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Learn Photoshop cc & Lightroom the easy way!

Issue 49 April 2015

• Master the art of HDR • Stack timelapses
• Improve skies • Create star trails
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Learn PhotoshoP cc & Lightroom the easy way!
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• Master the art of HDR • Stack timelapses
Learn PhotoshoP cc & Lightroom the easy way! • Improve skies • Create star trails
Issue 49 April 2015
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• Master the art of HDR • Stack timelapses
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Welcome to the latest issue of Practical Find us here…

Photoshop! If you enjoy the issue, why not
subscribe and get a whole year for just $19.99 Tap a icon to find us online
Like a trusty old car that just runs and runs, a good
tripod is a photographer’s best friend. I wouldn’t Also available on:
swap my battered old Slik for anything. And a fixed
camera opens up so many wonderful possibilities, as
we explore in this issue’s feature. We also explain
Libraries, and get creative with spiral effects. Enjoy!

James Paterson, Editor •

Highlights: WHAT’S INSIDE…

The World of Blend your Master the Share your Create amazing
Photoshop exposures art of HDR Photoshop projects spiral effects
n Be inspired by n Learn a host of n Get to know n Discover the n Add dazzle to your
the very best creative ways to Photoshop’s Merge benefits of the new images with simple
Photoshop imagery merge exposures to HDR Pro command Libraries panel in CC yet stunning spirals
By Daisuke Inoue
Using Photoshop CC Check out the steps
on Daisuke’s website to
1 For this image I divided the figure into separate body pieces,
then cut out ribbon shapes. I added shadows where the ribbons
find out how he made
cross over using the Brush tool, then made lines for the inside of the this great composite
arms. Finally, I added more ribbon shapes and used the Brush tool to James Paterson, Editor
paint highlights and shadows on them.

September I, September 2
By James Svärd
Using Photoshop CC

Photographic references taken from all types of places

2 3 enabled me to make these collages. If something is missing or
feels wrong, I use my own body to complement the image (for example,
the hands and torso, shadows and so on). The interplay with scale and
materiality is something I normally work with. The ideas are elaborated
both on paper and on the computer, because most of my work is a
combination of both.
4 By Anka Zhuravieva
Using Photoshop CS

The idea for this photo shoot

4 5 was inspired by Tolkien, the
part were elves are leaving Middle-Earth.
So I needed elfin make-up, special clothes,
an atmospheric forest, and a horse, of
course. I knew during the shoot that I was
going to use some special effects during
post-production, so I shot the frames with
this in mind. But the main part of the work
was done during the photo session, so that
the post-production mostly consisted of
colour correction and technical retouching.

Seven creative ways to
Blend Exposures
Discover how to blend a series of exposures
into a single stunning image
Even for the traditional land and sky, or something from a set position. If you want
photographer, more creative such as blending to shoot your own images for
Photoshop opens up so many altered versions of a scene, these projects, all you need
ways to blend exposures, then the tools you need are at is a tripod so that you can
allowing you to tackle tricky your fingertips. Over the next vary exposure, or capture
lighting conditions and take few pages, we’ll look at seven a sequence, or make subtle
creative control of exposure. creative ways to combine alterations to a scene, while
Whether it’s simply a case of exposures. In each, we begin the camera position remains
combining two exposures for with a series of images taken fixed throughout.
Merge Traffic
Boost your night-
time traffic trails by
combining several
frames into one
How to shoot it
01 Simply set your
camera on a tripod
and use a slow shutter speed
to capture passing cars and
buses as glorious neon-like
ribbons. Shoot several frames
for varying patterns, and
capture buses or lorries to add
height to the lights.

How to process it
Open all the images into
layers (see the box below)
then go to the Layers panel
(Window>Layers). Hold Shift
and click from the top layer to
the bottom to select them all,
then click the blending mode
menu at the top of the Layers
panel and choose Lighten.

