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As stated in the introduction to this course, non-destructive editing is a very practical way to work when it comes to retouching any photo including product shots. Here's a simplified overview of the workflow. First, when we utilize layers, we never work with the original or background layer, in this case I have a layer zero. If I need to run a filter or anything on this, I can either right click and convert it to a Smart Object to utilize Smart Filters. Or, I can simply duplicate the layer by grabbing the background or layer zero and dragging it to the Create New Layer icon.
This will give me a copy of that layer. In this case, I will name it retouch. If I'm working with adjustments, again, I can always work with Adjustment layers. So I can go through and add a levels adjustment to adjust as needed, and blend using the layer mask feature. Or hide, or delete completely. If you're using multiple layers for different areas of re-touching, be sure to re-name your layers accordingly. Don't just work with layer one, two, three, and so on, as it will become confusing as your document becomes more complex.
Always remember that you can convert your image to a smart layer simply by selecting the layers that you want to combine and right-clicking to convert to a smart object. This is a much cleaner workflow than going to the Layers menu and telling it to Merge the Layers. That's considered a destructive workflow. I always want to preserve as much as possible in case I need to go back and make new edits.
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