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Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training
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Understanding layers


From:

Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training

with Jan Kabili

Video: Understanding layers

If you ask me to pick the most important feature in the Full Edit workspace, I would have to say that's layers. layers give me the freedom to work independently on one piece of content without disturbing the rest of the image. You might think of layers like panes of transparent glass stacked one on top of the other. Where there is no content on a particular pane of glass, you can see down through that pane to the content on the panes of glass below and layers work the same way. Let's take a look at the layers in this simple composite image.
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  1. 11m 0s
    1. Welcome
      1m 18s
    2. What is Photoshop Elements?
      3m 47s
    3. Touring the workspaces
      5m 55s
  2. 54m 16s
    1. Working with catalogs
      5m 22s
    2. Importing and using the exercise files
      5m 13s
    3. Importing files from your computer
      7m 31s
    4. Importing photos from your camera
      8m 57s
    5. Importing photos from iPhoto (Mac only)
      4m 44s
    6. Importing files from external drives/CDs/DVDs
      4m 44s
    7. Scanning photos
      6m 50s
    8. Dividing scanned photos
      5m 51s
    9. Importing from watch folders (Windows only)
      5m 4s
  3. 39m 10s
    1. Touring the Organizer
      6m 41s
    2. Viewing thumbnails
      6m 15s
    3. Rotating photos
      52s
    4. Renaming photos
      2m 55s
    5. Fixing photo dates
      2m 28s
    6. Hiding and deleting photos
      4m 6s
    7. Stacking photos
      4m 22s
    8. Moving files
      2m 43s
    9. Reconnecting missing files
      4m 53s
    10. Using Help
      3m 55s
  4. 54m 22s
    1. Rating photos
      3m 58s
    2. Applying and organizing keyword tags
      7m 4s
    3. Searching by keyword tags
      3m 35s
    4. Tagging with People Recognition
      11m 3s
    5. Using Smart Tags
      5m 57s
    6. Creating albums
      4m 41s
    7. Creating Smart Albums
      6m 28s
    8. Searching by text
      5m 28s
    9. Using the Find menu
      4m 19s
    10. Using the Timeline
      1m 49s
  5. 30m 14s
    1. Viewing slideshows in Full Screen view
      4m 21s
    2. Working with photos in Full Screen view
      9m 20s
    3. Comparing photos
      5m 56s
    4. Viewing by date
      3m 18s
    5. Mapping photos (Windows only)
      7m 19s
  6. 38m 36s
    1. Applying Photo Fix
      9m 0s
    2. The Quick Fix interface
      7m 9s
    3. The Quick Fix controls
      5m 22s
    4. Adjusting lighting in Quick Fix
      3m 46s
    5. Adjusting color in Quick Fix
      5m 39s
    6. Using the Touch Up tools in Quick Fix
      7m 40s
  7. 43m 43s
    1. Guided Edit basics
      8m 13s
    2. Making an Out of Bounds image
      10m 17s
    3. Perfecting a portrait
      7m 43s
    4. Adding realistic reflections
      5m 26s
    5. Applying a LOMO camera effect
      2m 0s
    6. Making pop art
      1m 31s
    7. Using Style Match
      8m 33s
  8. 1h 20m
    1. Full Edit workspace overview
      6m 51s
    2. Working with tabbed documents
      4m 51s
    3. Using tools
      7m 40s
    4. Arranging panels
      5m 18s
    5. Setting preferences
      3m 41s
    6. Using Undo History
      6m 39s
    7. Zooming and navigating
      7m 4s
    8. Creating a blank file
      5m 19s
    9. Photo resizing and resolution
      8m 9s
    10. Cropping and straightening photos
      7m 15s
    11. Recomposing photos
      8m 15s
    12. Enlarging the canvas
      3m 27s
    13. Saving and formats
      5m 46s
  9. 35m 4s
    1. Understanding layers
      7m 17s
    2. Working in the Layers panel
      5m 21s
    3. Using layer masks
      7m 43s
    4. Using layer masks to combine images
      6m 27s
    5. Building composites
      8m 16s
  10. 20m 58s
    1. Selection basics
      3m 22s
    2. Manual selection tools
      3m 19s
    3. Automatic selection tools
      7m 24s
    4. Refining selection edges
      3m 30s
    5. Saving selections
      3m 23s
  11. 1h 21m
    1. Color managing
      7m 14s
    2. Applying Shadow/Highlight adjustments
      2m 42s
    3. Using adjustment layers
      8m 24s
    4. Masking adjustment layers
      7m 38s
    5. Adding a Levels adjustment layer
      6m 8s
    6. Adding a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer
      5m 56s
    7. Adjusting with Color Curves
      4m 14s
    8. Removing a color cast
      3m 37s
    9. Reducing digital noise
      4m 7s
    10. Sharpening photos
      7m 32s
    11. Processing multiple files
      7m 59s
    12. Working with raw photos
      15m 57s
  12. 18m 34s
    1. Using the Smart Brush tools
      6m 16s
    2. Dodging and burning
      2m 29s
    3. Retouching blemishes
      4m 29s
    4. Content-aware healing
      2m 31s
    5. Removing content with the Clone Stamp tool
      2m 49s
  13. 25m 53s
    1. Applying filters
      5m 36s
    2. Adding effects
      2m 34s
    3. Using layer styles
      7m 23s
    4. Using shapes
      4m 46s
    5. Using the Cookie Cutter tool
      2m 19s
    6. Converting color to black and white
      3m 15s
  14. 11m 25s
    1. Creating text
      7m 1s
    2. Editing text
      4m 24s
  15. 1h 25m
    1. Creating a photo collage
      8m 38s
    2. Fine-tuning a photo collage
      8m 3s
    3. Creating greeting cards
      8m 34s
    4. Creating photo calendars
      9m 28s
    5. Creating CD/DVD jackets and labels
      7m 43s
    6. Creating a photo book
      7m 44s
    7. Fine-tuning a photo book
      7m 11s
    8. Creating a slideshow (Windows only)
      8m 0s
    9. Fine-tuning a slideshow (Windows only)
      3m 23s
    10. Creating a flip book (Windows only)
      2m 47s
    11. End to end: Making a scrapbook page
      8m 15s
    12. End to end: Completing a scrapbook page
      5m 24s
  16. 49m 27s
    1. Printing photos
      8m 38s
    2. Contact sheets and picture packages (Windows only)
      6m 40s
    3. Sharing photos by email
      6m 38s
    4. Sharing photos by Photo Mail (Windows only)
      5m 8s
    5. Sharing to Flickr and Facebook
      4m 43s
    6. Saving images for the web
      6m 48s
    7. Signing up for Photoshop.com
      2m 55s
    8. Sharing online albums at Photoshop.com
      5m 4s
    9. Backing up
      2m 53s
  17. 38s
    1. Goodbye
      38s

