Photoshop Advanced Layer Tips (first)

Source: Internet
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Advanced | Skill layer is one of the most important parts of Photoshop. In many people's eyes, a layer may not be as mysterious as a channel-after all, it is easier to create a new layer and paint it on it than to bother to operate the channel. From the Photoshop3.0 began to appear in the layer, development so far, has a powerful function. If your understanding of layers is limited to painting images separately and simply blending patterns, then it's a bit overqualified. You know, a lot of hidden secrets are waiting for us to find out. This article will cover the layers of advanced techniques that expose the secrets of layer masks, layer types, grouping, and layer blending options. Mastering these techniques will help you create images that you never imagined before! The most important items to discuss include adjustment layers, layer grouping, layer advanced blending options, vector masks, fill layers (including gradients, solid colors, and pattern fills), shape layers, type layers, and layer styles. Of course, the so-called "secret" nature is not 1+1=2 so straightforward, so, before reading this article, I hope you have a preliminary understanding of Photoshop layer. Beginners understand may have a certain degree of difficulty, but as long as mastered the basic concepts, reading this tutorial will not have a problem.

one, layer masks and vector masks

Layer base, the key to the application of layer mask is to make the layered image simple and keep the flexibility of editing. The mask does not actually affect the pixels on the layer, you can apply a mask to make these changes permanent, or remove the mask without applying the changes. Let's take a moment to brush up on how the masks in Photoshop work, and then we'll go further to illustrate the more complex features of the mask. On the layer mask, although a lot to say, but the most important to remember only one rule is OK, that is, the layer mask is a grayscale image, with black on the mask paint will hide the current layer content, display the image below; instead, using white on the mask will reveal the current layer information, masking the layer below. The following example has two layers, the background is a picture of the ocean, above the dry land. We'll add them together by adding a layer mask. In the layers panel, determine the cracked earth layer as the target layer, select layer and add layer mask to show all. (Figure 01)

To paint in a mask, we select the Brush tool from the toolbox, select a soft edge brush in the pen option, and set the foreground color to black (the foreground and background colors default to gray values when the mask is selected). A softer brush edge will help us create a soft transition between chapped land and seawater in the mask. Now, start smearing in the mask with a black brush to hide the areas in the land layer that you don't want to appear in. Press Accelerator D to restore the color swatch to the default foreground/background color, and shortcut x can quickly convert between the default foreground color and the background color. (Figure 02)

If, in a casual situation, you smear on the mask should not disappear, so the image is hidden too much, then use the white brush in the "wrong" place smear to remedy, so that the image back to display. Usually when I work in a mask, I return the foreground and background colors to the default black and white state, so that you can switch between the foreground and background colors by clicking on the two-headed arrows, or you can use the shortcut x to move faster between the foreground and background colors. (Figure 03)

In addition to painting tools, masks can also be created by the current selection. When there is an active area in the image, click Layer to add a layer mask, in addition to showing all and hidden all, there are two options for displaying and hiding selections. Shows that the selection is filled with white in a mask, with a black fill outside the selection, and the other is just the opposite.
When using a layer mask for the first time, the biggest common problem is to forget (or not know) the layer as the target and the layer mask as the target, the effect is different. If the target is a layer mask, the effect of the drawing on it is to hide or display the current layer content, and if you target the layer, the brush smudge replaces the original layer pixel. To select a layer mask, on the Layers panel, click the layer mask thumbnail, and then click the layer thumbnail to select the layer. There is a simple way to help you identify the current choices: When a layer mask is selected, a small mask identifier appears between the eye icon and the layer thumbnail of the level Panel, and the 1-pixel-wide white edge appears around the mask thumbnail (this change is subtle). To manipulate a layer, the layer thumbnail (not the layer mask thumbnail) must be selected. When a layer is selected, a small brush symbol appears between the eye icon and the layer thumbnail, overriding the position where the mask identifies the previous location. Similarly, a 1-pixel white edge appears around the layer thumbnail. In fact, the easiest way to judge is when you smear on a mask, if the image is not hidden or displayed as you expect, stop paint, check your layers panel, and see if there are any errors. Set the target to the correct layer, the layer mask is in the selected state, and the mask appears between the eye icon and the layer thumbnail. (Figure 04)

