Targeted Flattening

You can merge multiple layers into one layer to make it easier to manipulate. This is also a necessary step for creating alpha channels from layer styles.

Step 1. Link the source layers to a blank target layer. Make sure that none of the layers are a locked Background layer. Otherwise, double-click on the Background layer and name it.

Step 2. Highlight the target layer.

Step 4. Choose Merged Linked from the Layers palette submenu.

This flattened copy will now import cleanly into your NLE, Compositing application, or DVD authoring application. The editable version is left as well for future changes. For more on Layer Styles, see page 141.

Clipping Mask

Using a Clipping Mask (previously called Grouping) will allow you to take one layer and apply its pixels to the opaque areas of the layer below. This is very similar to using a track matte in After Effects.

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Step 1. Turn off all layers except the Cloud and Texture layers.

Step 2. To map the Texture layer, highlight and Layer> Create Clipping Mask. You should notice that the layer indents. Another way to perform the same task is Q-clicking (^0-clicking) between two layers in the Layers palette.

A Clipping Mask is a great replacement for Paste Into because it takes one step instead of five.


Throughout this lesson, the layers have been color-coded. This is a great way to identify items, and helps to mentally organize a complex composition. These colors only appear in the Layers palette and do not affect your final output. To assign a color to a layer, you must access the Layer Properties command. With a two-button mouse, you can right-click on the desired layer. One-button mouse users should hold down the key when clicking. Alternately. you can O+double-click (^0+double-click) the layer's name.

Layer Groups

An incredibly useful feature is Layer Groups (previously called sets). Think of these as folders in a file cabinet. Instead of throwing everything in a drawer, you can make life easier and put similar things together. This makes it easier to work with layers, and is also a great way to prepare options to show the client. For example, you can prepare the same

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Use of Layer Groups and color-coding is an essential part of gaining speed.

headline two different ways. Headline 1A has a serif font, while Headline 1B uses a sans-serif typeface. It is easy to turn entire sets off and on as a group. Layer Groups can also have their blending modes and opacity changes as a group.

There are several ways to create a set. You can click on the New Set icon and drag the layer into the set. An easier method involves linking.

Step 1. Go back to the Heart layer; and select all four symbol layers.

Step 2. Now choose New Group from Layers from the Layers palette submenu and name the set "Poker." By employing a Layer Group, you can align a group of objects.

Step 3. Highlight the Background layer and link it to the new Layer Group Poker.

Step 4. Select the Move tool.

You now have the Align tools available and can choose to center the symbols as a single unit. Centering objects on a page is as simple as linking the layers or Layer Groups to the highlighted Background layer and using the Align tools.

Starting with Photoshop CS, Layer Groups have gotten even better. It is now possible to have up to five levels of nested groups. While five Layer Groups are likely more than you need, the flexibility is empowering. You can now drag Layer Groups inside other

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Groups, allowing for complex organization. Be aware that most NLEs will improperly interpret Layer Groups. Some will import the contents as a flattened layer while others will improperly try to interpret the layer data. Fortunately, Adobe After Effects and Apple Motion handle Layer Groups fairly well.

Understanding Adobe Photoshop Features You Will Use

Understanding Adobe Photoshop Features You Will Use

Adobe Photoshop can be a complex tool only because you can do so much with it, however for in this video series, we're going to keep it as simple as possible. In fact, in this video you'll see an overview of the few tools and Adobe Photoshop features we will use. When you see this video, you'll see how you can do so much with so few features, but you'll learn how to use them in depth in the future videos.

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