2017/08/22

15 Layer Masks Tips for Photoshop CC

1) Adding Layer Masks

  • To add a layer mask to a layer, click on the “Add Layer Mask” icon in the Layers panel or, to create a custom keyboard shortcut for adding layer masks, select Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts. Set the “Shortcuts For” to Application Menus and toggle the disclosure triangle for the Layer menu. Scroll down to Layer Mask> and add your own shortcuts by clicking in the blank area to the right of the command. Note that there are separate options for adding layer masks while ignoring/respecting the current selection.

  • Option -click (Mac) | Alt -click (Win) the layer mask icon to add a layer mask to automatically hide the content of the layer (or the active selection).
  • Command + I (Mac ) | Control + I (Win) will invert a layer mask (or, click the Invert button on the Properties panel).

2) Deleting Layer Masks

  • Target the mask on the Layers panel and click the Trash icon to delete a layer mask. Or, Control -click (Mac) | right -click (Win) on the layer mask to choose between Delete Layer Mask or Apply Layer Mask from the context sensitive menu.
  • Or, on the Properties panel, target the Layer mask and click the Trash icon at the bottom of the panel.

3) Moving and Duplicating Layer Masks

  • Drag the layer mask thumbnail in the Layers panel to move it from one layer to another.
  • Option -drag (Mac) | Alt -drag (Win) the layer mask thumbnail in the Layers panel to create a copy of the mask.
  • Option + Shift -drag (Mac) | Alt + Shift -drag (Win) the layer mask thumbnail to create copy of a layer mask while simultaneously inverting the mask. Note: if the mask’s Density or Feather sliders has been changed using the Properties panel, this shortcut will not work. In this situation, (Option -drag (Mac) | Alt -drag (Win) the layer mask thumbnail to duplicate the mask, then use the shortcut Command + I (Mac) | Control + I (Win)  to invert the mask (or click the Invert button in the Properties panel).

4) Targeting the Layer Mask

  • Command + \ (Mac) | Control + \ (Win) targets a layer mask.
  • Command + 2 (Mac) | Control + 2 (Win) targets the layer.

5) Viewing Layer Masks

  • Option -click (Mac) | Alt -click (Win) the layer mask thumbnail in the Layers panel to target and view the mask.
  • Or, tap  “\”(backslash) to display the layer mask as an overlay (tap “\” again to hide the overlay).

6) Temporarily Disabling / Enabling Masks

  • Shift-click in the layer mask thumbnail in the Layers panel to temporarily disable a layer mask. Click  the layer mask thumbnail again to enable it.
  • Or, Control -click (Mac) | right -click (Win) on a mask in the Layers panel and choose Enable/Disable Layer Mask.

7) Unlinking Masks from Layers

  • Click the link icon (between the layer icon and layer mask icons) to unlink the mask from the layer (allowing either to move independently of the other).

8) Pasting Content into a Layer Mask

  • To paste content from the clipboard into a layer mask, Option -click (Mac) | Alt -click (Win) the Layer mask icon on the Layers panel to make it visible. Then, select Edit > Paste.
  • Or, on the Channels panel, click on the Layer mask to target it AND click in the empty well to toggle the visibility of the layer mask (the mask will be displayed as a red overlay), and choose Edit > Paste. To hide the red overlay, click the eye icon.

  • In this Quick Tip, Julieanne reveals a simple technique to paste content directly into a layer mask in Photoshop.

9) Delicate Mask Clean-Up

  • After adding a layer mask, it can sometimes be difficult to determine if there are any small bits of the layer that have been accidentally left unselected. In this case, it might be helpful to temporarily add a layer effect such as a bright red stroke (Layer > Layer Style > Stroke, and click the color swatch to choose a vibrant color). The stroke will appear around any small areas of the mask that you may need to clean up. When finished, simply delete the layer effect.

10) Create Layer Mask from Transparency

  • In order to automatically convert the transparent areas of a layer into a mask, select Layer > Layer Mask > From Transparency.
  • To create a mask on a layer based on the transparency of another layer, in the Layers panel, select the layer that you want the mask to be added to. Then, drag the layer that you want to become the contents for the mask to the Add Mask Icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. Important: don’t click and release the mouse on the layer that you want to become the contents of the mask – clicking will select the layer, you need to drag that layer instead.

