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Masking adjustment layers

From: Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training

Video: Masking adjustment layers

An Adjustment layer comes with its own layer mask, which you can use to target or limit the areas of a photo to which an adjustment applies. This is yet another advantage of using an Adjustment layer over a direct adjustment to correct a photo. I'd like to brighten the waterfall in this photo. So I am going to add a Brightness/Contrast Adjustment layer. I'll go to the Adjustment layer icon here at the bottom of the layers panel and from its menu, I'll choose Brightness/Contrast, that brings up these Brightness/Contrast controls in the Adjustments panel, and it adds this Brightness/Contrast Adjustment layer here in the layers panel.

Masking adjustment layers

An Adjustment layer comes with its own layer mask, which you can use to target or limit the areas of a photo to which an adjustment applies. This is yet another advantage of using an Adjustment layer over a direct adjustment to correct a photo. I'd like to brighten the waterfall in this photo. So I am going to add a Brightness/Contrast Adjustment layer. I'll go to the Adjustment layer icon here at the bottom of the layers panel and from its menu, I'll choose Brightness/Contrast, that brings up these Brightness/Contrast controls in the Adjustments panel, and it adds this Brightness/Contrast Adjustment layer here in the layers panel.

The white thumbnail on this Adjustment layer represents a layer mask. A layer mask on an Adjustment layer is just like a layer mask on a regular pixel-based layer, which I covered earlier in this course. Where this mask is white, as it currently is, it will reveal the adjustment everywhere on the image. But if I add black paint to the mask, that will hide the adjustment on the corresponding parts of the photo. And if I apply gray paint to this mask that will partially hide the adjustment on those parts of the photo.

So I am going to make an adjustment by going down to the Adjustments panel, clicking on the Brightness slider and dragging to the right. I like the brightening effect on the water, but I think that it's too bright over here on this rock and over here on this rock where brightening the image has completely blown out the highlights. And I think that this area of the water is too bright as well. So I'd like to hide the brightness adjustment from those areas. To do that, I will go to the toolbar and I'll click on the Brush tool and I want my foreground color; the color with which I am painting to be black, because this is a mask, I can only paint with black, white or gray on the mask.

I'll click this little tiny icon right here to set the background color to black and the foreground color to white, and then I'll click the double pointed arrows to switch those colors. So black is the foreground color. The shortcut for doing that would be to press D and then X on the keyboard. Now with black as my foreground color, I'll move into the image, and I am going to size my brush so that it just fits over this area. I can use the Right and Left Bracket Keys to increase and decrease the size of the brush respectively.

And I want to have a soft brush so that I am not making a bright line. So I'll hold the Shift Key and press the Left Bracket Key to soften the brush tip. And then I am going to paint right over this area of the rock, and I am not painting on the image, I am painting with black on the layer mask, and that's hiding the brightness effect from just this area. I'll move over to this rock, and I'll paint right here, and as I paint, I am both darkening the rock and bringing back some of the detail.

I'll make by brush tip a bit bigger for this rock, by pressing the Right bracket key. Now because I am painting on a mask, if I go too far like this, I can always switch to white, and paint back over this area to bring the adjustment back to this part where I just hit the adjustment. So I'll press X on my keyboard and that sets the foreground color to white, and then I'll paint the adjustment back in here in the water. Now here in the front part of the water, I don't want to completely hide the adjustment, I want to partially hide it.

So I am going to get black as my foreground color again by pressing the X key on the keyboard, and then I am going to go up to the options bar and I am going to lower the Opacity of my brush. I'll put it down somewhere around 50%, and then I'll move into the image, and with my big soft brush tip, I am going to paint over this area partially hiding the adjustment from there. Now I'd like to compare how the image looked before I painted on the layer mask with the way that it looks now. So I am going to hold down the Shift Key on my keyboard, and click right on the layer mask thumbnail on the Brightness/Contrast Adjustment layer.

That puts a big X over that thumbnail, which means that it's hiding the paint that I added to the thumbnail. So this is how the image looked with the Brightness/Contrast Adjustment, before I added black and gray to the layer mask. I'll Shift+Click again on the layer mask, and this is how it looks with those additions. I like the fact that I have now hidden these hotspots, and I am getting more detail there, but at the same time I am retaining the brightness effect here in the water. Now you can have more than one adjustment layer on an image.

