Simple, rememberable check list for using a mask to sharpen an object in an image, change a background in an image etc

Wondering if someone can provide a basic set of common process steps to achieve the above please. I get totally confused with the number of masks and layers and moving between them to achieve objective. Watched tutorials but…

More specifically, I want to sharpen only an object in the foreground of an image and/or darken of change colour of the sky in background of an image

Would appreciate help, please.

Not sure what program you are using but when I have multiple layers/masks in Photoshop… I name each layer to help ID what was done. If you’re talking about Topaz Studio… at this point we cannot name layers.

When applying several adjustments to several layers or parts of an image I also put them into a Group and name it. You will also be able to add a mask to the group layer to apply further masking to the layers in that Group.
Naming layers and Grouping them will help ID your workflow and shorten your layer stacks. Not sure if I answered your question?

Using a mask…the black area in the mask won’t be effected, the white is where the effect takes place. I usually mask the smaller object within an image and then invert it…that would leave my object receiving the effect while the balance is not effected. Changing a sky is a different process than changing a color. Here again to change a color…a mask should show a white sky, the rest of the image would be black. Replacing a sky can be done in different ways. Used with the alpha channel mask, it would remove all of the original sky and layered on top of the new sky image, it would show through OR the layers could be placed in the same order, the original on top, the replacement underneath. Reduce the properties on the top image so that the underneath layer shows through and erase the sky.

Yep. That’s it. Thanks