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Photoshop Tutorial: Introduction to layers 1

Design TrainingCopying layers

You’ll often want to duplicate an existing layer so that you can work on a copy of it. To make a copy of a layer, either drag the layer in the Layers palette to the New icon at the bottom of the palette, or select the layer and then select Layer > Duplicate Layer (this method allows you to name the new layer too!).

Deleting layers

If you get carried away with your layers(!) and you want to delete one, find the layer in the Layers palette and drag it down to the little trash can icon. Or select Delete Layer from the Layer menu.
Preserving layer transparency

Often, not every part of a layer will be covered with graphics. For example, with our Stonehenge example, the text layer only has pixels for the word “Stonehenge” at the bottom; the rest of the layer is empty. These empty pixels are transparent.

If you check the Preserve Transparency box in the Layers palette, all the transparent pixels in the currently selected layer will remain transparent, even if you try to paint over them or fill them.

The Preserve Transparency checkbox Photoshop Tutorials

This is often very useful, as it allows you to work with just the stuff in the layer, rather than the whole layer. For example, here we’ve drawn a black like with the Paintbrush tool right through the word “Stonehenge”, both with and without Preserve Transparency checked:

Changing the opacity of layers

You can change how opaque a layer is, in other words, how much of the underlying image shows through the layer, with the Opacity option in the Layers palette:

Photoshop Tutorials

Opacity option

You can enter a value by clicking on the number in the box and entering a new number, or by clicking on the arrow next to the number and then dragging the slider that pops up. You can also use the keyboard number keys 1, 2, 3, etc to quickly enter values of 10%, 20%, 30% etc, but this only works if you’re using a tool that doesn’t have an opacity option (for example the Marquee tool).

This option allows you to blend layers together subtly, with the topmost layers being slightly transparent, allowing the bottom layers to show through. For example:

Blending options

Blending options If you click the Normal drop-down box in the Layers palette, you will see a long list of blending modes that you can choose for the current layer.

The best way to understand these modes is just to play around with them and see what they do! Some of them, such as Overlay and Soft Light, are good for creating realistic light effects, while others such as Difference and Exclusion produce some quite wacky effects Design Training !

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April 2, 2009 - Posted by | Stock Photography | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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