The following description of the use of the layer mask is a very important tip: if you use Black in the mask will hide the layer information, white to display information, then the transition of gray will be at all levels of transparency to gradually hide or display layer information. As a demonstration, I added a layer with a cloud picture at the top, and then added the layer mask to the layer, showing all the commands to add a layer mask to this layer. To soften the transition between the new cloud picture and the horizon, I chose the gradient tool, with a linear gradient of black to white, to drag the gradient upward from the point below the horizon. The gradient tool creates a smooth transition from black to white in the area from the beginning of the gradient to the end point. Cloud images are gradually hidden by gradually changing the opacity of the layer. Note: The longer the distance between the gradient start to the end, the smoother the change. (Figure 05)

By default, layers and layer masks are linked together so that if you move or change layers, the masks and images will be changed. However, there is a link symbol between the layer thumbnail and the layer mask thumbnail, and clicking the symbol cancels the link state between the mask and the layer so that their changes and resets are done separately. This feature is especially useful when the mask is in the correct position and the layer is biased, or if you want to change the layer within the Mask range. In this case, the mask does not have a link to the layer so that I can select the layer thumbnail to move the cloud alone with the move tool and keep the mask position unchanged. (Figure 06)

The vector mask is the second type of mask we want to introduce. Each layer, including layer groups, can contain either a layer mask or a vector mask, or both. Layer masks are used to create pastel edge masks based on pixels, to obscure entire layers or groups of layers, or to obscure only the selected parts of them, while vector masks are used to create a clear design element based on the edge of a vector shape. To add a vector mask, select Layer > add vector mask > show all, or press cmd (MAC)/ctrl (Win) to click on the mask at the bottom of the layers panel. In the layers panel, one of the differences between adding a vector mask and a normal layer mask is that there is a vertical line to the left of the link icon. In addition, regardless of whether you select a layer or a vector mask, the brush markings are always displayed on the layers panel. The thumbnail of a vector mask is different from the layer mask. A layer mask thumbnail represents a grayscale channel created when a layer mask is added, with 256-order grayscale, while a vector mask's thumbnail renders only gray, white, and inside paths, representing the path cut from the layer's contents. You can create a vector mask path with the pen and shape tools because it is object-oriented, so you can use the Path tool to edit the vector mask path simply like editing the path object. (Figure 07)

Once you have added a vector mask to a layer, you can use the pen tool or the vector shape tool to draw the mask path. In the following example, when you create a vector mask at the top level that contains only one button image, it is ideal to use the elliptical vector tool when selecting a simple button shape. The black pixels in the layer are obscured, leaving a clear button edge. Note that unlike the layer mask, the vector mask path is independent of the image resolution, and will not deform even if zoomed in, keeping the edges clear when printing on the PostScript printer. (Figure 08)

> as shown in Figure 10, the same vector mask can contain more than one path. In the 4 buttons layer, use the oval-shaped tool to draw the path along the four-round button, and modify the middle circle shape with the direct selection tool. After the adjustment is complete, select the Path Selection tool, right-click, and select Create vector Mask command from the pop-up menu. Or select layers to add a vector mask > current path, the existing path as a vector mask path. In the options panel of the vector shape tool, you can add, delete, cross, and exclude existing shape paths by clicking on the relevant icons. After we add a projection to a layer with a layer style, the mask also works on the layer style (for more information on the layer style, we'll cover it at the end of this tutorial). (Figure 09)

After removing all the black pixels around all the buttons in the diagram, we want to add a black border to the image. Select the Light-colored land layer and execute the "layer > add vector mask Show all" command. Then use the rectangular shape tool to create the edges you need to width, if you draw a mask that exceeds the image range you want, you can use the direct selection tool to change the shape of the mask path, and when you click the Path selection tool to select the vector path, click from the shape area minus the button in the tool options to reverse the path and mask. (Figure 10)

A vector mask can be converted to a layer mask by selecting the layer > Grid > Vector mask, but once the vector mask has been raster, it cannot be changed back to the vector object.

