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Working with the Layers palette

From: Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac Essential Training

Video: Working with the Layers palette

The Layers palette is an essential tool when creating photo projects in Elements. In fact, many of the automated features for applying effects and creating projects, such as, scrapbooks and collages are executed behind the scenes using layers. Therefore, in order to really make the most of Elements 6, it helps to understand how to work with layers and transparent pixels. With this movie I would like to show you how to add, name, select, reposition and delete layers. I'm currently in the Bridge application. I'm viewing our catalog images in the exercise files. What I would like to do is go to a specific file. I'm going to go under the Edit menu and choose Find. In here where it says Filename contains, I'm going to type in beach and that's going to bring up all these images in here.

Working with the Layers palette

The Layers palette is an essential tool when creating photo projects in Elements. In fact, many of the automated features for applying effects and creating projects, such as, scrapbooks and collages are executed behind the scenes using layers. Therefore, in order to really make the most of Elements 6, it helps to understand how to work with layers and transparent pixels. With this movie I would like to show you how to add, name, select, reposition and delete layers. I'm currently in the Bridge application. I'm viewing our catalog images in the exercise files. What I would like to do is go to a specific file. I'm going to go under the Edit menu and choose Find. In here where it says Filename contains, I'm going to type in beach and that's going to bring up all these images in here.

I'm going to go ahead and select this first image Enzo_beach_01. Double-click that to open it up in the Elements' Editing workspace. So what I would like to do is focus over here in the bottom right where we have the Layers palette. Now every image has a background layer. The first time you open it up in Elements you're going to see this. You are going to see the image. You are going to see background, and it's going to be locked. You have to have this. Now what we want to do is we want to add some more layers to this image in order to create different types of effects. Great thing about working with layers is that they allow you to work nondestructively, meaning that I don't have to affect any of the pixels inside of this background image. I can add some different effects without making any permanent changes to the pixels in this background.

So let's take a look at this. In the Layers palette up here just above, we have some controls. We have the Create New Layer button. We also have some adjustment layers. We have the Trash icon for deleting layers. We can link layers. We can lock transparency and we can lock layers in position. So let's first create a layer. We will click the Create New Layer button. We now have a layer that's named, by default, Layer 1. Now there is nothing currently in this layer, it's completely transparent. That's why we're seeing the transparency grid here inside of our icon in the Layers palette. That's Elements' way of telling us this is an empty transparent layer.

So we need to fill this layer with some pixels of some sort. Now what I would like to do, in order to fill a specific area in this layer with some pixels, is to make a selection. Now what I'm going to do is use a keyboard shortcut. That's Command+A to select all. That's going to select the entire image as you can see here. The next thing I want to do is under the Select menu choose Modify and Contract. I'm going to enter in the highest amount I can. That's 100 pixels.

Click OK. That's going to change my selection. As you can see it's now pushed in by 100 pixels. That looks good to me. The next thing I want to do is invert that selection. I'm going to choose Select Inverse. Now I have the inverse of my selection. Now showing here in my image with the marching ants. I want to fill this area now with a color. What I can do is click over here to access the color picker. I click in the foreground color.

I can sample a color from within the image. I can maybe sample this orange or maybe I can sample this blue over here in his little swimming pants or I could sample a blue from the towel. That's actually a nice one. Let's go ahead and sample that. That looks good to me. Then I'm going to click OK. I can see the OK button right here. Click that. I now have that color selected as my foreground color. I want to fill this area in my new layer, because I have that selected in here in the Layers palette with the blue. It will only fill inside of that marching ants. Keyboard shortcut for doing that is holding down the Option key and then pressing Delete. That's the fill with foreground color keyboard shortcut.

So now I'm going to deselect by choosing Select/Deselect or pressing Command+D. So now I have this border appearing above my image. I'm going to turn off this show bounding box right here, because we don't need to see that. It's getting in my way. I'm turning that off. So now we're focusing on the image. We have our blue border on its own layer. Let's go ahead and name this layer. One way that we can do that is to double-click where it says Layer 1, and that will highlight the text. So now we can type in something more descriptive.

