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Creating a new layer and background

From: Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals

Video: Creating a new layer and background

In this movie, I'll show you the various ways to create a blank new layer as well as how to create a new background. For example, here I am looking at the final version of my artwork, but let's say I want to output the image, and instead of the frame appearing against the screen wall, I want the background to be page white. Now if I scroll down my list of layers here and turn off the rear most layer which is the wall layer, then I end up seeing this checkerboard and that's Photoshop's way of showing you transparency. In other words, there's nothing there.

Creating a new layer and background

In this movie, I'll show you the various ways to create a blank new layer as well as how to create a new background. For example, here I am looking at the final version of my artwork, but let's say I want to output the image, and instead of the frame appearing against the screen wall, I want the background to be page white. Now if I scroll down my list of layers here and turn off the rear most layer which is the wall layer, then I end up seeing this checkerboard and that's Photoshop's way of showing you transparency. In other words, there's nothing there.

Now if I were to print the image at this point, it would appear against the white background. In other words the checkers don't render to the printer. However, it's impossible to gauge any of the effects that go out into the transparency. For example, this drop shadow behind the frame, looks awfully darn light when in fact it's a very dark shadow. But we're not going to be able to gauge it properly until we add a white background to our composition. So the first thing we need to do is create a new layer. There is a couple of ways to do that.

One is you can drop down to this little page icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. Notice it says Create a new layer, just go ahead and click on it and you'll create a blank new layer in front of the active layer, so right above wall. All right, now I'm going to press Ctrl+ Z or Command+Z on the Mac to undo that. What if we want to put the new layer below the wall layer? Then you press the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac and click on the page icon. There is two more keyboard tricks you might want to know about, so I'll press Ctrl+Z Command+Z on the Mac to undo that Layer.

If you want to name the layer as you create it then you press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and click on the little page icon, then you call the layer anything you want and click OK. Notice the new layer appears above wall. What if you want to create and name a new layer and put it behind the active layer? I'll go ahead and undo the new layer again. You press the Ctrl and Alt keys on the PC or the Command and Option keys on the Mac. Click on the little page icon, name the layer as you like and click OK, and it appears in the background.

All right, I'm going to undo that because I want to show you one more way to work. And that is you can go to the Layers panel flyout menu icon up here in the upper right corner of the panel, and you can choose the New Layer command or you can take advantage of that keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+N or Command+Shift+N on the Mac. And for my part that's where I find myself doing most of the time, it's just using that shortcut, because that brings up the dialog box that allows you to name the new layer. All right I'll name it, click OK.

Notice it does in this case appear above the wall layer. And we really haven't solved our problem so far because the layer is itself transparent as indicated by this checkerboard thumbnail. Well now that we have a new layer, we can convert it into a background. And you do that by going to the Layer menu, choosing New and choosing Background from Layer, and that ends up doing a couple of things. First of all, it sends the layer to the back of the stack, it makes it a flat image element so it's no longer a floating layer.

It renames the item Background and it goes ahead and fills it with the background color which by default is white. And you can see the foreground color and the background color down here at the bottom of the toolbox. And now notice when we see the drop shadow rendered against the white background that is quite dark indeed. So if I turn that background off for a moment, that's what the shadow looked like before, very light against the transparent checkerboard pattern. And then if I turn the background back on, we have a much darker shadow.

And so I might actually edit that shadow, I'll go ahead and expand my layer effects by clicking on that little down arrow icon, I'll double-click on the Drop Shadow effect and I'm going to take that Opacity value down to 50% so we have a more subtle shadow. And then I'll tab my way to the Distance value and press Shift+Up arrow a couple of times in a row to take that value up to 45 pixels and then tab to the size value and take it up to 45 pixels as well, and then click OK. So we now have a larger but more translucent shadow.

And again if I were to turn off the background layer, the shadow almost disappears. But with that background layer on, I can see what's actually happening inside my composition. And that's how you create new layers as well as the new background here inside Photoshop.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals
Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals

