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Deke's Techniques is a collection of short Photoshop and Illustrator projects and creative effects that can be completed in ten minutes or less. The series is taught by computer graphics guru Deke McClelland, and presented in his signature step-by-step style. The intent is to reveal how various Photoshop and Illustrator features can be combined and leveraged in real-world examples so that they can be applied to creative projects right away.
In this movie, I want to show you how you quickly and easily mix and match layers using layer comps, so you look like you're an absolute pro when you're showing off your work to other people. So here I'm working inside of my brand file, and I've got all these different versions of my branded type effect that go with these various versions of the textured backgrounds. But I have to make sure that I get it right. In other words, brand # 5 goes with cowhide, but it doesn't go with any of the other backgrounds. So let's say I want to show off that really cool brand against the corrugated cardboard.
So I'll turn on the corrugate layer there, and that completely covers up cowhide, so that's fine. But obviously, this branded type doesn't go with it. I can't remember which one does. Maybe it's brand # 3, so I'll go ahead and turn that on, and then I've got to turn off brand # 5. That looks to me like the wrong brand. In fact, I'm positive it's the one that goes burlap, and I could confirm that by turning on burlap and turning off corrugate. And sure enough, that is the right combo there, but that's not what I want to show the person. So I turn on corrugate, and then I try brand # 2.
That looks to be right. Now I turn off brand # 3--there you go. That's the one I wanted to show you. Well, that's a very awkward experience, obviously. And yet, inside of this file--check this out. I'll go ahead and Shift+Tab away my panels. I can just press a key and move from one of these brands to the next one, to the next one, and so on, just from the keyboard--without doing anything. So what this does is it not only does a great job of showing off these effects that I have created, but it also makes me look like an absolute professional, it gets rid of awkward experience, and so on.
So, what is it I'm doing? Well, I'll Shift+Tab to bring back my panels, and I'm going to go up to the Window menu, and I'm going to choose Layer Comps. That brings up the Layer Comps panel, and you can see that I've set up an item for each one of the background. So there is Rock, there is Corrugate, there is Burlap, there is Rhino, and Cowhide-- one a piece for each one of these textured backgrounds. If I click on one of them, nothing happens. The reason is what you've got to do is click in front of the layer comp. So if I click in front there, it goes ahead and switches to the rock texture background. Notice actually it turns on all the backgrounds, because rock covers up everybody else. And it also turns off all the brands except for brand # 1.
Then if I switch to Corrugate by clicking in front of it, Photoshop goes ahead and automatically switches to brand #2, as you can see, and it turns off the Rock layer and exposes Corrugate underneath, and then Burlap drills down another layer. As you can see right there, Burlap is turned on, brand #3 is turned on, all the other brand layers are turned off. Rhino turns on brand #4. It turns off all the textures except Rhino and Cowhide, because Rhino covers up Cowhide, and then we have Cowhide at the very end. So, how in the world do you create these things, because they're really wicked- useful, as you might imagine.
Well, let's go ahead and grab a few of them. I will click on, let's say Rhino and then Shift+Click on Corrugate and grab these guys and throw them in the trash. So we're throwing the middle group in the trash. So now we just have a layer comp for Rock and Cowhide, and that's it. If we want to create something else-- let's say I want to create a new layer comp for Rhino--I would turn on the rhino layer, I would turn off brand #5, I would turn on brand #4, so that everything is set up the way I need it to be. Then I would drop down to the Page icon at the bottom of the Layer Comps panel, click on it, and I would name this one "Rhino." Now what I suggest you do is you go ahead and turn on Visibility so that Photoshop is keeping track of which layers are visible and which aren't, and then I would also go ahead and turn on Appearance.
That includes the layer style, and every single one of these layers has a layer effect applied to it. But it also goes ahead and saves any opacity that you might've applied and the blend mode as well, if you have any blend mode. Now, in the case of Rhino, it has a lowered Fill Opacity value, as you may recall from our previous movie. So I want that information to be tracked by this layer comp. So we'll turn on Appearance. Turn on Visibility. Generally speaking, you want to leave Position off, because that's the horizontal vertical position of the layer, and you really don't need to track that--in most cases anyway.
Go ahead and click OK, and now you saved off Rhino. Notice here if I switch to the brand #4 layer, that's the Rhino brand that I have that Fill Opacity set to 65%. I also have a Blend mode, Multiply. Forgot about that. So it's a good thing that I am tracking that appearance. Now, Rhino, of course, is in the wrong position in the Layer Comps stack. If I want to be working through these various texture effects in the order they appear inside of my composition-- that's not necessarily all that important. You don't have to work that way. You can change the order of layer comps anyway you want. But I do want them to appear in that order, so I'll just go ahead and drag Rhino to a different location here, and now I'll create a new one for Burlap, just by turning on and off a few layers.
Go ahead and click on this Page icon at the bottom of Layer Comps panel, and I'll name this guy "Burlap," of course. Then I'll turn on corrugate, turn on brand #2, turn off brand #3, click on little Page icon, call this "Corrugate." You might think, "Well, gosh! You are doing a fine job of turning on and off these layers now that you're not pretending that you're having problems." Well, that's the point. When you are in front of somebody, and you're trying to show them the various layer combinations, of course you start getting nervous, you make mistakes, that kind of thing. Not only that, you want a real clean experience, so you're not seeing the half dozen layers get turned on and another half dozen get turned off.
You want to just bing, go from one group of layers to another group of layers in one single operation, and that's what layer comps allow you to do. Click OK. Now I'm going to drag Corrugate to below Rock. I'll drag Burlap to below Corrugate. Now I can just cycle through these different layer comps, by the way, by clicking on these arrow icons. So if I click in the Right Arrow icon I'll move to the next layer comp, like so. If I click in the left one, I'll move to the previous one--fairly a no-brainer, I think. What if you want to move between these layer comps from the keyboard? Why then, that's when you assign a keyboard shortcut.
So I'll go up to the Edit menu, and I'll choose Keyboard Shortcuts in order to bring up the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog box. You will want to go ahead and switch your Shortcuts from Application Menus to Panel Menus, like so. Then scroll down the list until you come to Layer Comps, twirl it open by clicking on the little triangle, and then you've got these two items right here: Next Layer Comp. And I've gone ahead and pre-assigned with my machine, the machine I'm running on here, a keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+Shift+Alt+F12. That's mash your fist F12. That would be Command+ Shift+Option+F12 on the Mac.
Then for Previous Layer Comp, I have the same thing, but F11. So Ctrl+Shift+Alt+F11 on the PC, Command+Shift+Option+F11 on the Mac. Go ahead and assign whatever keyboard shortcut you like. And by the way, these are keyboard shortcuts that come along with my dekeKeys, for those of you who have worked inside of my other courses. These keyboard shortcuts have already been set up for you if you loaded dekeKeys. Then you can go ahead and save your changes by clicking on this little Save As icon, the little floppy disk with the green arrow next to it, and then you can name your new keyboard shortcuts and click OK.
Anyway, I'm just going to cancel out, because I've already created these keyboard shortcuts in advance. Then I can just switch to the Full Screen mode by pressing the F key a couple of times. So you don't have to have any panels up on-screen, and then I can press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+F12 in order to move forward through my layer comps. This would Command+Shift+Option+F12 on the Mac0. Or the same darn thing, F11, in order to move backward through my layer comps, as you can see. So if you want to make a quick and easy experience out of switching layers inside of Photoshop, whether for your own purposes to keep track of where you are inside of a composition or so that you can show variations off to a client, remember that you have layer comps here inside Photoshop.
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