Genius tip
Load into layers
As is often the case when opening
a series of images that are to be
blended together, the easiest way
is to select all the images, then open
them as a layered document. To
do so, either select them in Bridge,
then go to Tools>Photoshop>Load
Files into Photoshop Layers, or go
to File>Scripts>Load Files into Stack
in Photoshop. This also gives you
the option to automatically align the
layers, which can be useful if the
alignment is off between frames due
to slight camera movement.
Make dramatic skies Genius tip

Layer mask painting

Balance land and sky by combining two A simple black-to-white gradient
applied to a layer mask works well
exposures with a simple layer mask if the horizon in a scene is perfectly
straight without anything jutting
How to shoot it
the land looks dark and the upwards into it. But if there are
parts of the image that do break
Put your camera on sky looks just right. the horizon, then these will darken
a tripod and set your too, which will look odd and spoil the
camera to aperture-priority How to process it effect, so you may need to fine-tune
the layer mask. This is very easy to do,
mode. Take a shot and make Open the two images as however. Simply select the Brush
sure that the land is correctly layers, then grab the Gradient tool, highlight the layer mask’s
exposed. This will over-expose tool and choose a black-to- thumbnail in the Layers panel, and
paint with black to hide areas of the
the sky, so use exposure white linear gradient. Click the top layer, or white to reveal them.
compensation to dial in a stop Add layer mask icon, then drag It’s often best to paint gradually at
or two of under-exposure and down from the sky towards a low opacity so that the blended
areas look more natural.
take a second shot in which the land to add a gradient.
Blend skies with Lighten... Genius tip
The Lighten blending mode
The Lighten blending mode is one
Use the supplied Action to blend an entire of the most useful of Photoshop’s
timelapse sequence into a single frame 30 or so blending modes. It works by
allowing only the parts of a layer that
How to shoot it How to process it are lighter than the corresponding

03 Set up your camera

to record a timelapse
Use the Lighten blending
mode to combine all the
pixels below to show through, which
makes it the perfect choice any
time you want to place a light object
sequence so that it fires a frames from the timelapse against a dark background, such as
adding fireworks to a night-time sky.
shot every five seconds or so. sequence into a single image. In this image it enables the lighter
If your camera doesn’t have a Of course, opening hundreds parts of the clouds and vapour trails
built-in intervalometer, attach of images to combine them will from each photo in the sequence to
show through, showing their slow
a separate one. Use aperture- take far too long, so use the passage across the sky as beautiful
priority mode so the exposure handy Action we’ve provided staggered patterns.
varies as the sky changes. among the project files.

Download project files here on your pc or mac

...or Blend them with Darken Genius tip

Use the Timestack Action

The Darken mode can transform a timelapse We’ve supplied an Action that does
the job for you of combining a set of
sequence into a moody, apocalyptic scene images with either the Lighten or
Darken blending modes. The Action
How to shoot it How to process it
is among the downloadable project
Set up your camera Use the Timestack Darken files (Photoshop CS5/CS6/CC only).
As well as effects like this, you can
for a timelapse Action supplied to blend all the also use it to blend star trail images.
sequence (as described on frames with Darken blending To install it, either drag and drop
the previous page). You may mode. This means that the the timestack.atn file on an open
Photoshop window, or go to the
need to dial in a stop or two only parts of a layer that will Actions panel, click the flyout menu
of under-exposure using show are those that are darker and choose Load Actions. Once done,
exposure compensation, so than the corresponding pixels open the Actions panel and run either
Timestack Lighten or Timestack
that the sky is well-exposed on the layers below – ideal for Darken, then follow the instructions
and the foreground and birds placing multiple dark objects in the Action.
are captured in silhouette. on a light background.
Go to
Create High
page 16
for more Dynamic
on hdr
Range images
Merge a bracketed
sequence of exposures
to expand your
camera’s dynamic range
How to shoot it
05 Set up your camera
to take a series of
bracketed exposures, so
that you capture detail in
the highlights and shadows.
You’ll need three exposures or
more if the scene has lots of
contrast. Use aperture priority
so that depth of field remains
constant throughout.

How to process it
Open the image sequence
using Photoshop’s Merge
to HDR Pro command (see
page 16 for more on this) or
alternatively use dedicated
HDR software like Photomatix
Pro or Nik’s HDR Efex Pro.

