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Exploring the Layers panel

From: Photoshop CS6 for Web Design

Video: Exploring the Layers panel

In this movie, we're going to be exploring the Layers panel inside of Photoshop. If you aren't using layers in your designs then you're doing yourself and anyone working with you a big disservice. Layers are the window in your document that give you a bird's-eye view of everything that's happening inside your file. By properly using the layers, you ensure that your files are staying organized throughout the entire design process, and that is the essential, especially when you're working in a team environment. Let's take a look. I have opened a file here called explore_layers.psd. In this file there are several different types of layers, and they're all scattered throughout the Layers panel over here on the right.

Exploring the Layers panel

In this movie, we're going to be exploring the Layers panel inside of Photoshop. If you aren't using layers in your designs then you're doing yourself and anyone working with you a big disservice. Layers are the window in your document that give you a bird's-eye view of everything that's happening inside your file. By properly using the layers, you ensure that your files are staying organized throughout the entire design process, and that is the essential, especially when you're working in a team environment. Let's take a look. I have opened a file here called explore_layers.psd. In this file there are several different types of layers, and they're all scattered throughout the Layers panel over here on the right.

I'll drag the Layers panel out so you'd get a better idea of what I'm talking about. Inside the Layers panel, there's a lot going on, and at first glance, it can be someone intimidating, so let's take a look at that before we get started. At the very top you'll see a filter and search bar. This is only available in Photoshop CS6, so if you're using Photoshop CS5 or earlier, you won't have this available to you. We'll cover this in its own movie a little bit later on. Directly underneath that, you're going to see a Blend mode and Opacity control. Blend modes allow you to blend layers together based on certain criteria: Brightness, Hue, Saturation, et cetera.

The opacity controls refer to how opaque an image is. So for instance, if I were to select one of these photograph layers and turn the opacity down, you'll see that the photo starts to fade in and out. Dragging it all the way up back to 100 makes it completely opaque. Fill opacity is a little bit different; fill opacity will also reduce the opacity of the pixels on that layer, but if there were any layer styles applied to it--like a drop shadow or stroke--the fill opacity does not affect those attributes. Directly to the left, we have the ability to lock certain aspects or all of our layers.

In the Lock section, we can lock transparent pixels, image pixels, lock layer position, and also lock everything. If I choose Lock everything, that means the layer is unable to be edited whatsoever. If I try to move this layer, Photoshop comes up and tells me that it cannot use the Move tool because the layer is locked. I simply hit OK and then if I want to unlock my layer, I click the lock icon again, and I'm able to move and edit that layer as I see fit. In the body of the Layers panel, you're going to see little eyeball icons to the left.

This controls visibility; it does not delete a layer. So if I click the eyeball, the layer is temporarily hidden. It's still there. All I have to is click the eyeball again to turn it back on. We'll also see a layer thumbnail. The layer thumbnail gives you short of a bird's-eye view of the layer itself. To the right, you'll see a layer name and if you want to know whether or not you have the current layer selected or not, you just look for the highlight. So anytime I click on a layer, see how it highlights? That means that that is the current layer that I have selected. So anytime you open up a file and you don't know which layer is selected, just look for the highlighted portion.

At the bottom of the Layers panel, we have several different icons, like Link layers, which will only be available if you have two or more layers selected. Add a layer style: this adds special effects to your layers, like drop shadows, glows, and bevels. Adding a layer mask which allows you to hide portions of your image nondestructively. Creating a new fill or adjustment layer, things like levels, curves, shadows and highlights, things like that. Create a new group; if you have several layers that are similar to one another, you can group them together. You can also create a new blank layer from this icon here and you can throw layers away by clicking the trashcan.

On the right-hand side, you'll see a scroll bar. So if you have a lot of layers in your document, you can scroll up and down to see all of the layers that are available to you. At the top right-hand corner, you'll see a small menu icon that opens up the Layers panel menu. From here you can do lots of the commands that are available as icons inside the panel, and you can also do things like change blending options, and open up the panel options to change the way the Layers panel behaves and appears. Clicking away from that will close the menu. Now I'm going to reset my workspace by coming up to the Jump menu and choosing Reset.

