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The Layers panel is command center for working with layers. Let's see some of the ways that you'll manage layers there. First, how do you create a new layer? To do that, I'll select the layer above which I would like my new layer. I'll just leave the Spring Fling layer selected. And then I'll go down to the bottom of the Layers panel and I'm going to click the icon with the folded-up corner, the Create new layer icon, and that brings in a brand-new layer above the selected layer. The first thing I do with the new layer is give it a meaningful name so it will be easier to find later when I have lots of layers.
I'll double-click the default named layer 1 and I'll type over it, I'm going to call this the glow layer, and press Return or Enter on the keyboard. This new layer is completely transparent as represented by the gray and white checkerboard on the layer thumbnail. I could add any number of things to this layer. I'm going to add a brush stroke. I'll go over to the toolbar and I'll select the Brush tool. Then I'll go up to the Tool Options Bar for the Brush tool, and I'm going to click the arrow next to the Brush Picker.
In the Brush Picker, I'll select a soft, relatively large brush, and then I'll click in a blank area of the Options Bar to close the Brush Picker. Now I want a color to paint with. I'd like to select a color that's already in the image because I know that color will match. So I'm going to select the Eyedropper tool here, and then I'll go into the image and I'll click on the color I want. I'm going to use this light yellow, and that sets the Foreground Color Box to light yellow. So this is now the color that any of the tools that use color will apply.
I'll go back and click on our Brush tool again. I know it's already the right size, so I'm just going to come in and start painting with it. And it's painting a little bit of yellow glow, but notice that the yellow glow comes in on top of that bottom flower. And the reason is that the glow layer is above the red flower layer in the stacking order in the Layers panel. As I showed you in the last movie, you can change the stacking order of layers by clicking and dragging. So I'm going to click on the glow layer, drag it beneath the red flower layer, and when the bar beneath the red flower layer turns bold, I'll release my mouse like this.
And now the glow is behind all three of the flower layers and it looks right in the image. So that's one way to add a new layer. It's not the only way. Another way to add a new layer is to duplicate part of an existing layer. I'd like to duplicate part of the purple flower layer, so I'll select the purple flower layer in the Layers panel, and then I'm going to go and get a Selection tool out of the toolbar. I'll be covering selection tools in depth in another chapter. For now, I'm going to select the Rectangular Marquee tool with which I can select rectangles or squares.
I'll move into the purple flower and I'll click and drag over the center of the flower to select just that part. Now I'm going to make a new layer that contains just the content of this selection from the purple flower. I'll go up to the Layer menu, I'll choose New, and I'll go over to Layer via Copy. And that makes a brand new layer in the Layers panel. I'll give that layer a name by double- clicking the default name and I'll call this layer purple center, and press Return or Enter.
I can't see the content of that layer because it's right on top of the same content on the purple flower. I'm going to get the Move tool and I'll click and drag and now you can see the content of my new layer. Yet another way to make a new layer is to duplicate an existing layer. So let's say I want to duplicate my purple center layer here, I'll make sure that it's selected, and then I'll come into the image, I'll hold down the Alt key on the PC or the Option key on the Mac, and I'll click and drag, and that makes a duplicate of the purple center layer.
It's automatically called the purple center copy layer. I can do that one more time and that makes yet another copy, the purple center copy 2 layer. So now I have three layers, each which has a copy of this purple center on it. And because each is a separate layer, I can work on them individually. There's another way to make a new layer, and that is to drag in an image from another document using the Move tool. I'm going to show you how to do that later in a chapter on compositing. So now we know some ways to add layers, how do you delete a layer? For example, I really don't like that yellow glow that I added to the glow layer, so I'm going to scroll down in the Layers panel using the bar on the right, and then I'll select that glow layer.
I can either drag the glow layer to the trashcan at the bottom of the Layers panel, or I can press the Delete or Backspace key on my keyboard and click Yes, I do want to delete the layer glow. And now it's gone. Sometimes I have some layers that I would like to keep together. In that case, I can link those layers. So if I scroll back up, so I can see my three purple center layers, I'll select the purple center layer and I'll hold the Shift key and click on the purple center copy 2 layer to select all three.
And then I'm going to go down to the bottom of the Layers panel and click on this Link icon, and that adds the Link icon to the three selected layers. Now if I were to click on just one of those layers, say this one in the middle, and I drag that layer, all three layers would go with it. So with the Move tool still selected in the toolbar, if I click on this purple center and drag, all three of the purple centers go with me even though they're all on separate layers. If I want to unlink these layers, again, I'll select them all, clicking on one, Shift-Clicking on another and going back down and clicking the Link layers icon again to remove the link.
Now if I really don't need these three centers to stay on separate layers, I can merge them all into a single layer like this. Again I'll select them all using the Shift key to click on the top layer there, and I'll go to the List icon on the right side of the Layers panel which gives me a list of menu commands related to layers. I'm going to come down and choose not Merge Visible or Flatten Image because those will give me just a single layer in my file, so I usually avoid those two.
Instead, I'm going to choose Merge layers. And that will merge the content of the three selected layers into one. To show you that more clearly, I'm going to make all the other layers invisible by moving to the Eye icon to the left of the purple center copy layer, holding down the Alt key, that's the Option key on the Mac, and clicking on that Eye icon. That removes the Eye icon from all the other layers temporarily making them all invisible. So now you can really see that that purple center copy 2 layer now contains all three of my purple centers, because I merged three layers into one.
I'll Alt+click or Option+click again on that Visibility icon to bring all the other layers back into view. Knowing how to work with layers in the Layers panel gives you lots of control over how your image looks, and it's among the most fundamental things that you can get down when you're working in the full photo edit workspace. So I urge you to practice the techniques that I showed you in this movie.
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