Ah yes, Photoshop layers - who could live without Photoshop layers? Well I for one certainly could not. I want to talk about the basic concept of layers and how great they are; and hopefully you will be using them all of the time. First make sure you have the layers' palette up so that you can see how this work for you. Notice that I have my layers palette up on my screen here, and of course this layers palette relates to my current active document which is right here. And notice that I have 3 other layers with pixel data on it floating above my background image. You can think of layers as acetate sheets or glass sheets that you can place pixel data on by copying and pasting from one document into another, or you could simply create a new empty layer and begin painting. So not actually pasting pixel document, we are simply just adding pixel information on our layer here. And the beauty of layers of course is that they allow you to isolate different items from other layers. And with that in mind, we have a whole host of options available to us from the most obvious one of repositioning items on our layer to control our composite image, or collage image. The mover tool is this tool, and you use this tool in combination with selecting or targeting a particular layer to move your pixel data around. And you can see that of course this does not affect any other layer in my document. And this is really the power of layers, is allows you to isolate image elements against relative to other image elements in your document. Now the way to think of your layers palette is that your eyeball, you're looking down from the top of your layers palette all the way through all these layers to the bottom most layer. And if we look at our actual document, this seems to make sense, that I see my blue brush mark is on top of the green triangle and the green triangle is on top of the dandelion which is above the cow and all of these items are above my background image. Notice in the thumbnail previews here that there is a checkerboard background. And where ever you see a checkerboard background, that indicates transparent areas on that layer. And I'll just go ahead and de-click the eyeball, which allows us to view any pixel data on any layer. I'll just de-click the eyeball on the bottom most layer, and you can see that all of these items are of course floating in this transparent background here. So another powerful feature of layers is that you don't have to actually delete the pixel data to not see it, all I need to do is turn the eyeball icon on or off - and this will temporarily show or hide the information on that layer. And as you would suspect, we can reorder the layers. All I need to do is select a layer by clicking on its thumbnail or name, click and drag above or in between to other layers and those layers will be reordered relative to each other. As I mentioned earlier, it's simple enough to get information on a layer - all you need to do is select an area in one image, copy it and go to another image and choose paste - and that pixel data will be added as a new layer. Well this image shows you essentially simple pixel data. So I have my cow image, my triangle, my dandelion. And what I want to point out here is how you can easily target the layer you want to effect - all I need to do is click on its name or thumbnail and that will be the active layer. So if I make any edits now, such as if I chose my brush tool I would be adding a brush mark to my dandelion layer. And you can see that that is the case if I go and try to move it. So undo that and undo again to get back to my unedited dandelion layer. Well I have another document that I created to show you how robust layers are. I'm going to expand my layers palette a bit to talk about some of these other features. Well of course I have simple pixel data such as my green triangle, but what I can also do is add different types of layers, this is a type layer. So I actually have editable type that I could go in and create and/or edit. And I'm going to drag that up, and also notice on my type layer that there have been added 2 special effects as denoted by the word effects and the 'f' icon on the actual layer itself. If I click the eyeball next to the word effects, it will turn off all of my effects associated with this type layer, and you can see that actually I have 2 effects, that really make my type really pop out a bit more. I've added a drop shadow and I've added a bevel effect. So that's the type without the effect, and now the type with the 2 effects activated. Really helps make that type pop out and separate. Also, I've added something called an adjustment layer right here. And this particular adjustment layer controls the hue and saturation for all layers below it. But in this case, I've actually done something a little bit different. I've added it to what's called a clipping group, so it only affects the layer that controls the clipping group, in this case the cow. And notice what happens if I de-click the eyeball next to this adjustment layer, and you can think of these as special effects layers, that don't actually have pixel data but edit pixel data below it. My cow comes back with its normal color. So this special effects layer controls a hue and saturation change for all the layers underneath it, or in this particular case just this clipping group layer. A little bit more about the effects or the adjustment layers; this is my adjustment layer popup menu on the layers palette. Notice that all these different types of adjustments are the same kind of image adjustments that are available under image menu>adjustment. Levels, curves, hue/saturation and so on and so forth; the big advantage of using an adjustment layer is that you can choose to turn on that effect, on and off, at your whim. And you can also control the intensity of this effect as well as go back and edit the effect. For instance, if I wanted to edit the hue of my cow, all I need to do is double click on the hue/saturation adjustment layer thumbnail icon, and of course now I can go and change the hue to something else. And I've not really affected my image at all because it's on an adjustment layer. And I can choose to use it or not use it or even change any of the parameters that are part of this adjustment layers. So there is a whole lot, 2 layers and they are very powerful. Perhaps the most powerful feature in Photoshop. And layers are your friends. And I encourage you to use them - with the one caveat that layers do take up some memory. So you should have a fair amount of memory available, or the more amount of memory you have available the faster you'll work in Photoshop with layers.
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