11) Non-destructive Edge Softening of Layer Masks

  • When working with layer masks, instead of trying to guess the feather value needed to soften the edges of a mask (because the feather amount will vary depending on the resolution of the image and the desired softness of the edge that is being feathered), use the non-destructive Feather slider on the Properties panel. If the image is resized or other adjustments are made at a later time, the feather can be appropriately adjusted.

12) Changing the Density of a Layer Mask Non-destructivly

  • Use the Density slider in the Properties panel to reduce the opacity (density) of the mask non-destructively.

13) Painting in a Layer Mask

  • Changing the blend mode of a painting tool can be very helpful when painting in a layer mask. For example, when drawing with the default gradient in a mask, if the mask isn’t quite right, it’s easy to draw another gradient to replace the first one. If, however, you want to draw a secondary gradient that will add to or subtract from the mask (instead of replacing it), change the blend mode for the Gradient tool to Multiply (to add black) or Screen (to add white) and then drag the second gradient.

14) Blending two Images Together using Layer Masks

15)  Swapping Heads in a Family Portrait

5:06 AM Comments (0) Permalink
2017/08/17

Shortcuts for Working with Layer Groups in Photoshop CC

Here are some tips and  shortcuts for working more effectively with Layer Groups:

  • To create an empty Layer Group, click the Create Layer Group (the folder) icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. The Group will be added above the currently targeted layer. If no layers are targeted, Photoshop will add the group to the top of the layer stack.
  • Command + G (Mac) | Control + G (Win) creates a new Layer Group while simultaneously placing selected layers into that group. The group will be added above the topmost currently targeted layer.
  • Command + Shift + G (Mac) | Control + Shift + G (Win) will ungroup layers.

Adding Layers to Layer Groups

  • When adding a layer to a Layer Group, Photoshop positions the layer at the top of the layer stack (with in the group).
  • Adding the shift key when releasing the mouse will position the layer at the bottom of the stack (within the group).

Repositing Layers

  • When changing the stacking order layers in the Layers panel, I found it difficult to predict if the layer I was dragging was going to land within a Layer Group or outside of it. In the example below, I want to drag the “paper” layer above the “walnuts” layer, but I didn’t want to include it within the “texture” Layer Group.

2014_10_14Layers

  • If you look carefully at the next illustration you can see that the hand icon is positioned over the bottom layer in the Layer Group. If I release the mouse at that point, the “paper” layer would be added within the “texture” Layer Group.

2014_10LayerGroup

  • Instead, if I position the curser a bit lower (below the baseline of the Layer Group), and release the mouse (as it’s positioned in the next illustration), the layer will be repositioned above the “walnuts” layer but not within the “texture” Layer Group.

  • Note: Another way to be sure that the “paper” layer wasn’t included in the texture Layer Group would have been to close the  Layer Group before repositioning the layer.

Duplicating Layer Groups

  • Command + J (Mac) | Control + J (Win) will duplicate the selected Layer Group(s).
  • Option -drag (Mac) | Alt -drag (Win) the Layer Group (in the Layers panel) to simultaneously duplicating and repositioning a Layer Group.
  • Control -click (Mac) | right mouse -click (Win) on the Layer Group and select Duplicate Group.

Deleting Layer Groups in Photoshop

  • With the Layer Group selected, tap the Delete key or Option -click (Mac) | Alt -click (Win) the trash can icon.
  • To delete a Layer Group but keep the layers, choose Layer > Delete > Group or click the trash can icon. Either method displays a dialog with an option to delete “Group Only” (which ungroups the layers within the group and removes the Layer Group while leaving the Layers in tack).
  • Command -drag (Mac) | Control -drag (Win) a Layer Group to the trash can icon to delete a Layer Group without deleting it’s contents.

Selecting Layer Groups

  • To automatically select Layer Groups using the Move tool, enable the Auto-Select box in the Options bar and choose Group from the pull-down menu.

Nesting Layer Groups

  • You can nest layer Layer Groups up to 10 groups deep. That should help organize even the most complex documents!

Displaying the Contents of Layer Groups in Photoshop

  • Command (Mac) | Control (Win) -click the disclosure triangle next to a Layer Group to expand/collapse all Layer Groups in the document.
  • Option (Mac) | Alt (Win)  -click the disclosure triangle to expand/collapse all groups nested within the current Layer Group.
  • Option + Command (Mac) | Alt + Control (Win) -click the disclosure triangle to expand and collapse all groups (nested or not).
  • Control (Mac) | right mouse (Win) -click the Group’s disclosure triangle and choose “Close/Open this Group” or “Close/Open all Other Groups”.

