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Tim Kuhn
Upload & Sell: Off
Layers and Masks explained

I will try to explain the basics of using Layers and Masks, the basic building blocks within Photoshop. Newbies are often intimidated by Layers and Masks but they really are easy to use in the simplest form and quite powerful once you get your head around what they can do. Iíll start out with a simple Layers example and then go into using masks. Please keep in mind that in the following images Iím demonstrating how I am improving them but rather Iím demonstrating techniques using greatly exaggerated examples. Usually you would use these techniques in a far more subtle fashion. Also, I us a PC so if you use a Mac for all of the keyboard shortcuts I mention replace ctrl with command.

There are 13 photos, please wait until I get them all up before commenting.

Here I have opened an image of a flower and pressed control Ė j to create a new layer. On the right of the image is the Layers Palette. If you are editing an image and that is hidden go to the menu bar up top select Window-Layers and the Layers Palette will appear. My new layer is labeled as Layer 1, the default name. You can change the name if you want, if I only have one layer besides the original background layer I leave it with the default name. If you are going to be doing something complex with many layers it is a good idea to name the layer with what it does, Iím trying to keep this simple so Iím not going in to that. Letís look at something else here, see the eyeball icon on the left of the layer in the Layer Palette? If the eye is visible the layer is visible in the main editing area. If you click on the eye that image becomes invisible and does not display on the image in the main editing area. Here is an exaggerated example. I darkened the background severely on Layer1, here it is visible.

Dec 29, 2012 at 10:27 PM

  Previous versions of Tim Kuhn's message #11225730 « Layers and Masks explained »