Basics Of Layers And Layer Masks In Photoshop | DENIS L. | Skillshare

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Basics Of Layers And Layer Masks In Photoshop

teacher avatar DENIS L., Photographer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (52m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Duplicate Layers

    • 3. Adjustment Layers

    • 4. New Transparency Layer

    • 5. Text Layer

    • 6. Layer Masks

    • 7. Clipping Mask

    • 8. Blend Modes

    • 9. Project Participation

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About This Class

Why work on layers at all?

  • They do not destroy your original photo.

  • You are working on top of or on copies of that photo.

  • You will have more control.

  • You can use blending modes to change the way layers interact.

  • You can change the opacity of any effects.

  • You will have or can add layer masks so that you can work selectively on your photo with any adjustments you make.

  • Duplicate Layer
  • Adjustment Layer
  • New Transparent Layer
  • Text Layer
  • Layer Mask
  • Clipping Mask
  • Blend Mode

Meet Your Teacher

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Denis G Lemay was brought up in a little coastal town of Biddeford Maine, served in Vietnam in 1968 in the army corps of engineer, then in 1971 went to school in NY to persue the field of professional photography, and relocated to a little Dutch town of Kutztown Pennsylvania where he owned and operated Rembrandt Studios in two different locations. In 1998 Denis relocated to Wilmington North Carolina where he now owns and operates Ocean View Photography located near Wrightsville Beach NC. 


Past affiliations are PPA, WPPI, IPPG, OPHF, and CFCC. Exhibited at KU, WPPI, OPHF,NYIP. 