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Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training
11h 20m Beginner Nov 23, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training, Jan Kabili highlights the key features of this comprehensive image organization and photo enhancement application. She shows how to correct and enhance photographs, and how to organize a growing collection of digital photos. The course also explains how to use photos in creative projects like photo books, calendars, and greeting cards, and how to share work online and in print. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Downloading files from a digital camera
  • Importing photos into an Elements catalog
  • Applying keyword tags
  • Organizing photos into albums and Smart Albums
  • Automatically adjusting photos in Quick Fix
  • Walking through Guided Edit photo techniques
  • Understanding photo resizing and resolution
  • Cropping and straightening photos
  • Making and refining selections
  • Correcting photos in the Full Edit workspace
  • Applying image sharpening
  • Adding text and special effects
  • Creating photo projects, such as greeting cards and calendars
Subject:
Photography
Software:
Photoshop Elements Elements
Author:
Jan Kabili

Understanding layers

If you ask me to pick the most important feature in the Full Edit workspace, I would have to say that's layers. layers give me the freedom to work independently on one piece of content without disturbing the rest of the image. You might think of layers like panes of transparent glass stacked one on top of the other. Where there is no content on a particular pane of glass, you can see down through that pane to the content on the panes of glass below and layers work the same way. Let's take a look at the layers in this simple composite image.

If you turn your attention to the layers panel over here, and if your layers panel isn't open, go up to the Window menu and down to layers to open it. The layers panel is like command central for layers. Each layer in a file is represented by a bar here in the layers panel. To the left of each bar there is an eye icon. When I turn the eye icon next to a layer off, it temporarily hides that layer from view. I'm going to turn off all the layers in this file, except for the Background layer by holding down the Alt key on a PC or the Option key on a Mac, and clicking on the eye icon to the left of the Background layer, because I want you to see what's on the Background layer.

