Have you ever been working on a page and, way done
the line, realized that something you had done was in fact a mistake?
It looked good, at the time, cut little Johnny into an oval, but
now you are not so sure, and you have gone way past the stage of
having step back to take in your History Palette.
Photoshop is loaded with wonderful ways to avoid
making “destructive changes” these are changes that
you cannot undo – erasing, de-saturating, dodging, burning,
filters etc are examples, the more you can avoid these changes,
the better. Non-destructive changes are made by way of features
such as layers, masks, adjustment layers.
Anyone who uses Photoshop quickly becomes familiar
with layers - layers are fabulously non-destructive…….
At any point, if something is on its own layer, you can move it,
change its size, remove it from view by switching off its eye, the
more layers you have the more freedom you have to change your mind,
if you find the list long, use layer sets to manage them. I save
every layout I do in its .psd format, it gives me the freedom to
change my mind even years later. I never know when I may like to
correct something, change something, add something. I know they
are huge space gobblers, back them up onto CDs are DVD’s,
but keep them safely somewhere where you can find them again easily.
The basic principle of masks is that black “erases”
but its not really gone as brushing again with white reveals what
was originally there……
With the example of the cutting of Johnny into an
oval the destructive way would be to make your selection, Select
> Inverse, hit delete key, pixels gone forever! How much better
you’d have felt if you had applied a mask to the picture,
and “got rid” of the parts you did not want in this
way? You are wanting to “hang” a charm from your title
on a layout, and because part of the charm hanger needs to be behind
the title, unless you use a mask you will immediately get the eraser
tool and erase away – what happens if later you change the
size of the charm, the title, you will begin again, as those pixels
are forever gone. If you are unfamiliar with, or scared of (don’t
laugh, it took me ages and ages to pluck up the courage to first
try them, now most layers have masks on them!) masks, do yourself
a favour, become familiar with them – there are a couple of
tutorials here at DSP – one here and another one here.
Adjustment layers are sort of an extension of layers
themselves, their little icon is the 4th from the left in the layers
palette, half black, half white. Remember, an adjustment layer affects
ALL layers below it, if for example at the top of your layer you
introduce a hue adjustment layer it will affect your whole LO, which
is fine if that’s what you want! However if it is just, say
the background that you want to change, this layer must be immediately
above the background layer. The destructive way of doing this would
be to do an Image > Adjustment >hue & saturation change
on the background layer itself, if later on you realize it has all
been a mistake, no going back….., an adjustment layer, however
can be modifies, edited or deleted all together.
Play around with these layers; they can give you
wonderful effects as you can change the blend modes, opacity just
as you would a “regular” layer.
I hope this has given you lots to think about -
these are just some of Photoshop ‘s great, non-destructive
features, there are plenty more, read your help, do all the tutorials
you can, the more you learn the better you will be, the more you
will enjoy your wonderful program.
N.B. Never work on the original of a photograph,
ONLY on a copy, however non-destructive the methods you use are,
you could make a nasty mistake!
© Meryl Bartho February, 2006