As a newbie artist just learning to navigate the world of Photoshop there will come a time when you realize two indisputable facts. 1. Photoshop files can get HUGE and 2. They are huge because they contain a mind-boggling amount of layers. Juggling layers can make workflow really difficult. Photoshop has found a way to help with that, however. I love that this software program as been around long enough there isn’t much you run into that someone hasn’t already figured out or fixed. Today, I ran into a common problem and I realized a lot of people may not be aware of how to fix this. Since this problem has happened with literally every single project I’ve ever done, I decided I would share with you guys how you can fix it without pulling your hair out.
Your working along and all the sudden you notice a really strange dark spot or weird artifact on your image. The following is an example of what you might find… You zoom in and you star at it and you scratch your head and think, “What the heck is that? I didn’t draw that? Where is that coming from?”…
When these weird spots and things show up, they are usually caused by one of three things. 1 You have a hole in a mask on one of your layers that you didn’t know was there. 2. You thought you cloned or painted on one layer and in reality you cloned or painted a different one and your mistake didn’t show up until you applied a special effect. 3. You used a brush to erase or delete pixels and you thought you got it all but found out pixels were still there when you applied a special effect.
Now your instinct is going to tell you to start going through all the layers, one by one, turning them all on and off, trying to find what layer has the artifact. Resist this urge. When you have 100’s of layers this is like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. There is a really quick way to find the layer with your problem spot.
Select the move tool (V). Go to the move tools property bar at the top of PS and make sure “Auto-select” box is checked and change the drop down menu to Layers.
Now all you have to do is click on top of the spot where your weirdness is showing up. PS will automatically jump to the layer where this pixel information is found. There is only one little glitch I’ve run into. If you really do have a hole in your mask then, when you click on that spot, you are actually locating the pixel information showing through the hole. If that happens, this trick will at least get you in the general vicinity of your problem layer. It will probably be right above or right below it.
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