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The Eraser tool

The Eraser tool does exactly that — it erases parts of a layer. To use it, select the layer you want to erase things from, click the Eraser tool, customize its size and other properties in the menu at the top of the screen, and start erasing. Things that are erased are gone forever (see Figure 4-11 ), so we recommend that you duplicate the layer and make the extra layer invisible (refer to the “Layers and the Layer palette” section for instructions on making a layer invisible) before you start erasing; that way you have a backup.

Figure 4-11: If you erase part of a layer, it is gone.


An alternative to using the Eraser tool (which is a destructive tool because what it erases is really gone) is to use layer masks. When you use a layer mask, part of the layer becomes invisible — it's still there; it's just hidden from view. When you use a layer mask, what you “erase” doesn't go away forever. This option offers a nondestructive way to alter your images.


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