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1. Introduction: welcome everyone to understanding layers and layer masks and photo shop layers and layer masks are two of the biggest advantages you find in Photoshopped over any raw editor. It's also here that it starts becoming somewhat confusing. For some, however, understanding layers and later Max is crucial for you to fully exploit the power of this software. Now we're going to cover several types of layers, will discover duplicate players, adjustment layers, new layers, text layers and then the last segment. We will cover masks so we'll see you in our first segment, which will be duplicate layers. 2. Duplicate Layers: welcome everyone. Let's talk about duplicate layers before I start. Let me make a suggestion. I have attached this particular image with the tutorial. If you want to follow along, download that image and loaded into photo shop and just follow me step by step. This will help you understand layers even more. So now we're going to stay with the basics and then down the road you can get more advanced . All right, when you open an image in photo shop for a shop automatically gives you what they call a background image, and there's usually a lock on that image. So if you're trying to do certain effects on that particular image, you have to unlock that Locke. But I normally like to duplicate the image that way. If I do a whole lot of work on that particular image and I'm not happy with it, I can throw in the trash and I still have the background image, and I can duplicate it and start all over again. I do that we pretty much every image, but then that's up to the artist as to whether or not he wants to do that. Okay, Duplicate layer. Let's talk about duplicate layer. There are several ways of duplicating your background layer. You can either go to layer, scroll down, do booklet player, or you can right click on the background layer duplicate layer or on a PC or a Mac. You can click Lowland Control or Mac Ah, Command J, which I'm going to do. Command J. And there's my duplicate layer. So what I did is I created a duplicate copy of whatever layer I'm on, which is a background now. If you duplicate an adjustment layer, it will also copy that layer, but it'll double the effect. I will show you that later on, but if you're on a background layer, it will copy that layer. Think of a duplicate layers like a photocopy, and this could be very useful in certain situations. When you duplicate a pixel layer such as the background, remember that a will cover anything underneath it. In other words, this layer is covering the bottom layer unless certain blending modes air used. But we'll cover that later on this well, so I use it sparingly, for instance, if I take a lasso to or better yet, if I take the patches tool, and I want to remove these rocks all around. And then I have an action to do this. I just hit that play and remove those rocks. Now it will remove the rocks on that duplicate layer. But if I hide if I click on the I, you could see the background layer still has the rocks. But the duplicate layer the rocks gone. So basically that duplicate layer has covered the background layer. That's pretty much it for duplicate layers. Now, in next segment, we're going to talk about the adjustment layer, so see you then. 3. Adjustment Layers: Welcome back. Let's talk about adjustment layers. We've talked about duplicate layers, and I'm going to assume you still have, ah, the downloaded image in photo shop, along with the difficult layer on top of the background. But now we're going to talk about adjustment layers. There are several ways of acquiring adjustment layers. If you go to the bottom of your layer pallet, there's a circle with black and white, which will bring up all of your adjustment layers that you can click on. For instance, brightness, darkness, levels, curves, exposure, vibrant salon and so forth. If you go up to your panel of top, you'll see adjustment layers up there. Brightness, contrast, curves, levels, etcetera, etcetera. If you go up to image adjustments, you have adjustments here, the only problem with ease. It's not creating a layer. It's actually going to affect the either the background layer or the duplicate layer, whichever one you have. I very seldom used this one. I always like to work with adjustment layers. Let's go to brightness and darkness. You can say it's given me. Photoshopped automatically created a layer with a mask for brightness and contracts. It'll do that for all of these adjust and then whichever adjustment you want. This will create a transparent layer, which is what we have up here, where you can make direct changes to your photograph without affecting the original in any way. In other words, this layer will make changes to your photograph. For instance, if I bring it down, Darknet live been given little contrast. It will affect this layer, but it it does not destroy anything on this particular. It's all on it on the layer, the adjustment layer. For instance. If I click on the I and hide it, you can see the bottom layer has no effect whatsoever. So it's non destructor, whether you're working on a duplicate layer or a background layer. This is how I pretty much edit every photo. Um, whether I'm using levels, curves, hue, saturation, channel mixer, etcetera. That's what I do. I use an adjustment layer, and the reason for that is the way adjustment layers work is. You make the changes on a transparent layer. This particular layer. They changed the appearance of pixels underneath without actually touching or destroying anything, so they are non destructor. Another big reason. I use adjustment layers is that you can go back and edit thes layers even after you're on to new layers. In other words, uh, let's say I go to another layer. Let's go to Vibrance and increased the vibrance on this image. Okay, maybe a little saturation. All right, Now if I think this is too dark and I want to go back to brightness some contracts because I have a transparent layer here, if I double click on this icon, you bring it up and I can change that. The setting on that particular adjustment. And I can do that as many times as I want. I can do the same. Appear if I want to changed the