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Your layers window is going to show you information about all the different layers in your model. Photoshop shows all the different layers in your model in order from bottom to top, meaning if you were to add something above your bottom layer, it would show up on top of the image in your image.
You can also hide and unhide your different layers by clicking the little eye next to each little image preview.
Let’s say, for example, that I was to come in and adjust the color balance of this image by going to Image, Adjustments, Color Balance. I’ve applied my color balance to this image directly. This was a direct change to the image itself. Now, let’s say that I come in and make some other changes – maybe some coloring with a brush, then maybe an adjustment to the curve of the image, which allows you to adjust your brightness, contrast, and more.
What happens if I want to change the color balance that I changed originally? I can’t do it without undoing back to wherever it was when I first made my change, so I’d lose all the other steps.
This is why this is called “destructive editing” – you’re basically making changes to your original image and you can’t go back and edit those changes.
Let’s go ahead and delete out this layer that has all of our changes on it so we’re back to the original.
Now, what we’re going to do instead of using the menu is we’re going to click on the little circular icon on the bottom of the page. This icon will allow you to apply effects to your images as a mask – this means that instead of changing your original image, this is now layering the effects on top of your image – each as its own individual, editable effect.
So now, I can apply multiple different effects, then go back and change each one of them without adjusting any of the others.
In addition, you can also turn the various layers on and off in the same way, by clicking on the eye.
So that’s how you can add effects to your images without actually destroying your original image. You can apply as many of these as you want.
Masks are basically things that you apply to your photoshop images to show or hide objects on different layers. This is a very powerful way to blend different images together in photoshop.
Basically the way a layer mask works is that you apply it to a layer, and it’s basically a big grayscale canvas. What this means is that you add color to it, and based on what color you add, it will either conceal or reveal the layer that you’ve applied it to.
Practically, what this means is that whenever you edit your masks, paint them black where you don’t want your effect to show up, and white wherever you do want your effect to show up. “White to reveal and black to conceal”
Then, we’ll use the brush tool to paint away the effect in the sky of this image. If you look on the mask indicator on your color balance, you can see that it’s showing black in the sky area of your object. To get a better view of this, you can hold down alt and click on the little image to see your actual mask, then do it again to go back to your image.
If you want to temporarily disable this mask, you can hold shift and click on it to disable it.
Finally, you can tap the backspace key to see in red the area you’ve selected as a mask.
Not only can you do this with effects, you can also do it with images.