So I would like to add another adjustment layer to try to fix the fact that the water here is a little bit blue for my taste, because I photographed it while it was in shadow. I am going to use a Photo Filter Adjustment layer for this purpose. A Photo Filter Adjustment layer acts somewhat like the filter on a camera. It will add a colored tint to the image. In this case, I want to add a gold tint. So I'll go over to the bottom of the layers panel, I'll click on the Adjustment layer icon and I'll choose Photo Filter. I'll increase the density of this filter little bit to make it more intense on the image, and you could see that the entire image now has a more gold cast.

I like the way that looks on the water, but I don't really like the way that it looks on these rocks, I think it's emphasizing them too much. So I would like to hide the Photo Filter Adjustment layer from those rocks. I'd also like to partially hide the Photo Filter Adjustment from this area down here, so it's not so gold. Well, I have already created a layer mask that will do just that, and that's the layer mask as I painted it here on the Brightness/Contrast Adjustment layer. I'd like to use the very same layer mask on the Photo Filter Adjustment layer.

There is no direct way to copy a mask from one layer to another in Elements, but I'll show you a workaround that will get me the same result. I'll select the Brightness/Contrast Adjustment layer, and then I am going to hold down the Ctrl key on a PC or the Command key on a Mac, and I am going to click right on the thumbnail for the layer mask on the Brightness/Contrast Adjustment layer. A mask is just another way of representing a selection, and so when I do that, I automatically select the white area of the layer mask, as you can see here in the image.

Now, I am going to invert the selection, so that everything except the white areas has a selection around it. I'll go up to the Select menu and I'll choose Inverse, and now I am going to use this election to fill in the layer mask on the Photo Filter Adjustment layer. I'll select the Photo Filter Adjustment layer and then I'll go up to the Edit menu and I am going to choose Fill Selection. I'll make sure the Use menu is set to Black and I'll click OK, and then I'll delete the selection by pressing Ctrl+D on my PC or Command+D on a Mac.

Now let's take a look at the layer mask that's on the Photo Filter Adjustment layer. I'll press the Alt key on the PC or the Option key on the Mac,as I click on that layer mask thumbnail, and you can see that it's the very same layer mask that I'd created on the Brightness /Contrast Adjustment layer. The areas over the rocks are filled with black, which are hiding the Photo Filter Adjustment from the rocks, and the area in the water at the bottom-left is filled with gray, partially hiding the Photo Filter Adjustment from that area.

I'll Alt+Click or Option+Click again on the layer mask thumbnail on the Photo Filter Adjustment layer. So as you can see the layer masks that come with Adjustment layers are real advantage. They allow you to decide where and to what degree your photo adjustments will apply.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training
Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training