Genius tip

Ideal subjects for HDR

When it comes to giving scenes the
HDR treatment, some subjects work
better than others. HDR is ideally
suited to high-contrast scenes,
because it means you can expand
the dynamic range of your camera to
record detail at the extremes of the
tonal range. So bright sunny days with
fluffy white clouds work well, as do
interiors with light shining through
large windows.
Create Star trails Genius tip

Record the circular movement of the earth by

turning your camera on the night-time sky
How to shoot it How to process it
06 Use a cable release
and set your
Like with the Timestack cloud
effect on page 9, to create
camera’s drive to continuous. these wonderful circular star Try lighting the foreground
Set manual mode, use a wide trails you need to blend the For the best night sky you need to
be away from built-up areas, and
aperture and set the shutter entire sequence of images keep ambient light in the scene to
speed to 30 seconds, then using the Lighten blending an absolute minimum. That said, you
lock the shutter with the cable mode. The Timestack Lighten can sometimes get a good result by
illuminating the foreground with a
release so that the camera Action supplied among the speedlight or with a torch during one
takes a continuous series of project files will automate the of your long exposures.
30-second exposures. task for you.
Make multiple personalities Genius tip

Shoot a person in a variety of positions, then

combine all the frames into one incredible scene
How to shoot it How to process it
07 Use a tripod and
keep exposure and
Open all the images as layers,
then hide all but the bottom
focusing consistent between two layers. Grab the Lasso tool Shallow depth of field
frames. Position the subject and drag a rough selection If you want to take a subtler approach
to multiplicity portraits, why not try
in different ways around the around the subject, then click blurring the clones in the background?
scene while trying to visualise the Add layer mask icon to hide Simply fill the frame with your
how it will all look when put it the rest of the layer, revealing main portrait, focusing on the eyes
to keep them sharp, take a shot,
together. Shoot a variety of the figure on the layer below. then reposition the person in the
poses. With careful placement Repeat for the other layers, background. For a shallow depth of
you could even get your clones then add a tonal effect on top field use aperture-priority mode and
open the aperture to about f/4.
to interact with one another. of everything.

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project info

You’ll learn
How to use
Photoshop’s powerful
HDR tool to blend multiple
images to create a striking
high dynamic range image
What you’ll need
Photoshop CC
subscription, plus three
or more raw files with
different exposures of the
same scene
It only takes
10 minutes

Create high-impact scenes

packed with tone and detail
Discover how Photoshop CC’s Merge to HDR Pro tool enables
you to boost tone and detail, creating eye catching HDR images

01 Select the
raw files
Open Bridge and browse to
the folder containing the
images to include in the HDR
blend. (We’ve provided a set
in the downloads.) Select the
images and then click Tools>
Photoshop>Merge to HDR
Pro. After a few moments the
images will open. Leave Default
as the Preset and 16 bit Local
Adaptive as the Mode.
02 Remove the ghosts
Our scene shows some
movement in the clouds
between shots, which appears
as ghosting. To combat this,
click Remove Ghosting. This will
usually sort out the problem. If
the ghosting remains, however,
then try switching off a few of
the images in the thumbnails
across the bottom of the
screen. Reducing these by one
or two will also speed up the
processing time.

03 Add edge glow

The Edge Glow section
relates to the edge contrast
of the elements in the scene.
Start by increasing the Strength
and then the Radius. You want
to try to increase the edge
contrast while minimising the
appearance of edge haloes.
For this image a Radius of 40
and Strength of 1 does the job.
Contrast in the image can be
boosted by the Detail slider in
the next set of options.

04 tweak the tones

These sliders enable you
to boost the HDR look. Use
the Gamma slider to set your
images’ midtone points, and
then the Exposure to set the
brightness. The Detail slider
should now be used (with
caution) to boost the midtone
contrast and really get the HDR
look. Finally, use the sliders
under the Advanced tab to
recover detail in the Shadows
and Highlights.
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Make your Photoshop projects’ assets accessible on multiple
computers by storing them within the new Libraries Panel
project info

