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Photoshop CS5 Essential Training
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Selecting layers without using the Layers panel


Photoshop CS5 Essential Training

with Michael Ninness

Video: Selecting layers without using the Layers panel

For some new users to Photoshop, selecting layers can be sometimes a little confusing or frustrating. So, I'm going to give you a couple of tips on how to make it much easier. Now the default method is to go to the Layers panel and click on the name or the thumbnail of the layer that you want to select. Pretty straightforward, right? It's a visual thing and you can see the thumbnail, so you can just click on it, right? Okay. That's fine up until you have certain number of layers that you end up having to scroll the Layers panel, right? Let's say that you have a hundred layers, which is really not all that uncommon depending on the type of project you are working on.
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  1. 6m 10s
    1. Welcome
      1m 47s
    2. What is Photoshop?
      2m 49s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 34s
  2. 28m 29s
    1. What is Adobe Bridge?
      1m 54s
    2. Getting photos from a camera
      3m 39s
    3. A tour of the different workspaces in Adobe Bridge
      4m 58s
    4. Customizing how thumbnails are displayed
      3m 35s
    5. Changing obscure camera file names with the Batch Rename command
      2m 36s
    6. Adding basic metadata to every image with metadata templates
      3m 36s
    7. Creating and applying keywords to images
      4m 6s
    8. Viewing images in Full Screen Preview mode
      4m 5s
  3. 23m 4s
    1. Using Review mode to filter out rejects
      5m 27s
    2. Protecting the keepers by saving them in collections
      3m 18s
    3. Rating images
      3m 15s
    4. Using the Filter panel to view different subsets
      4m 43s
    5. Viewing final choices in a slideshow
      2m 12s
    6. Organizing groups of images into stacks
      4m 9s
  4. 30m 50s
    1. Raw vs. JPEG files
      5m 13s
    2. Why you should start in Camera Raw instead of Photoshop
      5m 9s
    3. A tour of the Camera Raw user interface
      6m 44s
    4. Previewing before and after adjustments
      4m 2s
    5. Toggling onscreen Shadow/Highlight clipping warnings
      2m 37s
    6. Choosing output settings
      2m 45s
    7. Saving a copy without going to Photoshop
      4m 20s
  5. 41m 34s
    1. Eliminating red-eye with the Red Eye Removal tool
      1m 13s
    2. Improving composition with the non-destructive Crop tool
      3m 33s
    3. Correcting a rotated horizon line with the Straighten tool
      3m 5s
    4. Fixing color casts with the White Balance tool
      2m 13s
    5. Fixing blown-out highlights with Recovery
      2m 36s
    6. Revealing hidden shadow detail with Fill Light
      1m 47s
    7. Reducing distracting color noise with Noise Reduction
      5m 37s
    8. Removing color fringes with Chromatic Aberration
      2m 36s
    9. Sharpening the details
      8m 59s
    10. End to end: Taking a so-so photo and making it great
      9m 55s
  6. 39m 5s
    1. Fixing blown-out skies with the Graduated Filter tool
      4m 34s
    2. Retouching blemishes with the Spot Removal tool
      5m 41s
    3. Making local adjustments with the Adjustments Brush
      4m 28s
    4. Quick portrait retouching technique using Clarity
      4m 33s
    5. Converting to black and white
      3m 36s
    6. Editing images directly with the Targeted Adjustments tool
      4m 18s
    7. Easy sepia and split tone effects
      2m 35s
    8. Adding digital film grain texture effects
      2m 46s
    9. Adding vignettes and border effects
      2m 13s
    10. Saving variations within a single file with Snapshots
      4m 21s
  7. 15m 48s
    1. Copying settings from one file and pasting across another in Adobe Bridge
      3m 7s
    2. Processing multiple files in Camera Raw
      2m 28s
    3. Saving and using a library of Camera Raw presets
      5m 33s
    4. Using Image Processor to batch process multiple files
      4m 40s
  8. 30m 39s
    1. Opening files from Adobe Bridge
      3m 1s
    2. Opening files from Mini Bridge
      3m 28s
    3. Customizing the Mini Bridge panel
      2m 57s
    4. Changing Mini Bridge so it auto-collapses
      1m 20s
    5. The Application frame
      2m 16s
    6. The Application bar
      1m 16s
    7. Switching and saving workspaces
      4m 23s
    8. Panel management
      5m 31s
    9. Switching tools using the keyboard
      3m 18s
    10. Customizing the keyboard shortcuts
      3m 9s
  9. 16m 12s
    1. Tabbed documents
      2m 1s
    2. The Arrange Documents widget
      1m 38s
    3. How to stop Photoshop from tabbing documents
      3m 34s
    4. Pan and zoom
      5m 21s
    5. Cycling through the different screen modes
      3m 38s
  10. 36m 59s
    1. File formats
      13m 6s
    2. What resolution does your image need to be?
      10m 15s
    3. Resize vs. Resample
      9m 40s
    4. How big a print can you make with your image?
      3m 58s
  11. 42m 17s
