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Video: Top 10 Tips & Tricks for Getting the Most From Layer Masks – Part 1

By Erin Peloquin  ·  Issue: January/February 2014 (v11n1)

This is an online companion video to Erin Peloquin’s “Top 10 Tips & Tricks For Getting the Most From Layer Masks” article, found in the January/February 2014 issue of Photographic Elements Techniques magazine.


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34 Replies to Video: Top 10 Tips & Tricks for Getting the Most From Layer Masks – Part 1:

  1. Sharon

    December 29, 2013 at 8:51 am

    At 01:22 the sound stops totally and although the bottom timer advances, the video does not. Please fix the file.

    • Diana K

      December 29, 2013 at 9:06 am

      Hi Sharon, I was unable to replicate this error. Try opening the video in a new window or downloading it to see if that does the trick for you. Have a Happy New Year!

  2. Cynthia

    December 29, 2013 at 9:04 am

    I just played the video, and it is working fine.

  3. Sharon

    December 29, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Please disregard my above statement. I downloaded the file again and it was fine. The first time it did not totally download. Thanks. Very interesting. Layer masks were always confusing to me but this really helped :)

  4. Jean

    December 29, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Excellent video and explanations..Thanks Jean

  5. Gene

    December 29, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Very instructive video but the sound quality could be better. Try moving the microphone closer or use a lavaliere or headset mic to reduce the echo effect. Thanks for your good work!

  6. Bill

    December 29, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    thank you

  7. Edwin N.

    December 31, 2013 at 8:38 am

    I, too, am finding the Sound Quality very poor. This is perhaps the first Video that I am experiencing this problem. The content is fine and I am using the Magazine to clarify the Video.

  8. Jerry

    December 31, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Can’t open the video.
    Happy New Year

    • Diana K

      January 2, 2014 at 4:37 pm

      Hi Jerry, Have you tried downloading it to your computer?

  9. JoAnn

    December 31, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    This video was very helpful. I finally was able to download the video. Would like to see more of this type of video on other procedures in Photo Elements. The question I have is how did you get the smoothing layer? Please do a video on smoothing..

    • Erin

      February 13, 2014 at 12:22 pm

      HI JoAnn. I wrote a piece about portrait editing, including skin smoothing, for the Nov/Dec. magazine. Have you seen that one?

  10. Sybille

    January 2, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    I only get the sound and no picture at all.

    I have downloaded the video a couple of times – same result.

    • Diana K

      January 2, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      Hi Sybille, Have you tried opening it in a new window?

  11. Jacob

    January 3, 2014 at 9:13 am

    I enjoyed this video. I started making prints in a darkroom over 30 years ago and missed the burn/dodge tools in Elements. I used the full version at work for years and had them there. This shows me a better way to get better results, more precise. My biggest weakness has always been understanding how to use layers and masks. I will work on improving in 2014. I am almost finished a project where I have been scanning and restoring pictures and slides I have taken and am now tweaking individual pictures.

  12. Alfred

    January 5, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    Dear Erin, …thatnk you for an excellent video that really helped me to BEGIN to understand layer , I eckon if I watch it another few times I might get more adept at understanding it all…masks have been a mystery to me for a long time. When you did this video you did us all a great service, again..tha k you …Ben

  13. SM

    January 8, 2014 at 12:21 am

    This is the first video I have ever had trouble with.
    I have downloaded it twice and both times get the sound and no video. I do get the video on the webpage but that is slow and disjointed. I prefer to save the files so I can go back and watch them again.
    It is a very big file and I’m reluctant to try a third time and use up my data quota.
    The file has a Size of 333.968 KB and Length of 00:12:56. Does this look right?
    How can I check if the file / download is faulty?

  14. Edwin N.

    January 8, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Hi, how did you set up the “Skin Softening Layer”? I can’t find it in the Application or in Barbara Brundage PSE 11.

    • Erin

      February 13, 2014 at 12:23 pm

      HI Edwin. Have you seen the Nov/Dec 2013 edition of the magazine? I wrote an article on advanced portrait editing that includes the skin softening technique.

  15. Diana

    January 8, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    Those of you having problems viewing any of the videos might try the free VCL Media Player. Many of us on Elements Village have used it for several years with great results for viewing videos we’ve had problems with. Here’s the link:

    Hope this helps.

    Diana Day

    • SM

      January 11, 2014 at 6:32 pm

      thanks, Diana
      the video works now that I have downloaded and am using VCL

      • Diana

        January 11, 2014 at 6:51 pm

        I was pretty sure that would solve your problem. I use VLC exclusively for viewing all types of videos & movies since I first downloaded it several years ago, and have downloaded their upgrades several times. I’m glad that worked as well for you. :-)


      • SM

        January 11, 2014 at 7:11 pm

        I have seen lots of people report trouble with the videos during the few years I have been a member and could not understand what the problem was.
        I think it would be a good idea to add your advice along with:

        “Problems viewing this video? Try opening it in a new window.”

        Problems viewing this video? Try opening it in a new window.
        Many of us on Elements Village have used VCL Media Player for several years with great results for viewing videos we’ve had problems with. Here’s the link:


      • Diana

        January 11, 2014 at 7:25 pm

        I’ll pass your suggestion on to my editor. Thanks, SM.


  16. Ida

    January 9, 2014 at 7:49 am

    Can you tell where the skin softening layer came from and how it was made?

    • Diana

      January 9, 2014 at 8:20 am

      Hi Ida,

      I’m not sure the exact method Erin used to create her skin softening layer, but from the looks of that gray layer, it may have been a method similar to the one used in the tutorial at this link, which uses the High Pass Filter. The tutorial is written for Photoshop, but it works the same for Photoshop Elements.


  17. Woodie

    January 11, 2014 at 9:59 am

    I like!

  18. william

    January 13, 2014 at 8:45 am

    I’d like to work through this article using images from the article. Can’t figure out how to download images.

  19. Lynne

    January 17, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    I agree with William … I would love to be able to download this image to work through the exercise.

    • Diana

      January 17, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      Hi Folks,

      You can download the example image at this page:

      Scroll down, and under Downloads, click on “Download this File” beneath “Download this article as a PDF.” It should then load the photo onto your screen. Right click on the photo, and from the pop-up menu, select “Save Image As.” A “Save As” dialog should pop up where you can navigate to your Desktop, or a folder somewhere, where you wish to save it. Then click the Save button.

      These are steps for a Windows PC. I’m not sure how different it would be for a Mac.

      Hope this helps.

      Diana Day

  20. Laura

    February 4, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    Great stuff! I’ve been a little flummoxed by this whole “layer mask” business, and this helps considerably in sorting things out. Will watch the next . . . well, next!

  21. Jacob

    February 12, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Hey, I found my burn/ dodge tools hiding behind a sponge, who knew. Glad to have found my friends again for those really quick fixes.

  22. Daniel

    February 19, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    Hi, You never once said how you added the skin softening layer.

  23. Meraj

    March 6, 2014 at 9:55 am

    It’s one of the best tutorial on Layer Mask I have seen. A job very well done and very nice explanation. By the way, I do not know anything about layers and this cleared up a lot for me. The only problem I had with the video was that halfway, all of a sudden it popped up the “Pause” icon and grayed out the video a little but the video was still playing. It went away after a few seconds. It did it once again a few minutes later and then went away again.

    Over all an excellent job. Now off to find the tutorial on skin softening tutorial.

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