That snaps my Layers panel back to where it's supposed to go. And so there you have it: a brief tour of the Layers panel inside of Photoshop. Hopefully by now you have a better understanding of what all the little icons and buttons are and why you would choose to use them in your project.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS6 for Web Design
Photoshop CS6 for Web Design

75 video lessons · 50314 viewers

Justin Seeley
Author

 
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  1. 1m 9s
    1. Welcome
      48s
    2. Using the exercise files
      21s
  2. 25m 50s
    1. Designing for screens
      1m 8s
    2. Decoding screen size and resolution
      3m 9s
    3. Exploring the PSD-to-HTML workflow
      2m 25s
    4. Setting up Photoshop for web work
      5m 29s
    5. Creating a new document for web
      2m 36s
    6. Creating a new document for mobile
      4m 24s
    7. Setting up a responsive web layout
      3m 31s
    8. Creating email newsletter documents
      3m 8s
  3. 20m 39s
    1. Adjusting color settings
      4m 13s
    2. Understanding web color
      4m 0s
    3. Creating a color palette
      4m 56s
    4. Creating custom swatches
      3m 34s
    5. Applying color to shapes and graphics
      3m 56s
  4. 20m 36s
    1. Exploring the Layers panel
      4m 9s
    2. Renaming and grouping layers
      7m 19s
    3. Searching and filtering layers
      3m 11s
    4. Using layer comps effectively
      3m 4s
    5. Using automatic layer selection
      2m 53s
  5. 29m 2s
    1. Using vector shapes vs. pixel shapes
      3m 31s
    2. Creating vector shapes
      5m 2s
    3. Working with fills and strokes
      4m 36s
    4. Working with Smart Objects
      7m 47s
    5. Importing images
      3m 57s
    6. Cropping and resizing images
      4m 9s
  6. 28m 48s
    1. Planning your project
      3m 13s
    2. Using guides and rulers
      6m 40s
    3. Using a grid system
      8m 28s
    4. Developing a layout with shape layers
      4m 4s
    5. Making pixel-perfect adjustments
      6m 23s
  7. 23m 19s
    1. Using point text vs. paragraph text
      2m 10s
    2. Using text as text vs. using text as an image
      2m 47s
    3. Understanding web-safe fonts
      2m 41s
    4. Inserting placeholder text
      4m 2s
    5. Creating and using character styles
      2m 37s
    6. Creating and using paragraph styles
      6m 11s
    7. Creating editable 3D text
      2m 51s
  8. 26m 54s
    1. Understanding layer styles
      7m 0s
    2. Creating and using drop shadows
      3m 23s
    3. Creating better bevels
      6m 9s
    4. Simulating metallic textures
      5m 8s
    5. Saving and applying layer styles
      2m 48s
    6. Turning layer styles into independent layers
      2m 26s
  9. 50m 23s
    1. Starting with a wireframe
      54s
    2. Organizing page structure
      2m 29s
    3. Adding master elements
      5m 37s
    4. Creating navigation
      4m 36s
    5. Working with photographs
      4m 0s
    6. Working with text
      8m 31s
    7. Creating media placeholders
      7m 22s
    8. Creating buttons
      7m 15s
    9. Creating form fields
      7m 54s
    10. Simulating pages with layer comps
      1m 45s
  10. 33m 38s
    1. Understanding slicing
      2m 4s
    2. Slicing up a mockup
      4m 15s
    3. Understanding web file formats
      4m 3s
    4. Exploring the Save for Web dialog
      5m 3s
    5. Optimizing photographs
      4m 17s
    6. Optimizing transparent graphics
      4m 56s
    7. Saving Retina display graphics
      5m 34s
    8. Using the Image Generator (NEW)
      3m 26s
  11. 10m 40s
    1. Understanding image sprites
      1m 25s
    2. Creating a sprite grid
      2m 54s
    3. Assembling a sprite
      4m 51s
    4. Optimizing sprites for the web
      1m 30s
  12. 18m 6s
    1. Creating a basic action
      5m 28s
    2. Exploring batch processing
      2m 55s
    3. Creating droplets
      3m 20s
    4. Using the Fit Image command
      4m 5s
    5. Using the Image Processor
      2m 18s
  13. 6m 56s
    1. Integrating PSD files with Dreamweaver
      3m 22s
    2. Integrating PSD files with Fireworks
      1m 59s
    3. Integrating PSD files with Muse
      1m 35s
  14. 50s
    1. Goodbye
      50s

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