Paste - Paste in image from Clipboard
Options - Show the Options window, to change Mask's appearance
Help - Show (in rightmost column) or hide built-in help
How to create/adjust the mask of an image
Load an image from disk or paste one in from Clipboard. From the panel marked "Mask Style" (bottom of window), select the "Dark" option. A mask (transparency layer) is automatically generated. Dark colors become translucent (partly see through to fully see through) and lighter colors become partly to fully opaque.
To the right is a panel titled "Mask options". Toggle each of the options "Soften", "Boost" and "Boost 2" to view different mask finishing results.
Adjust the bias - see the "Bias" panel (bottom right of window) - to change when and how the mask fades in and out, and the intensity of that change. Useful for minor tweaking of the mask. Set bias to "0" to turn it off.
Mask's display updates automatically after each change of an option or setting
Which mask options are best?
It depends heavily on the image being worked on. But generally an image with dark colors that needs to be converted into translucent shades (transparency) set "Mask Style: Dark". For images with a lot of light colors, e.g. puffy clouds, then setting "Mask Style: Light" will make those colors translucent.
Use "Mask Options: Boost" to improve clarity of final image. It's based on average luminosity of the mask, and does a good job at expanding the mask's final shade range to near full saturation. Alternatively, "Mask Options: Boost 2" relies on the peak value. An option more suited to simple, block colored images.
Both "Boost" and "Boost 2" can be used simultaneously for a boost value midway between.
For a smooth edged mask, use the "Mask Options: Smooth" for best results.
How to open a sample image
Mask comes complete with several sample images. These images are not written to disk, but are actually stored internally within the program and accessed via a virtual disk.
From the top toolbar click the "
Open" link. An 'Open Image' window will display. Double click the disk drive named "Sample Images (!:)". A list of sample image names will display. Select an image and click "Open". The selected image will open and display in Mask with current settings and options applied automatically.
Drag and Drop
Mask supports drag and drop for image formats PNG, GIF, JPG, JIF, JPEG, BMP and TEA. From within a Microsoft File Explorer window, select a compatible image (hold down left mouse button), then drag the image (while keeping left mouse button down, and move the mouse cursor into position) over Mask's window. Release mouse button. Mask opens the image and automatically applies current settings to it, ready for saving.
Change the coloring of Mask
From the top toolbar click "
Options" link to display the "Options" window. Click "
Color" link to display "Color Schemes" list.
"Color Schemes" list is comprised of three distinct sections:
- Built-In Color Schemes
- Custom Color Schemes
- Saved Color Schemes
There are 150+ built-in color schemes. Select one. For instance, try "Black". The appearance changes to shades of black.
Twenty colors make up a single color scheme which determines the final appearance. Two colors govern the frame, nine for title colors (e.g. important sections - as the top toolbar and title panels), and a further nine for standard colors, for the majority of the background area.
Each built-in color scheme is comprised of it's own set of unique colors, and cannot be modified. However, a custom color scheme does allow for adjustment. To create a custom color scheme, scroll further down the list to the section titled "Custom".
Here you'll find 10 custom slots, labelled "Custom 1" through to "Custom 10". Each slot is a fully managed storage point - any changes you make are automatically saved.
To create a custom color scheme, select a slot. For instance select "Custom 1". The list divides into two separate columns. The column on the left retains the color scheme names from before, while the column on the right displays four groups of color palettes - Frame Colors, Title Colors, Standard Colors and Special Color Generators.
The first three sections are comprised of color palettes that directly represent a color in the color scheme.
To adjust a color, click the color palette to display a "Color" window. Adjust the color as desired by sliding the Red, Green and Blue color sliders to the left for less color, or to the right for more color. Or, click and drag the surface of the "Color Matrix" panel. Moving your cursor or finger within the matrix assigns the color directly beneath your cursor/finger. It is also possible to drag outside the matrix area to obtain a color from your screen.
When done, click the "OK" button to accept the color and close the Color window. The color palette updates to reflect the new color, as does Mask.
Alternatively, click and drag the surface of the color palette to acquire any visible color on the screen. As different colors pass beneath your cursor/finger, the color palette and Mask updates in realtime.
