Perhaps the standout feature that Photoshop has over Lightroom is layers. The problem is that, for many, Photoshop’s layer tools can be a daunting and confusing prospect. This is compounded by the fact that there are several different Photoshop tools that use the layer technique. Today, we are going to give you a basic overview of the most common layer tools in Photoshop. Rather than a tutorial, this will be a run through of what they do and why you would use them. We will look at Layers, Adjustment Layers, and Layer Masks. Along the way, we will also make a pit stop at Blending and Opacity
A Look At Layers.
The basic Layers tool has been around since Photoshop v3 way back in 1994. For pure photographic editing it has been largely superseded by Adjustment Layers but it still has much relevance to the photographer today. The easiest way to understand layers is to think of your photograph as a slide. With your slide laid flat on the lightbox, a layer can be seen as a clear acetate film placed over the top. On to that acetate, you can write, draw shapes, blur or opaque out parts of the slide below. Photoshop layers work just like this. They make it easy to add a shape or text, resize and move it independently of the image below. You can add multiple layers all doing separate things and for each object on a layer, you can add an effect such as a drop shadow or a bezel effect.