100 video lessons · 57496 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 19m 15s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 27s
    2. Opening from the Windows desktop
      4m 7s
    3. Opening from the Macintosh Finder
      4m 9s
    4. Opening from Photoshop or Bridge
      2m 45s
    5. Opening an image from Mini Bridge
      1m 16s
    6. Opening through Camera Raw
      2m 32s
    7. Closing one image and Closing All
      1m 59s
  2. 38m 14s
    1. Navigating your image
      40s
    2. The dark vs. the light interface
      3m 12s
    3. Navigating tabs and windows
      4m 32s
    4. Panels and workspaces
      4m 27s
    5. Zooming incrementally
      4m 29s
    6. Zooming continuously
      2m 43s
    7. Entering a custom zoom value
      2m 25s
    8. Scrolling and panning images
      2m 31s
    9. Rotating and resetting the view
      2m 11s
    10. Cycling between screen modes
      3m 10s
    11. Using the Navigator panel
      3m 38s
    12. Adjusting a few screen prefs
      4m 16s
  3. 45m 58s
    1. Digital imaging fundamentals
      1m 45s
    2. Image size and resolution
      3m 3s
    3. The Image Size command
      3m 27s
    4. Common resolution standards
      3m 20s
    5. Upsampling vs. real pixels
      4m 36s
    6. Changing the print size
      6m 16s
    7. Downsampling for print
      4m 12s
    8. Downsampling for email
      3m 11s
    9. The interpolation settings
      5m 22s
    10. Downsampling advice
      4m 36s
    11. Upsampling advice
      6m 10s
  4. 53m 17s
    1. The layered composition
      1m 40s
    2. Introducing the Layers panel
      4m 12s
    3. Adding, scaling, and aligning layers
      5m 27s
    4. Dragging and dropping layers
      4m 36s
    5. Stack, reveal, and rename
      2m 58s
    6. Opacity, history, and blend mode
      6m 5s
    7. Duplicating a selected portion of a layer
      5m 32s
    8. Applying a clipping mask
      3m 58s
    9. Blending inside a clipping mask
      4m 10s
    10. Finishing off your artwork
      3m 13s
    11. Creating a new layer and background
      4m 24s
    12. Layering tips and tricks
      7m 2s
  5. 26m 19s
    1. The art of saving
      54s
    2. Four things to know about saving
      6m 0s
    3. Saving layers to PSD
      6m 38s
    4. Saving print images to TIFF
      4m 48s
    5. Saving an interactive image to PNG
      3m 41s
    6. Saving a flat photo to JPEG
      4m 18s
  6. 19m 36s
    1. Honing in on your image
      1m 43s
    2. The new and improved Crop tool
      3m 35s
    3. Editing your last crop
      3m 1s
    4. Straightening a crooked image
      2m 29s
    5. Filling in missing details
      6m 44s
    6. Using the Perspective Crop tool
      2m 4s
  7. 42m 6s
    1. First, there is brightness
      2m 12s
    2. How luminance works
      4m 18s
    3. The three Auto commands
      3m 27s
    4. Automatic brightness and contrast
      3m 19s
    5. The Brightness/Contrast command
      2m 47s
    6. The dynamic adjustment layer
      4m 5s
    7. Editing adjustment layers
      3m 52s
    8. Isolating an adjustment with a layer mask
      3m 31s
    9. Introducing the histogram
      4m 58s
    10. Measuring an adjustment
      3m 34s
    11. Using the Shadows/Highlights command
      6m 3s
  8. 44m 33s
    1. And second, there is color
      1m 31s
    2. Identifying a color cast
      3m 34s
    3. Correcting a color cast automatically
      3m 57s
    4. Changing the color balance
      6m 10s
    5. Compensating with Photo Filter
      3m 11s
    6. Adjusting color intensity with Vibrance
      3m 29s
    7. Correcting color cast in Camera Raw
      5m 46s
    8. The Hue/Saturation command
      5m 26s
    9. Summoning colors where none exist
      4m 8s
    10. Making more color with Vibrance
      4m 27s
    11. Making a quick-and-dirty sepia tone
      2m 54s
  9. 55m 46s
    1. Making selective modifications
      1m 10s
    2. The geometric Marquee tools
      6m 1s
    3. Aligning one image element to another
      4m 59s
    4. The freeform Lasso tools
      3m 59s
    5. Polygonal Lasso tool and Quick Mask
      5m 19s
    6. Cropping one selection inside another
      6m 15s
    7. Creating rays of light
      4m 44s
    8. Quick Selection and Similar
      4m 11s
    9. Making it better with Refine Edge
      4m 56s
    10. Integrating image elements
      2m 39s
    11. Magic Wand and Grow
      5m 17s
    12. Refine, integrate, and complete
      6m 16s
  10. 53m 49s
    1. Your best face forward
      1m 0s
    2. Content-Aware Fill
      6m 11s
    3. Using the Spot Healing Brush
      5m 36s
    4. The more capable "standard" Healing Brush
      5m 55s
    5. Meet the Clone Source panel
      3m 53s
    6. Caps Lock and Fade
      4m 57s
    7. The Dodge and Burn tools
      5m 1s
    8. Adjusting color with the Brush tool
      6m 35s
    9. Smoothing skin textures
      5m 58s
    10. Brightening teeth
      4m 0s
    11. Intensifying eyes
      4m 43s
  11. 51s
    1. Goodbye
      51s

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