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Photoshop CS4 Essential Training
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Merging and flattening layers


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Photoshop CS4 Essential Training

with Jan Kabili

Video: Merging and flattening layers

As you build a layered file you will notice that your file size gets bigger and bigger. Here at the bottom of the document window I have gone in and I've chosen Show > Document Sizes. The numbers here suggest the difference between the file with and without layers. You can see that it's going to take up quite a bit more space on my hard drive with these layers. So if you're building a multilayered file with lots and lots of layers, you may from time to time want to merge layers that you will think you'll never need separately again. But be conservative about doing that, because once layers are merged, you cannot access them separately without reselecting and separating their content.
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  1. 2m 31s
    1. Welcome
      1m 27s
    2. Using the example files
      1m 4s
  2. 25m 14s
    1. Touring the interface
      4m 25s
    2. Working with tabbed documents
      5m 15s
    3. Using tools efficiently
      3m 51s
    4. Arranging panels
      3m 53s
    5. Customizing keyboard shortcuts
      2m 50s
    6. Saving a custom workspace
      3m 0s
    7. Changing screen modes
      2m 0s
  3. 19m 3s
    1. Touring the Bridge interface
      6m 31s
    2. Opening images from Bridge
      1m 20s
    3. Reviewing images
      4m 42s
    4. Finding images
      6m 30s
  4. 44m 53s
    1. Setting preferences
      4m 23s
    2. Choosing color settings
      8m 11s
    3. Zooming and panning
      5m 27s
    4. Resizing and image resolution
      3m 17s
    5. Adding to the canvas
      2m 2s
    6. Rotating the canvas
      1m 44s
    7. Choosing color
      4m 49s
    8. Sizing a brush tip
      3m 4s
    9. Undoing and the History panel
      5m 0s
    10. Saving and file formats
      3m 29s
    11. Creating a file from scratch
      3m 27s
  5. 37m 58s
    1. Making geometric selections
      6m 14s
    2. Modifying selections
      4m 43s
    3. Combining selections
      3m 16s
    4. Using the Quick Selection tool
      5m 34s
    5. Refining selection edges
      4m 12s
    6. Using Quick Mask mode
      2m 18s
    7. Selecting with the improved Color Range command
      4m 32s
    8. Selecting with the Magnetic Lasso tool
      2m 28s
    9. Using the Background Eraser tool
      3m 7s
    10. Saving selections
      1m 34s
  6. 39m 56s
    1. Understanding layers
      5m 43s
    2. Creating layers
      5m 12s
    3. Working in the Layers panel
      2m 19s
    4. Locking layers
      4m 17s
    5. Working with multiple layers
      4m 6s
    6. Merging and flattening layers
      3m 55s
    7. Adding a shape layer
      4m 43s
    8. Basic layer masking
      4m 23s
    9. Using layer blend modes and opacity
      5m 18s
  7. 23m 19s
    1. Cropping
      3m 26s
    2. Straightening
      3m 17s
    3. Transforming
      4m 42s
    4. Working with Smart Objects
      6m 48s
    5. Using Content-Aware Scaling
      5m 6s
  8. 1h 10m
    1. Reading histograms
      4m 21s
    2. Using adjustment layers and the Adjustment panel
      6m 4s
    3. Adjusting tones with Levels
      7m 49s
    4. Limiting adjustments with layer masks
      5m 40s
    5. Using masks in the new Masks panel
      6m 9s
    6. Limiting adjustments by clipping
      3m 6s
    7. Adjusting with Shadow/Highlight
      5m 7s
    8. Adjusting with Curves
      7m 37s
    9. Adjusting with Hue/Saturation
      3m 42s
    10. Adjusting with Vibrance
      2m 16s
    11. Removing a color cast
      4m 26s
    12. Using the Black & White adjustment layer
      2m 39s
    13. Using the Dodge Burn and Sponge tools
      4m 11s
    14. Reducing noise
      2m 39s
    15. Sharpening
      4m 42s
  9. 38m 0s
    1. Using the Spot Healing Brush tool
      5m 17s
    2. Using the Healing Brush tool
      5m 51s
    3. Using the Patch tool
      4m 52s
    4. Using the Clone Stamp tool
      4m 8s
    5. Enhancing eyes
      9m 29s
    6. Changing facial structure
      5m 0s
    7. Softening skin
      3m 23s
  10. 44m 38s
    1. What's a raw image?
      4m 25s
    2. Touring the Camera Raw interface
      7m 35s
    3. Working in the Basic panel
      7m 54s
    4. Working in the Tone Curve panel
      2m 21s
    5. Working in the HSL/Grayscale and Split Toning panels
      3m 46s
    6. Looking at the other Camera Raw panels
      3m 45s
    7. Using the Adjustment Brush tool
      4m 2s
    8. Using the Graduated Filter tool
      3m 56s
    9. Working with multiple files
      6m 54s
  11. 21m 6s
    1. Using the Brushes panel
      8m 30s
    2. Filling with color
      3m 49s
    3. Replacing color
      4m 14s
    4. Using gradients
      4m 33s
  12. 16m 55s
    1. Working with point type
      9m 59s
    2. Working with paragraph type
      3m 17s
    3. Warping text
      3m 39s
  13. 25m 23s
    1. Adding a layer style
      4m 6s
    2. Customizing a layer style
      3m 35s
    3. Copying a layer style
      3m 5s
    4. Creating a new style
      3m 32s
    5. Using Smart Filters
      5m 22s
    6. Working in the Filter Gallery
      5m 43s
  14. 13m 14s
    1. Auto-blending focus
      4m 47s
    2. Creating Photomerge panoramas
      4m 2s
    3. Combining group photos
      4m 25s
  15. 23m 27s
    1. Creating an action
      7m 16s
    2. Batch processing with an action
      6m 36s
    3. Using the Image Processor
      9m 35s
  16. 29m 20s
    1. Printing
      11m 32s
    2. Making a contact sheet from Bridge
      6m 12s
    3. Creating a web gallery from Bridge
      7m 17s
    4. Preparing photos for the web
      4m 19s
  17. 30s
    1. Goodbye
      30s