GENIUS tip! Collaborate with others You’ll learn

How to upload assets
to the Adobe Creative
If you’re working on a project with address of the colleague you want to Cloud and access them via
colleagues, then you can share your share with, and type a message. Click Photoshop CC’s Libraries
Photoshop Library assets with ease. the Invite button. A label will appear
You’ll need
Click the fly-out icon at the top right of indicating that the colleague has been The latest updated
the Library pane and choose Collaborate. invited. After he clicks the Accept version of Photoshop CC
This will launch a browser displaying your Invitation icon in his email, he will then – 2014.2.2
Library in the Adobe Creative Cloud. be able to access, use, and even edit the
It’ll take
A text field will appear. Enter the email assets in your shared project. 5 minutes
tap here to
see video


Learn how to create glowing cirles of light using a simple star
picture, then composite it in a photo with 3D depth-of-field tools
This image was born out of turn that bright spot into an asset project info
a mistake that happened and build a few effects around
You’ll learn
during the shoot. The idea was to it? To do so, we’ve used an image How to add lens flare,
light the model from behind with of some stars, downloaded for spiral effects and depth of
field to your images
a speedlight, but the positioning free from the NASA website. The
was slightly off and the speedlight spiral effect may look complicated, You’ll need
Photoshop CS6 or CC
ended up in the shot, producing but with a simple shortcut, it only
It’ll take
an unsightly bright spot. We liked takes a few seconds to create. 20 minutes
the pose, so we thought, why not Here’s how…
Download project files here on your pc or mac
01 Render a
lens flare
Open woods_before from the
downloads. Click the Create
new layer icon in the Layers
panel, then press D to set the
foreground colour to black,
and Alt+Backspace to fill the
layer. Change the blending
mode to Screen, then right
click the layer and choose
Convert to Smart Object. Go
to Filter>Render>Lens Flare.
Choose 50-300mm.

02 Add more
Tweak the position and click
OK. You can double click the
Smart Filter on the layer to re-
enter the lens flare settings if
necessary. Next, press Cmd/
Ctrl+J to duplicate the flare
layer. Double click the Smart
Filter, choose a different flare
type and brightness, adjust the
position, then click OK. Repeat
the process to add more flares
across the image.

03 add the stars

Shift-click between the
top and bottom flare layers to
highlight them all, then press
Cmd/Ctrl+G to group them.
Go to the NASA website and
download a high-res image
of some stars (we found ours
Open the image, then press
Cmd/Ctrl+A to select all, Cmd/
Ctrl+C to copy, then go to the
main image and press Cmd/
Ctrl+V to paste the stars in.
04 Blend with Screen
Press Cmd/Ctrl+T to
transform the layer, then hold
down Shift while dragging the
corner to enlarge it. Press Enter
to apply. Go to the Layers panel
and change the blending mode
of the stars layer to Screen.
Press Cmd/Ctrl+L for Levels,
then drag the midpoint to the
right slightly and the white
point inwards to add contrast
and get rid of some of the
background noise.

05 Copy, rotate
and shrink
Press Cmd/Ctrl+J to copy the
stars layer, then press Cmd/
Ctrl+T to enter Transform
mode. Hold down Shift+Alt
and drag one of the corner
points inwards to make the box
slightly smaller from the centre
point, then drag outside the
corner point to rotate the layer
slightly. Press Enter to apply the
transformation. Now comes the
clever bit…

06 Create the spiral

with step & repeat
Press Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+
Alt+T. This duplicates the
layer and repeats the last
transformation command in
one go, creating the beginning
of a spiral pattern. Press the
shortcut many more times
to repeat until you have lots
of copies of the layer that
gradually get smaller and
smaller, resulting in a spiral
pattern of stars.
07 Merge the layers
and make a 3D mesh
Shift-click between the top and
bottom star layer to highlight
them all, then press Cmd/Ctrl+E
to merge them all into a single
combined layer. Go to 3D>New
Mesh from Layer>Postcard.
Go to the 3D panel (Window>
3D) then highlight the
new merged layer. Use the
axis controls to rotate and
reposition the spiral as shown in
the screengrab on the right.

08 Add the depth

of field effect
We can add depth-of-field
effects to 3D shapes. Highlight
Current View in the 3D panel,
then go to the Properties panel.
Set Depth to about 1.3, then
use the Distance slider to adjust
the point of focus to keep the
centre of the spiral sharp. When
you’re happy with the blur, right
click the 3D layer in the Layers
panel and choose Rasterize 3D.
Click the Add layer mask icon.