This layer is completely filled with this blurry photograph of a forest. Now let's take a look at the next layer up; the side mirror layer. I'll hold down the Alt key on the PC, the Option key on the Mac and I'll click in the blank space to the left of the side mirror layer, and that makes the side mirror layer visible and the other two layers invisible. So you can see that what's on this layer is just this photograph of a side mirror on an old truck. The gray-and-white checkerboard represents the transparent part of this layer. I've selected everything except for the side mirror and deleted it from this layer, and that's why this area is transparent.

And where this area of the side mirror layer is transparent, if I turn on the Background layer by clicking in the eye icon space to the left of the Background layer, you can see down through the side mirror layer to the background on the layer below. Now let's take a look at what's on the round mirror layer. I'll hold the Alt or Option key and I'll click in the space to the left of the round mirror layer and here you can see that there is another mirror; a round mirror, reflecting me taking a photograph next to that old truck. I've selected everything outside of the round mirror and deleted it, so the rest of the round mirror layer is transparent.

Now to turn the other layers back on, I'll click in the empty visibility fields to the left of the other layers. Because, I have put these separate items of content on separate layers, I can work on each item separately, and that's the beauty of layers. So let's say that I want to move that round mirror, the first step is to select the round mirror layer. You have to select a layer before you do anything to its content. To select the round mirror layer, I'll click in the gray area of the bar. I try not to click on the name, because that will allow me to rename the file.

It's important to click on a blank area rather than on the name or the thumbnail or the eye icon, because all of those things do something else. So I am clicking on the blank area of the round mirror layer to select to that layer, and the layer turns dark indicating that it is now the targeted layer. Now I am going to select the Move tool; the first tool in the top-left of the toolbar. By default, when I do that, I see this bounding box around the content of the round mirror layer. If I click inside that bounding box and drag, I can move the content of the round mirror layer without disturbing anything on any other layer.

Now what if I want to move two layers together? I can do that too. First, I have to select the two layers that I want to work on. I have the round mirror layer selected already, so I am going to hold down the Ctrl key on a PC or the Command key on a Mac and click on the side mirror layer too. And now they are both selected, and you can tell because they are both dark gray. Now if I come in the image and I click and drag, both the round mirror and the side mirror move. And moving layers isn't the only thing that I can do to them.

I can use the various tools on the layer, I can add filters to a layer, I can add effects to a layer, I can add photo corrections to a layer, all without disturbing the rest of the content of the image. There are a couple of things I call gotchas that are associated with layers. I call them gotchas because they are things that trip up lots of people. One of those things is that there is a special kind of layer called a Background layer, and often when you bring a photo in from a digital camera, it will have a single layer and that will be the Background layer. You can see a Background layer here in this image.

The Background layer is always the layer at the bottom of the layer stack, and it has a lock on it. That lock prevents you from doing certain things to a Background layer that you can do to regular layers, like these other two layers in this file. For example, you can't move a Background layer because it's locked in place. And you can't change the stacking order of a Background layer here in the layers panel, like you can to other layers. If you are working on a Background layer and you are prevented from doing something you need to do, you can change a Background layer into a regular layer by just clicking on its lock icon and dragging that lock icon down to the Trashcan at the bottom- right of the layers panel.

That changes the layer into a regular layer called layer 0. And now, I could move that layer, I could restack it in the layers panel and otherwise, treat it like a regular layer. Another gotcha associated with layers has to do with the Move tool. When I have the Move tool selected, by default in the options bar, there is a check mark next to Auto Select layer. With that option checked, if I come into the image and I click on a particular object in the image, like the round mirror, keep your eye on the layers panel and you'll see that that automatically selects the layer on which that object is located.

So although, I may have thought I was working on layer 0, I am actually now working on the round mirror layer. To avoid that problem, I like to turn off the Auto Select layer option for the Move tool by clicking in the check box to remove the check mark. And now no matter where I click in the image, I am now automatically switched to another layer. One more gotcha about layers and that has to do with saving a layered file. I'm going to go up to the File menu and choose Save As. Here in this dialog box, I want to be sure to choose a format that respects layers if I want to keep the layers in the file.

As I explained in an earlier movie, one of those formats is the Photoshop document format. So I like to select that when I want to save a layered file, and I'll also make sure that there is a check mark next to Save layers, here in this dialog box. If you decide to save a file in the JPEG format, like this, notice that you can no longer save it with layers. The JPEG format does not respect layers, it flattens all the layers in the file into a single layer, and you won't be able to access the individual layers later when you reopen the file.

I'm just going to cancel out of here for now. To remind you how useful layers can be, so whenever you can, I suggest that you put separate items of content on separate layers, and I will be showing you how you can do that later in this chapter.

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