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The Layers palette contains important features for managing the layers in your file. In this movie I'll show you some essential Layers palette features. First let's talk about selecting a layer, the number one thing that slips people up when they are editing is that they try to do something to the content of a layer without selecting that layer first. So remember to click on the layer that you want to affect before you try to act on it. So if I want to do something to any of the content of the sign layer, I'll first click on that layer here in the Layers palette. And you want to be sure to click on the blank area of the layer, not on the layer name or on the thumbnail here that represents the content of that layer.
There is one exception to the rule that you manually select layers in the Layers palette and that's when you have the Move tool selected in the Toolbox. If I click on the Move tool and then I click on any content in the image, say this palm tree. Keep your eye on the Layers palette as I do this, the focus of the Layers palette changes to the palm tree layer and if I were to click on this sign, the Sign layer would be selected, that's because there is feature associated with the Move tool in the Options bar, called Auto Select Layer but that's the only tool that has this sort of layer selection feature.
I'm going to click off the Move tool now and let's talk about stacking order. You can change the order in which the layers are stacked in the Layers palette. By just clicking on a layer like the Sign layer here and dragging it down beneath another layer, you will notice when I did that, that the palm tree in the image is now on top of the content of the Sign layer. I'll fix that by click on the Palm Tree layer and dragging it beneath the Sign layer. I release my mouse when my cursor is over the border between layers. As you build compositions in Elements, you are going to want to add layers to those compositions. Here's how you do it. First you select the layer beneath which you want your new layer to come in.
So in this case, I would like to draw an arrow on top of part of the Sign layer, right here. So I'm going to select the Sign layer first and then I'm going to the Create New Layer icon here in the Layers palette, click and that gives me a new layer. I'm a real stickler for naming layers, so that they are easier to find later. So I'm going to double-click the layer name here and type arrow and then I'll click off the Layer name field, then I'm going to come into my image and with my Paint Brush tool selected in the Toolbox as it already is, I'm going to click and drag to draw an arrow. It is not a very straight arrow but it's an arrow.
Another way to add a new layer is to drag an image in from another file, I have another file opened and you can see it down here in the project bin. It's surfer3.psd from the 07_02- layerspalette subfolder in the Chapter 07 exercise files. I'll double-click the surfer3 image in the Project Bin and that opens its document window. I'm going to Move tool in the Toolbox and then I'm going to click on the server and drag into the beach photo until I see a highlight around the beach image and then I'll release my mouse, that brings the surfer in and I can drag him into place and notice that there is a new surfer layer here in the beach image.
Directly above the layer that was selected when I drag the surfer in which was the arrow layer, I'll now come in and minimize the surfer layer and that's how easy it is to begin to make a photo composite. I'll click off the Move tool now and show you one more thing about the Layers palette. Let's say you have a layer that you just don't want anymore, how do you get rid of it? Well I think its time to get rid of my badly drawn arrow, so I'm going to Layers palette and I'm going to select the arrow layer and then I'm just going to drag it to the trash can here at the top of the Layers palette and it's gone and unfortunately, you can not open this trash can. So if you wanted to get it back, you would have to use an Undo command or the Undo History palette. So with those essential layers palette features under your belt, you can start to build yourself some really interesting layered compositions.
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