And, if you’re looking for eight reasons to use Layer Groups, be sure to watch this short video that I recently posted:

5:20 AM Comments (2) Permalink
2017/08/15

3, 2, 1, Photoshop – Eight Reasons to use Layer Groups in Photoshop

In this episode of 3, 2, 1, Photoshop, Julieanne demonstrates eight reasons to use Layer Groups in Photoshop in Photoshop CC.

The reasons are also listed below for those of you who prefer to read a list instead of watching a video!

  1. Layer Groups can help you to organize the Layers panel but putting similar layers in a group which can be collapsed/expanded as needed.
  2. Layer Groups can help when you want to effect multiple layers at once. For example, select the Layer Group and choose Free Transform to transform all of the contents of the group at once. Or, select a Layer Group and use Command + D (Mac) | Control + D (Win) to duplicate a Layer Group.
  3. Change the opacity of a Layer Group to effect the opacity of all layers within the group.
  4. Layer Effects/Layer Styles can be applied to a Layer Group. Note: when you add an Effect/Style to a group, Photoshop treats the contents of the group as if they are merged/flattened before adding the Effect/Style. As long as nothing on the layers overlaps, then the effet will be visually identicle to applying Layer Effects/Styles to individual layers (and if you only have one Layer style to update if you need to make changes). If you do have multiple layers that overlap (and don’t want the effect to appear as if the layers are merged), then you can apply the Effect/Style to one layer and copy/paste it to others.
  5. Blend modes can be applied to Layer Groups. (Similar to Layer Effects/Styles, if the contents of the layers within the Layer Group overlap, the Blend mode behaves differently than when applied to individual layers.)
  6. The effects of Blend Modes applied to individual layers within Layer Groups can be restricted to only effect those layers within the group by changing the Layer Groups Blend Mode to Normal.
  7. Layer Groups can be used as the base layer to apply Clipping Masks in order to “clip” or restrict the contents of a layer(s) to appear only where there is content within the Layer Group.
  8. Adding a layer Mask to a Layer Group enables masking of all layers within that group simultaneously.
5:09 AM Comments (2) Permalink
2017/08/08

3, 2, 1… Photoshop! Three Tips for Photoshop’s Crop Tool

In this episode of 3, 2, 1, Photoshop, Julieanne demonstrates three tips for working with the crop tool, including quickly defining the crop area, maintaining flexibility while cropping to a specific aspect ratio, and cropping two images to the same size.

5:06 AM Permalink
2017/08/01

Window Seat features on CNN travel!

I’m super excited to announce that my aerial photography is being featured on CNN travel today: “Beauty of the Everyday – Photos of Earth from a Window Seat“.  : )

8:25 PM Permalink

Lightroom & Photoshop Workflows: Start to Finish Studies on Lynda.com

I’m excited to announce that my new “Lightroom & Photoshop Workflows: Start to Finish Studies” course is now live on Lynda.com!

 

Learn Lightroom and Photoshop workflow and image editing techniques by watching a pro. In this project-oriented course, Adobe evangelist Julieanne Kost takes five images from start to finish, beginning in Lightroom and ending in Photoshop. As Julieanne walks through each workflow, she helps you understand which image editing techniques you’d apply to your photos in Lightroom, and when you’d want to switch to Photoshop to make further changes. She demonstrates how to adjust tone and enhance images in Lightroom using more traditional tools and techniques, and then proceed to Photoshop for more elaborate manipulations. Plus, she explains how to use retouching tools to remove distracting elements, and unify the color and tone of multiple images.

Topics include:

  • Selecting Lightroom or Photoshop to edit images
  • Optimizing in Lightroom, and then proceeding to Photoshop
  • Retouching to remove distracting elements
  • Using multiple photographs to quickly replace unwanted elements
  • Unifying multiple images using color and tone
5:09 AM Permalink
2017/07/26

MAKE IT – Adobe’s premiere creativity conference in Asia Pacific

I’m super excited to be speaking at MAKE IT, Adobe’s premiere creativity conference in Asia Pacific  3 August, 2017 in Sydney, Australia!

