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New Layers Panel

Another area where Adobe has improved efficiency of workflow is within the Photoshop CS6 Layers panel. Screen space is always at a premium for Photoshop users, and we can’t always scale up the Layers panel or other panels so that we can see all of the layers, masks, and channels in a large, complex document. This is especially true with smaller screens like laptops. Enter Layer Filtering. The new Layers panel has a strip of icons that has been added that can help us to quickly (and temporarily) hide all layers that don’t meet specific criteria.

To take advantage of the new filtering capabilities, the filter pop-up menu (three examples shown in Figure 7) lets you pick from one of six layer criteria “modes”: Kind (example: adjustment layers), Name, Effect, (Blend) Mode, Attribute (example: locked layers), and Color. Within each of these options, different buttons or fields will appear to the right of the menu, to help you select values specific to each criteria.

For example, with Kind (the default option), you are presented with a series of buttons representing each layer type to the right of the menu. If you click the icons for adjustment layers and vector layers, only layers that meet those one of those two criteria, will remain visible. To unselect a layer type, click its button a second time. If you choose Name, a text field will appear, allowing you to type in a layer name. The list updates in real time as you type each letter, eliminating any layer that does not contain that combination of characters in its name. Figure 7 shows the new panel accompanied by two filtering examples.

Figure 7: The new Layer panel filter in action. The Left-most panel shows no filtering, followed by a type filter, and then at right a Name filter (all layers containing the letter H in their name).

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