Adobe Photoshop - Level 1 - Layers

Photoshop Screengrab

Photoshop Screengrab

Welcome to the Adobe Photoshop Level 1 course.

Photoshop is probably the most powerful image processing software and that means that there is a lot to learn. In this course we concentrate on Layers and how to use them. We'll look at creating new layers for making edits to our images, such as removing unwanted items in the image. We will also use Adjustment Layers to change certain aspects of our images and in addition we will use Masks to control which elements of the image are changed.

Task 1:

Firstly we will start off the session by each of taking a series of shots in the studio. The photographs will be taken on a tripod and will be wide angle. The first shot will be of the studio with one person standing or sitting at a desk. For the second image that person will move to another position whilst being careful not to overlap with the previous and taking care not to move the camera at all. We will repeat this process until we have three shots with the same person in different positions.

Once we have downloaded our images to our computers and begin the process to combine all three to make a surreal image where one person appears three times.

Open all three images in Photoshop.

Then choose one as your base layer, probably the first image you took. Then simply copy one of the other images and paste it in to your base layer. You can do this by selecting all and then copying and then pasting on the base layer file. Alternatively you can simply drag the image from one file to the other. Repeat this process with the last image until you have three images in one file, the base layer and two further layers that you have copied.

Save your images as a Photoshop document (.PSD).

The next part is to mask your images so only part of it shows through. If all of the images align perfectly (which they should), then revealing yourself to be in the image three times should be fairly straight forward. I will walk you through this stage.

When you have finished save your file, still as a layered Photoshop Document. Then flatten the image (from the layers palette) and Save As to create you final image.

Task 2:

If we have time we will take a look at a second task, this time we will be using layers to add and remove certain parts of this image and make some selective adjustments using adjustment layers. The image on the left was processed from a RAW file in Lightroom and exported for the purposes of working on in Photoshop. The image on the right is the edited version done in Lightroom, but you spot all of the edits!?

© Andrew Newson

© Andrew Newson

Some of the edits we have made here are:

  • Extending the wooden table top where it currently stops to make it look more realistic as flooring
  • Extending the partly hidden skirting board
  • Spotting out dust spots on her jumper
  • Removing some stray hairs around her hair
  • Removing one or two skin blemishes
  • Tidying up my dodgy paintwork on the wall behind
  • Changing the colour of her eyes
  • Sharpening her eyes and features
  • Some selective edits to improve the overall look

Adding a new layer for the Floor Corner

1) Add a new layer and name the layer 'Floor Corner'

Use the clone stamp tool to paint in the missing area of flooring. This will take a bit of time to get perfect so take it slow. Remember that you will need to also add in the floorboard edge so it looks relastic.

With the clone stamp tool selected, you will also need to make sure your brush size is right for the task. I suggest a brush size of about 150 pixels for this.

Please also make sure that the clone stamp tool options are set to "All Layers" and "Aligned" is checked.

Once we have done this we will create a number of new layers to do different things.

Please create layers and name them as such:

  • Skirting Board
  • Wall
  • Jumper Dust
  • Shoes
  • Wrist
  • Under Eyes
  • Hair
  • Skin

I will now walk you through making all the edits to these layers.

We will be using the following tools:

  • Clone stamp tool
  • Spot Healing Brush Tool
  • Healing Brush Tool

Some of the final edits we will make will be with adjustment layers. By creating an adjustment layer we can apply edits to our images and then use the mask on the layer to select what parts of the image are affected.

When you are finished make sure to save your layered file and then flatten and save as for your final image.