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Understanding the layers enhancements

From: Photoshop CS5 New Features

Video: Understanding the layers enhancements

There are plenty of big new features in Photoshop CS5, but that's not all there is. This time around, Adobe made a concerted effort to offer some smaller features that you, its users, have been asking for. This ranges from new content to new workspace features to smaller tweaks that will make it easier and more efficient for you to work in Photoshop. In this movie, I am going to run through some of the small but very useful enhancements related to layers in Photoshop CS5. There are a couple of new ways to bring one image into another when you're creating a layered composite.

Understanding the layers enhancements

There are plenty of big new features in Photoshop CS5, but that's not all there is. This time around, Adobe made a concerted effort to offer some smaller features that you, its users, have been asking for. This ranges from new content to new workspace features to smaller tweaks that will make it easier and more efficient for you to work in Photoshop. In this movie, I am going to run through some of the small but very useful enhancements related to layers in Photoshop CS5. There are a couple of new ways to bring one image into another when you're creating a layered composite.

For one thing, you can now drag and drop a file from your operating system into an open document in Photoshop to create a new layer. For example, from here in a Finder window on a Mac, I can select a file and drag it into an open document in Photoshop and it comes in as a placed image, as indicated by this bounding box with the diagonal lines. Because this is a placed image, I have an opportunity to transform it before committing the placed image to a new layer. So I could click-and-drag to reposition the content.

I could scale by clicking-and- dragging one of the anchor points. I could rotate by moving my mouse outside an anchor point and dragging. And when I get it just the way I want it, I'll click the check mark in the Options bar or press the Return or Enter key on my keyboard to commit the placed image to this brand new layer in the Layers panel. Notice that there's a symbol on the layer thumbnail indicating that this is a Smart Object layer. Because it's Smart Object layer, among other things, I could retransform this layer without worrying about degrading image quality.

Or if I wanted to access the original multiple layers in the file that I brought in, I could just double-click the layer thumbnail and that would open a separate document where I could see and work with any of the multiple layers that were in the original file that I brought into this document. Another new thing that I can do with layers in Photoshop CS5 is to move a selection even when the targeted layer is hidden from view. So for example, let's say that I have a selection of this model and I'd like to move the selection, but I want to turn this layer off so I can see what's behind it.

So I'll make the layer temporarily invisible by click its Eye icon. And now I get one these Selection tools and I can move that selection around, which I couldn't do in the last version of Photoshop. I am going to make the model visible again and I will delete that selection. Here's another small layers feature that comes in handy. Sometimes you'll end up with some empty layers in a file, and you want to clean up your Layers panel but you don't want to have to go through all the layers trying to figure out which ones have no content on them. So in this example, I happen to know that layer 1 and layer 2 are empty and there may be some others here as well.

I can quickly delete all of those empty layers by going up to the File menu, and going down to Scripts and over to Delete All Empty Layers. And now the empty layers are gone. Here's another new thing about layers. I can vary the Opacity or the Fill of more than one layer at a time. So if I come in here and I select multiple layers, I can go up to the Opacity slider and drag, and you can see that the content of all three of those layers has now changed all at once. That's a real time saver.

And the same is true of the Fill control, which I might use of if I had multiple layers with layers styles on them. For example, if I were making a watermark. There's also been a change to layer nesting. If I scroll down here and I open this layer group, you can see that I have quite a different layer groups nested one inside the other. In the last version of Photoshop, I couldn't nest layer groups more than five levels deep. And now in Photoshop CS5 I can. There's also been a useful change to layer styles.

I'll scroll down and I am going to double-click this layer to open the Layer Style dialog box. And here I am to going to apply a Stroke layer style and I'll select that Stroke layer style and make a change to its options. So maybe I'll make it 10 pixels wide. If I think I am going to need a 10- pixel stroke on other layers in this file or in any other file, I can make this configuration of settings the default for the Stroke layer style by clicking the Make Default button here. And now next time I apply a Stroke layer style it will come in with these settings.

