Use Help Layers to Hack Your Photoshop Composites

Everyone loves a good hack; something that makes life a little easier.

Well, there are also plenty of hacks in Photoshop as you probably know. Here is one hack that I use to make composite manipulation easier. It has a few different names but for the sake of this article, we will call it a "help layer group." But they can also be called check layers and probably various other names I do not know of. 

In this video, I show you in real-time what each layer in the help layer group is for. The first is a black and white check layer. With this layer, you can use it to help you match dark and light tones better. This is because without any color, hue or saturation you are just looking at the tonal values.

I then move on to the next help layer which is a saturation help layer. This shows you by coloring red your image, the saturation of each element. The help layer above goes even further and removes any detail and leaves you with only saturation values. You can use this layer to match the saturation of all your separate elements.

We then move on to the hue help layer which again removes certain values and leaves you only with the hues of the image. Here you can see the hue of any separate elements and match them to fit the image. Then we move on to the final help layer which is the threshold help layer. This help layer will show you where the brightest part of your image is and the darkest point, just in case you need to manipulate where the viewer's eye goes.

All these help layers make compositing much easier, although they may take a little practice at first to use correctly. You can download a free one from Phlearn or Google how to create one yourself.

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