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The first step in making a layered document in Photoshop is to create a new layer. In this movie, I'd like to show you a couple of ways to create a new layer, by starting one from scratch and then by dragging a layer of content in from another document. The first thing to do when you're about to create a new layer is decide where you want it in the layer stack. In this case I'd like to put a new layer right above the cup layer and so I select the cup layer. There are several ways to create a new layer in Photoshop. My favorite way is to go to the bottom of the Layers panel and there is a small icon there that looks like a page with the corner turned up.
That's the Create New Layer icon. I'm going to click that one and it immediately makes a new layer for me. I know that it seems like just one extra step to name a layer but I think it's really important because if you're going to create a file with lots and lots of layers in it, it's difficult to know what's on a layer unless the layer has a meaningful name. So here's how you name a layer. You just go to the label on the layer and double-click. That opens the editing field and you can type the name for your layer. I'll call this one circle and then press Return or Enter. If you start to get lots of layers in the Layers panel, you might find it hard to get in there and double-click right on those words, so here is another way to rename the layer. Hold down the Option key on the Mac or the Alt key on a PC and double-click anywhere in the blank area of the bar.
That opens the Layer Properties dialog box. You could type a name there and click OK. Notice that the new layer came in right above the cup layer, the one that I'd selected. That's the general behavior, that a new layer will be created above whatever layer is selected. When a new layer comes in, it's blank and you can see that here by the gray and white checkerboard in the icon on the circle layer. So let's put some content on this layer, which is what you'd normally do when you create a new layer. I'm going to go to the toolbox and select the Elliptical Marquee tool there. I'm going to come in and I'm going to draw a circle by holding the Shift key and dragging to constrain the elliptical selection to a circular shape instead.
As long as I still have the Selection tool highlighted, I can click and drag inside the selection boundary to move that boundary into place and now I'd like to fill the selection with color. Filling is something you do all the time. Let me show you how you do it. First you need to select a color. You can do that from the color picker or if you have your Color Swatches panel open, you can just come in there and click on a color that you like. I'm going to use this magenta color and that sets my foreground color box. Then I'm going to go up to the Edit menu at the top of the screen and I'm going to choose Fill.
In this dialog box from the Use menu, I can choose what color I'm going to fill with. In this case, I'm going to fill with the magenta that's in the foreground color box. The other choices here are whatever colors in the background color box or you can just choose Color and that would open the color picker at which point you could make your color choice now or you can fill with Pattern, with Black, with Gray or with White. I'm going to press OK to fill the selection with magenta and I'll press Command+D on the Mac or Ctrl+D on the PC to deselect. Over in the Layers panel, you can see the content that I've just added to my new layer.
So that's how to create a layer from scratch. Another way to create a new layer is to bring in content from another file. I have another file open up here. It's called whipped.psd and if I click on its tab, I can see what's there. It doesn't look like much but it actually is a photograph of whipped cream. There are two ways to bring content in from one file to another in Photoshop CS4, when you're using the new docked tabs feature to display multiple files. One way to do it is to select what you want in the active document, copy it, then move to the second document and paste it.
Another way would be to go to the Arrange Documents menu in the new Application Bar, click there and choose one of the layouts that will show you both documents at once. I'll select this 2 Up view here. Now I'm going to go to the toolbox and get my Move tool. With the Move tool, I'll click anywhere in the whipped.psd document and I'll drag over into the simplelayers document. Notice that there is only one layer in the whipped document. If there were more than one, I would select the multiple layers before dragging. Here I go. I'm taking the whipped cream over and when I see this light gray bounding box in the simplelayers document, I'll release my mouse and that brings in the whipped cream.
Now I'm going to close the whipped.psd file, I don't need that one anymore, by clicking the X on its tab. In the Layers panel you'll see that the whipped cream came in with the layer name from the other document and that it was dropped on top of the circle layer because the circle layer is the one I had selected. It doesn't matter where I drop the whipped cream in this file because I can move it. As long as I have the Move tool selected, I can just come in and put it where I want it. So I'm going to put it on top of the cup. When I'm all done, I'm going to save this file with its new layer and I'm going to give it a new name.
So I'll go to File and Save As and then I'm going to navigate to my desktop and there I'll save this as creamylayers and click Save. So there you have a couple of different methods for creating a new layer. You can either make a blank layer and then add content to it, as I did for the magenta logo, or you can drag a new layer in with content ready to go from another file, if you're making something like a design layout or a photo collage.
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