Using Layers

TIPS IN THIS CHAPTER

► Turn On Thumbnail Views to Help Layer Recognition 171

► Name Layers for Easy Recognition 172

► Group Related Layers into Sets 174

► Link Layers to Transform Multiple Layers at Once 177

► Merge Layers to Reduce File Size 178

► Align and Distribute Elements on Multipl e Layers 180

► Right-Click (CTRL-Click) to Jump to the Target Layer 183

► Lock Layers to Protect Their Contents 184

► Adjust Opacity to Allow Layers Beneath to Show Through 1 86

► Use Layer Styles to Customize Special Effects 186

► Add Adjustment and Fill Layers to Adjust Color on Single Layers Instead of Entire Images 189

► Use Clipping Groups to Mask One Layer with the Contents of Another 193

► Use Masks to Temporarily Hide Parts of Layers 196

One of the key features of Photoshop is its use of layers. While they may seem small in comparison to other aspects of the program, it is only with the use of layers that most of the other features and commands are possible. If you're new to Photoshop, then such a large emphasis on layers begs the question, "What are layers?"

You might think of layers in Photoshop as being similar to clear sheets of acetate. Painters sometimes place these sheets of acetate over their paintings before making a potentially drastic change in the painting. By painting a quick sketch on the acetate instead of the canvas itself, a painter is giving herself the chance to say "forget it" and remove the change—before it was ever made permanent on the canvas.

Using layers in Photoshop is much the same. You can paint, draw, and make changes on a layer— your piece of acetate—without affecting the contents beneath the layer. In fact, in Photoshop, you can add multiple layers on top of each other as needed, and each layer is treated as a separate entity in Photoshop. This means you can edit the contents of each layer without changing the contents of other layers.

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