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Working with Layers in Photoshop Elements 13

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In this chapter from My Photoshop Elements 13, you learn how to work with layers in Photoshop Elements 13. Cheryl Brumbaugh-Duncan explains layers and Mask layers and shows how to use them to work with your photos to create a design composite.
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Topics include the following:

  • Creating a new layer
  • Reordering layer stacking order
  • Showing and hiding layers
  • Deleting a layer
  • Linking and locking layers
  • Creating layer mask, Clipping Mask layers, and Adjustment layers
  • Creating and using Shape layers
  • Applying enhancements and styles to layers

This chapter is all about layers and their use in Photoshop Elements 13. A layer can be compared to a clear sheet of plastic. You can put images, shapes, borders, frames, and messages on individual layers to create a composite image. You can also change the opacity and Blending mode as well as add special effects and filters to each layer. Because the image is on a layer, you can work on that image without changing anything else in your photo. This is very useful to create a design composite with many layers each containing images, shapes, text, borders, or frames. Based on the layer content, Photoshop Elements 13 has different types of layers—Image, Background, Shape, Mask, Adjustments, Type, and Fill layers. Each is designed for a special use in Photoshop Elements 13.

Creating a New Layer

Layers are used in all modes of the Photo Editor. For instance, in the previous chapter when you created a selection of an object in a photo, you used a mask to select the object. Photoshop Elements actually used a Mask layer to create this mask functionality. You did not have access to the actual Mask layer, just the functionality. The layers in the Quick and Guided modes are automatic and allow little modification. The Expert mode has a Layers panel for working with layers, and it gives you lots of control for customizing and modifying layers. When you open a photo in the Photo Editor, it automatically creates and displays the photo image on a Background layer. It is a good idea to leave the Layers panel displayed while you work in the Expert mode.

When you create a new layer, it is stacked on top of the layer below. You can create and delete layers, show or hide layers, and reorganize layer stacking order. You can also apply enhancements and effects to a layer, as well as change the opacity of the layer. You can set a Blending mode for layer so that the image on the layer is transformed by blending with the layers below it.

  1. In the Photo Editor, open a photo or a new document. See Chapter 2, “Importing Photos and Videos.”
  2. Click the Expert mode.

  3. Click Layers in the taskbar.

  4. The Layers panel displays with a background layer.

  5. To create a new layer, click the Create New Layer button in the Layers panel.

  6. A new Image layer is added above the Background layer. Type a name into the Name box. It is a good idea to rename layers to something that makes sense for the image that will reside on the layer.

  7. Use any of the tools in Expert mode of the Photo Editor to add images and shapes to your layer. See Chapter 9, “Advanced Photo Corrections,” for more information on these tools.

  8. To set the opacity of a layer, click in the Opacity box and type a number between 0–100. You can also click the Triangle to the right of the Set the Layer Opacity box and drag the Opacity slider to adjust the opacity.
  9. Click the Set the Blending Mode menu.

  10. Choose a Blending mode from the Blending Mode menu. The default is Normal.


Show and Hide Layers

Layers can be hidden in your composite image. You hide certain layers so that you can focus on the layer that you are working on. You also can show any hidden layers.

  1. Open a photo with multiple layers in the Photo Editor.
  2. Click the Expert mode.
  3. In a photo that has multiple layers, click the eye icon on the layer that you want to hide. The layer and its contents are hidden in the photo.

  4. To show the layer again, click the eye icon a second time. The layer and its contents are displayed again.

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