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Photoshop CS6 features a new ability to filter layers. Now when I say filter, I don't mean apply filters from the Filter menu. I mean determine which layers you see and which you don't here inside the Layers panel, which makes it easier to navigate through extremely complex images. This image is a case in point. Notice that it's one of those standard compositions that contains zillions upon zillions of layers, making it very difficult to navigate what's what. However, let's say what I want to be able to see is just the adjustment layers inside of this image.
Then I'd go up here to the top left corner of the Layers panel, I'd make sure that Kind is selected in this popup menu, and then I'd move to the second icon in, Filter for adjustment layers, and click on it, and now I'm just seeing the adjustment layers inside the image. And notice that the groups have disappeared as well. I want to make that point perfectly clear. I'm going to go ahead and turn off that icon by clicking on it once again. Let's scroll up here to the top and I'll go ahead and collapse these four groups that are at work inside of the image. There are all kinds of subgroups going on as well.
And now notice, let's say I want to see just the shape layers inside the image. I'll go ahead and click on this fourth icon, and the groups completely go away. I just see those shape layers right there across all groups inside the image. Now if you want to add another option, you can. For example, let's say I also want to see the Smart Objects. I'll go ahead and click on that Smart Objects icon, and now I'm seeing both the Smart Objects and the shape layers. If I don't want to see the shape layers anymore and I just want to see the Smart Objects, go ahead and scroll up so that we can see the change here.
Then I'd click on the shape layers item to turn it off. And there are tips associated with each one of the icons so you can see what they do. And notice we've got this other item right there that allows you to turn the filtering on and off. If you turn it off, then this entire row at the top of the panel is going to go dim. If you want to again gain access to these items, then you need to turn the filtering back on. All right! Now at this point, let's say that this second baby face here is kind of creeping me out and I'd like to turn that layer off. However, finding that layer can prove very, very challenging.
Now you may know this trick. You can switch to the Move tool and then you can right-click anywhere inside the image to see what that layer is. If I right-click in the baby's face, I'm absolutely overwhelmed by layer names because there's all kinds of layers represented at that pixel that I right-clicked on. I have no desire to hunt through these layers and figure out which is which. However, assuming that the artist who created this composition named the layers effectively, I should be able to search by the layer name. So I'll go ahead and click on Name and I'll enter "baby" into the field, and sure enough, right there at the top is a layer called baby face.
I'll turn it off and that disturbing baby face goes away. Here's another trick that I think is really interesting. Notice that there are all these little Plus signs throughout the image. Let's say I want to be able to view those Plus (+) signs independently of the rest of the image. I'll go ahead and enter the word plus and now I'm just seeing all the plus signs. I'll go up to the Select menu and choose All layers and that will select all layers in the list and I'll right- click on one of the eyeballs and I have the option of hiding this layer so that I'm not seeing any of the Plus (+) signs in the composition anymore, or I could Hide all the other layers which is what I'm going to do, and now I'm seeing just the Plus (+) signs independently of the rest of the composition.
If I want to bring those layers back, I'll go ahead and right-click on the eyeball again and choose that same Show/ Hide all other layers command and that goes ahead and restores the composition to the way it was. All right, now let's say I want to see all the groups again. I'll just delete the word plus and that will restore my Layers panel. You can also search by layer Effects. In the case of this composition, we don't have any layers set to Bevel & Emboss. However, we do have a lot of Stroke effects going on, we also have a lot of Overlays; these would be color overlays, gradient overlays, and so forth.
Another thing that you can search by is blend mode. So if I choose mode and then I switch to Multiply for example, I can find all the layers that are set to Multiply throughout this image. The final option allows you to select by Color labels. Those are the labels that have been assigned to the layers, so it's not necessarily the color of the layer itself. This one is absolutely amazing, Attribute. You can filter for just the Visible layers, the Locked layers, and so forth. You can look for Empty layers. So I'll go ahead and choose Empty and sure enough, I've got this one layer that I added called uh oh, I'll just go ahead and get rid of it by pressing the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac, and there's so much more.
To bring back the layers, I'll just go ahead and switch back to Kind, make sure all of the icons are turned off, and that will restore our layers and our groups inside the Layers panel. So if you find yourself working inside complicated multilayer compositions, you now have the option of filtering which layers appear and which do not here inside the Layers panel.
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