adjustment a little bit. Maybe I think is too much saturation or vibrance. I could bring it down a little bit, or I can increase it. Whatever I want to do. I could keep doing that as many times I want because it's not affecting this particular layer. Click on the eyes you can see and you can keep checking it so they're not covering up each other. They work together, and most importantly, they have layer masks. Now, with these masks, I can fine tune or localize certain adjustments. For instance, let's say I want to lighten up this area. All right, Let's increase the year vibrance a little bit, bringing up quite a bit here, all right. And I want to decrease this area somewhere. Sorrow. Grab a brush, make sure black is on. White will be here in the foreground background and maybe bring the O pacenti down to about 30%. Okay, now I can grab my brush and take 30% of that color out, and I can do this as many times they want. If I do it again, that will be 60%. If I do it again, it'll be 90%. You can see it's evening out both sides, and if I do it again, it will be higher percent. You can do that with any adjustment here because they have masks and you can see the color of the mass changed because I've affected this particular local local adjustment. That's nice thing about working with transparency layers, adjustment layers, masks and next segment. We're going to talk about a new layer 4. New Transparency Layer: Welcome back, everyone in this segment. Let's talk about a new layer if you hit shift command and, uh, on your Mac, or shift control in on a PC that will create a new layer. Or if you go up to layer new layer that will create a layer. Or you could go down to the bottom of your palate on the icon, second from the right that will create a new layer. I will create a layer right above the duplicate layer right in here. There. Okay, now, when you do this, this will create a black transparency layer, and this is useful when you want to add or change something on a photo where pixels are not needed. For example, let's say you want to put a border around this image, and you can do that by selecting the, um, rectangular marquee and just go right across or committed or control A will select the entire image. Then you right click scroll down to stroke and we're gonna select a white color, which we have already at six pixels, so that you can see it. There's your border. Now that border is on this transparency layer. If you click on the I. You can see that it's on that particular and not on any other layer. And it didn't affect the adjustments at all of either because we haven't above the duplicate layer, even if we had it way up here. But anyhow, um, you can see that it has not affected the background or duplicate layer. And that's how simple it is to create a new transparency layer in next Semitic segment will talk about text layers. See you then. 5. Text Layer: Welcome back, everyone. In the last segments, we talked about the background layer, duplicate lair, transparency layer and adjustment layers. Now we'll talk about the taxslayer. Press the letter T on your keyboard or the T symbol in the toolbar. Bring up the textile if you're going till by click hit tea and you'll see your cursor has changed. And if you hit your cursor anywhere on your image, you'll see the text box, and you'll also see a layer in your layer pallet. When you do this, it automatically puts tech your text on a layer you can adjust. Find the color size shape of the text, and also this works similarly to an adjustment layer in that you can go back and edit it, even after working with other layers as long as you don't flatten the image. Okay, we're gonna go with our 60 points rather, and we're gonna name it headlamp. Just go to black here. Hey, headland. Okay, now, if you want to change the color, the highlight has lamp or the word and go into this color box of top and let's change it. Teoh. Maybe some type of color here, let's go with the water. There was a deep blue. Well, how about a green? Just for the sake of seeing a difference? Okay, Now, if I go to the move to I can move this headlamp anywhere I want. Okay, let's leave it right there. Also, if you like other layers, you can double click on this lair to bring up a style box and in the style barks. You can change some of the effects on this headlamp or the wording that you're using. Presence. If you want to drop shadow, you can hit drop shadow and you can adjust that shadow up here. Outer glow pattern. There are a lot of things you can dio so you can play around with this and see what you can do with the lettering. There are a lot of things you can do. It's just a matter of experimenting and playing with it, and that's pretty much it for the tax layer. It works like any adjustment layer. Okay, we'll see you in next segment 6. Layer Masks: Welcome back, everyone in this segment, we're going to discuss layer masks at its simplest terms or definition. A mask is a way to a place, something to a very specific portion of an image. There are two primary types of masks clipping masks and layer mask. And this segment, we're going to talk about layer masks. The layer masks is something that you apply to a given layer to control that transparency of that layer where layer pacenti controls the transparency of the entire layer. At once, a mass gives you more precise control over very specific areas. For instance, here on this layer, I have a green overlay on top of an image. And if I highlight that overlay layer, go upto pacenti and slide your pacing you down all the way to the left, you're exposing the image below it. If I slide it, only a portion you're getting are less and less images. I slide the slider to the right. That would be a global adjustment of the entire image. Yeah, if I use a mask, I could specifically work with a portion of that image. Now, before we discuss masks, you have to make sure when you're working with mass that your foreground background is black on white. If it's not hit D on your keyboard and that would try to Sharp will change the colors to black over white or white, over black. There are two types of masks. There's a white mask, and there's a black mass to create a white mask. If you go down to the bottom of your palette, you'll