photokaboom.com

Photoshop Elements >

Layers > 2 - All About Layers

Active Layer

When a layer is active, you can make changes to the layer.

A layer becomes active when you click the layer, and it becomes highlighted.

Rename a Layer

Do rename layers as you go along.

Then, if you need to fine tune a correction, you can quickly find the right layer.

There are four ways you can rename a layer.

Let's say you want to rename a layer called Layer 1.

Way #1 - Double Click the

Name in the Layer

Put the cursor on the name of the layer, Layer 1.

Double click.

Layer 1 is highlighted.

Enter the new name and then click elsewhere.

Way #2 - Double Click the Layer

Double click on the Layer 1 layer where there's just color.

A window will appear, with Layer 1 highlighted.

Enter the new name, and click OK.

Way #3 - Right Click the Layer

Right click on the layer, and select Rename Layer.

A window will appear, with Layer 1 highlighted.

Enter the new name, and click OK.

Way #4 - Layer Menu

You can also go to the Layer menu at the top of your screen.

Go to Layer > Rename Layer.

A window will appear, with Layer 1 highlighted.

Enter the new name, and click OK.

Deleting a Layer

Windows

To delete a layer, click the layer where it's blank, hold, and drag it onto the trash can icon.

Or, right click on the layer, and select Delete Layer.

Click Yes.

Mac

To delete a layer, click the layer where it's blank, hold, and drag it onto the trash can icon—not the trash icon in the Dock on the edge of your screen.

Or, right click on the layer, and select Delete Layer.

Click Yes.

Eye Icon

Every layer has an eye icon.

You can hide a layer by clicking on the eye icon for the layer.

When you can see the eye icon, the layer is visible.

When you click the eye icon—it disappears—and the layer is no longer visible.

Clicking the eye icon, on and off, is useful when you want to compare how a photograph looks with and without the affect of a layer.

q

The eye icon in the green box is off.

The Levels 1 layer is hidden.

The eye icons in the red box are on.

You can see those layers.

Eye Icon Tips

Drag

You can drag through the eye icon column to change the visibility of many layers at the same time.

Alt

To display just one layer, press and hold Alt, and click the eye icon for the layer.

All of the other layers will become hidden.

To reverse the action, press and hold Alt, and click the eye icon for the layer.

Compare

After using an adjustment layer, compare the changed photograph to the unchanged photograph.

There are two methods.

Method #1 - Eye Icon

Click the eye icon on the adjustment layer to hide the layer.

Click it again to make the layer visible again.

q

Method #2 - Press to View Previous State

At the bottom of the Adjustments panel, click and hold the third icon to hide the layer momentarily.

q

JPEGs & Layers

If you save your photograph as a JPEG, the layers are not saved.

To save the layers, save the photograph using the Photoshop file format called PSD.

This is done by default.

Then, if you need a JPEG, save the photograph again as a JPEG.

Layer Opacity

You can change the opacity of a layer.

As you reduce the opacity from 100%, the layer becomes increasingly transparent.

The layers below will be seen through the layer with reduced opacity.

Opacity has two main uses.

1) Blending layers together

2) Reducing an effect

For example, let's say you used a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to increase the saturation of a color.

You can reduce this effect by lowering the opacity of the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer.

The Opacity box is at the top of the layers stack, to the right of the Blending Mode box.

It probably has 100% inside.

q

Adjustment Layers

Adjustment layers are special for three reasons.

They:

1) Don't contain any pixels.

2) Contain mathematics.

3) "Broadcast" changes to the layers with pixels below.

You'll use the Levels adjustment layer for all of your photographs.

The Levels adjustment layer broadcasts exposure and contrast changes to all of the layers below.

q

To learn about the Levels adjustment layer, go to:

Levels.

Photo Filter Adjustment Layers.

Advantages of Adjustment Layers

After using an adjustment layer, you can:

• Return to the adjustment layer to refine your editing at any time.

• Create a mask.

A mask blocks the broadcast of the adjustment layer's mathematics in parts of the photograph.

• Reduce the affect of the adjustment layer by lowering its opacity.

Linking v. Grouping Layers

You can link layers, and you can group them.

There's a difference between linking and grouping.

Linking

Two Things

When you link layers together, they can do two things simultaneously.

Thing #1 - Reposition

You can reposition the contents of linked layers simultaneously with the Move tool.

Thing #2 - Rotate & Transform

You can use the rotate and the transform commands simultaneously on the contents of linked layers.

Go to Transform.

Example

The face below is made from fourteen layers.

If the fourteen layers were linked, the entire face could be moved, rotated, or transformed.

q

How to Link Layers

To link layers, press Ctrl and click each layer.

Then, click the chain icon.

The chain icon is at the bottom of the Layers panel.

How to Unlink Layers

To unlink, select one of the linked layers and click the chain icon.

Grouping

Normally, an adjustment layer affects all of the layers below.

Grouping limits the affect of an adjustment layer to certain layers below, not all of the layers below.

Below, the Levels adjustment layer is affecting both layers.

q

Next, the Levels adjustment layer was grouped with the Background copy layer.

There's an almost invisible arrow in the red box denoting the grouping.

After grouping, the Levels adjustment layer only affects the Background copy layer.

The Background layer is no longer affected by the Levels adjustment layer.

q

When Does One Group?

Go to Grouping & Merging Layers: When?.

How to Group & Ungroup Layers

Use one of the following three methods.

Method #1

Group Ungroup

1) Click the top layer to be grouped.

2) Press Ctrl + g.

1) Click the top layer in the group.

2) Press Shift + Ctrl + g.

Method #2

Group Ungroup

1) Press and hold Alt.

2) Place the cursor between the top layer to be grouped, and the layer below.

3) Click when the cursor changes to the grouping icon (double circles).

1) Press Alt.

2) Place the cursor between the grouped layers.

3) Click when the cursor changes to the grouping icon (double circles).

Method #3

Group Ungroup

1) Click the top layer to be grouped.

2) Go to Layer > Create Clipping Mask.

1) Click the top layer in the group.

2) Go to Layer > Release Clipping Mask.

Tiny Arrow

As described, a tiny arrow appears in the top layer when it's grouped with the layer below.

Photoshop Elements 11 and later versions display the arrow and a tiny white box.

q

Clipping Masks

For more about complex grouping, go to Clipping Masks.

Merging Layers

When you merge layers, they're combined.

For example, if you're doing a collage of a landscape, you could merge all of the layers that contain clouds.

Merging layers reduces the size of the file, which will speed up subsequent editing actions.

Be cautious, because the merged layers are permanently merged once you close the photograph.

There are several ways to merge layers.

Method #1

Highlight the layers by pressing Ctrl and clicking on each one, and then go to Layer > Merge or press Ctrl + e.

Method #2

Deselect the eye icon on the layers you don't want to merge.

Then, go to Layer > Merge Visible or press Ctrl + Shift + e.

Method #3 - Composite Layer

Go to Composite Layer.

Also

Go to Grouping & Merging Layers: When?.

Flattening Layers

If you use this command, all of the layers will be merged.

Like merging layers, flattening is permanent once you close the file.

You may need to flatten the layers before printing the photograph, for example.

Save the photograph under a different name, before flattening, to have both flattened and un-flattened versions.

Go to Layer > Flatten.

Simplify Layer Prompt

Go to Simplify a Layer.

Moving a Layer to Another Photograph

Go to Move a Layer.