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Understanding layers

From: Up and Running with Photoshop Elements 9

Video: Understanding layers

layers in Photoshop Elements 9 help you to take your image editing to the next level, by allowing you to work nondestructively on an image. And also allowing you to easily modify portions of an image in the future. layers also provide an added level of control and flexibility when working in Photoshop Elements 9. In this video, I'd like to introduce you to the concept of layers, and how they can be used in you images. I'm beginning this video from the elements organizer. And I want to do a search for an image called penguin.

Understanding layers

layers in Photoshop Elements 9 help you to take your image editing to the next level, by allowing you to work nondestructively on an image. And also allowing you to easily modify portions of an image in the future. layers also provide an added level of control and flexibility when working in Photoshop Elements 9. In this video, I'd like to introduce you to the concept of layers, and how they can be used in you images. I'm beginning this video from the elements organizer. And I want to do a search for an image called penguin.

And you can see that I have this image of a penguin that I'm going to use for this exercise. I'm simply going to right-click on this image, or if you don't have a two button mouse, you can Control-click and choose Edit With Photoshop Elements. Now as soon as this image opens up in Photoshop Elements, you're going to notice that in the lower right-hand corner of your workspace, we have a Layers panel. And by default, every image has at least 1 layer which is currently a background layer. Now, what makes a background layer a background layer is that it cannot have any transparent pixels. And also, by default, it is locked as well.

So I can't make any changes, at least to the transparency component until I unlock that layer. So for now, I'm just going to leave it locked. That's no big deal because to basically understand layers, I'm going to add a few other layers to my document. So, the first thing I'm going to do, is in the lower-left corner of the layers panel, I'm, going to click on this button that says, Create A New layer. And when I do, it's going to create a brand new layer above the background layer. Now, these layers have a stacking order, and I like to think of this Layers panel as if you took your image and laid the image on its side, and you're looking at a cross section of the image. Because whatever layer is topmost is going to cover up layers that are underneath it.

So, for instance, I'll leave this name at layer one. You could, though, rename it by double clicking on the name, and changing it. But for now, we'll just leave it as is And I'm going to use my rectangular marquee tool to just draw a rectangle on my image. Now, it definitely matters which image is active before you start to modify anything within this selection. So with layer one active, I'm going to go ahead and click on the fill color, or the foreground color, of my document.

And I'm just going to pick any color that you'd like. I'll pick say a red color here. Click okay. And then I'm going to go to the edit menu, and I'm going to choose fill selection Then I'm going to make sure that foreground color is chosen, and we'll go ahead and click Okay. Now I'm going to Deselect this now by pressing Command D on Mac or Control D on Windows, and we can now see that layer 1 is composed of a red rectangle. Now, to see this a little bit better, let's turn off the Background layer. And now we can see hthat layer one is basically composed of this filled area, and the reamainder of the area is transparent pixels, which means that I'll be able to see the layer underneath this layer.

You can use your Move tool, to click and drag on this object and move it around on your image And if I turn my background layer back on by clicking the Visibility icon, you can see how I can change the location of this within my image. So that's basically how layers work. Now how can we use these in a realistic setting? Well, I'm going to begin by trashing this layer 1. So I can do that by making sure it's active And then clicking the Trans Can, and when it asks me if I want to delete the layer I'll click Yes.

Now, what I'm going to do is I'm actually going to draw a shape. So down here at the bottom of the tool Box is my Custom Shape tool. And I'm going to come up here to my Options bar and I'm going to click on this Custom Shape icon. And I'm going to pick this talk bubble. I think it would be interesting to make this penguin say something. So we'll choose the talk bubble. And then, I'm going to come over here and I'm going to click and drag to draw out this shape. I'm going to make this talk bubble. And you can see that as soon as I do that, it creates a brand new shape layer. Now I want this talk bubble to be white so I can come up there to this fill indicator.

Click on the triangle and I'm going to choose white from the list. That looks good. And now click back on this picker to close it. And I can use my Move tool then, to change the location of this within the image. You can even drag any of the handles to resize this Talk bubble to make it look like it's coming out of his mouth. Once you're happy you can click the Check box and now you can see that this layer is on top of the background layer. We can turn on and off the visibility and that looks pretty good.

Now I'm also going to grab my Type tool. And you wanta click and hold on that tool and make sure that you grab the horizontal-type tool. And I'm going to come over here with this tool and I'm actually going to just click in this area. And I'm going to type in here, where's the ice. And the last point size that I used for this text was pretty large, so what I'm going to do is I'm just going to triple click up here, or put your cursor in here and press Cmd+A on Mac or Ctrl+A on Windows, And I'm just going to come over here to the point size, and I'm definitely going to reduce the point size.

We'll start with 72. Here we go, and now we can make adjustments accordingly. We can make our text bigger or smaller, I am going to come in here may be I'll enter say 150 that might be a little bit big, but I can just position my cursor below the text so that I can re-position it. That might be a little bit lets make it say 120. Press Return, and now I can once again grab my Move tool, and I can reposition this within that talk bubble. So, as you can see I now have three seperate layers within this document. And at a moment's notice, I can always disable these layers, and my original image is unharmed.

I haven't permenantely made any changes. and if I turn the visibility of these layers back on, I can also adjust each one of them individually if I need to. If I want to edit the text again, I can double-click on this "Type" icon to select it and I could change my font if I want to. Maybe I'll make this a bold font, make it stand out a little bit more, grab my move tool and reposition this. Make sure we have the right layer selected. And now you can see how these layers help me to work in what we call in the industry, a Non-Destructive manner. Because I haven't damaged any of the image and I can always go back and make changes.

As you can see layers make editing and modifying your images much easier because you now have multiple components that can be adjusted and altered independently of one another, without the need to start over from scratch. Now to finish up I'm going to save this image. I'm going to go to the File menu and choose Save As. And one thing I want to point out is that it's going to immediately going to want to save this in a format other than the original JPEG that I started. And that is because the JPEG format does not support layers so if I were to save it in the JPEG format it would save the overall look of my image but the layers would no longer be intact and it would be a permanent adjustment.

So I'm going to save in a format that can understand layers, in this case the Photoshop format. I'm not going to save it in the version set with the original in this case. I'm going to go ahead and just choose editted one, just append edited one to the name of this image and then I'll go ahead and make sure I include it in the Organizer. And I'll click Save. And now I can close this image and as you can see when I return to the organizer that I now have my edited version that is a psd image as well as a regular version the original version I started from that is an original jpeg. So hopefully you now understand how layers can help you to edit your photos, and how they can make going back and making adjustments a whole lot easier.

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Up and Running with Photoshop Elements 9

31 video lessons · 882 viewers

Chad Chelius
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