Basics of Mask and Layers in Photoshop

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Duration: 8:10

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You’d like to improve your landscape and wildlife images to make them sharper, brighter, and perfectly exposed. You’ve heard about multiple exposures and how to combine them through layers in Photoshop. But how to do it. In this premium video, Basics of Layers and Masks in Photoshop, nature photographer David Johnston takes you into the studio for a tutorial on how to use layers in Photoshop to enhance your outdoor images.

David starts with his two images of a waterfall in Tennessee, one exposed at a longer shutter speed to bring out the shadows, and the other at a faster shutter speed to enhance the details of the waterfalls. In Lightroom, he opens the two files with the icon “Layers In Photoshop,” which stacks them in perfect alignment in Photoshop. The bottom layer file is the base, and the top layer is transparent. Using these layers in Photoshop, you will learn how to remove parts of the top transparent layer to reveal the bottom base layer. This multiple focus blending will help you assemble a single, properly exposed image.

David creates a mask on the top layer, then uses the brush tool. With layers in Photoshop, the brush allows you to conceal or reveal parts of the bottom layer. In this case, David paints over sections of the waterfalls to reveal the sections of the base photograph created at the faster shutter speed. To blend subtle changes into the base layer, he lowers the brush opacity and paints away more parts. With layers in Photoshop, David has created an image that blends the properly exposed sections of the top and bottom layers.

Join Outdoor Photography Guide’s professional photographer David Johnston, for practical ideas on how to use layers in Photoshop. By combining multiple exposures with layers in Photoshop, you will learn to create a memorable photograph in a single file.