Second, adjust the layer and fill layer

Just now we discussed the masking layer that contains images. There are many kinds of layers in Photoshop. For example, the adjustment layer that we often use to adjust the image. It is used to adjust the pixel value, hue, saturation, brightness and contrast of one or more layers, as well as inverse, tonal separation, threshold, and so on. Using an adjustment layer, like a transparent colored glass overlay on an image, adjusting the layer's adjustment to the image is non-destructive, meaning that pixels in the image are not permanently modified. Add adjustment layers, and select an adjustment type from the new adjustment layer list from the layer. Figure 11 is the original image with no adjustment layer added. (Figure 11)

When you select a type of adjustment layer from the menu, two dialog boxes appear. The layer name, opacity, blending mode, color encoding, and grouping with the previous layer appear in the New Layer dialog box. After naming the adjustment layer, click OK. In the Second pop-up dialog box, the Special Adjustment option you selected appears. If you do not want the first dialog box to appear, you can create a new adjustment layer by using either creating a new fill layer or adjusting the layer icon at the bottom of the layers panel. In the example below, we have to make vivid adjustments to the water and rock in the image to make it more detailed. Let's start by adding a curve adjustment layer to the image. Open the Curve dialog box, drag the curve up, the image details gradually displayed. If the curve is raised more violently, the sky will become very bright and the waves will become too bright to lose details. But don't worry about these now, just click OK as long as the ocean and rock look okay. (Figure 12)

The new adjustment layer appears above the current layer in the Layers panel. It consists of two small thumbnails-the one on the left is the adjustment layer thumbnail, the adjustment layer to select the thumbnail, and the right thumbnail is the layer mask for this adjustment layer. By default, Photoshop automatically adds a white mask when you create an adjustment layer, showing adjustments that affect the entire layer below. Whether you choose to adjust the layer or the thumbnail of its mask, it appears as a mask icon on the layers panel, which is different from the normal layer. Resizing a layer thumbnail is controlled by the Layer Palette option, and if you set the thumbnail size to none, all adjustment layers use the same icon, or each type of adjustment layer uses its own unique thumbnail icon. (Figure 13)

The layer mask for the adjustment layer behaves like a layer mask on any other type of layer. Painting on the mask with black will hide the adjustment, with white to show the adjustment. However, paint on the mask, the results may seem less intuitive. In other words, depending on the condition of the adjustment, applying a black brush to the mask will hide the effect and brighten or darken the image. The end result you see on the image is not the effect of the brush, but the hidden or displayed effect of the mask of the adjustment layer on the image below. For example, in this image, the curve adjusts to highlight the entire image, including those areas where the waves do not need to be highlighted. In the mask with black in the wave area paint, will make this area of adjustment effect hidden, can not play the role of brightening the image, so that this part of the darker original image revealed, the image is therefore darker. (Figure 14)

Applying black to the upper part of the mask hides the adjustment layer that highlights the sky. When the brush is also selected, continue to use the black paint the sky section to hide this part of the adjustment layer, display the original image information below. We'll repeat here again: please remember that the layer is adjusted to affect the layer below, and the mask layer only hides the adjustment effect. (Figure 15)

In this example, the black in the Mask of the sky part of the paint will completely display the original image information, but the sky part also need a certain degree of highlighting. If an area of an image needs to be adjusted with a percentage of opacity, this effect can be achieved with a gray gradient. Here, the sky part of the image needs to be highlighted, but it doesn't have to be as high as the existing adjustment layer. So, with 50% gray paint in the upper part of the mask there will be half of the current adjustment layer function, which is enough to highlight the dark part of the area. (Figure 16)

