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Converting the Background in Adobe Photoshop CS5

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There are many things you can do to a layer that you can’t do to the Background. You can, however, convert the Background into a layer, at which time it will adopt all the functions of a normal layer. In this excerpt from Photoshop CS5 for Windows and Macintosh: Visual QuickStart Guide, Elaine Weinmann and Peter Lourekas show you how.
From the book

There are many things you can do to a layer that you can’t do to the Background. For example, you can’t move the Background upward in the layer stack; change its blending mode, Opacity percentage, or Fill percentage; attach a mask to it; or embellish it with layer effects. You can, however, convert the Background into a layer, at which time it will adopt all the functions of a normal layer.

To convert the Background into a layer

If you need to create a Background for a file that doesn’t have one, you can convert any existing layer into the Background — the reverse of the preceding instructions.

To convert a layer into the Background

  1. Click a layer.
  2. Choose Layer > New > Background from Layer. The new Background will appear at the bottom of the stack on the Layers panel (its usual position).
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