How To Use Layer Masking For Non-Destructive Editing

How To Use Layer Masking For Non-Destructive Editing English Article

The process of editing photos is a time-consuming phase of work, and it's on which the result of your work mostly depends. Very often it happens that you are close to the final result and then you see that many steps behind you have made a mistake. Well, let's say, accidentally overdid it by editing the face of your subject, touching part of the lip, but you saw it too late. What do you do in a situation like that? Of course, you need to go back to a certain stage of the work, which would eliminate your mistake. You do these manipulations, and at some point, you discover that Photoshop (given its short memory) hasn't saved the changes you need. But all is not lost! This is where non-destructive editing comes in.

By the way, one of the ways to work with this technique is to use layer masking. This method is quite simple, reliable, and flexible. You can do this difficult work by learning how to copy and paste a layer mask in Photoshop. But if you want to make it quick and easy, use Skylum's Luminar Neo.

Let's Define The Concept And The Essence Of This Processing Technique

This is one of the most convenient ways to simplify your work. A lot of information about non-destructive editing is now possible to find on the Internet for free or to buy the relevant guidelines.

In simple terms, the principle of work is as follows - you impose on the photo layer, which is the foundation for making changes, while the frame itself is untouched, and in its original form.

The advantages of this type of photo correction are the following:

  • All manipulations with the frame occur separately on different layers, which is more convenient to work on each individual element. That is, if you need to use several smart objects or layer masks, you have the possibility to edit each object separately.
  • Your frame retains its original appearance, which you can return to at any time, without throwing it away in the trash and losing a lot of the work you've done.

Let's take a further look at how to work with layer masks.


What Is The Layer Mask Tool? 

This is one of the most popular Photoshop tools. There are a lot of tutorials available now, which give you all the basic information in detail, teach you the basics, and other things, such as how to duplicate a layer mask in Photoshop.

This tool gives you the opportunity to edit the desired part of the picture, without the need to engage in the process frame as a whole. Let's imagine that you have a frame in which the objects are cloudless sky and the sea, and you have the desire to edit one of the invented objects. Let it be the sea that you have decided to darken. For that you need to do the following actions:

  • you mask the sky so that only the sea is darkened;
  • then you use the "Curves" adjustment layer to achieve the desired result.

In this variation, the sky mask will be black (that is, the editing will not apply to that area), and the sea mask will be white (respectively, so that the changes will only happen to that area).

A Little Bit Of Theory About Layer Masks

In the previous section we mentioned black and white masks, but not everyone understands what they are, and in fact, it is the tool itself. Let's understand it in more detail.

Let's start with the white maxi layer, which has the appearance of a white sheet. The way it works is that by editing on a layer with a white mask, the resulting changes will be applied directly to your photo. Often, when using adjustment layers - this mask is created automatically, otherwise, it is elementary to do, using the settings.

Accordingly, the black layer mask works essentially inversely to the white mask. That is, the result of such a tool will change that will remain on the foundation of the given layer and will not be identified with the photo you are editing.  


Use It Instead Of The Eraser Tool

The option of using layers when you need to get rid of some defects is much more effective than using the "Eraser" tool. Thus this defect will be corrected superficially, the frame will remain in its original form, and you will be able to return to its original point at any time.

In order to implement these actions, you need the following sequence of actions, namely:

  • select the layer you want to edit;
  • on the bottom of the panel you will see a small icon, click on it;
  • a chain icon appears on the side, click and work on the layer.

Layer masking deservedly occupies a leading position among the most popular tools in Photoshop.

Last Words

To summarize, there are quite a few non-destructive editing options, but with layer masks you get the result you want, eliminating the possibility of losing a large amount of work if you fail. You'll always be able to go back to any stage of the work absolutely painlessly.

You are now familiar with the concepts and principles of layer masking and non-destructive editing. Then you can move on to more in-depth knowledge and functionalities, such as how to copy layer masks in Photoshop. Educate yourself, move from theory to practice, and you will succeed!