Save Color Scheme
To save your color scheme to file select "
Save As...". A "Save" window will display. Type a name for your color scheme and click the "Save" button. Your color scheme is saved to file and listed in the "Color Schemes" list.
Use Saved Color Scheme
Scroll down to the bottom of the "Color Schemes" list to find your saved color scheme(s). To use one in particular, select it. The colors apply immediately.
Make Changes To Saved Color Scheme
Select the saved color scheme you wish to change. The column on the right displays the color scheme palettes. As before, adjust one or more colors by accessing the color palette(s).
Any changes made are automatically saved to the file on disk. There is no need to manually resave the color scheme.
How to change the frame style, size and sparkle
Our uniquely framed window design allows for easy resizing and recognition. A frame can be made wider or narrower and include an optional embedded random sparkle effect.
From the top toolbar click "
Options" link to display the "Options" window. Then click the "
Choose from one of the 32 built-in frame styles. For instance "Flat". The frame updates to reflect the new style.
Some frames require a minimum size to display at their best. For "Flat" this is 32. Setting a size below this results in a hint recommending a size of 32+ be set.
A frame may have a size from 0 (no frame) to a maximum size of 72 pixels. Drag the "Size" slider right to widen the frame, and left to narrow it.
Some frames benefit from a little sparkle. Using a sparkle value of 1 or more embeds a random texture into the frame. The higher the sparkle the more noticeable the effect.
The range of a sparkle is from 0 (off) to 20 (maximum).
For a clean-cut look, set sparkle to 0.
A sparkle of 1 or more will also embed a random texture into the window's top title bar.
How to change the font, zoom factor, antialias level and size of text
Support for large text and automatic zoom for large displays is built-in. Control how much anti-aliasing (smoothing of characters) is applied.
From the top toolbar click "
Options" link to display the "Options" window. Then click the "
High resolution monitors, such as 4K and 8K display far more pixels (colored dots) per inch on screen than previous generations of monitors. To maintain the correct appearance of Mask across these significantly different graphic resolutions presents a challenge.
Comparison Of Monitor Resolutions:
2K = 1920w x 1080h = 2,073,600 pixels
4K = 3840w x 2160h = 8,294,400 pixels
8K = 7680w x 4320h = 33,177,600 pixels
From above, a 4K monitor uses four times more pixels to it's 2K counterpart, for the same physical screen size. This means a program created to look and function correctly on a 2K monitor will appear smaller on a 4K monitor, technically half its intended width and height. Making everything that much smaller to view and click. And, the same program on an 8K monitor will suffer even more drastic shrinkage, rendering it pretty much unusable.
This is where zoom compensates. By default, zoom is set to automatic, making the necessary adjustments to enlarge text and images appropriately in order to maintain the expected appearance of Mask across all monitor resolutions.
A 2K monitor needs no adjustment. But a 4K monitor requires a 2x (200%) enlargement of text and images. These are calculated and implemented on-the-fly. And an 8K monitor requires a 4x (400%) enlargement of text and images.
The end result is Mask looks and feels the same on all monitors.
You can override the default automatic setting and specify a zoom value of 100%, 200%, 300% or 400%. This will force text and images to zoom accordingly. This may prove useful for a custom or unusual monitor resolution, for instance an ultra-wide monitor. Any change to the zoom setting takes effect immediately.
For a monitor with a resolution of 2K or less, manually setting a high zoom value may render a part or a majority of Mask inaccessibly off screen. In this case, a special internal safety feature automatically limits the zoom to a maximum safe level.
Change the display size of text. The default value is 10. A smaller value decreases text size, and larger values increase it.
Not all sizes are supported by every font. In some instances on Ubuntu, selecting a large font size for Arial may cause text to look strange. If this occurs, reduce the size until the text appears normally, or use another font.
A font name represents the font to use when drawing text on the screen. It controls what style or characters are used, and even the technology used to draw the font. Older fonts like "System" are a bitmap based font, meaning they are unable to be scaled (resized). More modern fonts like Arial can scale, making them versatile across many different sizes. The main difference is memory. Bitmap fonts use memory for each size, whereas a scalable font, or vector font (made up of mathematically calculated lines and shapes) uses a single set of instructions and thus far less memory, but at the expense of speed.