If you’re local, join over 2,000 fellow designers, artists, filmmakers and innovative thinkers will gather for an afternoon of learning and inspiration from local and international speakers. If you can’t make the event in person, you can follow all of the action from the comfort of your desk or sofa by logging into the Livestream here https://adobe.ly/2thkYS5

Check out the lineup of international industry pioneers who will be sure to challenge, educate, and inspire you including: Mike Alderson, Co-Founder & Creative Director for ManvsMachine, photographer Nicole Tung, Craft-based designer Kitiya Palaskas, designer and illustrator Timothy Goodman and James Noble, Founder, Director of Experience at Carter Digital. You an learn more about them here: https://adobe.ly/2thkYS5

Hope to see you there!

P.S. the live streaming begins at 1pm on the 3rd of August, 2017 (in Sydney) which means that the live stream begins at 8 pm on the 2nd of August here in California (PST).  If that time doesn’t work, videos of the event will be available online after the fact…

11:58 AM Permalink
2017/07/25

Photoshop Automation: Tips, Tricks, and Techniques

I’m excited to announce that my new Photoshop Automation: Tips, Tricks, and Techniques course is now live on Lynda.com!If you’re like most creative pros, you probably spend a lot of time in Photoshop. And if you’re like a lot of Photoshop users, you probably spend an undue amount of time performing the same tasks. In this course, learn how to automate repetitive tasks in Photoshop, so that you can accomplish more in less time. Join Adobe evangelist Julieanne Kost as she discusses a variety of productivity-boosting techniques for Photoshop automation. She shares tips for working with actions, using the Batch command, scripting, and more.

Topics include:

  • Quickly saving images as different file types
  • Creating single and multi-step actions
  • Saving and loading actions
  • Inserting stops, menu items, and conditionals
  • Tips for working with layers
  • Using the Batch command
  • Creating droplets
  • Automatically creating graphics from layers using generators
  • Working with variables and scripts
5:12 AM Permalink
2017/07/20

Lightroom Web Getting Started Series

Did you know that if you subscribe to the Creative Cloud for Photography program or Creative Cloud, you can access the photographs that you synchronize form Lightroom CC on the desktop or Lightroom mobile from any device from within a browser? This means that you’re no longer tied to a specific device – log on to lightroom.adobe.com and sign in using your adobe ID to upload, view, edit, and share your images from anywhere.

For example, if you’re with friends or family – or even with a client, and want to show them your photographs on their computer screen (because it’s much larger than  your mobile device), you can now use Lightroom web.  And, if you make any changes to those photos, all of the changes will be synchronized to Lightroom on your desktop and across your mobile devices. In addition, you can use Lightroom web to quickly share collections of images and Lightroom web galleries.

Following is a “Getting Started” series for Lightroom web that walks you through the workflow:

In this video we’ll discover how to use Lightroom web to access, edit, and share synced photos using a browser.
In this video we’ll cover the Dashboard, All Photos view, image navigation, rating and flagging images  in Lightroom web.
In this video we’ll learn how to organize our photographs using collections in Lightroom web.
In this video we’ll discover how to add (upload) photographs to Lightroom web on any device and see how they’re synchronized with Lightroom CC on the desktop.
In this video we’ll quickly crop and straighten a photograph using Lightroom web.
In this video we’ll learn how to set White Balance and make tonal and color changes to photographs using Lightroom web.
In this video we’ll convert an image to Black and White and add color toning effects using Lightroom web.
In this video we’ll add special effects including Dehaze, Post-Crop vignettes, and Grain to photographs using Lightroom web.
In this video, we’ll share collections of photographs and then view comments made by family and clients in Lightroom CC.
In this video, we’ll create a Lightroom Web Gallery and combine photos and text in a customizable layout.
In this video, we’ll look at how Lightroom web’s Search (technology preview) can help us to quickly find out photographs.
5:03 AM Permalink
2017/07/18

Lightroom Mobile Updates for iOS and Android

I’m excited to announce updates to Lightroom Mobile: iOS has a new selective Brush, the Linear and Radial adjustment tools have an eraser, and a new Details tab enables global sharpening and noise reduction. Android has a new interface which is much more Android-ish.

First, the new selective Brush for iOS: now you can paint anywhere in your photograph and then dial in the enhancements that you want to apply. On the more recent phones that support 3D touch, your “brush” strokes are pressure sensitive allowing you to control the intensity of the effect.

First, tap the Selective edit stack in the lower left, then, tap the plus icon in the upper left.

 

Tap to select the Brush. To change brush parameters, tap-drag up/down on the icons (on the left) to change brush size, feather, and flow (flow is similar to opacity in Photoshop).

