- Getting Started with Layers
- Blending Two or More Images (Intro to Layer Masks)
- Getting Started with Layer Blend Modes
- Five Layers Things to Know Before We Move On
- Adding Drop Shadows and Other Layer Effects
- Resizing Something on a Layer
- Organizing Your Layers
- Adjustment Layers
- Smart Filter Layers
- Making a Simple Composite
- Four MORE Important Layers Techniques
Four MORE Important Layers Techniques
These are a few more of those thing you’ll want to know to make your layers life more complete (and it’ll keep you from having to scour the web to find out how to do them). Here we go:
#1: Create a Layer That Looks Like You Flattened It (But Didn’t)
Sometimes you want to apply an effect to the entire image, but you don’t want to flatten your image and lose the flexibility of having all your layers. This shortcut creates a new layer on top of your layer stack that looks like a flattened version of your image (as seen here), so you can apply your filter or effect or whatever to it. But, below it, are all your original layers. So, if you need to go back for any reason, you can hide this merged layer, or even delete it, and below it, your original layers are still there. The shortcut is Command-Option-Shift-E (PC: Ctrl-Alt-Shift-E).
#2: Skip the Trip to the Layers Panel and Just Jump to Any Layer You Want
This is a shortcut I use everyday because it saves you a trip to the Layers panel when you want to change to a different layer. Just press-and-hold the Command (PC: Ctrl) key, and in the image itself (not in the Layers panel), click right on the object you want to work with and it jumps to that layer. Here, you can see my cursor clicking on the bowl and, instantly, that becomes the active layer in the Layers panel. So now, it’s just a quick Command-click (PC: Ctrl-click) right on the image and—boom—you’re on that layer.
#3: Why Smart Object Layers Rule!
We looked at creating a Smart Object layer (on page 135), where if you applied a filter to your layer, you could always go back and edit that filter or even delete it at any time. Well, another big benefit happens when you resize something on a layer. Scaling something down in size on a layer isn’t an issue, but if you make it larger, your image can become blurry and pixelated. However, if you bring an image into your document using Place Embedded (under the File menu), it becomes a Smart Object layer and embeds a copy of the original high-res file inside your document. That way, if you scale the image on that layer up in size, it calls on that embedded high-res version, so the quality is maintained. They’re also super-handy for making templates because you can Right-click on a Smart Object layer, choose Replace Contents, then choose a different image, and it will appear in that exact same size and position in your document.
#4: See Just the Layers You Want (Filtering Your Layers)
Once you get a lot of layers, things can look really messy in your Layers panel, but there’s a filter you can use to help cut the clutter. The row of icons at the top of the panel let you see only a particular type of layer. Let’s say you just want to see your Type layers (no others). Click the Type Layers icon (as shown here, on the left), and now you only see Type layers. These icons are for filtering for (L to R): Image layers, Adjustment layers, Type layers, Path layers, and Smart Object layers. Another way to filter is by using the Kind pop-up menu. Here (on the right), I chose to see just layers with a Drop Shadow effect. You can even search by a layer’s name (choose Name from that pop-up menu, and a text field appears for you to type in the layer’s name). By the way, that red switch to the right toggles the filter on/off.