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Photoshop CS4 Essential Training
7h 55m Beginner Oct 13, 2008

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Photoshop has become an indispensible tool for photographers, designers, and all other creative professionals, as well as students. Photoshop CS4 Essential Training teaches a broad spectrum of core skills that are common to many creative fields: working with layers and selections; adjusting, manipulating, and retouching photos; painting; adding text; automating; preparing files for output; and more. Instructor Jan Kabili demonstrates established techniques as well as those made possible by some of the new features unique to Photoshop CS4. This course is indispensable to those who are new to the application, just learning this version, or expanding their skills. Example files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Learning and customizing the interface and workspace
  • Utilizing various manual and guided selection techniques
  • Working with Adobe Camera Raw
  • Adding special effects with layer styles and Smart Filters
  • Creating Photomerge panoramas
  • Optimizing photos for the web and creating web galleries
Subject:
Photography
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Jan Kabili

Merging and flattening layers

As you build a layered file you will notice that your file size gets bigger and bigger. Here at the bottom of the document window I have gone in and I've chosen Show > Document Sizes. The numbers here suggest the difference between the file with and without layers. You can see that it's going to take up quite a bit more space on my hard drive with these layers. So if you're building a multilayered file with lots and lots of layers, you may from time to time want to merge layers that you will think you'll never need separately again. But be conservative about doing that, because once layers are merged, you cannot access them separately without reselecting and separating their content.

Here for example let's say that I have now decided once and for all that I'm going to use this nice light brown design on my brown background. Rather than keep those as two separate layers, I could select the design layer, hold down the Shift key or the Commander or Ctrl key, and click Background. With those two layers selected, I'm going to go to the Layers panel menu up here and please don't forget about this menu. It has all kinds of good stuff in it, including the Merge Layers command. This command will join together whatever layers are selected and you can see that now those two layers have been merged into this one Background layer.

