Layer techniques in Photoshop

Layers are transparent acetate sheets stacked upon one another. When a new document is careated it contains a bottommost layer is known as background which is filled with any color and is locked.

Layer techniques in photoshopThe different types of layer techniques includes

    • Mask
    • Clipping mask
    • Adjustment layer


Mask includes hiding/ revealing a part of the image in a layer. Two types of mask include layer and vector mask.

  • Layer mask is resolution dependent bitmap images and created with selection tools.
  • Vector mask is resolution independent and created with pen/ shape/ any path selection tools. The edge of the mask is more precise than layer mask.

Both vector and layer mask appear as an additional thumbnail in the layer palette. Layer mask thumbnail represents the grayscale channel whereas vector mask thumbnail appears as a path that clips out the content of the layer.

Clipping mask

Masking an artwork on one layer using a shape in an another layer is known as clipping mask.
It includes 2 layers

  1. A base layer with the shape
  2. A second “clipped” layer with the contents.

Creating a clipping mask:

  • Create any shape like rectangle/ square in a layer known as base layer.
  • Create a layer above this base layer and place an image in it.
  • Go to layer > create clipping mask (Alt+Ctrl+G)
  • As an indication of clipping mask, an arrow created on the clipped layer which pint down towards the base layer.

Adjustment layer

It can be added to an image to apply color and tonal adjustments without any permanent changes to the pixel value of the image. The adjustment appear as separate layer and not as thumbnail as layer.
The color and tonal adjustments are stored in adjustment layer. It can be discarded at any time and restore the original image.

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