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Using a layer group

From: Photoshop CC Selections and Layer Masking Workshop

Video: Using a layer group

More often than not, if I want to apply a targeted adjustment to an image, I'm actually going to apply multiple targeted adjustments to that same area. For example, if I wanted to adjust the pebbles in the foreground of this image, I might want to increase contrast, increase saturation, and also shift the color balance. In other words, I want three adjustments for one specific area. You can certainly create multiple adjustment layers, each with their own layer mask, that focuses the adjustment on those pebbles. But it's much more efficient if we create a selection once, and utilize one layer mask for all of those adjustments. Let me show you what I mean.

Using a layer group

More often than not, if I want to apply a targeted adjustment to an image, I'm actually going to apply multiple targeted adjustments to that same area. For example, if I wanted to adjust the pebbles in the foreground of this image, I might want to increase contrast, increase saturation, and also shift the color balance. In other words, I want three adjustments for one specific area. You can certainly create multiple adjustment layers, each with their own layer mask, that focuses the adjustment on those pebbles. But it's much more efficient if we create a selection once, and utilize one layer mask for all of those adjustments. Let me show you what I mean.

I'm going to start off by loading the selection that I've already saved with this image. So I'll go to the Select menu and choose Load selection. The pebbles selection is the one I want, and so I'll choose that from the channel popup, and then click OK in order to load that selection. Now, because I only want a single layer mask controlling the behavior of multiple adjustments, I'm not going to start off by adding my adjustments. But instead I'm going to add a layer group. That's essentially a folder that can contain multiple adjustment layers.

So, at the bottom of the layers panel I'll click on the Folder icon to add a layer group. And you can see that, that adds a group, or a folder to my layers stack. I'll double click on the name for that group, and I'm going to call this Pebbles Adjustment, so I'll type that in, and then press Enter or Return on the keyboard to apply that name change. And now I'm going to add a layer mask to this layer group. Yes, I can add a layer mask to a layer group, and then everything inside that layer group will be constrained based on that layer mask. So, with my selection active, and my Pebbles Adjustment layer group active on the layers panel, I can simply click the Add Layer Mask button in order to add a layer mask to my layer group, based on the active selection. Of course, this layer group and this layer mask are accomplishing nothing just yet, but that's about to change.

I'm going to add an adjustment. And because my layer group is currently active, the adjustment layer that I add will go inside that layer group. I'll go ahead and add a curves adjustment, for example. And then on the properties panel, I'll apply an adjustment with that curves adjustment, and you can see that I'm only affecting the pebbles. I'll go ahead and apply another change. So for example, I'll add a color balance adjustment and then I'll shift the color balance for that area of the image, and you can see that once again, only the pebbles are being affected by that change.

Perhaps I'll adjust the saturation as well, so I'll add a vibrance adjustment, and I can increase or decrease the saturation of that area as I see fit. So now I have a single layer mask that is constraining the behavior of at the moment three adjustment layers. And that's because the layer mask is attached to the layer group. And I have multiple adjustment layers inside that layer group. The beauty of this is that if I decide that there's a problem with my layer mask, I only have to fix it in one place.

I can go directly to the layer mask for my layer group and fine tune this layer mask to clean up any problems and all 3 of my adjustments will therefore be affected as well. So utilizing a layer mask with a layer group in order to constrain adjustments is a very efficient way of working, when you want to apply to multiple adjustments to the same area of a photo.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CC Selections and Layer Masking Workshop
Photoshop CC Selections and Layer Masking Workshop

51 video lessons · 10357 viewers

Tim Grey
Author

 
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  1. 1m 27s
    1. Welcome
      1m 27s
  2. 46m 26s
    1. Selections, alpha channels, and layer masks, oh my!
      5m 48s
    2. Anti-aliasing and selections
      6m 6s
    3. The case for not feathering selections
      6m 50s
    4. Adding, subtracting, and intersecting
      7m 31s
    5. Inverting a selection
      3m 4s
    6. Mixing and matching selection tools
      2m 32s
    7. Using Deselect and Reselect
      3m 47s
    8. Temporarily hiding a selection
      2m 7s
    9. Saving and loading selections
      6m 14s
    10. Using the cursor for selections
      2m 27s
  3. 51m 42s
    1. The Rectangular Marquee tool
      8m 24s
    2. The Elliptical Marquee tool
      6m 2s
    3. The Lasso tool
      4m 55s
    4. The Polygonal Lasso tool
      6m 27s
    5. The Magnetic Lasso tool
      10m 9s
    6. The Quick Selection tool
      5m 33s
    7. The Magic Wand tool
      10m 12s
  4. 38m 38s
    1. Selecting the border of an existing selection
      1m 50s
    2. The Color Range command
      7m 19s
    3. Focusing a Color Range selection
      2m 55s
    4. Selecting faces with Color Range
      2m 31s
    5. The Pen tool
      5m 40s
    6. Selecting by luminosity
      3m 39s
    7. Selecting from a channel
      6m 13s
    8. Transforming a selection
      4m 4s
    9. Quick Mask mode
      4m 27s
  5. 50m 46s
    1. Combining layers into a single document
      1m 49s
    2. Layering images manually
      1m 55s
    3. Assembling a panorama automatically
      3m 1s
    4. Advanced blending
      4m 0s
    5. Painting to hide and reveal
      3m 24s
    6. Creating a selection-based composite
      2m 43s
    7. Select, then paint
      3m 28s
    8. Advanced mask cleanup
      6m 18s
    9. Creating an edge-fade effect
      2m 23s
    10. Using a filter to add an artistic edge
      3m 6s
    11. Using a brush effect to add an artistic edge
      5m 30s
    12. Transforming a masked object
      1m 51s
    13. Unlinking image and mask
      2m 53s
    14. Matching composite images
      2m 17s
    15. Adding layer effects with masks
      2m 21s
    16. Reviewing layer masks
      3m 47s
  6. 28m 58s
    1. Painting in an adjustment
      3m 20s
    2. Shades of gray
      3m 14s
    3. Using the Gradient tool
      4m 4s
    4. Adjusting a selected area
      1m 42s
    5. Creating a vignette effect with masking
      2m 13s
    6. Using a layer group
      3m 34s
    7. Working with multiple masks
      4m 5s
    8. Refining an adjustment mask
      6m 46s

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