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Photoshop is the tool of choice for most creative professionals and has quickly become household name synonymous with computer art and image manipulation. In Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics, internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland teaches such digital-age wonders as masking, filters, layers, blend modes, Liquify, Vanishing Point, and vector-based type. Along the way, Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, trimming away jowls and fat, and wrapping one image around the surface of another. Plus, the training teaches how to construct and organize the elements in a composition so you can edit them easily in the future. Exercise files accompany the tutorial.
Ready for more Photoshop CS3 training with Deke? Check out Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Advanced Techniques.
Note: Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials is a recommended prerequisite to Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
Two last footnotes that I would like to mention before we put this chapter to bed and those are merging layers and saving the layer composition. Both of these items affect layer comps as it turns out. I am going to go ahead and bring up the Layers palette, so that we can see it here and I am still working of course inside the terriblebattle.psd image though I have to admit, I have made several modifications to it. We have added a few layers and we have added some layercomps as well. Working along inside of this image, I am going to go down to my uber group folder here, that contains the adjustments group and the dinosaurs group and the loose stretched layer and I am going to click on a stretched layer.
I want to take it out of the uber group. Notice, that it's a little indented to show me that it's part of the uber group right now. I am going to press Ctrl+Shift+Left Bracket or Command+Shift+Left Bracket on the Mac to move it out of that group. It no longer appears indented inside the palette and if I were to close the group, I would still see the stretched layer right there. Alright, now let's say I want to merge the stretched layer with the background layer. After all this is an entirely opaque layer, therefore the background layer is not contributing to my composition one iota and one might argue that it's distracting from my composition because after all it's making the image more complicated, it's making the image take up more room in memory and so on and so on.
So Photoshop's computations will be slightly slower, the printing might be slightly slower, the saving process might be slower. If you don't need layers, if you are absolutely not going to use them, you might as well get rid of them in one way or other and the simplest way to get rid of them is to merge the layers. If you bring up the Layers palette menu, you will notice towards the bottom of the menu three commands, Merge Down, which merges the current layer with below it, Merge Visible which merges all visible layers together and leaves the invisible layers independent of each other and then Flatten Image, which merges all layers, all visible layers and throws the invisible ones away.
Merge down by the way also affects groups you can merge groups together. So if I had a group selected, I will just go and show you this, if I have the uber group selected for example, then you will see that this command changes to merge group. So you can merge groups, you can merge layers that are inside of a clipping mask and some other sort of grouped items inside the Layers palette. I just want to merge the stretched layer with the background layer. I would click on the stretched layer, I would go up to this Palette menu once again and I would choose Merge Down or I would press the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+E or Command+E on the Mac.
You went ahead and merged that layer down that's tremendous however there is a problem. Notice that all of my layercomps got messed up and that's really kind of strange actually given how many modifications we have performed so far that haven't created problems for the layercomps at all. If I go ahead and undo that modification for example, I will do the merging, you may recall that stretched used to be inside uber group just a moment ago and that didn't create any problems. When I moved it out of the group or back into the group or anywhere in the stack, that's not going to mess up the layercomps at all, it's only going to mess up the layercomps if I start deleting the layers in any way, shape or form.
If I start deleting layers then the layercomps get mixed up. Well, that's actually not that big of a deal, so I am going to press Ctrl+E or Command+E on the Mac in order to go ahead and merge those two groups together. The reason I am showing you this is I want you to know how to deal with this problem, when you encounter it and this is what you do, you just have to manually update each one of the layercomps. So you would click in front of base layer, it would show you everything it has got to offer you and you would click Update. Now actually base layer doesn't really help because base layer went away, right that was the unstretched version so let's just go ahead and delete that guy.
We don't need it anymore, then click in front of stretched that represents the stretched version of the layer that's fine, so update it, click in front of white type, that brings up the white type down there, update it, click in front of red version, it's fine update it, click in front of final version it's also fine, update it. So you get the idea the layercomps are really surviving, they are just unhappy with you and you are going to have to go through and manually update each one of those items in order to make the palette happy, so it doesn't have little yellow warning icons all over the place.
The other thing that I wanted to mention to you think and this is possibly even more important is that layercomps are full-fledge citizens of an image. So if you go to the File menu and you choose the Save command as long as you are saving to a file format that supports layers, which would include tiff or PDF or most notably the native Photoshop format ".psd" as long as you are saving to one of those file formats then you will save your layercomps as well. So layercomps do get saved along with an image, they take up very, very little room because they are just caused to the visibility and blend modes and so on associated with the layers.
The layer comps don't actually save pixels and therefore they don't take much room inside of a file. So I just want you to know, when you press Ctrl+S or Command+S on the Mac you are saving your layers and your layercomps as well inside of your composition.
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