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During the previous videos, I have covered a multitude of ways that Photoshop can be used with scientific images. While running the demos, I have touched briefly on layers. Now in this chapter I will give layers its due. This is one of the most important ways Photoshop works with images. We are going to step through the Layers palette and then we will start the demoing the application of layers and methods I have used in working with images in my samples. I need to refer you to two different Lynda training videos. Deke McClelland has an entire title dedicated to the more advanced use of layers called Photoshop CS3 Channels and Masks: The Essentials, and while this is targeted at creative users, it does give a great in-depth look at the techniques based on layers and related techniques. And then possibly one of the best explanations of layers and how they work was done by the author Michael Ninness in his title on Photoshop CS2.
Now if you are working along with me, open the image PSR_Heart.psd. This is found in your Chapter 9 Exercise File folder. This is the simplest image in Photoshop, it is a picture of our subject matter and it has one layer and this is called the Background Layer, and every image whether it's a all white image, all black image, or an image with a subject has to have a Background Layer. But before we go more into details, let's separate out the Layers panel and look at the different features that we have access to. We have information about a layer and then we have the ability to control it in Blend Modes which we will be covering some uses of that, the Opacity, the ability to lock whether it's in position or making changes on the pixels, and then importantly in the bottom are Adjustment Layers, Layer Groups, the ability to create a new layer, and the ability to delete a layer. These are the important interface parts of the Layers panel.
Now we are going to look a little bit more in-depth at this background layer. It has a lock and so if we want to move it, we can't because it's locked. Background layers since they have some restrictions, the first thing I do, is I will convert this into a regular layer. I will double-click and it says New Layer and all I have to do, is hit OK, it's converted the background layer into a regular layer. Now I will able to fully modify it to my needs, whether it's moving it around or doing additional changes. Layers work like the acetate sheets we use for Overheads.
You have an image on one, it's the base and you can add additional image on top and you are able to view the different layers as light shines through and it's the same way this works in Photoshop, we can add layers and you are able to not only see what you have added but depending on the Blend Mode, see the layers underneath. The way I look at layers, it's the way that you add information to an image, whether it's side by side which we demonstrated earlier or more importantly over top of each other which I demonstrated when we created the composite image.
Here we have our base image and we are going to add another image to it. If you are working along with me, please open PSR_Hrt.TIF found in your Exercise 9 file folder. Now while we have this image open we can combine this image with the first image we have opened, and it's as simple as making sure we have the Move tool selected, Clicking on this image and dragging it to the first image. Now look automatically a new layer was created and we are able to move that layer and reposition the image without affecting the image below. So this is the simplest multi layered image. We have one picture on top of another and in this case it's totally securing what's below, but we could if we want to change the Blend Modes, to be able to see through the image using different algorithms of how that's going to be presented. And we will go over that in a later movie.
So now that we have introduced layers, we are going to see how we can use Adjustment layers to modify the way we perceive an image without actually changing the pixels of the picture.
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