Unlocking a Background Layer

The Background layer is a lion among layers. It just will not let you manipulate it in the same way that you can manipulate normal layers. Before you can apply transforms, you must unlock it. Similarly, to apply filters, tools, and commands that require the layers to support transparency, you have to sneak up on it and convert it to a normal layer; that is, one that supports transparency. Fortunately, unlike taming a lion, unlocking and converting a Background layer to a normal layer does not require the same Herculean effort.

To unlock a layer, choose Layer ^ New ^ Layer from Background, or simply double-click its thumbnail in the Layers palette (you can double-click a clear section of the tile as well) and either type a name in the New Layer dialog box when it appears or press Enter (Windows), Return (Mac OS). If you do not care to give the layer a name, hold down Alt (Windows), Opt (Mac OS) as you double-click to bypass the dialog box.

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