Multilayer Photoshop Image Change

RonMcAlister used Ask the Experts™
I am new to Photoshop and working on an ambitious photo retouching. I have gone through 5 layers correcting and adjusting. Thought I was through, then decided to remove a tree branch. I know how to do it, but I can't get at it. In the top layer or new layer, I can't select it or brush it or clone over it. Just nothing happens. I can clean it up in the background layer with the others turned off, but when I turn them back on, the branch comes back. What is blocking me from selecting this branch?

Thank you.
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Top Expert 2011

Short of thinking that selecting it and actually enabling the eye to view the layer are two different things, would you be able to copy the file up here for us to view, per chance? Remove the background layer if you want since it appears that this is not part of the problem.
Even when you use only a few layers, it quickly becomes confusing as to what each layer is doing. That is why it is important to discipline yourself to name your layers. The short time it takes to name them pays off big time when you are going back trying to make edits.

But even with the layers named, it can get confusing as to what layer holds what information. There are two methods that you can use to find what layer holds the part of the image that you are trying to edit. The first is simply clicking off the layers one by one starting at the top until you find the right layer.

The other method is to make the select tool active and check the box in the tool bar that says "auto select" and in the pull-down box, select layer. Then simply click on the tree branch and presto-change-oh, the layer with the tree branch becomes active.

There are some things that can go wrong with the auto select method. For instance, if you have the transparency of a layer set below 50% the auto select won't see it. Likewise, if it is above 51% or more, the layer will be selected, but because you are blending two layers, only the top most layer of the blend stack is make active.

Play with it and get a feel for how it works.


Thank you. I did label each layer, but the branch could only be changed in the background layer and a layer in the middle where I had used the healing brush and clone tool to get rid of extra people. I never went near the branch on that layer. I still don't understand it, but your solution worked.

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