    1. Crop options
      4m 12s
    2. Hide vs. Delete for the Crop tool
      3m 30s
    3. Bringing back hidden pixels with Reveal All
      1m 34s
    4. Making the canvas bigger with the Crop tool
      6m 1s
    5. Making the canvas bigger by a specific amount with Relative Canvas Size
      1m 39s
    6. Correcting perspective with the Crop tool
      3m 5s
    7. Straightening a crooked image
    8. Scaling, skewing, and rotating with Free Transform
      4m 12s
    9. Nondestructive transformations with Smart Objects
      4m 2s
    10. Warping images
      3m 40s
    11. Preserving the important elements with Content-Aware Scaling
      9m 32s
  12. 54m 42s
    1. The Background layer
      5m 14s
    2. Using a layer mask instead of deleting pixels
      4m 12s
    3. Loading multiple images into a single Photoshop document as layers
      1m 30s
    4. Naming, hiding, creating, and deleting layers
      4m 18s
    5. Changing the stacking order of layers
      2m 51s
    6. Selecting layers without using the Layers panel
      6m 28s
    7. Transforming layers
      7m 16s
    8. Aligning and distributing layers
      3m 51s
    9. Changing the opacity of layers
      2m 57s
    10. Organizing layers into groups
      2m 55s
    11. Saving variations with layer comps
      5m 3s
    12. When to merge and rasterize layers
      5m 0s
    13. Flatten vs. Save As (a Copy)
      3m 7s
  13. 1h 4m
    1. Using the Marquee and Lasso tools
      7m 23s
    2. Transform selections
      2m 40s
    3. Quick Mask is your friend
      4m 31s
    4. Converting a selection into a layer mask
      6m 33s
    5. Using the Quick Selection tool
      3m 1s
    6. Re-selecting a previous selection
      1m 35s
    7. Improving a selection with Refine Edge
      4m 21s
    8. Touching up a layer mask with the Brush tool
      12m 7s
    9. Changing the opacity, size, and hardness of the painting tools
      2m 59s
    10. Blending images with a gradient layer mask
      4m 53s
    11. Swapping heads in a family portrait
      3m 53s
    12. Combining multiple exposures with the Blend If sliders
      6m 26s
    13. Replacing the sky in an image
      4m 19s
  14. 1h 1m
    1. Introducing adjustment layers
      7m 57s
    2. Starting with a preset
      4m 25s
    3. Improving tonal quality with Levels
      10m 28s
    4. Increasing midtone contrast with Curves
      5m 4s
    5. Removing a color cast with Auto Color
      5m 56s
    6. Changing the color temperature with Photo Filter
      2m 55s
    7. Shifting colors with Hue/Saturation
      9m 0s
    8. Making washed out colors pop with Vibrance
      2m 46s
    9. Converting color to black and white
      5m 49s
    10. Controlling which layers are affected by an Adjustment Layer
      7m 28s
  15. 11m 32s
    1. Shadow/Highlight
      9m 3s
    2. Matching color across multiple images
      2m 29s
  16. 34m 12s
    1. Removing blemishes with the Spot Healing brush
      6m 21s
    2. Quick technique for smoothing skin and pores
      8m 23s
    3. Taming flyaway hair
      4m 47s
    4. Making teeth bright and white
      1m 43s
    5. De-emphasizing wrinkles
      4m 41s
    6. Removing unwanted details with Content Aware Fill
      4m 26s
    7. Body sculpting with Liquify
      3m 51s
  17. 21m 6s
    1. Creating panoramas with Photomerge and Auto-Blend
      7m 20s
    2. Combining multiple frames of an action sequence
      8m 30s
    3. Combining group shots with Auto-Align
      5m 16s
  18. 25m 36s
    1. Overview of filters
      4m 6s
    2. Applying filters nondestructively with Smart Filters
      4m 45s
    3. Giving an image a soft glow with the Gaussian Blur filter
      4m 41s
    4. Adding noise to an image with the Add Noise filter
      3m 34s
    5. Sharpening an image with Unsharp Mask
      4m 12s
    6. Giving an image more texture with the Texturizer
      1m 17s
    7. Applying a filter to multiple layers
      3m 1s
  19. 30m 44s
    1. Cycling through the blending modes
      4m 43s
    2. Three blending modes you must know
      6m 41s
    3. Adding a lens flare effect with Screen
      3m 33s
    4. Making a cast shadow more realistic with Multiply
      4m 33s
    5. Creating a diffused contrast glow effect with Overlay
      6m 2s
    6. Sharpening an image with High Pass and Overlay
      5m 12s
  20. 21m 39s
    1. Character (point) type
      8m 19s
    2. Paragraph (area) type
      4m 42s
    3. Type on a path
      2m 54s
    4. Clipping an image inside type
      2m 24s
    5. Warping type
      3m 20s
  21. 20m 35s
    1. Adding a drop shadow effect
      4m 43s
    2. Adding an outer glow effect
      3m 13s
    3. Adding a border around an image
      2m 53s
    4. Copying layer effects and applying them to other layers
      2m 3s
    5. Saving layer styles and applying them in other documents
      2m 42s
    6. How (and when) to scale layer effects
      5m 1s
  22. 16m 6s
    1. Creating PDF contact sheets
      6m 41s
    2. Exporting web photo galleries
      6m 8s
    3. Saving for the web
      3m 17s
  23. 1m 19s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 19s