 

Painting in the image displays red overlay as a visual indicator of the area that will be modified. To remove any unwanted areas, tap the eraser and paint. Note: use two fingers to zoom and pan when using the selective adjustment tools.

Once you’re finished painting the area to be modified, tap one of the edit stacks to make changes (the red overlay is automatically hidden order to see the changes). Note: you can continue to paint and erase in the image after making the adjustments. 

In this example, both the exposure (Light edit stack) and white balance (Color edit stack) were modified. Tap the check in the lower right to apply the edits. Note: when working with the selective adjustments, tap the three dots in the upper right to access masking overlay options, duplicate, or remove a selective adjustment.

In addition, the Linear and Radial adjustment tools now have an Eraser tool to remove adjustments from unwanted areas.

After creating a Radial or Linear adjustment, tap the Eraser icon and paint in the image area to hide adjustments in unwanted areas.  

There’s a new details Details edit stack to apply global Sharpening and Noise Reduction to an image.

Use the Details tab to apply global Sharpening and Noise Reduction.

The interface for Lightroom mobile on the  iPad Pro has been redesigned specifically for the larger screen and the Apple Pencil is pressure sensitive when using the selective Brush tool.

For Android customers, the team has been hard at work making a completely new version which is much more Android-ish! Be sure to download the update to experience the new look and feel.

If you’re looking for additional training on Lightroom Mobile, I posted a Getting Started Series on youtube. Below is the first video in the series, all of my other videos can be found here: Lightroom mobile video tutorials.

 

8:25 AM Permalink
2017/07/13

Viewing the Unseen with the Help of a Camera

One of my favorite things to do it make photographs of things that are invisible to the naked eye. Whether it’s capturing a split-second, or compressing multiple seconds into a single photograph, the camera can help us to see what, under normal circumstances, we can not observe.

Last week, I was driving over Independence Pass in Colorado,when I pulled over at a little spot in the road to stretch my legs and have a picnic. Here is a short clip I took to document the “reality” of the river.

While the video certainly portrays the power and frenzie of the recent snow-melt, my internal experience was a sense of calm. To capture an image that was more in tune with my feelings, I set up a tripod and put on my neutral density filters in order to slow my shutter speed  and capture the “cotton candy” images below.

Camera settings: shutter speed 1/3 of a second, F/11, ISO 100

Camera settings: shutter speed 1/2 of a second, F/11, ISO 100

In situations such as this, I will typically capture several exposure of the same scene using slightly different shutter speeds in order to select the one that best recreates my experience. Below are three examples of different shutter speeds. The images on the left were captured with relatively faster shutter speeds (revealing a bit more turbulent motion) than the images on the right.

Once I decide on my camera settings, I will be sure to take multiple exposures as the volume of water and path of the river will make each capture unique. As you can see in the images below, even though my camera settings were the same for the pairs of images, the results are quite different.

Because I tend to crop my photographs tight (in an attempt to minimize the chaos),  I also try to remind myself to include images with a wider field of view in order to show context.

Because its not possible to accurately predict what the final image will look like, I often photograph scenes just to make sure that the camera isn’t able to see thing that I can’t. In the images below for example, as the slow shutter speed smooths the water,  the positive and negative space in the image becomes more pronounced making the rocks and water more interesting than how my eyes interpreted them.

Finally, I made sure to capture a few vertical images and even played with shadows when the sun would peak out from behind the clouds.

 


Each of us is an ongoing product of the world within us, the world between us, and the world around us—and their hidden capacity to shape our every thought, feeling, and behavior. —Adam Alter, Drunk Tank Pink


 

5:30 AM Permalink
2017/07/11

Five Reasons to use Smart Filters in Photoshop

In order to apply Smart Filters in Photoshop, first turn the layer(s) into a Smart Object using one of the following methods:

  • Select the layer(s) and choose Layer > Smart Object > Convert to Smart Object.
  • Select the layer(s) and choose Filter > Convert for Smart Filters.
  • Control -click (Mac) | Right -click (Win) on the layer (s) in the Layers panel and choose Convert to Smart Object.

1) Smart Filters are non-destructive and re-editable

  • Double click the name of the Smart Filter (on the Layers panel) to change the Smart Filter parameters.
  • Double click the Filter Blending icon to change Opacity and/or Blend mode of the Smart Filter.

Double click the Smart Filter name or Filter Blending icon to edit.

2) Multiple Smart Filters can be added to a Smart Object

  • You can apply multiple Smart Filters to a Smart Object. If needed, drag the filter name (in the Layers panel) to change the order in which the filters are applied.

