You may occasionally want to create a new layer for an advanced technique, such as frequency separation, dodging and burning, or high-pass sharpening. In these cases, you want to apply a blending mode to the layer, and perhaps also fill it with gray, black, or white. Rather than create a layer, change the mode, and fill it (three steps), you can do all of this in a single step: Hold down the Option (PC: Alt) key as you click the Create a New Layer icon. When you do this, a dialog will appear with the option to choose different blending modes. Some of the blending modes allow you to fill with a neutral color for that mode (either black, white, or 50% gray). This is a more efficient way of working, don’t you think?

This tip previously appeared in Colin Smith’s Photoshop Tips column, in the June/July, 2019 issue of Photoshop User magazine.