Eleven predefined font names commonly found, in the most part, on modern Microsoft Windows operating systems, and to a lesser extend on older versions, and Ubuntu Linux are presented in a single "Font Name" panel.
By default, Arial is used. It is present on almost all computer operating systems, including Windows 95 and Ubuntu.
To use a different font name, click it's name to select. The text on screen will update to reflect the change. If a font is not present on the current operating system, for instance "DejaVu Sans", would not be present on a Windows 95 operating system, a fallback font is used instead.
If you require a custom font name, then select the last option "Custom". The font name stored in this option takes affect. Click the "Custom" option again to display a "Font" window. A list of all font names present on your operating system is shown, numbered and in alphabetical order (A-Z). From this list, select the font name to be used and click the "OK" button. Text on the screen will update to reflect your change.
Font Feather / Font Specific Antialiasing
For maximum compatibility, two completely separate antialiasing systems are employed to render text on the screen.
The first is "Font Feather". A realtime, text character feathering algorithm for fonts without antialiasing. These are typically older, bitmap based fonts. But sometimes, even modern fonts cannot, or will not, support antialiasing under a specific font size. For instance, Arial on Windows drops antialias support for sizes under 14.
In this case, font feathering renders a gentle blurring of the character. A range of "Off" to "High" can be set. The higher the value, the more obvious the blurring effect.
Typically a high quality computer monitor will require only a value of "Low" for text to be presentable. Whereas lower resolution devices like TVs, which don't always honour every single pixel, and suffer from quality degradation, will require a stronger value of "Medium" or "High", for best results.
The easiest method to set the right value is to select the lowest value first, "Off" and work your way up to "Ultra" until the text appears comfortable for you, on the screen.
The second method employed is the "Font Specific Antialiasing" system. In this case, the font itself contains all the necessary information to render smooth edges to each of its characters. To use, select a value from "Dark" (use only partial information) to "Light" (make full use).
Typically it is best to try each option in turn until the text looks best for you.
On Windows, the default font "Arial" may not support font specific antialiasing for font sizes under 14. As an alternative, try "Segoe UI", which does support smaller font sizes.
On Ubuntu v20, "Arial" does support font specific antialiasing for small font sizes.
From the top toolbar click "
Options" link to display the "Options" window. Then click the "
A collection of program specific options to change how Mask behaves, looks and uses resources. Each option can be easily used by selecting it with a click or tap. When an option is selected, it appears colored or filled in. To turn it off, click or tap the option again. Coloring is removed to indicate deselected.
Start button link - select to create a Start Menu shortcut "Mask by BlaizEnterprises.com", and deselect to remove it
Desktop link - select to create a Desktop shortcut "Mask by BlaizEnterprises.com", and deselect to remove it
For more detailed information refer to the help topic "Start button and Desktop links".
Curved Corners - Round corners on controls, menus and windows
Soft Close - Automatically close an active dialog window, e.g. Save, Open, Font etc, when clicked outside of it's window
Safe Area - Force main window to stay on screen at all times. Any attempt to drag it off the side of the screen triggers an automatic reposition at the screen's edge, ensuring the window is always accessible. Deselect this option to use across multiple monitors.
Show Splash - Display an informative/artistic splash screen on startup.
Realtime Help - Scroll useful help hints at the top of windows and menus. Help based on current cursor position or last tap position.
On Top - Position Mask above all other running program windows.
Touch - Enlarge controls and menus for easier finger tap access.
Double Clicks - Support traditional single clicks and double clicks. For instance, double tapping or clicking the top title bar of the main window maximises the window. Deselecting this option also disables this feature.
Frame Maximised - Show the frame on the main window when maximised (using entire screen area). Deselect to automatically hide the frame upon entering maximise state.
Economy - Automatically reduces paint cycles and some CPU usage during periods of extended idleness. For more detailed information refer to the topic "Economy mode".
32bit Graphics - Suitable for all modern computers. Deselect to revert to 24bit mode, a slightly more optimised mode for older computers with lower powered graphics cards and less memory. The older machines with 24bit mode runs slightly faster, and uses a little less memory.
Minimal Scrollbars - Reduces visual clutter with a simple slider.
Large Title - Large 32px high window title bar. Deselect for the shorter 24px title.
Special Colors - Show panels and settings with specific coloring for fast, easy access.
