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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.
The layers panel is where you will go to manage the layers in your file. Let me show you some of the things you will do most frequently in the layers panel. Here in the layers panel, you will see that I am working with a file that has three layers. If I want to add another layer to add more content to the file, I will first select the layer above which I would like the new layer to come in to my layer stack. So let's say that I want to have a layer above the side mirror layer, but below the round mirror layer. Then I will select the side mirror layer in the layers panel.
To add a new layer, I will go down to the bottom of the layers panel and click this Create New layer icon, the far left icon, and that gives me a new blank layer that's filled with transparent pixels represented by this gray and white checkerboard. I am a real stickler for giving layers meaningful names, because I found that if you have lots of layers in a file, unless they have names you recognize, it's hard to know which is which. To change the name of this layer from its default, I will double-click on the default name, and that opens this text editing box.
I am going to call this layer Signature and then I will press Return or Enter on my keyboard. I will make sure that I have the signature layer selected and then I am going to go over to the toolbar and select the Brush tool. I will move into the image and I am going to make the brush-tip smaller by pressing the left bracket key on my keyboard. The left bracket key is the key just to the right of the P key on the keyboard. And then I will come into the image and I will write a signature here. Because the signature layer, on which I have added this content, is below the round mirror and above the side mirror, the signature appears in a corresponding position in the image; below the round mirror and above the side mirror.
One of the nice things about layers is that I can change their stacking order and that will change the order of the content in the image. So if I want the signature to move above the round mirror, I will go to the layers panel, I will click on the signature layer and I will drag until I see the top border of that top layer turn dark, and then I will release my mouse, and that moves the signature layer above the round mirror layer in the layers panel and it puts the signature above both mirrors in the image itself. If I don't like the content of a layer, I can always make the layer temporarily invisible by clicking the eye icon to the left of that layer and then I can make the layer visible again by clicking in that eye icon space again, and if I want to delete the content of a layer altogether, I can do that without affecting the other layers, by just clicking on the layer and dragging it down to the Trash can at the bottom of the layers panel.
To add that pixel based content, I first made a new layer, but you don't always have to create a new layer. There are some special kinds of layers that are made automatically when you work with a particular tool. So if you are using the Type tool, that will automatically make a Type layer for you in the layers panel or if you are using the Shape tool; that will make a Shape layer and I will cover those special kinds of layers later in the course. Now as you have seen in an earlier movie, I can select multiple layers so that I can move or otherwise, work on more than one layer at a time.
For example, with the round mirror layer selected, I can hold the Ctrl key on a PC, or the Command key on a Mac, and click on the side mirror layer to select them both. But if later, I click on another layer, I no longer have those two layers selected. I lose the relationship between them. So if I want keep these layers linked together more permanently, I can add a link to them both. To do that, I will click on one of the layers, a Ctrl or Command+Click on the other to select them both, and then I will go down to this link icon at the bottom of the layers panel and I will click there to add a link symbol to both of these layers.
Now with either one of the layers selected, if I go to the toolbar, and I get the Move tool, and I go up to the options bar and make sure Auto Select layer is unchecked, which is my preference always, then when I go into the image and drag, both of the linked layers will move. And the same is true if I select the other one of the linked layers. And the content of both layers moves together. The layers panel, like all panel groups, has a panel menu icon on the top right. If I click that tiny icon that looks like a list, that opens the layers panel menu and here, you will find many commands that are related to layers.
Some of which we have already seen elsewhere, like Delete layer, or Create New layer, and some other commands as well, like layers Help, and here is a command for duplicating a layer. Down here I have commands for merging various layers together, either a linked layers, or visible layers, or if I choose Flatten Image, that will flatten all of the layers into one. I want to warn you against using these Merge and Flatten commands unless you are absolutely sure that you won't need to work on a layer separately in the future. There is one more place to look for commands related to layers and that's up here in the menu bar in the layer menu, but for the most part you will be working in the layers panel.
I think this panel is probably the most important of all the panels in the Full Edit workspace. So I suggest that you always leave it open on your screen and if it ever does close, you can always reopen the layers panel by going up to the Window menu at the top of the screen and choosing layers.
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