see an icon, which is rectangular with a circle on center. If you click on it, that will create a white mask. Now you can still see the overlay. Keep in mind that if the black is on white in the foreground background, that will remove. If the white is on black, that will add. I'll show you what I mean. I'm going to select the marquee Tool and Marquis about 1/4 of the overlay. Grab a brush and set Theo Pacey at 100%. Now if I move my brush all over that area, I'm re removing 100% of that overlay and exposing the image below it at a higher percent. Now let's move the Marquis over to another quarter section of the image grabbed the brush and that 75% I'm removing 75% of the over way off of the image below it, and the same goes and smooth it over. Another quarter saying goes at 50% on the brush, 50% normally moving 50% of the old early and then one more time moving over to last portion of the image. Grab the brush and we'll set it a 25% and I am now exposing 25% of the image. Now if you go vice a versa. If I changed the black or white too white on black, I am now adding, Let's, uh see, we did this a 25% Let's changed brush 25% actually, a 50%. Let's go 50%. I'm adding 50% back. If I go over it again, I'm adding another 50% and again I'm adding another 50%. So every time I go over that overlay, I'm adding 50% until eventually it becomes 100%. Okay, that's working with a white mask. Yeah, let's delete are white mask and create a black mask. If you hold the option key or L key on the PC and click that same icon Photo shop will create a black mask. Now notice that the black Mass is actually hiding the overlay just the opposite from the white Mask. So now the white over black we'll add, and the black over white will remove Chesty opposite. So let's do that. Grab our marquee again and let's select a portion of the image. Grab our brush set Theo Pacey at 100% and at 100% I'm heading 100% of the over way on that portion of the image. Move the marquee over, grab the brush and go change that to 75%. And now we're adding 75% to a portion of that image. Move it over again. Grand Abrash changes to 50%. Now I'm adding 50% to that image. Now you can go with whatever percentage you want. I'm just using those increments as a to show you how it works. And one last time brush. Change it to 25% and again I'm adding 25% of the overlay. Okay, so let's change that 25%. Let's first of all, let's let's change our foreground background to black on white. Instead, subtracting it's removing 25% of the overlay. Let's move the marquee over all the way across and do the same at 25% arm, removing 25% of the overlay. And if I do it again, I'm I'm removing another 25%. Every time I go over it. I'm removing 25%. So you see you have total control with masks. I know I could do this until I get a full 100%. That's what's nice about these mask, and it's all indestructible or un destructive. Let's remove this. Let's let's throw that later away. Now, if you remember, these adjustments have here in the panel. Anytime you click on an adjustment for a shop automatically creates a white mask. Okay, so now let's try this. Let's make an adjustment with this curves. Let's, um, let's go with a drastic adjustment, okay? And let's say, ah, you want the effect here, but you want a sky to become a little darker. So you have a mask, you could do that. And if you remember what the white mask black removes, so we're gonna grab a brush, and I would actually more key before I do this. But let's let's for time. Sick was just do that without the Marquis. And let's set, uh, Theo, Pacey at about 50%. But she was a softer brush. Any time I do that, I use a, um, 0% brush, okay? And make sure that your mask of selected So now if I go across this, you see how 0% brush blends everything in. And I could go right across that sky and just feels like that. Now, let's try just darkening this light to kind of match this side. I scored 100% and just go across this particular side of the sky and you can see now I've pretty much blended in. Let's go across this barn Pilots Guy as well. Pretty much evened it out, but it's still a little darker. So now if I get reversed this and said you, Pacey about 30% I can darken this side a little bit to match the other side. That's how our masks work. Okay, Glad you enjoyed it. We'll see you next segment 7. Clipping Mask: Welcome back, everyone. In the last segment, we talked about layer masks. Now let's talk about clipping masks. Clipping masks in photo shop are a powerful way to control the visibility of a layer. In the same sense, Clipping masks are similar toe layer masks. But while the n'dri so may look the same, clipping masks and layer masks are very different. A layer mask uses black and white to show and hide different paths of the layers like we didn't last segment. But a clipping mask uses the content and transparency of one layer to control the visibility of another. To create a clipping masks you need two layers. The layer on the bottom, controls of visibility of the layer above it. In other words, the bottom layer is the mask, and the layer above it is the layer that's clipped to the mask. Okay, now I have here a scene at the beach and on the bottom. I have the word beach. We're gonna use the word beach to clip into the beach layer, show you what I mean. Now the bottom layer is the mask. This is the mask. Top layer is the image that's going to be clipped now. To clip the top layer, you need to select the top layer, have your mask on the bottom, hover between the two layers, hold the option or out key on the PC and hover between two layers and you can see there's narrow that appears. And when that appears, clip and there you are. Now you have your beach seeing behind the word beach. Another thing is, if you take the move tool, you can move that background layer to anywhere you like if you just want. If you want water and sky, you have waters guy. If you just want sky, which I kind of like. And you can just use sky as your background in the lettering so you can move that image anywhere you want. Now if you you can see the background is a transparency. If you want to put a color in the background while you need to do is create a new layer and fill it with whatever color you want. Let's just quickly fill it with white and then moves that layer to the bottom. That's gonna be your background lair. If you want to change the color, you can change the color. That's all there is to it for clipping Theo image. There are different ways that you could do that. A lot of different things you can dio with clipping masks, but we're not going to get into that today. We just wanted it into a brief understanding of what a clipping mask is. See you next day segment. 