09 Mask and tone

Grab the Brush tool and
paint with black to hide the
spiral over parts of the body
to make it look like it’s behind
the figure. Finally, add a Hue/
Saturation adjustment layer,
set the blending mode to Soft
Light. Check Colorize and set
Hue 37, Saturation 15. Finally,
copy in the stars image again,
set the blending mode to
Screen and position a few more
small stars in the background.
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Your quick-start guide and reference
to image editing in Photoshop

If you’re relatively new to editing in typical image-editing workflow in Photoshop,

Photoshop, or you just don’t know an overview of raw file editing, a guide to the
where to begin, then this section is the best six most useful layers, and a glossary of the
place to get started. Over the next six pages, most useful shortcuts. This guide condenses
you’ll find an overview of the different versions most of the tools and techniques you’ll use
of Photoshop available, a breakdown of the every time you import a new roll of pictures.

The Photoshop family

Four versions of Photoshop with varying capabilities…

Photoshop CC Elements 13
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20GB online storage Great value, no subscription fees
Behance Prosite ✗ Camera Raw doesn’t include any
There are constant updates to the program selective or gradient adjustments, and is limited
as soon as new features are introduced compared with Lightroom 5 or Photoshop CC
Subscription model saves large initial outlay ✗ No Curves adjustments
✗ Monthly subs not everyone’s cup of tea The ideal package for beginners and
Perfect for photographers photography enthusiasts

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£73/$136 £6.99/$9.99 tablet
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✗ There are no layers or masks, so compositing editing, especially while you’re out and about
multiple images isn’t an option Photoshop Touch includes layers and Curves
Ideal for professional and enthusiast photographers At these prices, it’s a no brainer
who don’t want a monthly subscription Ideal for mobile phone shooters and dabblers
The image-editing workflow
Manage your photos from capture to output in three stages

The image-editing process begins as

soon as you’ve transferred your photos
from your memory card to your computer.
1 The first stage is to begin sifting
through your pictures to discover which are
the keepers. The image organiser that comes
with Photoshop is ideal for this task. Adobe
Bridge has controls for keywording, rating and
filtering your images, and there are handy tools
for batch renaming files, creating panoramic
stitches, making contact sheets and more.
Launch Adobe Bridge and navigate to a
folder containing new images. Use the cursor
keys to quickly flick through the images and
click below a thumbnail to add a star rating, or
use the keyboard shortcut Cmd/Ctrl+1-5. You 2
can then filter your images by the star rating to
group the ones you want to work on.
2 The next step is to open the images
from Bridge into Adobe Camera Raw. ACR
is the best place to make initial changes to
your images to boost tones and correct any
problems with exposure and so on. It doesn’t
enable you to combine images – you’ll use
Photoshop for that – but it does enable you to
make the kind of edits photographers need.
3 In Photoshop, you can further refine 3
the image with layers and adjustment layers,
which offer a much more flexible way of
working than ACR. Once you’ve finished, it’s
time to share it with a wider audience. Go to
File>Save, and your image will be saved as a
Photoshop document (PSD). This keeps all the
layers intact, which means you can go back and
retweak the image at a later date. However,
PSD files are large and take up lots of hard drive
space. If you want to share your images online
or via email or social media, save them as JPEGs.
the basics of raw processing
Discover how to process your raw files to perfection
The latest version of the raw file rather than in Photoshop, you’ll ensure the
processor included with Photoshop is so best possible image quality, because raw files
powerful that most photos can be processed contain more picture information than bitmap
entirely in the raw processor, with no need for images such as un-layered PSDs and JPEGs.
further editing in Photoshop. And by making Here’s our reference to the features you’ll use
your adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw the most in the Basic panel.