Enhanced - Shade control surfaces for a more defined display.
Curved Shading - Use a round shade. Deselect for a linear shade.
Colorise Images - Display control images in shades of current color scheme.
Range 0 to 20. Increase to show more texture in the frame. Or, reduce to lessen.
Determines the size of the frame with a range of 0 to 72. Increase for a wider frame, and reduce for a narrower one.
Change the size of all scrollbars with a range of 5 to 72. Larger values display either wider or taller scrollbars. Reducing shrinks their size.
9 built-in colored cursors: Orange, Pink, Yellow, Purple, Navy, Green, Grey, Black and White. Default uses the system cursor, white on Windows and black on Linux. The custom option supports use of an external cursor, in either the static ".cur" or animated ".ani" cursor file formats.
Click the "
Misc" link (top of Options window) to display a new page of settings.
Automatic (default) engages Wine related enhancements automatically, for smoother operation under Linux. Use the Enable option to force Wine support and the Disable option to turn off Wine support altogether.
Detection of Wine is discovered by the presence of drive "Z:\".
Click or tap the "
Restore Defaults..." button located at the bottom of the Options window to restore the main settings and options to their original values.
A program typically has more settings and menu options in addition to these that will not restore by this option. In this case, the settings and menu options may be changed by the user.
Automatically reduce battery consumption and CPU/graphic loads on your computer with Economy mode. A short period of inactivity reduces paint requests and internal processing to ease the load on your computer's hardware, and reduce overall energy expenditure.
The first stage of economy mode activates after a short inactivity period of 30 seconds, lowering the maximum paint rate to no more than 2 requests per second.
After a continued inactivity of 10 minutes or more, the paint rate is further reduced to 1 request per second.
Internal processing may also lower, reducing the CPU load.
A single keyboard stroke, mouse click or touch will instantly disengage economy savings and return Mask to normal operation.
How to turn Economy mode on/off:
From the main toolbar click "
Options" link to display the Options window. Click "
Settings" link and select "Economy" from the Options panel to enable. Select it again to deselect the option and disable the economy mode.
What is a portable program?
A portable program is a standard program, but with less requirements in order to run. The most important difference is that a portable program does not install. This enables it to run outside the normal scope of the computer's operating system - quite simply, it is not tied down.
Typically, a portable program might reside on a USB pen stick or other removable storage media, allowing it to be transferred between many different computers. This is not possible with an installed program as it must run on the computer it was specifically installed on.
The second important difference is the ability of a portable program to carry with it all the settings and support files it requires to operate. An installed program typically relies on a central storage structure determined by the type and version of the operating system to store, track and maintain a program's settings. This is the registry in Windows - a large, library of settings and parameters organised and protected by the Microsoft Windows operating system. On Linux, it is often a collection of predefined system folders, each with a specific type of function/purpose.
Without these, a portable program is solely responsible for the maintenance and organisation of it's settings. For this reason a higher level of understanding and coding diligence is required. A portable program can be thought of as a special kind of software program.
A portable program may well be more difficult to code, but the advantage of not being tied to any one specific operating system or computer can be quite significant. From the convenience of having your program and data with you, to the greater privacy for those with a focus on security.
Our portable software programs are engineered exclusively "in house", with no third party add ons, plugins or additional DLLs. We believe in creating reliable, secure and lightweight code in order to produce efficient, powerful and simple to use software. Our engineering is designed to remain inconspicuous so that every program we build can be used with ease and simplicity.
Our definition of a portable program:
- No Installation - no additional DLL libraries or alterations to your operating system
- No Setup - run and use the program immediately
- No Registry Modifications - no changes to behaviour of your computer
- No Zipped Folder of Contents - no need to unpack a "zipped installation folder" to run
- No Specialised Hardware Requirements - a typical modern computer is sufficient
- No Specialised Software Requirements - no need for Direct X or .NET in order to run
- No Internet Required - no need for additional downloads, addons, or an internet connection to run or view documentation
- No External Help - integrated help displays inside the program, no need for help on disk or help on the internet, and no need for a web browser or text editor to view
- Self-contained - program comes with everything it needs, including any sample files etc
- All settings and support files stored in a sub-folder "Blaiz Enterprises" directly alongside the program EXE
- Consistent operation, behaviour and display over many different operating systems
- High Level of Backwards Compatibility - able to run on older hardware and operating systems, e.g. Windows 95/98
- Multiple Input Support - mouse and touch support for interaction on desktops, laptops and tablets
- Small Footprint - typical program size of ~1.2 Mb
- System Independent Code - Our 4th Generation Code Foundation utilises custom built dialog windows (Open, Save, Color, Options, etc), custom GUI rendering engine, custom window rendering and management subsystem, and custom graphics subsystem, empowering our software to run well across many different operating systems, including non-native systems such as Ubuntu v20 (via the use of Wine).
