One of the great inventions in the world of digital imaging is the layer. Layers enable a great amount of flexibility that would otherwise be impossible to achieve. And I'm going to just do a quick example on screen here to show you what I'm talking about. I am going to get a paintbrush here. Let's go to Acrylics, and we will just take Captured Bristle, and get a color here.
Now, I am just going to paint with this a bit, nothing spectacular. But I want to show you in traditional sense or in an application where you didn't have layers, let's say I am just painting along, and I am having fun, creating kind of an abstract geometric sort of thing here. Let's see, maybe I am going to want to add some green down here, and I will take another color here just to kind of play around; some yellow.
Okay, I have done this image, and let's say later on, I start to decide things like, oh, you know, I wish I hadn't done this in red. There are techniques you could go in and try to select just the red and change it, but you're probably always going to have issues along the fringes of where colors meet. It's a flat image. So that's it! This is the image, there's nothing more I can do with it. So I'm going to now do a very similar kind of imaging of the same subject, but we are going to use layers in this case.
So we're now in the Layers palette. And if we go down to the bottom here, you will see there are some icons. The first one are Layer commands, and right now they are all grayed out because we have no layers to act up on. You also have some dynamic plugins that let you do some different kinds of interesting variations on painting with these plugins, and we have New layer. Then we have New Layer Mask, which we will get into a little bit, and then we have Lock Layer.
So we've got some controls here and the one we're really focused on right now is just New Layer. So I am going to click on that and it creates a new layer. So now let's start to do similar to what I did before here. I'm going to start to just paint an image here, and it won't be exactly the same, because I don't even remember what I painted. But I am going to paint this here. And now, instead of just going to my next color and painting on here, I am going to create a new layer, and I'm going to do the same thing.
So now I'm painting here. Every time I change to new color, I am going to create a new layer, and then we will go to some yellow/orange here, create a new layer, I want some green. So we'll put some little thingies here, and I will create another layer, or here are the purples, just kind of put some color in here, and maybe I will finish it off with some stripes on there.
So we will get some yellow stripes. A similar question as I asked before, later on, I might look at this and say, you know I wish maybe I had not done that in that color. And so, I have selected my layer selector. One of the things I am going to do up here is go right here, this second icon, and you can see it's Auto Select Layer on/off. I always have this on. I want that to be on, because what that means is when I click on say this one, see how the green elements that I've painted on that layer are now selected, or if I select the purple, it's now selected, or if I select the blue, it's selected.
If we open this up, we'll see more of what's going on. And so, the idea that these are separate layers now opens up a number of opportunities. For example, if I want to address this red/orange area, I could select that and very simply, one thing I could do is I could go into my Effects and go to Tonal Control > Adjust Colors, and here's if I wanted it more red, I could shift it there to a much more red color, say OK.
And now I've altered that, just that, and nothing else. If this were a flat object as I stated earlier, that would be very difficult to do. I'd have to use all kinds of selection techniques and stuff, and hopefully do a very good job of it so there is no color fringing along the edges. But I can even go a step further. What if I decided, you know, this is kind of offset, I wish I'd painted it up here a little bit. Well, I can do that. I can move this around wherever I want. Same with this, same with any of these elements. They're all individual layers now, and the fact that I'm working in this layered painting environment means that much more opportunity to make changes is possible.
And that is probably right there, the single most important reason why you want to be knowledgeable and good at using layers, because this ability to alter things after the fact goes a long, long way. I may decide I want to play completely with how this was done. I can do all kinds of things that wouldn't have been possible. So you can really, what if, to your heart's content here, in a way that you never could with an image that is completely flat.
I can even play around with the layer order of these. If I go to the green, which I have selected, I can click and drag this, and slowly bring it down till it gets to where it's underneath the blue in this case. Once you've created an image that's comprised of layers, you can save it in either Painter's native RIFF format or in the Photoshop PSD format, and the layers will be preserved. So you can later on open an image like this and all those layers will be intact for you to adjust and change till your heart's content.
You do want to remember, and I will get into this in greater detail in the Painter and Photoshop chapter. But each of these applications has some very specific types of layers, Photoshop, for example, has adjustment layers, Painter has Impasto. Well, Photoshop doesn't know about Impasto, there is no code in Photoshop to do anything with it. So it won't transfer across, and the same would be true of adjustment layers from Photoshop. Painter has no knowledge of them. So it tosses them out the door before it lets them into the Painter circus.
Being able to save these in a format where layering is preserved just amplifies the power of layers even more. Hopefully just this quick little demonstration has already convinced you of that. Using layers, especially when you are creating a painting, is the way to go. If you go back to painting flat, you'll quickly realize how important layers are to you.
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