Layer masking in Photoshop Elements

  • Unfortunately I am a second category Photoshop user in that I only have the Elements version of the package :)

    I have been reading about Darren's layer masking techniques for selective sharpening and noise removal. Can ayone tell me if such a technique is also possible in PE? As far as I have been able to work out, I can do selective layer masking through Adjustment Layers, but only for a small selection of adjustments, e.g. Levels, brightness, etc.

  • Re: Layer masking in Photoshop Elements
    Hi Piotr. I am sorry, I dont' know Elements, but I will make some guesses which may work. I think you likely would still be able to use the eraser tool to remove portions of a layer, and you can probably vary the opacity/flow of the eraser as well. Also, I am sure you can reduce the opacity and fill of all your layers. Perhaps, you could sharpen your second layer quite highly, like I explained in my post, and then you could erase all of the areas you don't want sharpened at all completely. Then, you could make partial erasures of areas where you want some sharpening, and not erase at all where you want maximum sharpening. From here, you can tone down the amount of sharpening by varying the opacity and fill of your second layer. It should work, and, if you are careful with the flow rate and opacity of your eraser tool, I think you might have almost the same amount of control as in my method, although what you would be doing is to gradually erase sharpness instead of adding it in. My apologies if this does not work, or if it is unclear, as I am not familiar with Elements, but simply making some assumptions.
  • Re: Layer masking in Photoshop Elements
    Thanks Darren, I had a quick go with the rubber and it seems to work!

    I wonder if I can reverse the layers and make the sharpenned one the bottom layer, such that erasing the top layer (the original photo) will have the same effect as using the brush tool in your selective sharpening techique. I will give it a go.
  • Re: Layer masking in Photoshop Elements
    Yup, reversing the layers works!
  • Re: Layer masking in Photoshop Elements
    Cool. I love this stuff, trying to find a solution which works both in theory and in practice. I hope it can be helpful, I feel like a detective.
  • Re: Layer masking in Photoshop Elements
    Piotr- There are lots of plugins available for Elements, you might already know this but many are free. I'm including some links so if you're interested:
    and there are more- makes elements almost like PS.