Photoshop for beginners: master your photo editing workflow in 24 hours

Photoshop for Beginners: 04 Layers and masks

Photoshop for Beginners: 04 Layers and masks

Photoshop for Beginners: 04 Layers and masks

At the heart of Photoshop are its layers. These are like transparent overlays you can stack one on top of each other to combine images and apply adjustments.

This picture has three layers, also shown as thumbnails in the floating Layers panel.

The bottom layer is a portrait, the layer above it is an adjustment layer used to increase the contrast of the picture below, and the top layer is a picture of a forest that has been added using a blend mode so that it merges with the picture below rather than covering it up.

Layers can also have masks to control which areas of the layer are visible – these appear alongside the layers in the Layers panel.

SEE MORE: Photoshop Layers Demystified – a beginner’s guide to smarter photo editing

Photoshop for Beginners: 05 Photoshop plugins

Photoshop has its own tools, but it also acts as a ‘host’ for tools and effects from other companies that can dramatically extend your creative tools.

These are called plugins because although they’re separate programs, they appear on Photoshop’s list of filters.

When you launch a filter plugin, your photo appears in the filter’s window, where you make your adjustments.

When you’ve finished, the plugin window closes and your edited picture is returned to Photoshop.

Photoshop for Beginners: 06 Cloning unwanted image elements

Photoshop for Beginners: 06 Cloning unwanted image elements

Photoshop is famous for its ability to repair and manipulate pictures.

Mostly, this is done with the Clone Stamp tool, which takes a nearby are of the picture to blot out unwanted objects.

Photoshop for Beginners: 07 Make Photoshop your digital hub

Photoshop doesn’t just work in isolation. It can be used as an ‘external editor’ by other applications.

Many photographers use Lightroom, another member of the Photoshop family, to organise large photo collections in a faster and more flexible way.

SEE MORE: Adobe Lightroom: what every photographer needs to know about the ‘alternative Photoshop

They will then set up Lightroom so that it launches Photoshop for image-editing tasks that Lightroom’s own tools can’t do on their own.

When you’ve finished, your edited photo is returned to Lightroom.

PAGE 1: Photoshop for Beginners steps 1-3
PAGE 2: Photoshop for Beginners steps 4-7

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