New User With Basic Questions

I have been using Photos on Mac.I had used Lightroom a bit, mostly to set the black point, work with the histogram and dodge and burn and do a bit of sharpening. I cancelled Lightroom and looked for a simple non subscription based program that would allow me to import to Photos and then make a few extra edits as needed.
I am on the 2 week Acorn trial.
I am not familiar with layers, blending, masks.
I am not that much of a “graphics” person.
I would like to see if I can do the basics.
Can anyone suggest the easiest ways for me to do what I was using Lightroom for?
Also,if I edit in Acorn, do I save it as an .acorn file in Photos?

Hello, and welcome.

We have a number of tutorials and various bits of documentation available on our website, which you should peruse if you’re unfamiliar with Acorn or other image editing tools like it:

The Photos app is not able to view .acorn files. If you’re wanting to import them back into it, you’ll want to safe them as JPEG or TIFF, depending on your needs (if it’s only photos, I would stick with JPEG).

I have looked at the tutorials a few times and am starting to get familiar.
If I burn, dodge or clone do i need to create layers?
If I edit from Photos in Mac do I create .acorn file to edit and then save as Tiff or JPEG?

You do not. You can use those tools on a single layer image.

If you have things like layers, vector shapes, or non-destructive filters going on and you’d like to re-edit those after closing the file, then you’ll want to save that image as a .acorn file. Otherwise all those edits and features will be non-reversible when you save as a jpeg or tiff.

However, if you don’t care about that, then you can save as jpeg not worry about all that.

If I do want to reverse them, would I need to perform the burning, dodging and cloning with layers? I looked at the tutorials and did not see anything specific about using layers for those actions. How would I do that?

I looked at the tutorial on *Lighten or Darken Specific Areas. Under Using Blending Modes and Layer Masks. I was unable to make any changes at all.

I did have some success in Using Blending Modes and the Brush Tool

How do you set the color of the paint tool?
The changes are made on the copy layer only? Right?
Once I make the changes, do i just save the file or do i need to do anything to merge the layers?

Yes, if you want to reverse the changes in the file (after saving and re-opening it), then you’d make a copy of your original layer and make the modifications on a new one (or your could make an extra copy of your image in the Finder).

At the bottom of the tools palette, there’s a little color well. You can click on that to bring up the colors palette to change your brushing colors.

Assuming you’re only drawing/changing the copied layer, then yes.

If you’re saving as a flat file format (such as JPEG/TIFF/PNG) then it’ll merge the layers automatically. If it’s a .acorn file, then you don’t need to merge the layers (unless you want to for some reason).