8. Blend Modes: Welcome back. Everyone in this segment, we're going to cover a little bit about blend modes we haven't touched on blend modes in our previous tutorials and blend modes is just as important as anything else. You need to know about this If you gotta work with masks and layers, there are six categories and blend mode. You have the normal darken, lightened, contrast, comparative and color. And one of the fastest ways to get amazing looking images is by using blend modes. So we're going to go into photo shop and take a look at some of this. Okay, here we have an image and this was taken on an icy day. You could see the trees are full of ice, which is kind of interesting. If you look at the lair, it's ah, you have a lock on this land. So blend modes, which is up here where it says normal is great out in order to be able to use this blend modes is to remove the lock. And if I am, remove this lock. You can see now you the normal is visible, or if you do have a lock on the background and you just want to duplicate the layer. You can do that. I know Only do that. And again. Now click it layer is highlighted. You can see the blend mode section is open toe open up blend modes. All you need to do is click where normal and you can see dissolved dark and multiply, and so on and so forth. And to think for you to do is to experiment with this. And you can use blend modes in any type of later that you have, whether it's text layer, um, adjustment layers duplicate layers. Transparency. Laters. Um, you can use various blend mills for any layer that you have. For instance, I have a duplicate layer, and if I scroll down to dissolve, nothing happens. But if you had a different, uh, adjustment layer that would affect the image. We have darkened hair. You have multiplier, which devils the, um, whatever adjustment. You make color burn, and it's just a matter of you experimenting with all of this screening. You can see your lightens up your image, color dodging and linear dodging. Lighter color overlay gives you a lot of contrasts. Soft like gives you less contrast, and so on and so forth. You can go down and see all kinds of different effects, and you can see now if I go to, let's say, curves, which is an adjustment layer again, you could still use various adjustments, multiply color burns so on and so forth it becomes quite useful. And the nice thing about this to let's say we went to multiply or no, let's go to overlay lots of contrast and you feel it's too much contrast. You can go to a pacenti and just slide your pacenti all the way down and then slide it up until you have the contrast that you won or the adjustment the effect that you want. That's nice thing about blend, knows Theo. Pay City and the Mode works hand in hand together, and because you have a mask in the adjustment here, you can do it locally. So, um, it's a matter of trying it and using the different blend modes trying different effects along with the pacenti and experiment on. This is how you gonna learn how to incorporate blend modes into your arsenal. Okay, In conclusion, we've covered the basics of layers, masks and blend modes. I've been doing it for a number of years, and I'm still learning. Um, I've been using layers for over 10 years, and there's still a lot to learn in the masking and layers and blend modes and everything else. So it's a matter of doing it. And the more you do it, the more you learn and the more your experiment, Uh, the greater your images become both. Try it and has fun. Thank you for listening. See you next time. 9. Project Participation: download the two attached images in the project section and open them. In Photoshopped. Go to windows a range to up vertical drag bird image onto the jetty image you now have. Two layers are in your palate. You have the birds glare and you have the jetty layer. Click on the I of theburbs layer to make it invisible. Hold the option key and click on Create new layer. Name it border. Select the Marquis Rectangle tool. Make a selection of the entire image. Right click scroll down to stroke approximately 60 pixels white click OK, select levels from the adjustment palette. Go to the mode section and scroll down to soft light. Adjust Theo Pacenti to approximately 50% now grab Aries soft 100% soft brush. Make sure the foreground background is black on white. Click on the A mask and then bring back detail at 100%. Open Oh pacenti on the brightest sections in the image, Select the photo filter in the adjustment palette. Select the vibrance saturation filter from the adjustment palette set. Theo Pacenti, the vibrance that 75% saturation at 5% slide the O Pacey to whatever you would like at your approximately 50%. Select the marquee tool, the elliptical marquee tool. Set the feathering at 300 pixels, marquee and oval or circle in the area that you want tubing yet around right. Click and select in verse, so like the curves tool and pull in the mid tones. For Vania King, grab a medium brush click on the mask said You pace your 30% go over the rocks to bring some of the detail bag. You may have to go a couple of times. - I just hope a city to the desires level. To decrease the amount of blue in the skies, choose hue and saturation and in the master, scroll down to blue and decide rate until you feel comfortable with the amount of blue in the image. To increase a little bit of yellow, choose yellow and slightly increase in any other colors you would like to change. Finally, make visible the birds layer by clicking on the I and move birds to desired location. Zoom in to look for defects in the bird's layer. To remove defects, create a layer mask, grab a medium hardness brush and remove defects. Make sure foreground is black on white, removing her percent or pacenti on the brush.