layers and their masks

August 12, 2009

This tutorial has moved to

I am planing on doing a tutorial soon on basic image editing but before i do that i think its important to get some very important basics explained for anyone new to photoshop.

These are layers and layer masks. Both are used in photoshop CS and Elements but in slightly different ways. Dont worry, i will explain both.

Layers are how you stack images or elements of a page on top of each other. Think of them like pieces of paper. You can place an image of a field at the bottom. Then on a layer above this, place a picture of a person. You can then cut out the surrounding image of the person to reveal the field from the layer below giving you a new image…….


15 Responses to “layers and their masks”

  1. What a way to start!!??
    An excellent tutorial…looking ahead for more.


  2. Cwiddie said

    Thanks Adam that was great, very easy to understand with my limited knowledge. I just put a hover-fly on my sleeping dog’s nose. lol

    Can’t wait for the next one!

    Many thanks


  3. christina said

    Like the tutorial , nearly making me put photoshop CS3 back on my computer .It was a really good tutorial will look forward to more of these.



  4. pinkermun said

    I can’t not do it even at the first stage ,

    After open 2 images, I can not ” drap and drop ” in order to make 1 to be a layer of another , please help . Thanks

    • adwig said

      Firstly are you dragging and dropping by clicking on the image or the layer? Both should work but try both in-case its different in older versions of Photoshop. What version are you using?

      If that doesn’t work dont worry there are other ways to do this.

      First try this
      If your layer says background and has a picture of a lock on it, double click it and hit OK. now try dragging and dropping

      If that fails try this
      press ‘Ctr + a’ on the forground image. A dotted outline box should appear around the whole of the image. Copy this by pressing Ctrl + c. now go to the background image. Create a new layer (Layer > new > new layer). With this layer selected paste your iamge using Ctrl + V. hopefully you should now have the 2 images in one file.

      If not then let me know.

  5. pinkermun said

    Hello ! Adwig,

    I did it successfully now ..ha ha . Thanks for your help .


    I am now going to learn another Tip from you !

    It’s seams I don’t need to update to DSL-R


  6. pinkermun said

    I can post my sample Pic to my reply…how ? Thanks

    • adwig said

      im not sure you can. However just place your image in the digitadiversity group on flickr and put a link here so we can see.

  7. bellasimone said

    Adam –
    SMOOOOOOOCH! I’m sending you a big kiss – Thanks for making this so clear – I FINALLY get it!

  8. Renee said

    Stupid-est question. I was good following through step by step until you said “Select the colour black and then select the brush tool”. Where the heck to I select ‘black’?????? I have tried various things (I thought) but have had no luck. Please help…

    • adwig said

      at the bottom of the tools window (normally the left of the screen) there should be 2 coloured boxes overlapping. The one on top is the foreground colour and the under under is the background colour. Clicking on either of thee boxes opens a colours screen allowing you to choose a colour. You also can click the small black and white boxes next to them to change them straight to black and white. Make sure the foreground colour box is black.

      Hope that helps

      • Renee said

        Thanks! I knew it would be obvious. I was looking there, I just wasn’t setting the foreground/background thing properly. Thank you heaps

  9. Florian said

    very good and easy to follow tutorial!

    Two small things to add:
    another way to copy one image to the other is to simply rightclick on the image > duplicate layer > (pulldown menue) select the other image > click ok

    this is very useful if you work with many pictures at one time

    To make the bird fit into the other image correctly smooth its edges with the unsharp tool

  10. dip said

    awesome tutorial!!!!!!!

    now that my blurry idea on masks hav becom clear

  11. bdot said

    Hai Adwig, Thanks a lot. Waiting for more totorials from you.

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