3) Smart Filters can be selectively applied using the Smart Filter Mask

  • Painting with black in the Smart filter mask will hide the filter. Painting with white will reveal the filter. This is an excellent way to apply selective sharpening to an image.

4) Each Smart Filter can have it’s own mask

  • To use a different filter mask for each Smart Filter, nest the Smart Objects/Filters:
    • Apply the first Smart Filter and paint in the mask as desired.
    • Then, choose Layer > Smart Objects > Convert to Smart Object (essentially “nesting” the smart filter and the mask).
    • Apply another Smart Filter and paint in the mask as needed.

This video demonstrates this technique:

5) Smart Filter can easily be moved or duplicated to other Smart Objects

  • Drag the name of the Smart Filter to move it from one layer to another.
  • Option -dragging (Mac) | Alt  -dragging (Win) a Smart Filter from one layer to another will behave differently based on where you click and drag:
    •  Dragging the “Smart Filters” text (next to the mask) will duplicate the Smart Filter and it’s layer mask.

2014_10_29SOmask

    • Dragging the name of the Smart Filter (Blur Gallery in this example) duplicates the Smart filter without copying the mask.

2014_10_29SOnomask

5:16 AM Permalink
2017/06/27

The Fill Command in Photoshop CC

While I expect that many of you already know the shortcuts to fill with the Foreground and background colors, did you also know that your can fill with History, fill non-transparent areas, and a combination of both?

01) Fill with the Foreground/Background Color

  • Option + Delete (Mac) | Alt + Backspace (Win) fills with the foreground color.
  • Command + Delete (Mac) | Control + Backspace (Win) fills with the background color.
  • Note: these shortcuts work with several types of layers including Type and Shape layers.

02) The Fill Dialog Box

  • Shift + Delete (Mac) | Shift + Backspace (Win) displays the fill dialog.

03) Fill with History

  • Option + Command + Delete (Mac) | Alt + Control + Backspace (Win) fills with the currently selected history state. (This can be really useful when retouching and you need to “revert” only a portion of an image.)

04) Fill Content Only

  • Option + Shift + Delete (Mac) | Alt +Shift +Backspace (Win)  will fill with the foreground color and temporarily turn on the Lock Transparency option (so that only those pixels that have information in them are filled).

05) Fill Content with History

  • Option + Command + Shift + Delete (Mac) | Alt + Control + Shift +Backspace (Win) will fill with the currently selected history state and preserve transparency (so that only those pixels that have information in them are filled).

 

5:02 AM Permalink
2017/06/22

Photography, the Best Kind of Project Creep

Project creep gets me every time.

1) I broke a pot that had a succulent in it.

2) I went to the nursery to replace the pot.

3) I ended up buying 12 more succulents (I mean seriously, how do you decide on just one, when they’re all so unique!)

4) I decided that they were so beautiful that I had to photograph them before I planted them.

5) So I did.

See what I did there? I took a 30 minute project and turned it into an all day event. But it was worth it. Ha!

I used my Canon 5Ds with a 45mm tilt-shift lens with a closeup filter on it. Because I wanted a very shallow depth of filed, I shot tethered, directly into Lightroom CC in order to quickly check focus. It was fun to use my tripod/lights etc. and shoot in the studio – well, ok, in the enclosed porch, I don’t have a studio — we do what we can with what we have, right?

I pulled one of the images into Photoshop and added a texture.

If you want to know how to add a texture like this, here is a free video (Adding a texture to a photo) from Photoshop CC 2017 Essential Training: Photography on Lynda.com.

I hope to do more with the individual photos at some point, but with all of my other project creep, well, I don’t know when that might happen. : )

5:02 AM Permalink
2017/06/20

Fundamental Layers Panel Tips and Techniques

The Background Layer

  • Clicking the lock icon next to the Background layer on the Layers panel converts the Background to a layer enabling transparency, repositioning  in the image area and changing the stacking order.
  • Double click the Background layer to display the New Layer dialog for additional options (renaming, color coding etc.).

Renaming Layers

  • To rename a single layer, double click the layer’s name in the Layers panel.
  • To rename multiple layers, rename one and then, without pressing the enter key to apply the new name, press the Tab key to move to the layer below. Shift + Tab moves to the layer (above).

