Photoshop Elements 9 Review—Layer Masks

with 13 Comments

In my opinion, the best new feature of Photoshop Elements 9 is the layer mask! I NEVER thought Adobe would add it to Photoshop Elements, but there it is—a single button at the bottom of the layers panel you can click, and PRESTO! You have a layer mask.

Layer mask button on the Layers panel

What do layer masks do? Essentially, they hide part of a layer in a nondestructive way.

There are so many ways to use layer masks that it would be hard to list them all. You’re only limited by your imagination! In the following video, for example, I use a layer mask to hide part of the effect of an overlay, so I can see one area of the photo more clearly.

You may ask, couldn’t you do that with the Eraser tool? Well, yes, you can, but the part you erase with the Eraser tool is permanent. Not so with a mask. You can adjust it as often as you please, now or 10 years from now.

So enjoy watching this QuickTime video on layer masks in Photoshop Elements 9!

If you have trouble viewing this QuickTime video, try these helpful suggestions.

Layer Mask Video

13 Responses

  1. Kim
    | Reply

    Ditto what Don said. I haven’t actually started scrapbooking yet (too many other projects).

    Is scrapbooking the only reason you use Photoshop rather than Elements? I’m looking for advice on why I should stay with Elements or upgrade to Photoshop.

  2. Pat
    | Reply

    Thanks for a great tutorial I have PS CS and wanted to upgrade but it seems all you can get now is CS5 which is an amazing program but very expensive Elements 9 is more in my price range Do you think it has more to offer then CS. Hope you don’t mind me asking this question.

    • Linda Sattgast
      | Reply

      Hi Pat. Both Photoshop and Elements work very well for scrapbooking, but if I have the choice, I always use Photoshop. Yes, it’s priced a lot higher, but if you can afford to upgrade, it’s worth it. If cost is an issue, you should be able to google CS4 and get it for a great price, and you’d still be a lot further ahead than you are with CS.

      Don’t get me wrong, Photoshop Elements 9 is a great program, but there’s a reason Photoshop costs a lot more. But the choice is up to you. PSE9 does have some very cool features, and it even has layer masks, which is one of the main things I’ve always used in Photoshop. Hope that helps!

  3. Andrea Graves
    | Reply

    You can get the downloadable Photoshop Elements 9 from
    The new functions are so cool – and Linda does a great job giving us all the new info!

    Hope that helps! 🙂

  4. charley
    | Reply

    when will you have it for sale? I will need an upgrade.

  5. Janet H.
    | Reply

    Hummmmmm – perhaps I will have to upgrade!!!

  6. Judy Nielsen
    | Reply

    Hi Linda
    Thanu you for teaching us. I upgraded to 9 yesterday, and I love the new functions.

    • Linda Sattgast
      | Reply

      Congrats! I know you’ll have fun with it!

  7. Jean C
    | Reply

    Does this get any easier? Thanks for the vido, Linda. Love the effect on that picture too.

    Still playing the the trial.

  8. Cristi
    | Reply

    Linda, Neat trick with the layer masks. I look forward to using layer masks when I upgrade to 9.

  9. Don
    | Reply

    Linda, thanks for the great tutorial on layer masks. I’m already drooling and I don’t have Elements 9 yet. Now, how to convince my wife I really need this while not having completely mastered Elements 8.

    • Linda Sattgast
      | Reply

      That is, indeed, the trick. 🙂 If you can do that, you can master anything!

    • Bonnie
      | Reply

      Love the voice on the video,that is so important. It was also VERY easy to follow. I am a beginner and need the easy to follow part. I want to scrapbook with elements 9 and am having a horrible time figuring this out, I bought it I better use it. I have spent money on two books and elements this is getting to be expensive and none explain scrapbooking.
      Easy like open elements, put in picture, get paper (from where), get elements (from Where) I need to make like three pages to get the hang of it, where can I do that?? Hope it is with you cuz love how you explain things.

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