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Photoshop for Beginners: Essential Training

Lesson 28 of 49

Non-Destructive Editing Techniques

Mark Wallace

Photoshop for Beginners: Essential Training

Mark Wallace

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Lesson Info

28. Non-Destructive Editing Techniques
Mark explains the specific tools and techniques you should use to edit non-destructively. Use Adjustment Layers, non-destructive cropping, masks, Smart Objects, and Camera Raw effectively.


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Introducing Photoshop


The Class Materials


How To Open Files


Using The Home Screen


Exploring The Interface


Getting Additional Help


Understanding Workspaces


Lesson Info

Non-Destructive Editing Techniques

Let's talk about the best practices for nondestructive editing. We're gonna talk about seven things that you can do to make sure you get the best use of Photoshop and you preserve all of those pixels and color information for future editing. And so the first one we've already learned about that is adjustment layers. Now I've opened an image here, this is concha, she's a fantastic model I met in cambodia, we're going to do these seven things on this image here. So the first thing is an adjustment layer to change things. So we've got this background layer. Let me unlock that. I want to d saturate this a little bit. So all I have to do is just add an adjustment layer. We're gonna do let's say black and white And that's I'll just take the default. They're almost take the opacity down to about 21%. So what that does is it removes a little bit of color, it's nondestructive, I can change that at it, I can increase the opacity, I can change the adjustment layer that I'm using. It doesn't matte...

r. It's totally non destructive. Now, the other thing that we can do if we zoom in here, so I'm gonna go at 100%. We can look and see that. Well conda has a fantastic skin but she's just got a few blemishes that need to be cleared up. Now what I can do here is I can go to this layer here. The original layer and start doing some skin retouching. But if I do that original image data is lost. So the better thing to do is to take this layer and then I'm gonna drag it down to the plus here, I'm gonna make a copy. Then I can rename this layer. I'm gonna say skin skin retouch. So I'm labeling all these different layers because as we said before you might have a bunch of layers, then I can go in here and then I can get my healing brush, we're gonna talk about this a little bit later and I can go in and start retouching her skin and if I make some kind of mistake or do something that I didn't want to do, I can always go back and get the data from the lower image and then I can compare and see what I did. And so it's a much better thing when you're doing retouching to an image to just create a different layer. To do that retouching, it's totally non destructive. The other thing that we can do is we can do nondestructive cropping. So let's say that I want to take this image and I want to make make it a 16x9. I want to take some of this headroom away. If I go to the crop tool And I'm gonna go and change this ratio to a 16 x nine ratio and I can crop in a little bit. That looks pretty good. Maybe I'll bring this up a little bit, I'll move her over to about right there. I think that's pretty good. Okay that's really good. Now we have two options up here. I can delete the cropped pixels or I can d select that and not delete the cropped pixels. I don't want to delete the cropped pixels. I want to keep them. So if I ever go and crop again in the future I can bring that data back. Let me show you exactly what I'm talking about. I'm gonna crop off half of concha so I'm gonna take and just do that. So it's not a very good crop. I'll do that. Okay. Whoa I wish I had more of concha there. Well the good news is I can go into my crop tool and now I can drag this out and because I didn't delete those cropped areas I can bring that back. I didn't delete that image data. So you want to make sure you don't delete those cropped pixels, do it non destructively. So you can have all the options in the future. The other thing that we can do here perhaps we want to change some of this background. Now what we could have done is I could go and select a part of the background and then I can delete that and if I go to this bottom layer I'll select that and delete that. Well guess what we've deleted chunks of our image that we can never get back. We don't want to do that. What we learned already before I'm gonna undo all that stuff as we can just add a layer mask. And so I could go in here, I could add a layer mask and the thing that I want to brush out, perhaps I want to brush out this left hand side. I'll just turn off this lower layer. I can get a big brush and then I can brush out what I don't want or I can select what I don't want. And then I can use my paintbrush tool right here to fill that with black. That gets rid of that if I ever want it back, it's on a mask. So I just go to the layer mask, select white. And then I can get a big brush, I can paint that stuff back in. So all those masks that we learned about earlier are totally non destructive. That's a better way to do this. Now we still have three more things to talk about. The first one is to open your images and Adobe camera raw. That assumes that you know what raw images are. And we're gonna get to that in a future session. We're gonna talk a lot about adobe camera. Raw. We've got almost an entire section on that. So we're gonna put a pin in that and save that for later. The other two items that we want to use for non destructive editing are using smart objects and smart filters and that is what we're going to do next.

Class Description


  • Navigate and customize the Photoshop interface.
  • Edit images using non-destructive techniques.
  • Use layers and layer masks to create composite images.
  • Retouch portraits using advanced retouching techniques.
  • Develop scenic photos using tonal and color correction techniques.


The perfect workshop series for Adobe Photoshop beginners. This class assumes that you are new to Photoshop and want to learn how to retouch and adjust your images.

This workshop is a comprehensive overview ofAdobe Photoshop. By the end of this workshop you’ll have the skills you need to edit your images using Photoshop.

These sessions are jam packed with hands-on activities which allow you to learn by doing. Sample files are included with the workshop so you can follow along with hands-on exercises.

The sessions begin with a solid foundation and add new techniques and principles until you have mastered your post-production workflow.

By the end of this workshop you’ll have a clear understanding of the Adobe Photoshop interface, and the most commonly used tools. You’ll be able to edit scenic and portrait photos. You’ll have a solid understanding of color correction and skin retouching.

This workshop has everything you need to master Adobe Photoshop.


  • Photographers with little or no experience with Photoshop.
  • Photographers with limited or no experience with Lightroom or other post-production software.
  • Portrait photographers who want to know how to do basic skin retouching.
  • Scenic photographers who want to know how to do basic color and tonal corrections.
  • Photographers who want to know how to do basic compositing.


Adobe Photoshop 2021
Adobe Bridge 2021
Adobe Creative Cloud (all apps)


Mark Wallace is a photographer based in the United States. Best known for his web-based video series Digital Photography One on One and Exploring Photography sponsored by Adorama.

Millions of people have watched Mark’s videos on YouTube, and the numbers continue to grow. Mark has a strong social media following on Facebook and Twitter, where he spends time interacting with viewers and workshop attendees.

In 2014, Mark left the United States to embark on a 2-year worldwide adventure. He visited 28 countries and captured thousands of unique photographs across the globe.

In 2016 Mark decided to give up planes, trains, and automobiles and is now exploring the world on his motorcycle.

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Mark did a great job at explaining things and going over them multiple times throughout the lessons. My only issue was that sometimes it went a little faster than I could keep up and I needed to rewind it a bit and start again. But from someone who has never worked in photoshop before I 100% recommend this class to anyone trying to learn.