Best Photoshop layers: 04 Healing layer
Most photos contain unwanted marks or blemishes. The Spot Healing Brush tool is effective at removing these.
The best way to apply the healing is on a new blank layer, so that you can easily tone down or remove selected healing work later without having to start from scratch because you healed directly on the background layer.
To do this, create a new blank layer, choose the Spot Healing Brush tool from the Tools panel and tick Sample All Layers on the Options Bar, then continue as normal.
Best Photoshop layers: 05 Dodge and Burn
One of the best ways to enhance a photo is by lightening or darkening selected areas of the image.
This can be done with the Dodge and Burn tools, but rather than use them directly on the image, a separate grey layer gives you greater control.
To create a Dodge and Burn layer, hold down Alt and click the Create a new layer icon in the Layers panel.
Give the layer a name, then choose Mode: Overlay.
Check Fill with Overlay-neutral color and click OK. Now use the Dodge and Burn tools (with Range set to Midtones) to work on the new layer.
Best Photoshop layers: 06 Selective sharpening
Once all other adjustments have been made, you need to sharpen the image for output.
The traditional way is to create a merged layer at the top of the stack, apply Unsharp Mask, then paint on the mask to remove the sharpening from those parts of the image you want to remain soft.
However, the Sharpen tool enables more control over the process by enabling you to build up the effect by brushing repeatedly with a low opacity brush.
Create a new blank layer, select the Sharpen tool, tick Sample All Layers and set a Strength of 50% or lower.
Unsharp Mask – how to ensure the sharpest images possible every time
Adobe Camera Raw: 8 tools that will save your raw files
Dodge and Burn – how to master one of the most vital photo editing skills
How to crop a picture: using the Crop tool to maximise the potential of your images
Make a composite image in Photoshop Elements: how to use Layers to add depth
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