Layer Stacks in Photoshop

New Features in Lightroom that no longer need Photoshop

LR CC users no longer need to send images to Photoshop to make HDR (High Dynamic Range) photographs and stitch panoramas.


Lightroom Menu item: Photo > Photo Merge > Merge to HDR…
(Mac) Command ( ⌘) + H
(PC) Control ( ^ ) + H

Images 1, 2 and 3 were used to make image #4 in Photoshop’s HDR Pro plug-in.
Images 1 and 3 were used to make Image #5 in Lightroom’s Merge to HDR…


Lightroom Menu item: Photo > Photo Merge > Merge to Panorama…
(Mac) Command ( ⌘) + M
(PC) Control ( ^ ) + M

Focal Length of the lens = 20mm, 3 part pan (cylindrical render) of Bridge over a waterway in the Forbidden City, Bejing, China

When You need to Use Photoshop

Photoshop is an RGB pixel or raster editor. The strength of Photoshop is its ability to make a composite image from multiple images using Layers, Masks and Blending tools. In Photoshop you can seamlessly add or remove objects or people,

How to subtract or add elements to an image

The removal and add technique starts the same way.

  1. Select or Highlight the images you want to composite, either hold down the shift key and click on the first thumbnail and then click the last thumbnail or, you can Select or Highlight the images by holding down the Command Key Mac (⌘), or the Control Key PC ( ^ ) –And click on each image. You can click on images non-consecutively…

  2. Right Click on a Selected/Highlighted image and choose the menu item:
    Edit In > Open as Layers in Photoshop…

The Photoshop screen will look like this: Photography layout (Menu: Window > Work Space > √ Photography) (circle top right)

3. Next Select/Highlight all 4 layers

You can hold down either the shift key and clcik the Top & Bottom layer, or hold down the Control/Command key and click each layer. You can click on layers non-consecutively…

4. Align the images, so that the background matches…
Photoshop CC Menu: Edit > Auto Align Layers…

Choose Auto and click okay

The Removal Technique

  1. With all the aligned layers Selected/Highlighted
  2. Right Click on the blue area of any layer and choose the menu item: Convert to Smart Object

3. Choose the Photoshop CC menu item: Layer > Smart Objects > Stack Mode > Median

No Maiya!
As long as you have multiple images that are registered, or can be aligned you can remove the unwanted objects!

Additional information about Image Stacks

Here’s a quick synopsis from Adobe’s Photoshop Help Webpage>

You can use image stacks to enhance images in number of ways:

The Add Technique

  1. Begins with the layers aligned (see the steps above)

  1. Select the top layer,
  2. Click on the Ad Layer Mask button
  3. With the white mask highlighted paint on the canvas where you want Maiya in the 2nd from top layer to come through You can change the opacity of the top layer so you cabn see where to paint. Don’t forget to return the opacity to 100% when you are done painting.

  1. Turn off layers 3 and 4 (Click the eyeball) select/highlight layers 1 and 2,
  2. Right Click one of the selected layers and choose the menu item Flatten Visible…

  3. Repeat for the remaining layers…

You can use this technique for replacing faces in group shots, changing a dreary cloudy sky to one with puffy clouds add blue skies… The possibilities are endless…

Saving your files from Photoshop to Lightroom

When you have competed your project, you can save your photoshop work as a .PSD Photoshop file, or a .tiff file. Both File formats can preserve layer information.

Here is a rule… if your photoshop work has been flattened (contains no layers,) use the .tiff format. If you are saving a file that has layers use .PSD

To save your file the Photoshop menu is: File > Save as…

Using save as let’s you name the file, and choose which file format you want to use.

If you sent the files to Photoshop from Lightroom, the "Save As" procedure in Photoshop will save and send the image back to Lightroom, add it to the catalogue in the same folder as the original fioles.