The Basic Contrast

Makes light pixels brighter

panel in ACR and dark pixels darker

Temperature Controls the brightness
Use this slider to warm of the lightest pixels
or cool an image if the
White Balance tool fails to
correct a colour cast Shadows
Controls the brightness
of the darkest pixels
This slider enables you to
correct a green or magenta Whites
cast, again, if the White Sets a point on the tonal
Balance tool fails range at which pixels
should be pure white

Controls the overall Clarity
brightness of the image Controls the amount
of midtone contrast

Sets a point on the tonal Saturation Vibrance
range at which pixels Controls the overall colour Adjusts the intensity of
should be pure black intensity of the image the less-saturated colours
Six essential layers for photos
The six most frequently used Photoshop layers for image
editing, and how to use them to improve almost any photo
Photoshop has many types of layers used may seem a little daunting for beginners,
and adjustment layers available, but but once you’ve got to grips with them, you’ll
there are six that you’ll find you need to use find they play a part in the creative process of
again and again. Learning how they should be almost every image you make.

01 Levels
This should be the first layer you add
to an image, because it fundamentally alters
the tonal range of the entire image. Create
a Levels adjustment layer, drag the Black
Point slider inwards until it touches the left-
hand edge of the histogram, and drag the
White Point slider inwards to the right-hand
edge. This remaps the tones of the image to
make more of the available tonal range.

02 Curves
Curves is one of the most powerful
adjustment layers. An S-shaped curve
brightens the highlights and darkens the
shadows, resulting in extra contrast. Create
a Curves adjustment layer and click the
middle of the diagonal line to add a central
control point. Drag down on the lower part
of the line and drag up on the upper part of
the line to improve image contrast.

03 Hue/Saturation
This adjustment layer is best used
for altering the intensity and brightness
of individual colour channels in an image –
greens and blues in landscapes, for instance.
Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer,
click the Master menu and choose the colour
channel you’d like to adjust. Small changes
are usually the most effective.
04 Healing layer
Most photos contain unwanted
marks or blemishes. The Spot Healing Brush
tool is effective at removing these. The best
way to apply the healing is on a new blank
layer, so that you can easily tone down or
remove selected healing work later without
having to start from scratch because you
healed directly on the background layer. To
do this, create a new blank layer, choose the
Spot Healing Brush tool from the Tools panel
and tick Sample All Layers on the Options
Bar, then continue as normal. After Before

05 Dodge and Burn

One of the best ways to enhance a
photo is by lightening or darkening selected
areas of the image. This can be done with
the Dodge and Burn tools, but rather than
use them directly on the image, a separate
grey layer gives you greater control. To
create a Dodge and Burn layer, hold down
Alt and click the Create a new layer icon in
the Layers panel. Give the layer a name,
then choose Mode: Overlay. Check Fill with
Overlay-neutral color and click OK. Now use
the Dodge and Burn tools (with Range set to
Midtones) to work on the new layer.

06 Selective sharpening
Once all other adjustments have
been made, you need to sharpen the image
for output. The traditional way is to create a
merged layer at the top of the stack, apply
Unsharp Mask, then paint on the mask to
remove the sharpening from those parts
of the image you want to remain soft.
However, the Sharpen tool enables more
control over the process by enabling you to
build up the effect by brushing repeatedly
with a low opacity brush. Create a new blank
layer, select the Sharpen tool, tick Sample All
Layers and set a Strength of 50% or lower.
14 essential
keyboard shortcuts
14 keyboard shortcuts that will massively improve your
speed and efficiency while working in Photoshop

D x
Reset the foreground and background Switch the foreground and background
colours to black and white colour swatches

Alt+[scroll wheel] [ or ]
Zoom in or out of the image Resize the brush tip

Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E shift+[ or ]
Create a merged copy of all the layers in the Cycle backwards or forwards through the
layer stack layer blend modes

Space bar Cmd/Ctrl+alt+Z

Temporarily switch the current tool to the Hand Undo the last change made to the document.
tool, for moving around the image while zoomed in Works multiple times

Alt+[eye icon] Cmd/Ctrl+[layer mask]

Switch off the visibility of all other layers in the Load the currently active layer mask as
layer stack, for before-and-after comparisons a new selection

Cmd/Ctrl+I Cmd/Ctrl+T
Invert the colour of a layer mask to black Activate the Free Transform tool

Shift+[layer mask] Cmd/Ctrl+J

Disable the effects of a layer mask Duplicate the current layer
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