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Using layer comps effectively

From: Photoshop CS6 for Web Design

Video: Using layer comps effectively

One of my favorite features of Photoshop has got to be layer comps. Layer comps are really underused in the design world though. I think it's because a lot of people don't really understand what layer comps are and how you can utilize them to enhance the designs and the presentations that you give to your clients. In this movie, I will be exploring how to use layer comps effectively to showcase multiple versions of a design that you might be working on inside of Photoshop. First of all, let's break down exactly what a layer comp is. A layer comp is simply a group or collection of layers that are displayed in different ways in Photoshop.

Using layer comps effectively

One of my favorite features of Photoshop has got to be layer comps. Layer comps are really underused in the design world though. I think it's because a lot of people don't really understand what layer comps are and how you can utilize them to enhance the designs and the presentations that you give to your clients. In this movie, I will be exploring how to use layer comps effectively to showcase multiple versions of a design that you might be working on inside of Photoshop. First of all, let's break down exactly what a layer comp is. A layer comp is simply a group or collection of layers that are displayed in different ways in Photoshop.

Photoshop basically takes a snapshot of your document at any given time using the layer Comps panel to showcase different layouts, arrangements, and even color choices. Let's take a look at how that works. I am going to go to the Window menu and I am going to choose Layer Comps. Once Layer Comps opens, I will drag it into the window so you can see it. By default, the only thing I have inside the Layer Comps panel is the Last Document State. That's currently what I am looking at right now. If I wanted to create a new layer comp from the design that I'm looking at here, I just come down and click New Layer Comp.

When I do that, I can name this Blue Background, and I can also choose to apply the layer's Visibility, Position, and Appearance. In this case, I will hit OK. So there's my first layer comp. Now, let's go over to the Layers panel, and you see inside the Backgrounds folder of this layer_comps.psd file I have three different choices: Red, Green, and Blue. If I turn off the blue background, and turn on the green background, I can then create a new layer comp called Green Background--again, remembering the visibility, position, and appearance. Hit OK.

Let's turn off the green and turn on the red, and we'll create another new layer comp there, and we'll call this Red Background. Hit OK. So now, anytime I want to show these to a client, I can simply come in here and click the eyeball next to blue background, and it turns blue; green background, turns green; red background, turns red. I can also use these little navigation icons right here. So I can cycle through all of my layer comps just by clicking. If I make a change to a layer comp, I can always update the layer comp by clicking this icon right here.

So for instance, if I wanted to, while I am working on the blue background, let's say for instance that I wanted to move something around, perhaps the buttons. Maybe those need to be a little bit farther down on the page. So I will select the Buttons group and I will just nudge those down using the arrow keys on my keyboard. Then I'll come over and I'll click the Update button. When I click Update, the icon switches back to Blue and now watch what happens when I switch: here's Green and Red. Watch the buttons when I switch back to Blue. They shift down the page, just as they should have.

So you can utilize layer comps to do all sorts of things, and change the configuration and layout of your design without having to create separate files. It's Photoshop's answer to multiple pages or artboards like you would have inside of Fireworks or Illustrator. It's not much, but it's all we have, and it's a great way to help keep your files organized and present a multifaceted design to your clients.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS6 for Web Design
Photoshop CS6 for Web Design

75 video lessons · 50086 viewers

Justin Seeley
Author

 
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  1. 1m 9s
    1. Welcome
      48s
    2. Using the exercise files
      21s
  2. 25m 50s
    1. Designing for screens
      1m 8s
    2. Decoding screen size and resolution
      3m 9s
    3. Exploring the PSD-to-HTML workflow
      2m 25s
    4. Setting up Photoshop for web work
      5m 29s
    5. Creating a new document for web
      2m 36s
    6. Creating a new document for mobile
      4m 24s
    7. Setting up a responsive web layout
      3m 31s
    8. Creating email newsletter documents
      3m 8s
  3. 20m 39s
    1. Adjusting color settings
      4m 13s
    2. Understanding web color
      4m 0s
    3. Creating a color palette
      4m 56s
    4. Creating custom swatches
      3m 34s
    5. Applying color to shapes and graphics
      3m 56s
  4. 20m 36s
    1. Exploring the Layers panel
      4m 9s
    2. Renaming and grouping layers
      7m 19s
    3. Searching and filtering layers
      3m 11s
    4. Using layer comps effectively
      3m 4s
    5. Using automatic layer selection
      2m 53s
  5. 29m 2s
    1. Using vector shapes vs. pixel shapes
      3m 31s
    2. Creating vector shapes
      5m 2s
    3. Working with fills and strokes
      4m 36s
    4. Working with Smart Objects
      7m 47s
    5. Importing images
      3m 57s
    6. Cropping and resizing images
      4m 9s
  6. 28m 48s
    1. Planning your project
      3m 13s
    2. Using guides and rulers
      6m 40s
    3. Using a grid system
      8m 28s
    4. Developing a layout with shape layers
      4m 4s
    5. Making pixel-perfect adjustments
      6m 23s
  7. 23m 19s
    1. Using point text vs. paragraph text
      2m 10s
    2. Using text as text vs. using text as an image
      2m 47s
    3. Understanding web-safe fonts
      2m 41s
    4. Inserting placeholder text
      4m 2s
    5. Creating and using character styles
      2m 37s
    6. Creating and using paragraph styles
      6m 11s
    7. Creating editable 3D text
      2m 51s
  8. 26m 54s
    1. Understanding layer styles
      7m 0s
    2. Creating and using drop shadows
      3m 23s
    3. Creating better bevels
      6m 9s
    4. Simulating metallic textures
      5m 8s
    5. Saving and applying layer styles
      2m 48s
    6. Turning layer styles into independent layers
      2m 26s
  9. 50m 23s
    1. Starting with a wireframe
      54s
    2. Organizing page structure
      2m 29s
    3. Adding master elements
      5m 37s
    4. Creating navigation
      4m 36s
    5. Working with photographs
      4m 0s
    6. Working with text
      8m 31s
    7. Creating media placeholders
      7m 22s
    8. Creating buttons
      7m 15s
    9. Creating form fields
      7m 54s
    10. Simulating pages with layer comps
      1m 45s
  10. 33m 38s
    1. Understanding slicing
      2m 4s
    2. Slicing up a mockup
      4m 15s
    3. Understanding web file formats
      4m 3s
    4. Exploring the Save for Web dialog
      5m 3s
    5. Optimizing photographs
      4m 17s
    6. Optimizing transparent graphics
      4m 56s
    7. Saving Retina display graphics
      5m 34s
    8. Using the Image Generator (NEW)
      3m 26s
  11. 10m 40s
    1. Understanding image sprites
      1m 25s
    2. Creating a sprite grid
      2m 54s
    3. Assembling a sprite
      4m 51s
    4. Optimizing sprites for the web
      1m 30s
  12. 18m 6s
    1. Creating a basic action
      5m 28s
    2. Exploring batch processing
      2m 55s
    3. Creating droplets
      3m 20s
    4. Using the Fit Image command
      4m 5s
    5. Using the Image Processor
      2m 18s
  13. 6m 56s
    1. Integrating PSD files with Dreamweaver
      3m 22s
    2. Integrating PSD files with Fireworks
      1m 59s
    3. Integrating PSD files with Muse
      1m 35s
  14. 50s
    1. Goodbye
      50s

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