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Photoshop CS5 Essential Training
11h 15m Beginner Apr 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Photoshop CS5 Essential Training, author Michael Ninness demonstrates how to produce the highest quality images with fantastic detail in the shortest amount of time, using a combination of Photoshop CS5, Adobe Bridge, and Camera Raw. This course shows the most efficient ways to perform common editing tasks, including noise reduction, shadow and highlight detail recovery, retouching, and combining multiple images. Along the way, Michael shares the secrets of non-destructive editing, utilizing and mastering Adobe Bridge, Camera Raw, layers, adjustment layers, blending modes, layer masks, and much more. Exercise files are included with the course.

Topics include:
  • Automating image adjustments with Camera Raw
  • Adding keywords, ratings, and other metadata to images
  • Filtering a large collection of images down to the "keepers"
  • Cropping, correcting perspective, and straightening images
  • Creating, naming, hiding, and deleting layers
  • How to make selections and masks quickly
  • Improving mask quality with Refine Edge
  • Techniques for combining multiple images
  • Non-destructive editing techniques with adjustment layers and Smart Filters
  • Retouching essentials, such as blemish removal and body sculpting
  • Color correcting images
  • Using the essential blend modes, layer effects, and styles
  • Creating contact sheets and web photo galleries
Design Photography
Michael Ninness

Selecting layers without using the Layers panel

For some new users to Photoshop, selecting layers can be sometimes a little confusing or frustrating. So, I'm going to give you a couple of tips on how to make it much easier. Now the default method is to go to the Layers panel and click on the name or the thumbnail of the layer that you want to select. Pretty straightforward, right? It's a visual thing and you can see the thumbnail, so you can just click on it, right? Okay. That's fine up until you have certain number of layers that you end up having to scroll the Layers panel, right? Let's say that you have a hundred layers, which is really not all that uncommon depending on the type of project you are working on.

You might even have more than that. Having to find the layer and know its name and recognize its thumbnail on the Layers panel can be problematic when you have to sit there and start scrolling just to find the layer that you want to target. So, I want to teach you a couple of different ways. Now the tool that you'll use to select, and then move or transform layers is always going to be that Move tool. If you're not in the Move tool you just press the V key to go to the Move tool, and then there's a couple of different ways to target layers without even having to use the Layers panel at all. Here's the trick though. You want to make sure you name your layers something that makes sense.

Things like layer 1, layer 2, layer 3, aren't going to be all that helpful for this technique I'm going to show you. So, the first technique, kind of a bonus technique of not using Layers panel, is with the Move tool selected simply right-click. So, if you have a two-button mouse, just right-click the right-mouse button and click. And wherever your cursor is, a little pop-up menu of all the layers that have pixels directly into my cursor will be displayed for me. So, I can actually just choose the name of the layer that I want to move or select. So if I choose the Tulips layer, that layer is now selected. And if you take a look over the Layers panel, you'll see the Tulips layer is highlighted and the name of the Tulips layer is bold.

