How to use Layer Masks and Adjustment Layers in Photoshop

Free Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets by MCP™

How to use Layer Masks and Adjustment Layers in Photoshop

Do the words “adjustment layer” or “layer masks” scare you?

If so, this revised video (which includes Photoshop versions up through CS4) is a MUST Watch, Must Share, and Must Bookmark.

Here are some notes to help you along:

– White Reveals (shows)

– Black Conceals (hides)

– Use a “airbrush soft round” to paint (change the hardness as you get close to subject if you can see halo or marks but never go to 100% hardness)

– Make sure your layer mask is selected (has a box outlined around it)

– Change the opacity of the brush as needed for more control – I often work with a low opacity brush and let the effect build.

– Shortcuts used “[ or ]” – the left bracket makes brush smaller and right bracket makes the brush bigger

– D puts default colors as swatches (white foreground/black background) – X swaps these two.

Free Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets by MCP™
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  1. Wayne
    August 23, 2012 at 9:42 am —

    Excellent! I was having trouble figuring out how to change an adjustment layer mask to Hide All and how to show what I had painted, you covered both of these. Also good hints on keyboard shortcuts and brush design. Thanks!!

  2. Saurabh
    October 19, 2011 at 10:23 am —

    Excellent !
    This is what I was desperately looking for.

  3. Angela
    May 5, 2011 at 8:53 pm —

    Love you lady..I’ve been perplexed by inverted masks. I could see them used in actions, but couldn’t for the life of me figure them out when trying to do my own edits. THANK YOU!

  4. July 7, 2010 at 9:00 pm —

    Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

  5. June 17, 2010 at 7:30 pm —

    Truly great article as for me. It would be nice to read a bit more about such theme. Thanks for posting such info.


  6. Gale
    July 3, 2009 at 10:43 am —

    Fantastic tutorial. I learned so much in that nine minutes.

  7. July 2, 2009 at 5:23 pm —

    Thanks, this is excellent.

  8. July 2, 2009 at 12:51 pm —

    I so need to take one of your classes! That was awesome, thanks for the tip! (I am familiar with using masks but not as in depth as this tutorial)

  9. Sarah
    July 2, 2009 at 11:38 am —

    Thanks for the video, I just can’t figure out how to add a layer mask in PSE6. Is it possible?!

  10. Cindy
    July 1, 2009 at 4:53 pm —

    thanks!! i appreciate you explaining curves and masking.

  11. July 1, 2009 at 4:22 pm —

    Another great tutorial Jodi!

  12. July 1, 2009 at 2:23 pm —

    What a great video! It was extremely helpful. Thank you.

  13. July 1, 2009 at 1:28 pm —

    Thanks Jodi! most of this I could even do with my PSE7! Bonus!!

  14. July 1, 2009 at 11:37 am —

    thanks Jodi, very helpful…once again!

  15. MariaV
    July 1, 2009 at 10:02 am —

    Excellent. Thank you, Jodi.

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How to use Layer Masks and Adjustment Layers in Photoshop