Preparing “Visual Aid” Layers

After working through the previous classes you’ll have seen just how useful visual aid layers can be in the retouching process.

In this Photoshop class Karl and Viktor sit down to show you, step by step, how to create the visual aid layers that Viktor uses throughout this course.

Working through each layer individually, Viktor also provides a thorough explanation of each layer and its purpose. This short but effective class will help you create your own visual aid layers, which you’ll be able to use time and time again to speed up your retouching workflow.

In this Photoshop class we cover the following:

  • Using Visual Aid Layers in Photoshop
  • How to create visual aid layers
  • How to optimize your retouching workflow in Photoshop
  • How to create grouped layers in Photoshop
  • How to create adjustment layers
  • How to create Solar Curves in Photoshop

For your convenience we’ve also made the automated action to create these visual aid layers available for you to download and use in our Downloads section.

If you have any questions about this class, please post in the comment section below ?


  1. I downloaded the visual action used by Victor in this class, bit I cannot find any instruction related to installing it in Ps. When I open it, I get a notice that the file is not associated with an application. I am working on an iMac with macOS Big Sur, version 11.6. What now?

    1. Corey (KTE Team)

      Hi Bob, here are a couple of ways to install the action. Firstly, with Photoshop open and on the “Home” screen, you should be able to just drag and drop the .atn file into Photoshop. If you then go to the top menu, select Window and then Actions to open the Actions Panel. You should see the folder titled VF Super Actions.
      If the folder isn’t there for any reason, go to the burger menu in the top right of the Actions Panel (looks like four horizontal lines), select Load Actions and navigate to your .atn file.
      Inside the VF Super Actions folder you will see 6 different actions, select your desired action and click the Play button at the bottom of the Actions Panel to run the action.
      Hope that helps,

  2. Hello, I’ve been following along on the tutorial up to the point where the Hue group is greated and then the image goes black. Looking at the previous comments, this seems to be an issue that had been resolved with the Legacy Compositing option ticked in Performance Preferences. Unfortunately that option has now been removed in Photoshop, so how do you get aroud that problem now?

    Or has the creation of the Hue group now changed to reflect the changes to Photoshop?

    Thanks in advance. Apologies if this has been answered before.

    1. Realised the error of my ways. I had all the different groups visible at the same time. Only having one of them active at any one time fixed the issue.

      (Homeresque slap to the forehead)

  3. For everyone having the “grey neutral colour blank image” happening when the luminosity and saturation layers are both activated in the “Hue” group, it is a problem of compositing in Photoshop 2019 CC.

    To fix it, go to Edit > Preferences > Performance and then check the “Legacy Compositing” box.


  4. Hi Karl, The action is not working properly. On clicking the hue tab the photo turns into grey. It is not showing as shown in the first class of retouching or even this class. Please guide

    1. If I am not creating a group 2 solid colors and 1 curve are showing result. But once I create a group the effect is going and neutral grey photo is displaying. All other layers are working. Please guide

  5. hi karl i do de solar curve to get all that crazy color but when i put the pink color is all grey silerver color and i don’t know what i do next

  6. Hello Karl, how did you create the preset curve at min 8:50?
    All your lessons are absolutely brilliant! Many thanks

    1. Hi Florinca, in the latest versions of photoshop they usually include a ‘solar’ curve in the presets. If not make one yourself with approximately the same points and then save the curve as a preset and then you can reload it at any time. Thanks Karl.

  7. So after some digging around, I found a workaround on the Adobe forums.

    By CBecker on 17-okt-2018 8:32

    In Preferences / Performance and the section titled “Options” and the checkbox is titled “Legacy Compositing”.

    When I checked it, it was ok. So maybe it is my hardware setup that is in need of revising.

  8. Alastair, if you mean that with the Solid Color 0 50 100 with a Luminosity adjusting, you will get a gray screen instead of the Hue Visual Aid. It happens at my end at least.

  9. Hi..
    Thanks alot Karl/Emma.. Just see the mail now. Now I can use it in my PC. Very thanks full for your help. This Site is very helpfull for all beginners and upcoming Professionals. This is truly an International level of complete Photography skills. Hats off Karl and the team. Keep going..

  10. I Installed the Action from download Section but unfortunately this tutorial Action not find their. And is it possible to set this action in F2 button. I mean, if I press F2 button these 3 action layers visible in layer section. Hope you can help me..

  11. Hi Anyone

    I have followed the tutorial to create my own “Visual Aids” group but I don’t know how I save it for future use, do I drag it into the Library or something? Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance, and fascinating tutorials.

    1. If you mean you want to back it up: Go to your actions panel, click on the three lines in the top right corner of the actions dialogue box and you’ll see ‘Save Actions’. This only work pr. group set of actions, not individual actions.

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