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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.
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