If I turn that on and off, you will see that they disappear together and come back together. So if you're short on storage space or working capacity from time to time, select a couple of layers and choose Merge Layers to merge only those selected layers together. Another way to merge layers together is to stamp them together into a composite layer. By that I mean you can take some or all of the layers in a file and create an additional layer in the file that contains the content of all of them. When might you want to do this? Well, it comes in handy when there is something that you need to do to all the layers at once, like your final sharpening on the image or when you're retouching a portrait, you may want to use the Liquify filter to change the shape of the face and you want to be sure to include all the layers on which you've done retouching before that.

So to make that happen, I am going to click on this top layer and then I am going to hold the Shift key and go down to the bottom layer. Then I am going to go to the Layers panel menu here and there is a command here that says Merge Visible. But before I release my mouse there, I'm also going to hold down the Option key on a Mac or the Alt key on a PC. So Alt+Merge Visible or Option+Merge Visible does this. It makes a brand-new layer above the top layer that I have selected which contains the content of all the layers below. Let me turn on the other layers off so that you can see what's on that top layer.

I am just going to click-and-drag down the column of eye icons, and you can see that I still see in the document window the entire composition because it's all been copied or stamped onto this new Layer 1. Let me turn everything else back on. And I want to show you one more thing about combining layers. When you finish with a layered file, I think it's really important to save the file with all those layers and to archive that layered file, but you may also have reason to flatten all the layers down to make the file smaller in size and to make it easier to share.

When you're ready to flatten a copy of your file, then you'll go back to the Layers panel menu and you will choose Flatten Image. When you do that, you lose all the layers except for one that contains all the content in the image. You want to be careful after you've flattened a file that you don't re-save over the layered file of the same name. So example here my layered file was called multilayers.psd. So I always make it a practice to add the word flat at the end of the layer name after I've flattened. So I might save this one by going to File > Save As and calling this multilayers_flat and I'll save that to my Desktop.

If you've flatten a file in error, even if you save the file, you still have a chance to rescue that layered file by walking back up the states in the History panel. Just be sure to do that before you actually close the file, because then it will be too late.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Photoshop CS4 Essential Training.


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Q: How can artwork be transferred from Photoshop CS4 to Illustrator CS4 without the background?
A: Save the image in Photoshop’s native PSD format. The background in Photoshop must be transparent, meaning there should be no background layer. (To remove a background layer, move your artwork to a separate layer by selecting and copying the content, minus the background, to a new layer, and then delete the background layer. A checkboard pattern behind your image indicates transparent pixels.) 
 


In Illustrator, select File > Open, and select the PSD file. In Photoshop Import dialog box, select Convert Layers to Objects.

Q: How do I retouch an image I have of an old photograph I scanned?
A: There are a few courses that address image restoration. Check out the Photoshop CS4 Portrait Retouching Essential Training course, and for problems dealing specifically with old photographs, watch the Restoration movies in chapter 15 of the Enhancing Digital Photography with Photoshop CS2. Additionally, learn how to research and date photos with our Growing and Sharing Your Family Tree course.
Q: A client has asked for artwork to be delivered as JPEGs or BMP files in 16-bit format. In Photoshop CS4, there does not appear to be an option to save an image as a 16-bit JPEG. Is there a way to save JPEG files as 16-bit in Photoshop?
A: Unfortunately, JPEGs cannot be saved in 16 bit. JPEGs, by nature, are 8-bit. So if you open a high-bit image into Photoshop CS4, you will see no option in any of the save dialog boxes to save the file as a JPEG. You would first have to convert the image to 8 bit (by choosing Image > Mode > 8 bits/channel) and then save it as an 8-bit JPEG. If you open a high-bit image into Photoshop CS5, you will see the option to save it as a JPEG in the Save, Save As, and Save for Web dialog boxes.  But the JPEG will not be saved as 16-bit. Instead, Photoshop will downsample it to 8-bit for you  before saving it as JPEG.
 
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