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Learn Photography

Photoshop Elements >

Layers > 1 - Introduction

Layers are great.

They're not especially difficult to understand, but there's a lot to learn.

This writer suggests you start using them with one of the tutorials.

Then, return to this section to learn about what you did with the layers in the tutorial.

Before you do that, let's get you oriented.


Layers appear in two locations on your screen.

Location #1: Layer Menu

At the top of your screen, you'll see a row of words.

These are drop-down menus.

There's one called Layer, in the middle.

This menu has commands related to layers.


Location #2: Layers Panel

On the right side of your screen, there's the Layers panel.

This is where the actual layers are located.


Background Layer

When you open a photograph, the bottom layer is your photograph.

This layer is called Background.

The Background layer is locked.

Look for padlock icon.

If you want to unlock the Background layer, rename the layer.

To make a layer into a Background layer, go to Layer > New > Background From Layer.

Background Copy Layer

The tutorials suggest you make a a copy of the Background layer.

Then, if something goes wrong, the Background copy layer is messed up, not the Background layer, the original photograph.

Go to Create a Background Copy Layer.

Come Back Later?

The next section has lots of information about layers that you probably can't use just yet.

Have a quick look, if you wish.

Come back after you've done a tutorial, such as First Steps.