It's always a good idea to name your layers; the more and more layers you add the harder it can be to decide for what's what. So it makes sense to go ahead and just name them right away. So now I have a named layer. It's blue border. That looks great! Now over here on the left next to the Layer icon, we have this little eyeball. If I click on the eyeball that means that I can turn off the visibility for that layer. So now we're just seeing the background. We're not seeing the border over the top.

It still exits. It's still here. Those pixels are still present, but they are not being shown in the document. If we click again in that area, we can now see the blue border. So the great thing about using this technique, using layers to create a border effect, is that no pixels were harmed in the original image in the background. This border is completely on its own layer. It's its own separate entity layered on top of the background. It's a great way to work, nice nondestructive way.

Let's go ahead and take a look at something else we can do. Now that we have blue border, let's say we want to try some borders that are different colors. Maybe blue is cool, but we want to try something else at the same time. Rather than creating a whole new document with a separate layer, we can just add another layer. What I'm going to do is duplicate this layer. The quickest and easiest way I think to do that is to with the layers selected in the Layers palette, drag it up over the Create New Layer icon. That's going to duplicate the layer.

See now it says blue border copy. So what I want to do now is load a selection based on the pixels that are in this layer, the copy. I'm going to ahead and do that by holding down the Command key and notice what happens to my cursor as I hover over the icon here in the Layers palette. You see that little set of marching ants over the little finger. That means that if click on it I can load a selection based on what's inside of this layer. Now what I want do is choose a different color. I think what I'm going to do is just stick with white, because that's my background color. In order to change the color of this layer from blue to white, I can press the Command key and then Delete.

So now I have a white border. I'm going to deselect again, Command+D. I'm going to rename this layer by double- clicking on it and we will type white border. Press Return to apply that name. Let's take a look at what happens if we turn off the visibility. If I turn off the visibility for this white border layer, we can see I now have the blue border still underneath. If I turn that off, I still have the background layer. Now I can turn the white border on and I have the blue border off.

So I have different colored border options saved within this file. I have multiple options right here at my finger tips. That's another great reason why you would want to work with layers. You can try out your different creative ideas and save them as different layers within a single file. That's awesome that you can do that. We can also reposition these layers. That means if I wanted to with this selected now, I can click and drag, place it closer to the background layer. So you can move these around inside of the palette. You can change their layer order. So that's very important to understand as well. Because as you get to working with layers and you start learning about things like opacity and blending modes and how the layers can interact with each other, which is something I'm going to describe later in another movie.

But once you understand that, layer order can really make a difference. Different opacities, different blending modes can interact in different ways depending on how they are layered inside of the Layers palette. So if we wanted to, we could also delete layers. So let's take a look at that. Let's duplicate this one more time. I actually want to keep these too, but let's say we make an extra one in here. And we load a selection again Command-clicking, change his color, choose orange this time, click OK, Option+Delete to fill, Command+D to deselect.

Let's decide it later as we're working with this file. Let's say we decide we don't like that orange color. I don't think we're going to stick with this layer. There is no point in keeping it. We want to delete it or what we can do is just drag it up into the Trash Can or click the Trash Can with it selected in the Layers palette. Then it's gone. So we don't have to worry about it any more. By deleting that layer, we haven't changed anything in our background. It's all nondestructive editing done using layers. Transparent layers. That's the beauty of this whole thing.

What we learned here is how we can create layers, how we can delete layers, how we can name them, how we can make selections based on layers in here. We also talked about how we can reposition them. So these are all very important concepts when you're starting to work with layers.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac Essential Training
Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac Essential Training

