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Creating Layers in Adobe Photoshop CS5

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From the book
In this excerpt from Photoshop CS5 for Windows and Macintosh: Visual QuickStart Guide, Elaine Weinmann and Peter Lourekas show you how to create new, blank image layers. To those layers, you can apply brush strokes, clone imagery, etc.

When creating a new document, if you choose Background Contents: White or Background Color in the File > New dialog, the bottommost tier of the image will be a Background; if you choose Background Contents: Transparent, the first tier will be a layer, and the document won’t contain a Background.

A new layer is created automatically when you perform some kinds of edits, such as when you paste a selection or create type with the Horizontal or Vertical Type tool. In these instructions, you will learn how to create new, blank image layers. To those layers, you can apply brush strokes, clone imagery, etc. You may add as many layers to a file as you like, depending on your computer’s available memory and its storage capability.

To create a layer

  1. Show the Layers panel.layers-panel-icon.jpg
  2. Click a layer or the Background. The new layer is going to appear above the one you have clicked.A
  3. Click the New Layer button new-layer-button.jpg at the bottom of the panel. The new layer will have Opacity and Fill percentages of 100% and a blending mode of Normal.B
  4. Optional: To rename the layer, double-click the existing name, type the desired one, then press Enter/Return.
    • To choose options for a layer as you create it, Alt-click/Option-click the New Layer button new-layer-button.jpg on the Layers panel or press Ctrl-Shift-N/Cmd-Shift-N. In the New Layer dialog, you can change the layer Name or choose a nonprinting Color for the area on the Layers panel behind the visibility icon eye-icon.jpg (see “To color-code a layer” on page 143). To learn about the layer blending mode and opacity controls, see page 142.

Another method for creating a layer is to copy or cut imagery from an existing layer or the Background and put it on its own layer. This can be done easily with a simple command.

To turn selected pixels into a layer

  1. On the Layers panel, click an image layer or the Background, then create a selection in the document.A
  2. To create a new layer containing the selected pixels, do either of the following:
    • To place a copy of the selected pixels on a new layer and leave the original layer intact, right-click in the document and choose Layer via Copy or press Ctrl-J/Cmd-J.B
    • To place the selected pixels on a new layer and remove them from the original layer, right-click in the document and choose Layer via Cut or press Ctrl-Shift-J/Cmd-Shift-J. If you cut pixels from a layer, the exposed area on the original layer will be filled with transparency; if you cut pixels from the Background, the exposed area will be filled with the current Background color (see pages 185 and 233).
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