Adding New Layers to a Document in Photoshop

  • Command + Shift + N (Mac) | Control + Shift + N (Win) will add a new layer and display the New Layer dialog for additional options (layer name, blend mode etc.).
  • Command + Option + Shift + N (Mac) | Control + Alt + Shift + N (Win) adds a new layer bypassing the New Layer dialog.
  • By default, new layers are added above the currently selected layer. Command -click (Mac) | Control -click (Win) the New Layer icon (on the Layers panel) to create a new layer below the currently selected layer. This shortcut is helpful for example, when adding a layer that you don’t want to be included in a Clipping Group.

Deleting Layers

  • To delete a layer(s), select it in the Layers panel and tap the delete key.
  • To delete hidden layers from the Layers panel, use the fly-out and select Delete Hidden Layers.

Duplicating Layers

  • With the Move tool selected, Option -drag (Mac) | Alt -drag (Win) a layer in the image area to duplicate (copy) the selected  layer(s).
  • To duplicate a layer using the Layers panel, select the layer(s) and Option -drag (Mac) | Alt -drag (Win) the layer until a solid line between the layers appears and release.
  • Command + J (Mac) | Control + J (Win) duplicates the selected layer(s). Note: this shortcut works for Layer Groups as well.
  • To prevent Photoshop from adding “copy” and a sequence number to a duplicated file name, use the Layers panel fly-out menu to select Panel Options and uncheck Add “copy” to Copied Layers and Groups.

Drag and Drop Between Open Documents

  • To duplicate layers from one document to another, select the layers in the Layers panel and drag from one document window to another. When the “destination” document becomes highlighted, release to “drop” the layers.
  • Holding the Shift key while dragging and dropping a layer(s) between two documents will place the “dropped” layer(s) into the center of the destination document. If there is a selection in the destination document, holding the Shift key while dragging and dropping an image will drop it into the center of the selection.
  • When working with tabbed documents, use the Move tool to drag layers from the image area or the Layers panel, on top of the “destination” document’s tab. When the “destination” document pops forward, position the cursor over the image area and release to “drop” the layers.

Changing the Blend mode of a Layer

  • To quickly cycle through a the Blend Modes select the Move tool (or any tool that does not have Blend Mode options), hold the Shift key and press “+” (plus) or “-” (minus) to move forward or backwards through the list.
  • In addition, each blend mode has a unique keyboard shortcut.  They all begin with Option + Shift (Mac) | Alt + Shift (Win) then a single letter.
    • Normal + N
    • Dissolve + I
    • Behind + Q
    • Clear + R
    • Darken + K
    • Multiply + M
    • Color Burn + B
    • Linear Burn + A,
    • Lighten + G
    • Screen + S
    • Color Dodge + D
    • Linear Dodge + W
    • Overlay + O
    • Soft Light + F
    • Hard Light + H
    • Vivid Light + V
    • Linear Light + J
    • Pin Light + Z
    • Hard Mix + L
    • Difference + E
    • Exclusion + X
    • Hue+ U
    • Saturation+ T
    • Color  + C,
    • Luminosity + Y

Changing the Opacity of a Layer(s)

  • To change the Opacity of a layer(s), select the Move tool (or any tool that does not have Opacity options), and press a numeric key to add the percentage of the pressed number. (1 = 10%, 2= 20% etc. and 0 = 100%).
  • Pressing two numbers quickly will give you that exact amount (5 + 4 = 54%).
  • Pressing 00 (zero-zero) decreases the opacity to 0%.
  • Adding the Shift key will change the Fill amount.

Toggling Layer Visibility in Photoshop

  • Clicking the eye icon next to any layer on the Layers panel will hide/show the layer.
  • Option -click (Mac) |  Alt -click  (Win) the eye icon in the Layers panel to toggle visibility of all other layers.
  • Command + “,” (comma) (Mac) | Control + “,” (comma) (Win) toggles the visibility of the currently selected layer(s).
  • Command + Option +  “,” (comma)  (Mac) | Control + Alt +  “,” (comma)  (Win) shows all layers (regardless of which layers are selected).
  • Control -click (Mac) | right -click (Win) the eye icon and select “Show/Hide all other layers” to make all layers visible (regardless of which layers  were previously visible).

Merging Layers

  • Command + E (Mac) | Control + E (Win) will merge selected layers.
The three selected layers are merged into a single layer.

The three selected layers are merged into a single layer.

  • Command + Shift + E (Mac) | Control + Shift + E (Win) will merge all visible layers (hidden layers will remain untouched).
The top two Layers aren't merged because they are not visible.

