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Photomontage >

5.2– Using Photoshop Elements >

Erase Part of a Layer

1 – Mac Students

When you see Ctrl in the tutorial, use the Cmd key instead.

2 – Erase Part of a Layer

1) Click the top layer to make it active (darker blue).


2) Select the Eraser tool on the left side of your screen.


Get Ready to Erase

Do you see a circle in the work area?

That's a brush.

Is the brush too small or too big?

Note, the bracket keys are to the right of the P key on your keyboard.


Press the left bracket key repeatedly to make the brush smaller.

Press the right bracket key repeatedly to make the brush larger.

[ – Smaller

] – Larger


3) Click on your photograph in the work area, hold, and drag.

4) Click OK if the window below appears.


5) Click on your photograph in the work area, hold, and drag.

You've created a hole in the top layer.

You can see the bottom layer through the hole.


You can see the hole in the layer stack.


There are more Eraser tool settings.

3 – Check Tool Options

At the bottom of your screen, the Photo Bin has disappeared, replaced with Tool Options.

Tool Options is where you can change the settings of a tool.

If you don't see Tool Options, click its icon at the bottom of your screen.


Referring to the red numbers in the screenshot below, check the following:

1) The plain Eraser tool is selected (upper-left corner).

It's the one in the upper-left corner of Tool Options.

2) Opacity is at 100%.

100% opacity means the brush removes all of the image.

Lower the opacity percentage to remove less.

3) Brush is selected.


Don't Use the Size Slider

That's because the best way to change the size of a brush is to use the bracket keys on your keyboard, as mentioned above.

[ – Smaller

] – Larger

4 – Feathering

A feathered brush produces an edge that goes from solid "paint" out to less.

The examples below go from no feathering to the most feathering.


Change the Feathering

Press and hold down the Shift key, then press one-or-the-other bracket keys.

If one of the bracket keys doesn't respond, use the other bracket key.

Shift + [


Shift + ]

The brush circle becomes less or more mottled as you cycle through the above five feather amounts.

A solid brush circle means there's no feathering.

As the brush circle becomes more mottled, the feathering is increasing.

Wait—before you can do the above—you have to change a setting.

5 – Change a Setting

Press Ctrl + k (Windows) or Cmd + k (Mac), and do the following.

1) Click Display & Cursors on the right side of the window.

2) Click Full Size Brush Tip.

3) Click OK.


6 – Lower the Opacity

Knowing where to erase the top layer—when you can't see the bottom layer—is difficult.

Do the following.

1) Click the top layer to make it active (darker blue).

2) At the top of the layers stack, click the tiny black triangle to open the opacity slider.


3) Click and hold on the slider, and move it to the left.


The top layer fades, allowing you to see the bottom layer.


4) After erasing, return the opacity of the top layer to 100%.