Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
As a photographer there are a number of different situations where it's helpful to know how to work with multiple layer types, whether you have a photograph or a text layer. And also, how you can work with layer style effects and how you can organize all of your layers into groups, and perhaps how you can add color layers, or maybe how you can work with creative blending. Well, here in this movie we're going to look at all of that. Well, first what I want to do is open up some more space for my Layers panel. To do that, you can double-click on the tab group name or the panel group name in order to collapse it, as I'm doing here.
Okay, well, in the Layers panel you can see we have a few layers. Each of the layers has a layer style effect. We know that we can hide or show this effect by clicking on these icons here. Well, a lot of times you want to do this more quickly. Well, now in Photoshop CS6 what you can do is click on one layer, hold down the Shift key, then click on another, and if you have multiple layers selected, all that you have to do is to click on one Layer Style Effects icon here and it will either reveal or show all of those effects. Click again and you can hide all of those.
What about those situations where you have layers kind of interwoven throughout all of the layers you have in your panel? You don't want to click on all of those in order to collapse or to show those effects. You can use a modifier shortcut to do that. Here let's go ahead and click off of those layers, then if you press Option on a Mac--Alt on Windows--and then click on this icon, it will then expand or collapse all of the effects that you have in your Layers panel. This can be really handy, because sometimes seeing all those effects, well, it can just be a little bit confusing. It can be too much.
So again, it's Option or Alt--Option on a Mac, Alt on Window--and then click on that icon. Another way that we can work with our layers is to add what are called Color Labels. If you click on the one layer, you can go ahead and right-click or Ctrl-click it, this will open up this contextual menu. Now there's a lot here, but what I'm looking for is the layer or the layer color here. I'll give this layer a red label. You can use these labels in order to organize your Layers panel.
You can also do this to more than one layer at a time. Hold down Command on a Mac, Ctrl on Windows, and click on multiple layers and then right-click or Ctrl-click, and here you can choose a label color in order to add that label color to your layers. All right. Well, let's take a look at also how we can work with blending and some other creative aspects of working with layers. Well, here I have this leaf layer. I want to duplicate this leaf layer, and there's a great shortcut to do that. On a Mac it is Command+J. On Windows that's Ctrl+J. You can see I've just duplicated or copied that leaf layer.
Next, with the Move tool selected, what I'm going to do is go ahead and just click and drag this off to the side. Next I want to copy that again, so I'll press Command+J, or Ctrl+J, and then click and drag this off to another position. Well, now that I have this, what I want to do is I want to apply a Blending mode to each of these layers. Well, rather than doing this one layer at a time by going to the Blending mode option and selecting that, what you can now do in Photoshop CS6 is select two or more layers and apply Blending mode to all of those layers at once.
Let me show you what I mean. Well, here we'll go ahead and click on these other layers, hold down the Command key on a Mac, Ctrl key on Windows, and click on those other layers there. Next, navigate to your Blending mode pulldown menu and choose the blending mode that you want to try. I'll try Soft Light or maybe Overlay. This gives me kind of an interesting texture or background. All right. Well, let's say that we want to take this even further. Well, right now all of these layer style effects are just kind of getting in my way. So you remember the shortcut to hide those, hold down Option or Alt and click on this icon.
All right. That's much easier to look at. Next, I'm going to group these layers together. So while they're still selected, I'll press a shortcut to create a group-- that's Command+G on a Mac, Ctrl+G on Windows-- and I'm going to name this group leaves. Well, now that I have this group, I want to duplicate the entire group, and this is new inside of Photoshop CS6. We can use that same shortcut that we had previously used in order to duplicate a layer. You remember that one, right? It's Command+J or Ctrl+J, think jump these contents to another layer, or in this case, jump the entire group to another group here.
We have now to versions of this group. We could then use our Move tool and click and drag and reposition this. Say we wanted to create kind of an interesting texture in the background. Press that shortcut again, Command+J or Ctrl+J. You can press this multiple times, and you can see, how what we can do is we can start to build up this effect. And again, what's interesting about this is this gives us the ability to work with these layers in some really fascinating ways. Well, let's say then that what I want to do is I want to expand all of these and I've realized that I want to try out some different blending modes, right? But now they're inside of all of these groups, and let's even say we open up the Layer Style Effects and we're scrolling through all this and it just looks confusing.
Well, there is a great new feature inside of the Layers panel, and it's a feature which allows us to filter what we're seeing. If you look up at the top of the Layers panel, you can filter by kind, and you can click on these different icons. One of the icons you might want to try is this one here. This allows us to filter based on pixel-based layers. Now in this case, it's going to show us all of the leaf layers. So let's click on that option. Now here what you can see is it removed all of those groups. I no longer see the groups.
It also removed the two text layers. Let's collapse the Layer Style Effects so we can see this even more clearly. I'll go ahead and collapse those effects. Did you notice that all the groups are now hidden? Let's click on the icon again. Well, here they are all back. Click on this again, and you can see, well, it kind of removed temporarily all of the grouping. What's great about this is it gives me access to these layers. So I could click on one, hold down the Shift key, and then click on another.
In this way I could experiment, I could say, well, I want to try different blending mode, perhaps Exclusion. Well, that doesn't look very good. I could keep going through this until I find something that I think looks interesting. Maybe we'll just try Soft Light, a little bit more of a subtle effect. Also, let's say that I want to lower the opacity of all of these layers. Well, now that I have them all selected, I can go ahead and decrease their opacity. In other words, we can use this Filtering view in order to access layers, even layers which are nested inside of different groups.
Now once we've finished making our adjustments, all that we need to do is to click this icon again and it will bring everything back to normal. So as you can see here, there are some really fascinating and powerful ways that we can start to work with layers. And if you didn't catch any of these little tips, it may be worthwhile to go back and to re-watch this movie, because layers in Photoshop, well, they're huge. As photographers we spend so much time working in layers. Learning how to more effectively work in these layers and also how to more effectively organize them and manage them and modify them--whether for creative or just corrective purposes--well, it can really help out your workflow by leaps and bounds.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
164 Video lessons · 54969 Viewers
64 Video lessons · 86624 Viewers
86 Video lessons · 55979 Viewers
148 Video lessons · 93373 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.
Your file was successfully uploaded.