Student Showcase

Let’s show off your work for last week’s project:

  • Photo Transformation

Photoshop Layers

I will demonstrate the following techniques for working with Photoshop layers in class:

Layer Stack

Layers work like sheets of glass laying atop each other, with paint on them.

They can be reordered by dragging them up and down. They can be grouped into folders.

You can turn the visibility of the layer on and off by clicking the eyeball box on the left edge of each layer.

Photoshop layer stack

Add a New Layer

You can add a new Photoshop layer using any of the following methods:

  • Click the Create a new layer icon.
  • Layer > New > Layer
  • Ctrl+Shift+N (Cmd+Shift+N on Mac)
add a new Photoshop layer

Delete a Layer

You can delete a Photoshop layer using any of the following methods

  • Drag the layer bar down to trash can icon.
  • Select the layer bar, then click trash can icon.
  • Layer > Delete > Layer
deleting Photoshop layers

Rename a Layer

  1. Double-click on the layer name.
  2. Type in a new name.
  3. Press Enter/Return key.
Renaming Photoshop layers

Change the Layer Blend Mode

  1. Use the dropdown which says Normal at first.
  2. Select another Blend Mode.
changing the blend mode

Change Layer Opacity

Use the Opacity field/slider to change the opacity percentage of the entire layer.

changing the opacity

Change Layer Fill Opacity

Use the Fill field/slider to change the opacity of the layer pixels but not the layer effects such as stroke or drop shadow.

Photoshop fill opacity

Layer Locks

You can click the icons in the Lock settings to do the following for any given layer:

  • lock transparent pixels
  • lock image pixels
  • lock position
  • lock all
Locking Photoshop layers

Convert a Background Layer to a Regular Layer

You can increase the flexibility of a Background layer by converting it to a regular layer using one of these methods:

  • Drag the lock icon on the layer down to the trash can icon.
  • Double-click on the layer name. This allows you to change the layer name during the process, but is optional.
unlocking a Photoshop layer

Prepping GIF Files

GIF files are limited in color and give odd results when you start editing them. Convert them to RGB before proceding:

  • Image > Mode > RGB
Photoshop layers indexed file Photoshop convert from Indexed to RGB

Layer Styles

Layer Styles let you apply special effects and styles to your layer pixels. E

Each Layer Style has a collection of settings the affect how is is applied to the layer.

Layers Styles can be used in combination for a single layer, and adjusted later if desired.

You can duplicate a Layer Style from one layer to another by holding down the Alt/Option key while dragging it to the destination layer.

Photoshop layer effects

Detach a Layer Effect from its Layer

This is a neat technique that will rasterize the layer effect you have applied so you can work with it as its own layer.

Once you do this, you can no longer use the Layer Style panel to adjust the effect.

  • Layer > Layer Style > Create Layer
Photoshop layer with drop shadow Photoshop layer effect saved to new layer

Layer Masks

Layer masks are a way to conceal a portion of a layer without deleting pixels.

This allows to the flexibility to change what is concealed and revealed at any time.

Black on the layer mask conceals the pixel’s layers (thus showing the layer(s) below). White reveals. Gray conceals or reveals, depending on its darkness or lightness.

Make sure to paint on the layer mask: look for the frame around the corners of the layer mask thumbnail.

Photoshop layer mask gourami

Adjustment Layers

Adjustment layers allow you to adjust the color, brightness, and other aspects of a layer without destroying pixels on the layer.

They are also continuably adjustable.

To clip an adjustment layer to a single layer, hold down Alt/Option and click on the border between the adjustment layer and the layer below it.

Otherwise, an adjustment layer with affect all layers under it.

add Photoshop adjustment layer - photo filter Photoshop adjustment layer properties panel

Layer Groups

Layer groups (or folders) help organize layers.

Photoshop layer group

Layer Panel Menu

The little menu icon at the top-right corner of the Layers panel

  • Convert to Smart Object
  • Layer properties and color-coding layers
  • Blending options
  • Merging Layers
  • Flatten Image
Photoshop layer panel menu

Stamp All Visible Layers

This technique creates a merged layer of all the visible layers, and puts it at the top of the layer stack.

  • PC: Ctrl+Shift+Option+E
  • Mac: Cmd+Shift+Option+E
stamped merge all Photoshop layers to a top on top