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Learn Photography

Photoshop Elements >

Layers >

Simplify a Layer

You may have encountered the window below, prompting you to simplify a layer.

q

Why?

Photoshop Elements displays images using two methods: vector and pixels.

Vector

The text you see when using the Type tool is a vector image.

There are no pixels.

The text is produced from a mathematical formula, not from pixels.

Vector-based images can be resized easily, and are sharper than pixels.

Pixels

Your photograph is made from pixels, of course.

The Brush tools, and the filters, use pixels, as well.

Incompatibility

The Brush tools and filters use pixels.

 When you try to use a Brush tool or a filter on a vector layer, the above window appears.

You can't mix these pixel-based action with a vector image.

You have to convert the vector image into pixels.

This is called simplification or rasterization.

Vector Images

The layers made with the tools and commands below are vector images.

Type Tool q
Shape Tool q
Layer > New Fill Layer q

How to Simplify

To simplify:

• A layer made with a Shape tool, click Simplify in options bar/Tool Options.

• The other layer types, go to Layer > Simplify Layer.

Two Cautions

Caution #1

After simplification, you won't be able to modify:

• Type layers with the Type tool.

• Shape layers with the Shape tools.

Therefore, you may want to copy the layer, and simplify the copy.

Caution #2

The text will not be as sharp when it's converted to pixels.