The top two Layers aren’t merged because they are hidden.

  • Command + Option + E (Mac) | Control + Alt + E (Win) creates a new layer and pastes a “flattened” version of the selected layers on it (the key to this shortcut is that you have to have multiple layers selected)!
The information from the two selected layers are copied to an new layer and merged.

A flattened copy of the two selected layers are merged onto a new layer.

  • Command + Option + Shift + E  (Mac) | Control + Alt + Shift + E  (Win) does one of two things:
    •  If the top most layer in the Layers panel is an empty (blank) layer, Photoshop will create a flattened copy of all visible layers and place the merged/flattened information onto the top layer. 
    • If the top layer  in the Layers panel has content (is not empty/blank), then Photoshop will create a new layer and merge a copy of all visible layers onto the newly created layer. 
A flattened copy of all visible layers is pasted onto a new layer.

A flattened copy of all visible layers is merged onto a new layer (regardless of what layer(s) is selected).

  • When Merging layers, if any of the layers that are going to be merged have been manually renamed (i.e. you renamed them), Photoshop will keep that custom layer name and use it as the new merged layer name. If you have created custom names for multiple layers that are all being merged together, then Photoshop will take the top-most custom named layer.

Copying Merged Layers (and Groups)

  • Command + Shift + C (Mac) | Control + Shift + C (Win) with an active selection in the image, copies a merged view of all visible layers onto the clipboard.

Color Coding Layers

  • Control -click (Mac) | Right -click (Win) on a selected layer(s) and choose a highlight color from the context sensitive menu. Note: the Background must be converted to a layer to color-code.

Layer Thumbnail Preview Options

  • To change Layer thumbnail size, from the Layers panel fly-out choose Panel Options. Choose a large size to more easily see the contents of the layer. Choose a small size to see more layers in a complicated document. Note: if your image is wider than it is high, selecting the smaller thumbnail sizes might display the generic icon for Adjustment layers).
  • Change Thumbnail Contents – select  “Layer Bounds” to display a preview image of only the area in the layer that contains content – this option typically provides a larger preview of layers containing minimal content, Select “Entire Document” to display the layer content in relationship to the entire document (this option typically provides a smaller preview of layers containing significant areas of content.

Thumbnail Content set to Entire Document.

Thumbnail Content set to Layer Bounds.

Locking and Unlocking Layers

  • Several layer attributes can be locked including Transparent Pixels, Image Pixels, and/or Position
    • Locking Transparency enables editing of image information but not transparent areas. 
    • Locking the Image Pixels prohibits any pixel editing (painting etc.).
    • Locking Position prevents the layer from being moved.
  • Command + / (Mac) | Control + / (Win) toggles between locking and unlocking all selected layers.
  • Command + Option +/ (Mac) | Control + Alt +  / (Win) unlocks all layers (except the Background layer), regardless of which layers are selected.
  • If a layer has locked attributes, pressing the “/” key will toggle the lock for those attributes (instead of toggling the lock for all attributes). If the layer was unlocked to begin with, then all attributes will be locked.

Linking Layers

  • When layers are linked together, commands applied to one layer will also be applied to linked layers (when possible). Linking can be helpful when working with complex documents in eliminating the need to have to reselect layers again and again when multiple layers require identical changes.
  • To link two or more layers, select them in the Layer’s panel and click the Link icon.
  • For increased efficiency,  assign a custom keyboard shortcut to Link/Unlink Layers (Choose Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts. In Shortcuts For, select Panels, Menus. Then under Layers, scroll down to Link/Unlink Layers.)
  • Shift-click on the link icon to temporarily disable linking of a given layer.
  • The rules for linking layers are a bit complex because Layers can only belong to one link set at a time. They are as follows:
    • Selecting a layer that is linked will show the link icon on all the other layers to which it is linked. 
    • To unlink a single layer from a link set, simply select the layer and click the link icon. If there were other linked layers, they remain linked. 
    • If none of the layers selected contain linked and you click the link icon, all layers become linked – creating a new link set.
    • If the layers selected contain only linked layers, regardless of whether they’re all in the same link sets, clicking the link icon unlinks everything selected. 
    • If the layers selected contain at least some linked layers within the selection, plus any number of unlinked layers, clicking the link icon extends the link set to include the unlinked layers in the selection.
    • If the layers selected contains linked layers from two or more link sets plus at least one unlinked layer, everything in the selection gets put into a “new” linked set.
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