84 video lessons · 5421 viewers

Ted LoCascio
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 22s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. Using the example files
      1m 20s
  2. 12m 1s
    1. Understanding Photoshop Elements
      2m 10s
    2. Using the Welcome screen
      2m 33s
    3. Importing photos from a digital camera
      7m 18s
  3. 1h 1m
    1. Viewing and selecting images
      2m 1s
    2. Creating and saving a custom workspace
      5m 29s
    3. Rotating images in Bridge
      3m 20s
    4. Renaming images in Bridge
      5m 34s
    5. Adding keywords to images
      7m 38s
    6. Applying ratings to images
      5m 17s
    7. Labeling images
      5m 17s
    8. Searching for images
      6m 38s
    9. Creating Collections
      2m 50s
    10. Sorting images with the Filter panel
      6m 36s
    11. Using image stacks
      7m 2s
    12. Hiding images
      4m 6s
  4. 31m 55s
    1. Opening images from Bridge
      2m 24s
    2. Working with palettes and the Palette Bin
      4m 53s
    3. Using the Project Bin
      6m 44s
    4. Zooming and scrolling
      8m 1s
    5. Fixing mistakes with Undo and Redo
      5m 3s
    6. Saving versions
      4m 50s
  5. 49m 38s
    1. Opening and viewing images in the Quick Fix mode
      6m 8s
    2. Understanding Auto Color and making tonal adjustments
      8m 50s
    3. Using the Lighting sliders
      5m 19s
    4. Using the Color sliders
      7m 1s
    5. Applying Auto Red Eye Fix
      3m 31s
    6. Applying Auto Sharpen
      4m 25s
    7. Using the Guided Edit mode
      6m 19s
    8. Processing multiple files
      8m 5s
  6. 10m 22s
    1. Understanding image resolution
      3m 23s
    2. Resizing images
      6m 59s
  7. 17m 8s
    1. Applying Auto Crop and Auto Straighten
      6m 22s
    2. Using the Straighten and Crop tools
      4m 10s
    3. Changing the canvas size
      6m 36s
  8. 30m 32s
    1. Why make selections?
      6m 3s
    2. Using the Quick Selection tool
      8m 37s
    3. Using Refine Edge
      7m 15s
    4. Saving and loading selections
      8m 37s
  9. 25m 58s
    1. Working with the Layers palette
      9m 45s
    2. Using adjustment layers and masks
      8m 37s
    3. Applying transparency and blend mode adjustments
      7m 36s
  10. 40m 56s
    1. Removing a color cast
      5m 53s
    2. Correcting skin tone
      3m 38s
    3. Enhancing color with Hue/Saturation adjustments
      6m 37s
    4. Balancing contrast and color with Levels adjustments
      7m 10s
    5. Correcting dark or light areas with Shadow/Highlight Adjustments
      5m 17s
    6. Improving images with Color Curves adjustments
      5m 55s
    7. Converting color images to black and white
      6m 26s
  11. 54m 14s
    1. Using the Red-Eye Removal tool
      8m 1s
    2. Using the healing tools
      7m 42s
    3. Whitening teeth and eyes
      6m 20s
    4. Cloning to remove contents
      8m 14s
    5. Adjusting perspective and correcting camera distortion
      6m 10s
    6. Using Photomerge Group Shot
      6m 17s
    7. Using Photomerge Faces
      6m 4s
    8. Using Photomerge Panorama
      5m 26s
  12. 16m 1s
    1. Creating a clipping mask
      7m 25s
    2. Creating collages with gradient blending
      8m 36s
  13. 22m 15s
    1. Reducing noise
      8m 7s
    2. Sharpening with Unsharp Mask
      7m 16s
    3. Sharpening with Adjust Sharpness
      6m 52s
  14. 17m 54s
    1. Understanding Camera Raw
      1m 46s
    2. Opening Camera Raw images from Bridge
      6m 37s
    3. Applying tonal and color adjustments in Camera Raw
      6m 23s
    4. Saving raw images
      3m 8s
  15. 40m 41s
    1. Painting with the Filter Gallery
      8m 7s
    2. Creating a pencil sketch
      7m 40s
    3. Customizing images
      7m 59s
    4. Adding artwork with the Content palette
      9m 39s
    5. Building and saving a multi-page photo creation
      7m 16s
  16. 37m 5s
    1. Creating a slideshow
      6m 58s
    2. Creating a photo book
      9m 1s
    3. Creating a photo collage
      6m 58s
    4. Creating a greeting card
      6m 31s
    5. Creating a web photo gallery
      7m 37s
  17. 31m 6s
    1. Choosing color settings
      7m 1s
    2. Printing to an inkjet printer
      8m 13s
    3. Using Picture Package
      4m 33s
    4. Saving for the web
      5m 55s
    5. Attaching images to emails
      3m 6s
    6. Burning to CDs and DVDs
      2m 18s
  18. 56s
    1. Goodbye
      56s

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