Change Color Only One Layer Photoshop

By | 23/11/2022

Lesson ten: Doing More with Layers



Every bit we discussed in our lesson on understanding layers, in that location are many ways to employ layers in Photoshop. So far, nosotros’ve covered a few cardinal skills, including how to utilize aligning layers. In this lesson, we’ll encompass some of the more advanced options,
similar opacity,
blending modes,
layer masks
, and
layer groups. We’ll also provide links to boosted resources if you want to learn more most using these tools.

If you’d like to follow along, you tin download our example file.

Layer opacity

You can control the
for about every layer in a Photoshop document. The opacity determines how
the layer volition be. In other words, it controls how much the layers below tin can show through. Take a look at the instance below.

image showing varying levels of transparency

This example uses two dissimilar Text layers and a Background layer. The
text layer has an opacity of
100%. This layer is completely opaque, significant nothing below the messages tin can show through. Past contrast,
text layer has an opacity of
15%. This layer is generally transparent, significant yous can
see through
the letters to the groundwork layer.

You can likewise alter the opacity of an
Aligning layer
to make it more subtle. For example, if you accept a Curves layer that is also intense, you could reduce the opacity to 70-80%. In many situations, this may be easier than modifying the adjustment layer itself.

To adapt layer opacity:

  1. Select the desired layer, then click the
    drop-down arrow at the tiptop of the

    Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop CC

  2. Click and drag the
    to adapt the opacity. You’ll see the layer opacity alter in the document window every bit you motility the slider. If you set the opacity to 0%, the layer will go
    transparent, or invisible.

    Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop CC

Try this!

Open the example file, then adjust the opacity of the
to see the issue.

Background transparency

By default, most Photoshop documents use a
layer. You cannot adjust the opacity of a
layer, and it cannot exist hidden. This is because you won’t desire the background to have transparency for most projects, peculiarly if you’re working with a photograph.

Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop CC

However, there are some situations where you may want a
transparent background. If you’re creating a logo for a website, for example, a transparent groundwork will let the website’south groundwork color to evidence through, giving the logo a more seamless and professional await.

If you’re post-obit along with the instance file, try
hiding all layers except the Acorn layer
. Encounter the
checkerboard pattern
behind the acorn? This means the background is
completely transparent. The checkerboard won’t actually exist exported when y’all save your image; information technology’s only there to indicate transparency.

Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop CC

Note that if you want your epitome to have a transparent background, you lot’ll need to relieve it in a
format that can handle transparency. Nosotros recommend using the
format, which is available in the Save for Web dialog box. JPEG files are unable to take transparent backgrounds, so they will salve all transparent areas as white.

Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop CC

Blending modes

In addition to adjusting opacity, you can use different
blending modes
to control how the layers in your certificate are mixed together. The blending mode menu is located at the top of the
panel, next to Opacity.

If you’re following along with the example file, select the
layer. Notice that the blending mode is set to
Multiply. Fifty-fifty though the opacity of the Record layer is set to 100%, this blending mode allows the turquoise color from the layer below to show through.

Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop CC

To change the blending mode, click the
Blending Mode
drop-down carte du jour, then select the desired fashion. In the example below, irresolute the blending fashion to
will still allow the turquoise groundwork to prove through, only this fourth dimension information technology appears on the record instead.

Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop CC

Each blending style creates a dissimilar effect, and some are much more noticeable than others. It’s as well important to note that blending modes will work differently depending on the

of your layers. This means many blending modes may look unnatural, and information technology’due south unlikely that all of the modes will look skillful in your project.

While blending modes give you a lot of flexibility, they tin likewise be catchy to utilise. To learn more than about blending modes, review this tutorial from Photo Web log End.

Clipping masks

Earlier in this tutorial, we covered using adjustment layers to correct images. By default, adjustment layers will bear upon all layers below them. Yet, at that place may exist times when you only want an aligning layer to affect
i layer. To do this, you can utilise a
clipping mask.

If you’re following along with the example file, locate the
small arrow
next to the
Gradient Map
layer. This indicates that a clipping mask has been practical, which limits the adjustment layer to but the
layer below.

Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop CC

To apply a clipping mask, press and hold the
cardinal on your keyboard (or
on a Mac), then click between the desired layers in the
panel. In this example, we’re clicking between the Slope Map and Acorn layers.

Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop CC

Y’all can as well employ this method to
a clipping mask. Releasing a clipping mask does non delete the layer, simply it causes it to
deport like a normal layer. For case, if yous release the clipping mask for the Gradient Map layer in the example file, information technology will impact the color of all of the layers beneath it instead of merely affecting the Acorn layer.

It’due south also important to notation that yous tin can apply a clipping mask to multiple adjustment layers above the same layer. For this reason, if you’re already using clipping masks in your document, new adjustment layers may use a clipping mask automatically.

Try this!

Open the example file. Select the
layer, then add together a
adjustment layer. Make sure a clipping mask is applied to the new layer, then modify the curves in the Properties console. Notice how the curves adjustments only bear on the Acorn layer. Next, try
reducing the opacity
of the aligning layers to

To learn more about clipping masks, review this tutorial from Adobe.

Layer masks

Sometimes you may want only sure parts of a layer to be visible. For example, you might want to
remove the groundwork
from a layer so the layers beneath information technology tin can bear witness through. While you lot could employ the
tool to remove the parts you don’t want, this blazon of subversive editing may exist difficult to undo. Fortunately,
layer masks

allow you to show and hibernate parts of whatever layer in a nondestructive way.

