Advanced editing with the Editor module


Let’s start with a reminder: You can do all the usual edits in the Develop module. It’s mainly non-destructive and it’s quick. But there are times that you need precise control over your advanced edits and that’s when the Editor module steps in.

The simplest way of working with the Editor module is to add something to the photo. So here comes the usual introduction that you shouldn’t miss:


You basically have two ways of working with a picture:

  • Subtle edits and repairs to improve the perception of reality
  • Going full creative mode, e.g. making composite photos

We will try to balance between these two approaches and show you the possibilities.

The bread and butter of editing: Layers and masks

First of all, you need to learn how to work with two intertwined features: layers and masks. Layers are simply images (partially transparent) placed over one another to create a final composition. Zoner Photo Studio can show you the result of such a composition in real time and you can edit any layer any time.

Masks define what do you see in a particular layer and what you don’t see. Every layer can have one mask (or no mask, but that’s not technically correct as that’s simply a mask showing everything).

Notice the final composition consisting of three layers on the left – the underlying scenery by the lake, the artificial shadow layer and finally the model (shot elsewhere, in a studio). The layer with the model has a mask notifying ZPS X to, “only show the part where the model is”, the bottom layer shows everything.

It may all sound a little complicated but we are here to help! First, you can learn the basics of working with layers and then continue on with understanding the mask.

Showcase: Advanced retouching within Editor

We’ve mentioned previously that there is lot that you can retouch in the Develop module, but not everything. We will show you how the Editor module will help you with cleaning up skin, removing circles under the eyes and sharpening the photo. All of that can be found in the springtime retouching tutorial.

A little bit of editing goes a long way

More often than not, the edits are more subtle. Sometimes you just need to remove some wires from otherwise nice photos. Or you need to retouch a wild lock of hair (Youtube, 0:42).

Speaking of hair, we have a whole set of Liquify tools that will bring out the hidden hairdresser in you. 😉 Jokes aside, it’s a great example how these little editing tweaks can help you improve the final photos (read the full tutorial on our magazine).

On the other hand, sometimes the only thing that stands between you and doing a photoshoot again is Zoner Photo Studio X. For example, it can save your photos from being ruined by wild a eyeglass reflection. Wanna know how? There’s an advanced tutorial on removing glare from glasses ready in our magazine.

Very often you will need to select a part of your image (or a single layer) to limit the adujstments you perform. You will need a set of selection tools and – you guessed it – a tutorial to help you with that task!

Tip: Check out the selection refining feature. It will help you select hair, straws of grass or branches of trees precisely.


As per usual, there’s a list of other edits to keep you inspired:

Going beyond reality

When capturing reality is not your main goal, you can go much further. And by that we mean …. like really further! The Editor module gives you everything you need to create crazy composite shots or change the original picture beyond recognition.

For example, you can improve the surroundings of your photo to be more visually appealing, like in this popular Symmetry tutorial. (We’ve prepared a text version on our magazine too.)


And when you’re brave enough, there are many more ways of how you can transform your photography to an art or manipulate reality itself. Here comes the inspiration for your next project:

Have you created something interesting? Go ahead and make videos or create a physical product from your photos in the next part of our guide.