Now, here's a modest feature for you. Photoshop 13.1 is slightly smarter about the way that it names merged layers. So, what would happen in the past? Imagine I've got this layer called Portrait that I've specifically named, and then I turn on this texture layer that I didn't bother about the name, just called layer 1 there. I'll go ahead and set the Texture layer to the Overlay Blend mode, so that these two layers are merged together. Then I'll Shift-click on the Portrait layer in order to select it. And in the old days if I were to merge these two layers together, the new layer would adopt the name of the top layer in the stack. So, it would be Layer 1.
Now-a-days it's going to be named after the custom named layer, in this case Portrait. Let me give you a clearer sense of how that works. I'm going to turn off Layer 1 for a moment. I'll also turn off the portrait layer. Notice that I have a bunch of colorful layers in the background. And the idea is I want to take this portrait layer, and I want to set it to the Multiply Blend mode, so that we're achieving a kind of Andy Warhol silk screen effect if you will. But I need more contrast where this portrait layer is concerned.
So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to return to the Normal mode just by pressing Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac, and then I'm going to add a couple of adjustment layers, by dropping down to this little Black/White circular icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. I will go ahead and choose Black & White. I'll just assign a Preset from the Properties panel of High Contrast Blue Filter in order to achieve this effect. Now, to heighten the contrast, I will once again drop down to the Black/White icon, click on it, and choose Levels this time around.
I'm going to increase the Black point value, the first value under the histogram to 40, and then I'll reduce the White point value which is the third value under the histogram to 160. Then I'll Shift+Tab to the Gamma value, and press Shift+Up Arrow two times in a row to increase the Gamma value to 1.2. Now, I'll go ahead and hide the Properties panel. Now, I'll turn that Texture layer back on, the one that's called layer 1. It's set to the Overlay mode. So, if I zoom in here, you can see that we have this pattern texture that's woven into the remaining mid-tones. All right.
Now, I'm going to zoom out a click here, maybe scroll down a little bit too. And with Layer 1 selected, I'll go ahead and scroll down my list here inside the Layers panel, and I'll Shift-click on the portrait layer, so I'm selecting that range of layers. Then I'll go up to layer menu, and I'll choose this command right there, Merge Layers, which also has a keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+E or Command+E on the Mac. As I say prior to Photoshop 13.1, Photoshop would have adopted the top layer name in the stack, so it would call the results of the merged layers Layer 1.
Now-a-days what happens is when I choose the command, Photoshop goes ahead and adopts the name of the only layer that has a custom name, which is portrait. And now, I'll go ahead and apply the Multiply Blend mode to it in order to achieve this final effect here. And again, this is what I would call an incredibly minor feature. I'm showing it to you in part because I want to mitigate your expectations. What I just showed you was a static workflow where we're merging all the layers into a flat layer. I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Alt+Z or Command+Option+Z a couple of times in a row in order to reinstate all those layers.
Let's say what I want to do instead is preserve all the layers inside of a smart object. Well, in that case, I would go ahead and click on the top layer, Shift-click on the portrait layer in order to select it. Then go up to Layers panel flyout menu, and choose Convert to Smart Object, in which case, the new smart object layer still goes ahead and adopts the name of the top layer which in this case is Layer 1. The problem with that is even though I can go ahead and rename this layer portrait, for example, and I can change its Blend mode to Multiply, so everything works out brilliantly; however, if I decide I want to edit the contents of the smart object by double-clicking on its thumbnail-- if you're working along with me, and you get this warning just click OK-- then you'll see the very unfortunate thing which is that this object is still called Layer 1, in my case, it's called Layer 11, but it's still adopting the name of the top layer in the stack.
And why this is a pain in the neck is because there is nothing you can do about that. You can't rename this object. So, in my case, I'm just going to close it in order to return to my composition. So, the upshot is that Photoshop 13.1 is smarter about naming merged layers. But it's not smarter about naming smart objects, which after all would be the smarter thing to do. And hopefully, it's a feature that we can expect in a future upgrade to the software.
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