This time, maybe you want to see the work of the mask. To observe the mask, you need to hold down the ALT (win) or option (MAC) key in the Layers panel, and click the layer mask thumbnail so you can see the grayscale mask image. To see the image again, click on the layer thumbnail or the eye icon. You can edit the image in mask mode by clicking the backslash key on the keyboard. This technique is useful when you feel that there are small areas that need to be decorated, but not so obvious in the layers panel, or when you need to work on the mask separately. (Figure 17)

Finally, you may need to change the content of the layer to make the image more perfect. To change the adjustment layer, select the Layer Content option, or double-click the resize layer thumbnail in the layers panel. In this case, I have slightly increased the curve, which increases the brightness of the screen. (Figure 18)

If there are no active selections when you increase the adjustment layer, by default, the adjustment layer will work for the entire layer. However, when you add an active selection before adding an adjustment layer, select the layer to select the mask to display the selection or hide the selection. Select different options, and the active selection affects the adjustment layer differently. Photoshop automatically creates a mask based on a selection, or you can choose this option when you create a mask. This is a good way to make the color of a selection image more positive or darker or lighter. In the following example, we use the Magic wand tool to select the shaded area behind the chair, and then add a curve adjustment layer to highlight the shadow (Figure 19).

Next, in order to convert most of the images to grayscale images, just keep a colored chair, we add an adjustment layer. First, use the Lasso tool to select a target chair that needs to be retained, and then select the "select" command to choose an image other than the Chair, add a channel mixer to adjust the layer to remove the color information from the selection, make the rest of the image a grayscale image, and retain only the color of a chair. This is a common way to make part of an image prominently visible to other parts of the image. (Figure 20)

Adjusting the layer affects all layers underneath it. This means that you can correct multiple layers with a single adjustment instead of adjusting each layer individually. But sometimes, we just need to apply adjustment layers to a single layer. The easiest way to achieve this is to group the adjustment layer and the layer to be affected. In that example of the sky-ocean-land, one of the reasons the synthetic image doesn't look real enough is because of the difference in color between the land layer and the ocean layer. To make the color of the split layer similar to the color of the beach, in the Layers panel, select the land layer as the current target layer (remember: By default, the new layer in Photoshop is always established on top of the current target layer), select the layer "New adjustment layer" color balance. In the New Layer dialog box, click to select the Grouping option with the previous layer. In this way, the new adjustment layer will only work on the following layer of land. (Figure 21)

In the Color Balance dialog box, adjust the slider until the color of the cracked land layer matches the color of the beach. Note that only the color of the soil layer is changed, and the color of the ocean layer remains (even if it is under the adjustment layer with the land layer in the graph stacking order). This is because the color balance adjustment layer and the land layer are grouped together, and in the layers panel they are treated as a layer clipping group. The base layer name in the clipping group is underlined, the thumbnail of the upper layer is indented, and the left side of the layer thumbnail displays the clip Group icon, which is a small downward arrow. Tip: To create a clipboard in the Layers panel, hold down the ALT (win) or option (MAC) key, place the mouse between the two layers, and when the pointer changes to two overlapping circles with arrows, click to Group two layers. The same method is used to ungroup. But one thing to be aware of is that only contiguous layers can be included in the clip group. (Figure 22)

Another reason for grouping layers is to use a layer as the base to determine the display of other layers. In the following example, the shape of the egg is used as the base layer, and the layer to be added and grouped will display only the image in the egg shape. In other words, the shape of the egg is the mask for the grouped layers. The advantage of this approach is that once you change the shape of the egg that is the base layer, the masks that are grouped with it change immediately, and the result is the same as the result of using a mask for multiple layers that we'll discuss later. (Figure 23)

After adding flowers and inverted layers to the egg-shaped layer, target the two layers, apply the layer and group the previous layer, and group them with the egg layer. As you can see, after grouping, only the images in the egg shape are displayed in the clip group. (Figure 24)