120 video lessons · 15380 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 11m 0s
    1. Welcome
      1m 18s
    2. What is Photoshop Elements?
      3m 47s
    3. Touring the workspaces
      5m 55s
  2. 54m 16s
    1. Working with catalogs
      5m 22s
    2. Importing and using the exercise files
      5m 13s
    3. Importing files from your computer
      7m 31s
    4. Importing photos from your camera
      8m 57s
    5. Importing photos from iPhoto (Mac only)
      4m 44s
    6. Importing files from external drives/CDs/DVDs
      4m 44s
    7. Scanning photos
      6m 50s
    8. Dividing scanned photos
      5m 51s
    9. Importing from watch folders (Windows only)
      5m 4s
  3. 39m 10s
    1. Touring the Organizer
      6m 41s
    2. Viewing thumbnails
      6m 15s
    3. Rotating photos
      52s
    4. Renaming photos
      2m 55s
    5. Fixing photo dates
      2m 28s
    6. Hiding and deleting photos
      4m 6s
    7. Stacking photos
      4m 22s
    8. Moving files
      2m 43s
    9. Reconnecting missing files
      4m 53s
    10. Using Help
      3m 55s
  4. 54m 22s
    1. Rating photos
      3m 58s
    2. Applying and organizing keyword tags
      7m 4s
    3. Searching by keyword tags
      3m 35s
    4. Tagging with People Recognition
      11m 3s
    5. Using Smart Tags
      5m 57s
    6. Creating albums
      4m 41s
    7. Creating Smart Albums
      6m 28s
    8. Searching by text
      5m 28s
    9. Using the Find menu
      4m 19s
    10. Using the Timeline
      1m 49s
  5. 30m 14s
    1. Viewing slideshows in Full Screen view
      4m 21s
    2. Working with photos in Full Screen view
      9m 20s
    3. Comparing photos
      5m 56s
    4. Viewing by date
      3m 18s
    5. Mapping photos (Windows only)
      7m 19s
  6. 38m 36s
    1. Applying Photo Fix
      9m 0s
    2. The Quick Fix interface
      7m 9s
    3. The Quick Fix controls
      5m 22s
    4. Adjusting lighting in Quick Fix
      3m 46s
    5. Adjusting color in Quick Fix
      5m 39s
    6. Using the Touch Up tools in Quick Fix
      7m 40s
  7. 43m 43s
    1. Guided Edit basics
      8m 13s
    2. Making an Out of Bounds image
      10m 17s
    3. Perfecting a portrait
      7m 43s
    4. Adding realistic reflections
      5m 26s
    5. Applying a LOMO camera effect
      2m 0s
    6. Making pop art
      1m 31s
    7. Using Style Match
      8m 33s
  8. 1h 20m
    1. Full Edit workspace overview
      6m 51s
    2. Working with tabbed documents
      4m 51s
    3. Using tools
      7m 40s
    4. Arranging panels
      5m 18s
    5. Setting preferences
      3m 41s
    6. Using Undo History
      6m 39s
    7. Zooming and navigating
      7m 4s
    8. Creating a blank file
      5m 19s
    9. Photo resizing and resolution
      8m 9s
    10. Cropping and straightening photos
      7m 15s
    11. Recomposing photos
      8m 15s
    12. Enlarging the canvas
      3m 27s
    13. Saving and formats
      5m 46s
  9. 35m 4s
    1. Understanding layers
      7m 17s
    2. Working in the Layers panel
      5m 21s
    3. Using layer masks
      7m 43s
    4. Using layer masks to combine images
      6m 27s
    5. Building composites
      8m 16s
  10. 20m 58s
    1. Selection basics
      3m 22s
    2. Manual selection tools
      3m 19s
    3. Automatic selection tools
      7m 24s
    4. Refining selection edges
      3m 30s
    5. Saving selections
      3m 23s
  11. 1h 21m
    1. Color managing
      7m 14s
    2. Applying Shadow/Highlight adjustments
      2m 42s
    3. Using adjustment layers
      8m 24s
    4. Masking adjustment layers
      7m 38s
    5. Adding a Levels adjustment layer
      6m 8s
    6. Adding a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer
      5m 56s
    7. Adjusting with Color Curves
      4m 14s
    8. Removing a color cast
      3m 37s
    9. Reducing digital noise
      4m 7s
    10. Sharpening photos
      7m 32s
    11. Processing multiple files
      7m 59s
    12. Working with raw photos
      15m 57s
  12. 18m 34s
    1. Using the Smart Brush tools
      6m 16s
    2. Dodging and burning
      2m 29s
    3. Retouching blemishes
      4m 29s
    4. Content-aware healing
      2m 31s
    5. Removing content with the Clone Stamp tool
      2m 49s
  13. 25m 53s
    1. Applying filters
      5m 36s
    2. Adding effects
      2m 34s
    3. Using layer styles
      7m 23s
    4. Using shapes
      4m 46s
    5. Using the Cookie Cutter tool
      2m 19s
    6. Converting color to black and white
      3m 15s
  14. 11m 25s
    1. Creating text
      7m 1s
    2. Editing text
      4m 24s
  15. 1h 25m
    1. Creating a photo collage
      8m 38s
    2. Fine-tuning a photo collage
      8m 3s
    3. Creating greeting cards
      8m 34s
    4. Creating photo calendars
      9m 28s
    5. Creating CD/DVD jackets and labels
      7m 43s
    6. Creating a photo book
      7m 44s
    7. Fine-tuning a photo book
      7m 11s
    8. Creating a slideshow (Windows only)
      8m 0s
    9. Fine-tuning a slideshow (Windows only)
      3m 23s
    10. Creating a flip book (Windows only)
      2m 47s
    11. End to end: Making a scrapbook page
      8m 15s
    12. End to end: Completing a scrapbook page
      5m 24s
  16. 49m 27s
    1. Printing photos
      8m 38s
    2. Contact sheets and picture packages (Windows only)
      6m 40s
    3. Sharing photos by email
      6m 38s
    4. Sharing photos by Photo Mail (Windows only)
      5m 8s
    5. Sharing to Flickr and Facebook
      4m 43s
    6. Saving images for the web
      6m 48s
    7. Signing up for Photoshop.com
      2m 55s
    8. Sharing online albums at Photoshop.com
      5m 4s
    9. Backing up
      2m 53s
  17. 38s
    1. Goodbye
      38s

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