Understanding Photoshop: Layers

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One of the more crucial things I had to learn about Photoshop was how layers work. Which is what this episode of Understanding Photoshop is about.

 

WHAT ARE LAYERS?

If you don’t know what they layers are, they as basically different images, or text, or adjustment that are on their own field. Each layer will control specific things on your image so it’s important to understand how they work and what the easiest way is to work with them.

 

REASONS TO CREATE A NEW LAYER

Adding adjustments
The easiest way to create adjustments to your images, and still be able to go back and remove those adjustments if you want or even edit them, is by using adjustment layers.

 

Selection
Whenever I have to do any selections, usually complete cars or certain parts of it, I put them in a new layer so that I can always come back and adjust that layer whenever I want.

 

New image
Adding a new image will automatically put it in a new layer so you can control it separately from the other images.

 

New text
Just like with the new images, every time you write new text, it will be on it’s own layer.

 

HOW DO I DO IT?

Let’s start off with how you can create a new layer. I’m going to assume you already have a file open whether it be a new one or a specific image that you’re been working on.

 

To create a new layer, you simply just go down to the bottom of your Layers window and click on (Create a new layer).

 

Now, two of the most important things I’ve learned in order to efficiently work with layers is naming your layers and grouping your layers. Sounds pretty simple, yeah? Here let me explain.

 

NAMING LAYERS

Every time I work on a specific layer I like to name them so I know what they are instead of having 20 Untitled layers. If I’m working on the wheels, I will put front wheel, rear wheel, or just wheels as the name of the layer. I like to be real specific by using words like front, rear, top, bottom, left, right and then whatever I’m working on (front door, front bumper, left window, etc…).

 

To name a layer all you have to do is click on the layer, then click on the name of the layer and now you should be able to edit the name of the layer. Once done press Enter on your keyboard and that’s it.

 

layers

 

GROUPING LAYERS

Okay so we’re working on our car image and we took out some reflections from the windows so we have all these different layers that are all window adjustments (windshield, front window, back window) so instead of having a long list of all my layers, I like to combine them in to one folder to keep it nice and organized.

 

The way to create a folder with your layers in it is to first select the layers you want to group together (select the first layer, hold CTRL (Windows) or CMD (Mac) and then select the next layer, do this for all the layers). Once you have all your layers selected you want to hit CTRL or CMD and the letter G. This will put everything in one folder, now you need to rename that folder just like when naming layers.

 

folderlayers

 

THAT’S ALL FOLKS

That’s pretty much it for layers. They aren’t too complicated once you get the hang of it and they do a very good job of keeping you organized. It’s made things faster and easier for me so I hope you walk away from this with more knowledge than you had before reading this.

 

Featured image credit:  Daniel Böswald
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