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Understanding Layers in Photoshop

This post on Understanding Layers in Photoshop has been submitted by Jodi Friedman of MCP Actions. MCP Actions offers customized one on one photoshop training, photoshop actions, and photo editing for photographers. To see more Photoshop tips and tutorials visit her blog at http://www.mcpactions.com/blog.

One of the most important keys to learning and mastering photoshop is using layers.

Why work on layers at all?

  • They do not destroy your original photo.
  • You are working on top of or on copies of that photo.
  • You will have more control.
  • You can use blending modes to change the way layers interact.
  • You can change the opacity of any effects.
  • You will have or can add layer masks so that you can work selectively on your photo with any adjustments you make.

There are a number of types of layers that I will discuss today.

New Layer:

(SHIFT, CTRL or CMD, and “N”) or under LAYER – NEW LAYER: This will create a blank transparent layer. This is useful when you want to add or change something on a photo and pixels are not needed. For example, adding a border. If you make a new blank layer, and then add a border by doing SELECT – ALL. Then EDIT – STROKE. You can turn the layer on or off by toggling the eye ball, add a layer style such as a bevel or emboss, or change the opacity by working on this type of layer.


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