Sample All Layers – Digital Photography Tip of the Week

I have talked in the past about non-destructive editing in Photoshop Elements 5 any of the full Photoshop versions including CS2 and CS3.  This week I will introduce a way to make non-destructive edits to pixel layer detail.

Several of the tools in Photoshop Elements 5 including the magic wand, spot healing, clone stamp, paint bucket and blur tool have an option to sample all layers.  This is a great tool for fixing blemishes or small areas of pixel level detail.  Remember, we use adjustment layers for as many full images modifications as we can and those are not pixel level adjustment.

To use this feature, create a blank layer on top of your other layers and select the tool you would like to use.  Look in the options bar for a check box labeled Use All Layers.  If it is there, make sure it is checked then go ahead and use the tool as normal.  Your previously blank layer will now start to have modified data in it.  One of the nicest features about this is because your edits are on a new layer, you can adjust the opacity of those changes, or turn them off completely.

Taking advantage of all the features of the tools that you use is the best way to achieve your highest quality work. Non-destructive editing provides the most flexibility in post processing your images without risking a permanent modification to your actual photographic detail.

Until next time, happy shooting.

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