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Adobe Photoshop/purpose of layers and masking


hello, i am an absolute beginner in photoshop and i dont understand layers and masking.... what is the purpose of layers and layer mask?...i have read somewhere that it is for "non destructive" editing which means whatever we do is not permanent right? but we can undo by "revert" which will undo everything or we can undo only one or two or three things by doing "step backward" so what is the use of layers and masking?

and apart from non destructive editing what are the other purpose of layers and masking?

Hi Ajay,

Think of it as a better Eraser Tool. I almost never use the Eraser Tool on a layer. When you use a the Brush Tool on a layer mask you can paint onto the mask hiding what is on the layer instead of completely deleting it forever as with the Eraser Tool. Then if you want to bring some of the layer back you switch to white and paint it back in. This is very useful when fine-tuning a layer around the edges. This is just the basics of Mayer Mask, it can do much more.

My advice for Photoshop beginners is to watch a lot of YouTube videos, you will get a lot out of watching how others work with Photoshop.

Have fun, and don't try to learn Photoshop, it's too hard. Focus on the work you want to (or have to) do and learn just what you need to know. Then you can build on that knowledge.


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Dan Loffler


I can help with specific "How To" questions. No Photoshop Elements questions please.


I have been using Photoshop every day in my work as an Art Director and Graphic Artist since 1993 with version 2.5. I am currently employed as a Creative Director in Miami. I have taught computer graphics classes at CompUSA, Computer City. I currently teach a crash course on Photoshop to digital photographers on Digital Photography Corner's Digital Photography Cruises. I have worked as a personal Photoshop tutor for clients as far away as Seoul Korea.

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