Now if I click and drag, you'll see that the layer I'm moving is the Tulips layer, even though it's not quote the top layer. So, by default, you can click anywhere in the document window and only the selected layer will move. Whether you can see it initially or not, it was hidden behind the Lily layer, and now I can click and drag and move it around anywhere. I don't actually have to click right where the tulip pixels are. I can click anywhere on that image window to do so. If I right-click again on anywhere in the document window, again, I get a list of all the layers that have at least some pixels directly underneath the cursor where I clicked.

So, you can see here Tulips is not on the list because no part of the Tulips layer has pixels directly into my cursor. So, if I choose the Dahlia layer, let's say, again I can click and drag. You can see that pink layer moving in the background here. It's because it's behind all the layers in the list here. So, if I move it to the top, I just click on the word Dahlia and drag it up to the top of the stack. So, again, that quick technique is just to right-click with our two-button mouse, choose the name of the layer that you want to go for, select it from the list, and then now you can move it around just by clicking anywhere in the image window.

A different technique is to use something called the Auto-Select command. This only works if you see the layer that you want to target. If it's behind in the layer and you can't see any part of it to click on, it's not going to work, but it's still a good technique. If you look up here in the Options bar for the Move tool, you see there's an Auto-Select check box. I'm going to go and turn that on. It's off by default, and I'm going to choose from Group. I'm going to change it to layer. And what this lets me do is just click on any portion of the layer that I see that I want to move. So, I just clicked on the Purple Lily layer and it selected it and moved it.

Now the difference between this technique is that I can't just click anywhere in the image window to move the selected layer, because if I do that it's going to end up selecting a different layer. As long as I click anywhere on the Lily layer, the selected layer here, I can move it around just fine. But if I clicked on the pink layer here, this Dahlia layer, I've now selected that. Even though it was overlapping the Lilly layer, because Auto-Select has been turned on, that selects the topmost layer directly under my cursor, and lets you target and just start clicking and dragging to move it. And if I want the Mixed layer, I can click anywhere I see that Mixed layer and start dragging to move it.

Now if you're familiar with something like Illustrator or InDesign, this might feel more intuitive. If you've been working with Photoshop for years, this is a behavior that might actually take getting used to, because if you're used to just clicking anywhere in the image window to move the selected layer, this is now actually selecting that particular layer directly under your cursor just like an object in some of these other program. So, a couple of different ways. If you can't see the layer that you want to grab, you can right-click, get the list of layer names, choose the layer you want, and then start moving it. But with Auto-Select turned on, again, remember, that's actually going to select whatever layer you actually click on. The topmost layer directly under your cursor.

So, it's more of a visual thing by using the document window. If you want to be sure, you can always try to find the name of the layer that you're looking for in the Layers panel, or use the right-button technique to get the list of layers directly into your cursor. If you like the idea of Auto- Select but you don't want to leave it on permanently, I'm going to give you one more bonus tip here. I'm going to turn off Auto-Select. I love that feature, but I sometimes forget that it's turned on. I end up accidentally moving and selecting the wrong layer all the time, because that check box is turned on and I kind of forget it. So, here's a different way to get Auto- Select behavior, but only when you want it.

So, right now, I have Auto-Select turned off. It's not on in the Options bar here. The Dahlia layer is selected, which means anywhere I click in the image window I'm moving just that layer. Now if I want to get to the Lily layer here, if I hold on the Command key on the Mac or the Ctrl key on Windows and click, it's going to act as if Auto-Select Layer is turned on. Okay, so I didn't turn on the check box in the Options bar. I just Command or Ctrl+Click, Command on the Mac, Ctrl on Windows, click on the layer that I see, the pixels that I see-- In this case, it was the Purple Lily layer here, Let go the Command or Ctrl key, and then I can click anywhere in the image window to move that layer around.

The trick here is you just need to be able to see the layer that you want to target. I want to get the Tulips layer here. I Command or Ctrl+Click. That targets that layer, because I was able to see it to click on it. Once I let go of the keys, I can freely move that wherever I want. So, you can kind of guess I'm ending this video on my favorite technique. It takes a little bit of advanced skill. You've got to remember to hold down a modifier key down. But over time, you'll gravitate towards this technique because it really is the most flexible. It gives you that freedom of being able to click anywhere in the image window to move a given layer. So, I can actually come over here to move the Tulips, right. It doesn't really matter where your cursor is and it also gives you that flexibility to target the particular layer that you can see very quickly without having to turn on some option permanently.

Just Command or Ctrl+click on the layer that you want to target, and then you're free to move it around. So, there's some tips and tricks and just some basics of how to select and target layers either using the Layers panel, the right-click contextual menu, or those two different ways to use the Auto-Select Layer feature.

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