Join Jan Kabili for an in-depth discussion in this video Making a course workspace, part of Photoshop CS4: Layer Masks in Depth.
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There are lots of different panels in Photoshop CS4. In this course we are going to be using a handful of panels over and over again. Rather than have all of the panels open that you see here on my screen, I suggest that you customize your panel arrangement and save it as a workspace for this particular course. This will give you more space on your screen for just the panels we'll be using most, and it will give you an easy way to match your workspace to mine as we work through the course. The Workspace menu is the place to go to setup and access a custom panel arrangement.
The Workspace menu is located here on the right side of the Application Bar. On a Mac, the Application Bar is a separate bar, as you see it here. On a PC, the Application Bar and the Workspace menu are combined with the menu bar at the top of the screen. The default workspace in Photoshop CS4 is the one you see here, the Essentials workspace. If your Workspace menu isn't set to Essentials now, go ahead and click on the Workspace menu and choose Essentials. The Essentials workspace displays the panels as you see them here on the right side of my screen.
I'm going to be using some of these panels more than others during the course, so I would like to close the group of panels I'm not going to use very much, the Color, Swatches, and Styles panels here. I will press the panel menu icon on the right side of that panel group and I'm going to choose Close Tab Group. That gives more room to the Adjustments panel and the Masks panel in its group, as well as to the Layers panel and the Channels panel down here. I'm going to leave the Paths panel open too. I won't use it very much, but it's fine to leave it there.
So these are the panels we'll be using most. Let's save them as a custom workspace. To do that, I'm going to go up to the Workspace menu and I'm going to choose Save Workspace. In the Save Workspace window, I want to make sure that Panel Locations is checked, and I'll give the workspace a name. I'm going to call this Masks Layers and click Save, and you can see that that's the name of the current workspace up here in the Workspace menu. Now that you have got a custom panel configuration like mine, you will be able to quickly get back to this configuration at anytime, even after you have closed and reopened Photoshop.
So let's say that you have changed your panel configuration. For example, I'm going to go ahead and close the entire Layers, Channels, and Paths layer group by clicking its panel menu icon and choosing Close Tab Group. Now, let's say that sometime later you are working with me through the movies in this course, and you notice that my workspace is set to Masks and Layers. If you want your panels to match mine, all you have to do at that point is go to your Workspace menu and choose Masks and Layers from the top of your Workspace menu, and that will automatically bring back the custom panel arrangement that we named Masks Layers.
Having created and saved this custom workspace upfront should save you time and effort down the road as you are working through this course with me.
- Adding grayscale pixels to layer masks to hide and show layer content
- Refining the edges of layer masks in the Refine Mask dialog box
- Using filters and adjustments to manipulate layer masks
- Blending photographs into composites by applying gradients to layer masks
- Using layer masks with Smart Objects and Adobe Camera Raw to combine different adjustments of the same photo
- Simulating shallow depth of field and targeting sharpening with Smart Filter masks