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Photoshop Elements > Retouching >

With Blank Layers

You can have more control over your retouching by using blank layers.

Blank layers are transparent.

They have no pixels, just a white-and-gray checkerboard pattern.

The retouching goes on a blank layer, not on the Background copy layer.

Make a Blank Layer

Do the following.

1) Select the Background copy layer (highlighted).

2) Go to Create a blank layer.

Layer 1 appears above the Background copy layer.


By placing the retouching on a Layer 1, you can do the following.


You can reduce the opacity of Layer 1 to reduce the effect of the retouching that's on the layer.

Reducing the opacity allows some of the unretouched Background copy layer to be visible.

The mixture of unretouched and retouched can create a more realistic result.


You can erase a portion of the retouching on Layer 1 by using the Eraser tool.


If it's a mess, delete Layer 1 and start over.

Change the Blending Mode

You can change the blending mode for the layer from Normal to a different one.

For example, the Luminosity blending mode will block the color information.

Only the tonal information will be visible.

If you're new to blending modes, go to Blending Modes.


You can resize the pixels on the layer with the Free Transform Tool.

Modify with Adjustment Layers

You can change the retouching on Layer 1 with an adjustment layer.

1) Make sure the Layer 1 is active (highlighted).

2) Create a Levels adjustment layer or a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer.

3) Press Ctrl + g (PSE 15: Ctrl + Alt + g) to group the adjustment layer with Layer 1.

When grouped, the adjustment layer will only affect the retouching on Layer 1.

If you haven't already done so, go to How to Group.