Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
From time to time you'll want to lock a layer down so that you don't inadvertently paint on it or move it after you've spent a lot of time getting it just right. At the top of the Layers panel you will see a series of lock icons that you can use in that situation and in another important situation I am going to show you in just a moment. But first let's look at what's here. If I have a layer selected like this circle layer here, and I click this big lock, the black one, that layer is completely locked down. Now, I am unable to move that layer. So if I get my Move tool for example and I try to move, I get this message that I can't, because the layer is locked.
And if I try to paint on a layer with the Brush tool or any of the brush type tools, I also prevented from doing so. Now, if you want to protect your file from painting on it but you still want the ability to move it, then you can go to the layer locks, click this big lock to disable it and just click on the painting lock here. Now the layer could be moved, but it won't accept any of the paint tools. And if you want to be able to paint on a layer but not move it, then you disable the paintbrush lock and you click the next lock up here, the one that prevents moving. Finally, we have this lock, which protects transparent pixels in the layer.
Let me show you how that one works. I am going to select the cup layer here and on that layer I've already set the transparent pixel lock. With this lock activated, I can add paint to a layer either with the Brush tool or by filling the layer, and it will only affect the existing content on the layer. Let me show you what I mean. I am going to get my Eyedropper tool in the toolbox and go down to the Background layer, which has a nice brown paint that I want to use, and then I'm going to click in the image to sample that brown paint and put it here in the foreground color box. I want to paint on the cup layer.
So I will select the cup layer and I am actually going to make all the other layers invisible for just a moment so that you can better see what I'm doing, although that isn't an essential part of this technique. Now I am going to select the Brush tool over here. With the Brush tool selected, I am going to go to the Mode menu in the Options Bar and here I can see a lot of different formulas for painting. The default is Normal. I am going to select Color. When you paint with the brush set to Color, it will respect the shading and texture in the image and it won't just paint over with a flat color.
Now I am just going to click-and-drag over this cup and as you can see it's not only respecting the shading in the image, but it's not painting on the transparent pixels that are represented by the gray and white checkerboard. So this is a really quick and easy way of changing the color of the content of a layer without having to select it. Now I am going to go back to the Layers panel, hold the Option key on a Mac or the Alt key on a PC and click there to turn the layers on that were on just a minute ago. One more thing about locking layers. I want to draw your attention to the Background layer here.
The Background layer is a special layer that comes automatically with a layer lock. Many single layer documents like photographs from a digital camera usually have a background layer like this. Don't be surprised when you try to work on the background layer and you see that it doesn't behave like the other layers in your file. For example, if you try to take this brown background layer and drag it above another layer in this document, you'd be prevented from doing so. Watch, and you'll see you get that little cancel symbol when you try it. You also might think that because this layer is at the bottom of the Layers panel, when you erase on this layer, you should see transparency, that that's what's behind.
But in fact if I were to go and get the Eraser tool in the toolbox and then erase with the Background layer selected, I would see whatever color happens to be in the background color box in the toolbox rather than transparency. I am going to undo that by pressing Command+Z on the Mac or Ctrl+Z on the PC, because now I want to show you how you can change a background layer into a regular layer if those behaviors are getting in your way. All you have to do is double-click the name background on this layer, the New Layer dialog opens and you can click OK there.
The name of the layer automatically changes to layer 0 and it's no longer in italics. So this is now our regular layer. I can move it in the layer stack and if I erase on it, I erase back to transparency. I am going to press Command+ Z or Ctrl+Z on a PC again. So the next time you'd like to lock down a layer so that you don't inadvertently move it or paint on it or you'd like to change the color of the content of a layer without having to make a selection first, take a look at the Lock icons in the Layers panel and don't be surprised by the behavior of a background layer.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
164 Video lessons · 48417 Viewers
64 Video lessons · 84284 Viewers
86 Video lessons · 54203 Viewers
148 Video lessons · 91094 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.
Your file was successfully uploaded.