How do you get to grips with layers in Photoshop?
What are the best ways to use use layers in Photoshop? explained in simple terms?
The first trick (learning from my own mistakes) name you layers something that makes sense to you. Don't let them stay "layer one, layer two and layer one copy". You will find that you will have more layers than you originally plan for, and not having relevant names makes it difficult to work with the layers.
Keep in mind what you are trying to do: if you want to move images around on a color background, keep your image that has had the original back ground a separate layer from the background layer.
Keep text a separate layer from your images.
Remember that when you duplicate a layer, you duplicate all of its attributes as well... so if you have an image that you have applied a drop shadow to and you duplicate this layer, the drop shadow will be duplicated with the image layer.
Always save a .psd file (that keeps all of your layers as is) along with your flattened file (jpg, eps etc) there will always be future changes and once you flatten you will not have the ability to easily move items around because it will be one image, as opposed to several separate images.
When you copy and paste - it will automatically create a new layer. When you click and create new text, a new layer is automatically created. However, if you add color, delete or add shape boxes, they will be added to whatever layer you currently have selected.
Layers are essential for great photoshop projects. First of all you can always copy your original photo(s) to make a new layer then lock the original. This helps ensure you can always go back to the original should you mess up or want to start over.
Layers allow you to do all sorts of fun things, from combining objects, to changing backgrounds, textures, and colors of certain elements. (I actually have a hub that walks through layers and quick masking as a tutorial if you want to look it up "Beginner's Photoshop Tutorial – Photo Manipulation and Changing Backgrounds")
Lets say you want to tweak the color of just one object in a photograph without changing the rest of it, you can lasso or otherwise select that item and put it on its own layer above the original and then tweak just the color of that item... this is just one example.
Perhaps you want to add an effect to just a portion of a photo? Same as above, you put that portion on its own layer above the original layer and add the enhancement.
Using layers is a way to make "non destructive" changes to your originals and allows you to do multiple different things to one image. If you master layers you can easily create beautiful projects/photos that you wouldn't be able to do otherwise.
As you go through always give your layers meaningful names so that when you have multiples you can know what they are. Also, layers work like transparencies - what is on top is what you see and you use masking or transparency settings to determine how much of the underneath layers you see. Also, when working with layers you can "link" layers which is a way to move several objects at once without "merging" - this allows you to still adjust individual elements differently and still have them grouped.
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