Grouping layers can be easily relocated with the move tool. Here, the reflection layer and the flower layer are moved back to the ends of the egg shape, in addition, a layer mask is added to the reflection layer, where we create a radial gradient from black to white within the egg shape of the mask, so that the center of the reflection layer is hidden, only to cover the surrounding egg-shaped shapes in the flower layer below, To show the flower image of the egg-shaped center. If necessary, you can link the two layers so that they are deformed or moved synchronously. (Figure 25)

Another good reason to use layer grouping is to isolate the layer styles such as projections separately. For example, in this case, I hope that the beetle's projection is only on the egg, not the sky behind it, so that adding multiple layers to a single illustration can help increase the image's realism. Apply a projection style to the beetle layer first, then create a layer on the layer style, group the projection layer and the following layers with the egg layer, so that the projection layer separates from the beetle layer and displays only the projected images within the egg shape. (Figure 26)

The fill layer and the adjustment layer have a similar effect, so they are grouped into a class that keeps the original image element from being corrupted while making the image change. But the fill layer and the adjustment layer are different and do not affect the layers underneath them. A fill layer includes a solid color fill, a pattern fill, and a gradient fill.
A solid fill layer is a layer that is filled with only a single color, and you can use either a layer mask, a vector mask, or both masks. The most common use of this layer is to change its layer blending mode to emulate the manual coloring, or to create a vivid image for the Web page. Select Layer > New fill layer, solid fill, to add a solid fill layer to the image. You can name the layer at your own request, change the opacity, and select the layer blending mode. Click OK to select a color for the layer. The solid color used to fill the layer can change at any time by selecting the layer's layer content option or by double-clicking the layer thumbnail of the solid-color fill layer on the Layers panel. (Figure 27)

Like a solid-color fill layer, a gradient fill layer is a gradient-filled layer. To add a gradient fill layer, select the layer > new fill layer and gradient fill. The new layer default name is gradient fill 1, rename the layer, and change any options you want. In the Gradient Fill dialog box, click the small drop-down triangle next to the gradient preview to select a preset gradient, or click the gradient preview to bring up the gradient editor. In the Gradient editor window, you can select the gradient type, change the color label position, add color, adjust transparency, and so on. If you are satisfied, you can also name the new gradient, click the New button and save it as a preset gradient. After you create a gradient, continue to set other properties of the gradient in the gradient fill dialog, such as style, angle, zoom, and so on. (Figure 28)

If you already understand the first two fill layers, then the pattern fill layer is not a problem. It differs from the first two layers in that it is filled with a repeating pattern. Add pattern fill layer, select Layer > New fill layer, pattern Fill, rename layer, and set layer options, in the following Pattern Fill dialog box, select the preset pattern for the fill layer in the pattern picker, and use a different zoom level to resize the pattern. When the Pattern Fill dialog box is open, reposition the pattern with the Move tool, and select "link to layer" to specify that the pattern moves with the fill layer as it is repositioned. Snap to Origin aligns the origin of the layer to the original point of the pattern. In this example, the opacity of the patterned fill layer is lowered to show some clouds on the background layer. You can also use Photoshop's preset manager to load and save patterns. (Figure 29)

There are several preset patterns in Photoshop, but you know that any image in a rectangular marquee can be defined as a new pattern. Use the Rectangular marquee tool to select the area you want to define in the image, and then define the pattern command with edit > to define it as a pattern. After you have named the pattern, click OK to see the new pattern in the pattern list. The saved pattern can be used for any tool that uses a pattern fill, such as a rubber stamp tool, a Fill dialog box, and so on. To make a seam-free pattern, create a selection, copy and paste the selection image into a new document, use the displacement filter, offset the image at a distance, erase the seam in the diagram with the Rubber Stamp tool, and then select all the images to define it as a pattern. (Figure 30)

You can combine adjustment layers or fill layers in a variety of ways, permanently applied to the image. When you apply a fill layer and an adjustment layer, if the mask contains only white values, the file size is not significantly increased, so there is no need to merge these adjustment layers to save file space.

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