Creating a layer mask can be a bit complicated, so let’s get-go by looking at i that’due south already finished. If you’re following along with the example file, select the
layer. Here, we used a layer mask to hide, or
mask out, the background so the acorn is the but part of the layer that’s visible. The layer mask is represented past the black-and-white thumbnail to the right of the layer icon in the
panel. Notice how the areas that are visible in the document window represent with the white expanse on the layer mask thumbnail.

Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop CC

The important thing to recognize here is that the background of the Acorn layer hasn’t actually been removed; information technology’southward just hidden. If we e’er wanted to testify more of the original prototype, we could
or fifty-fifty
the layer mask.

To edit a layer mask:

To better understand how layer masks work, let’southward try editing the the Acorn layer mask. We’ll exist using the
tool, and then if you’ve never used information technology we recommend reviewing our lesson on working with brushes.

  1. Select the layer mask thumbnail in the
    panel. In our example, we’ll select the thumbnail adjacent to the
  2. Next, cull the
    tool from the
    console, then set the
  3. Click and drag your image to
    reveal areas
    in the layer. In this case, we’re revealing more of the background by calculation white pigment to the layer mask.

    Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop CC

  4. Set the Foreground Color to
    black, and so click and drag your prototype to
    hibernate areas
    in the layer.
  5. Continue using the Brush tool until you’re satisfied with the event.

You’ll need to take your fourth dimension and piece of work carefully to get the best possible result, especially when refining the edges of the layer mask around an object. It may be helpful to accommodate the
hardness, and
of the Brush tool.

To create a new layer mask:

Now that you know more than nearly layer masks, you may want to try creating your own.

  1. Select a layer, then click the
    Layer Mask
    push button

    at the bottom of the
    panel. In our example, nosotros’ll create a new layer mask for the

    Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop CC

  2. The layer mask will announced equally a
    white thumbnail
    next to the layer icon in the
    panel. You lot can then select the thumbnail and use the
    tool to edit the layer mask.

    Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop CC

Note that you can apply
multiple layer masks
to the aforementioned layer. However, this tin become complicated, then we recommend using only one layer mask per layer.

Using layer masks with adjustment layers

Y’all tin use a layer mask to control
which areas of your paradigm are affected
by an adjustment layer. For example, if you have a
Blackness and White
aligning layer, you lot could use a layer mask to convert specific areas to black and white while leaving other areas unaffected.

Every adjustment layer has a layer mask by default, so you won’t need to create a new i. You tin merely click the layer mask and then use the Brush tool to edit it.

To remove a layer mask:

  1. Click and drag the layer mask thumbnail to the
    Trash Can
    in the lower-correct corner of the
  2. A dialog box volition appear. Choose
    to remove the layer mask. Choosing
    will actually remove the parts of the layer that are currently subconscious, so you’ll want to avoid this option unless you lot’re absolutely certain that you no longer need these parts of the prototype.

Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop CC

You can also printing and hold the
primal and click the thumbnail to temporarily disable the layer mask.

Creating and editing layer masks tin be a challenging task, and at that place are many other methods for achieving good results. To larn more, review these tutorials:

  • Mask Out Part of an Epitome (Adobe)
  • A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Masking in Photoshop (Design Shack)

Layer groups

One time you start working with multiple layers in your document, information technology can exist difficult to continue them organized. Fortunately, Photoshop allows you lot to
your layers. Yous can use groups to keep related layers together, movement and edit multiple layers at once, and much more than.

To create a group:

  1. Locate and select the
    push at the bottom of the

    Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop CC

  2. A new empty grouping will appear. If you want, click and drag the group to
    within the Layers panel.
  3. Click and drag any layer to the
    grouping icon
    in the Layers console, then release the mouse. Layers that are in a group will be slightly indented from the other layers in the console.

    Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop CC

  4. Click the arrow to
    the layer.

    Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop CC

  5. You can at present manipulate all of the layers in the group at once. In this example, nosotros’re clicking the
    eye icon
    to hide all layers within the group.

    Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop CC

If you’re using Photoshop Elements, you won’t be able to create new groups. However, you lot will exist able to view existing groups when working with files created in the full version of Photoshop.

Try this!

Open the example file and
create a group. Click and drag all of the
layers into this new group. Next, select
Group 1, so
reduce the opacity to 70%. Discover how this changes the opacity for all layers within the grouping.

To learn more about layer groups, review this tutorial from Adobe.

Merging and flattening layers

If y’all no longer need to edit sure layers, you might consider
them. At that place are many reasons you might want to combine certain layers. For example, if you accept multiple adjustment layers you might want to merge them into a unmarried layer before applying other changes, such every bit sharpening or racket reduction.

To merge layers, select the get-go layer, press and hold the
cardinal, and click the last layer you desire to merge (all of the layers between the showtime and last will exist selected). Side by side, right-click the layers and select
Merge Layers. You can as well select the layers and and so printing

on a Mac).

Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop CC

Merging will remove the flexibility and command layers provide, and then yous should merely combine layers if you’re sure you no longer need to edit them individually.

Note: Make sure to right-click the
layer proper noun, not the layer icon. Otherwise, the carte volition not announced.

Y’all tin also combine all of the layers in your document into a single
layer. This is known as
the image. To do this, correct-click any layer, so select
Flatten Prototype.

Flattening an image is one manner to simplify a circuitous Photoshop project. However, information technology’s of import to note that yous
do not need to flatten images
before exporting them. When saving a project every bit a JPEG or PNG file, all of the layers volition be flattened automatically considering these file formats cannot take multiple layers.

Try this!

Open the example file. Select the
Gradient Map
layers, then

To learn more about merging layers, review this video tutorial from Adobe.