Adjustment Layer Masks in Photoshop CC

While Photoshop Creative Cloud has seen a move to Adobe’s always-connected software suite, the program itself is still incredibly similar to older versions, in all of the most important ways. One feature that makes Photoshop far and away the most useful image editing tool is the ability to easily make non-destructive changes and adjustments through the use of layers, specifically layer masks. In this tutorial from our new course, Andy Anderson shows how to create and work with them.

This core technique is from our brand new beginners Adobe Photoshop CC training video course now available as a download and very soon on DVD-ROM.

To get started with a your own adjustment mask, go to the Layers panel. Go to the Layer Adjustment icon¬†(seen below) at the bottom of the layers panel¬† and select an adjustment you’d like to use. In this video example, Andy chooses Black and White.


You will now have a new special Adjustment layer added to your layers panel, also seen in the screenshot above. The masking feature is a built-in quality of the adjustment layer, and you can think of it effectively as painting in reverse.

The layer processes the adjustment based on levels of white and black across the image. It begins as all white, or fully applied, evenly across the entire canvas. In our example, that leaves the entire image in Black and White.

By painting with black, or shades of gray, or using selection tools to trim away the white coverage, you can isolate areas of the canvas that you would like to have a lighter degree of adjustment. In this example, Andy shows how to bring out a subject in full color, while leaving the rest of the sample image black and white. Andy also goes step by step through making adjustments to your mask to get exactly the results you are looking for.



This is just one sample from the full course. As always there are additional demos on the product page and in our iOS app!



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