Even though a program is portable, sometimes a change is made to the host computer. For instance, selecting the option "Desktop link" or "Start button link" from the "
Settings > Program Links" panel will create a shortcut file (a file with the extension ".lnk") on the computer. This is a function of the computer and is the exception, not the rule. By default, both options are not selected (off).
Start button and Desktop links
By default, Mask does not place a link on your computer's Start button or Desktop.
To place a link on your Start button:
Select "Options > Settings" and select "Start button link". Mask is now on your Start button as "Mask by BlaizEnterprises.com". Click this link to run Mask.
To place a link on your Desktop:
Select "Options > Settings" and select "Desktop link". Mask is now on your Desktop as "Mask by BlaizEnterprises.com". Click this link to run Mask.
To remove link from your Start button:
Select "Options > Settings" and deselect "Start button link". Mask is now removed from your Start button.
To remove link from your Desktop:
Select "Options > Settings" and deselect "Desktop link". Mask is now removed from your Desktop.
Want Mask to sit above other programs? Select "Options > Settings" and select "On Top" option. Mask now has priority and sits atop all other programs and windows. To turn this feature off, deselect "On Top".
button (top right of window) and click "On Top" option to toggle on/off.
Show Splash on Start
On startup Mask pauses momentarily to display an artistic splash screen. This feature can be turned off. To turn off, select "Options > Settings" and deselect "Show Splash" option.
Show Program Folder
Can't remember where you put Mask? No need to worry. From the top right of the window click the
button and select "
Show Program Folder". A Microsoft File Explorer folder window will display with the Mask program (EXE) listed inside.
Mask is 100% portable and does not install onto your computer, or alter or adjust the operation of your computer. Since there is no installation, there is no uninstall option. To remove Mask from your computer/disk, the process must be done manually.
Before you remove Mask, ensure both the "Start button link" and "Desktop link" options under "Options > Settings" are both deselected.
Due to the complex nature of security protocols under modern day Microsoft Windows' operating system, if these links are not removed by the program that created them, e.g. Mask, they may linger/persist.
From Mask click the
(show program menu) button at the top right of the window and select "
Show Program Folder" option. A folder will display with the Mask program (EXE) listed within it. Typically Mask will have the name "Mask.exe".
Close any instances of Mask that are running. Right click the EXE file and select the delete option. If prompts appear, confirm your intention to delete.
Mask is now removed from your computer/disk.
A shared folder of "Blaiz Enterprises" is automatically created and maintained by Mask during it's normal operation. This folder is responsible for holding settings, files and associated data for Mask. It can also be used by other Blaiz Enterprises' programs located in the same folder as Mask. If there are no other programs (EXEs) in the folder, it is safe to delete the "Blaiz Enterprises" folder. Right click the folder and select the Delete option. If prompts appear, confirm your intention to delete.
Mask's data is now removed from your computer/disk.
Company name and all software products contained on our websites are the intellectual property, copyrights and trademarks of Blaiz Enterprises.
All title, copyrights and intellectual property rights in and to the software product and content, and any copies thereof, are the property of Blaiz Enterprises.
Blaiz Enterprises grants to you the right to use the software product. You may not reverse engineer, decompile or disassemble the software product. Any alteration or attempt to alter the original software product will cause a fatal error to occur and the product to become dysfunctional.
Any use of the software product is at your own risk. Blaiz Enterprises disclaim all warranties and conditions, either expressed or implied. In no event shall Blaiz Enterprises be liable for any special, incidental, indirect, or consequential damages (including, without limitation, damages for loss of business, profits, business interruption, loss of business information, or any other pecuniary loss) arising out of the use of or inability to use the software product.