Now, let's say I vary these settings, maybe I change the Size back down 2. And then I change my mind. I'd like to get the 10-pixel default back. All I've to do is click this button, the Reset to Default button, and all the settings go back to the default that I made. Here's one last layer related change. I am going to make a copy of this selected layer and then I am going to up to the Edit menu and down to the new Paste Special menu, where I'll find the Paste In Place command.

If I select that, Photoshop remembers the coordinates of the content of the layer that I copied and paste the content right in the same place in a new layer. I'll make the Layers panel bigger so that you can see that. This is the layer that I originally copied. Here's the brand new layer that Photoshop just pasted in the same place. I still have the content of the white box layer in the clipboard. So I want to show you something else I can do. I am going to select another layer and then I'll go back to that Edit > Paste Special menu.

There's a third option here, Paste Outside. I've always been able to paste into a selection. If I choose paste outside, Photoshop will place the selected content outside of the selected area of the model. So those are some of the new smaller changes that Adobe has made in the realm of layers. I think you are going to find that these small changes will increase the efficiency and the ease with you approach layers in Photoshop. And one more new technique. If you like to use layer masks, I think you are going to love this one.

I am going to open this layer group and select a layer, although you can use any layer that has transparency on it for this technique. What I am going to do is to use the transparency on this layer to create a layer mask. So I don't have to go the extra step of first making a selection of transparency and then creating the layer mask to get the same effect. So with this transparent layer selected, I am going to go up to the Layer menu and down to Layer Mask and here is a new option, From Transparency. That creates this layer mask, which I'll show in the document window.

As you can see, wherever there were transparent pixels on this layer, Photoshop added black to the layer mask. So those were some of the new smaller changes that Adobe has made to Photoshop CS5 in the realm of layers. I think you'll find that these enhancements will improve the efficiency and the ease with which you approach using layers in Photoshop CS5.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5 New Features
Photoshop CS5 New Features

30 video lessons · 32007 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
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  1. 4m 39s
    1. Welcome
      47s
    2. Comparing Photoshop CS4 and Photoshop CS5
      2m 47s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 5s
  2. 41m 14s
    1. Using improved selecting and masking
      12m 8s
    2. Working with content-aware fill
      6m 39s
    3. Using content-aware healing
      2m 25s
    4. Getting started with Puppet Warp
      10m 10s
    5. Using the Puppet Warp tool
      9m 52s
  3. 24m 38s
    1. Merging multiple images to HDR Pro
      7m 53s
    2. Creating a surreal look with HDR and removing a ghost feature
      5m 4s
    3. Using faux HDR toning
      4m 46s
    4. Working with the new lens correction enhancements
      6m 55s
  4. 13m 35s
    1. Noise reduction and sharpening improvements
      7m 2s
    2. Additive grain
      3m 35s
    3. Reviewing Post-Crop Vignetting enhancements
      2m 58s
  5. 21m 5s
    1. Using the HUD color picker
      4m 49s
    2. Working with the new bristle brush tips
      9m 4s
    3. Using the Mixer Brush tool
      7m 12s
  6. 30m 29s
    1. Understanding the layers enhancements
      7m 2s
    2. Understanding the tool enhancements
      7m 23s
    3. Working with the panel additions
      4m 25s
    4. Using the workspace changes
      3m 4s
    5. Understanding the productivity enhancements
      8m 35s
  7. 5m 34s
    1. Explaining 64-bit performance
      5m 34s
  8. 27m 2s
    1. Introduction to Mini Bridge
      7m 36s
    2. Opening files from Mini Bridge in Photoshop
      6m 21s
    3. Using Mini Bridge with Bridge
      6m 57s
    4. Reviewing the output module improvements
      4m 25s
    5. Looking at the path navigation enhancements
      1m 43s
  9. 23s
    1. Goodbye
      23s

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