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Using Layers in Adobe Photoshop

Lesson 4 from: Adobe Photoshop CC: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

Using Layers in Adobe Photoshop

Lesson 4 from: Adobe Photoshop CC: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

4. Using Layers in Adobe Photoshop

Layers in Photoshop are the various elements of your image. Get the foundations of using layers in Photoshop before launching into the more advanced stuff.
Summary (Generated from Transcript)

In this lesson, the instructor discusses the basics of using layers in Adobe Photoshop CC. He explains how to move the layers panel, change the size of thumbnail images, and create new documents. He demonstrates different methods for adding images to a document, including copy and paste, drag and drop, and loading files into Photoshop layers. The instructor also covers how to hide and delete layers, scale and reposition layers, and use the auto-select layers feature. He explains how to clip layers to show only within specific areas, and how to adjust opacity and stacking order of layers. Finally, he shows how to move layers and add a background to an image.


  • How can you move the layers panel in Photoshop?
  • What are some different methods for adding images to a document in Photoshop?
  • How can you hide or delete layers in Photoshop?
  • How can you scale and reposition layers in Photoshop?
  • What is the auto-select layers feature in Photoshop? The topic of the lesson is layers in Adobe Photoshop.


  1. How do you add a drop shadow to a layer in Photoshop?

    Click on the layer you want to add a drop shadow to, go to the bottom of the layers panel, click on the "fx" button, and choose "drop shadow."

  2. How do you adjust the settings of a drop shadow in Photoshop?

    With the drop shadow effect open, you can move your mouse over the image to adjust the distance and angle of the shadow. You can also adjust the size and opacity of the shadow.

  3. How do you add a stroke to a layer in Photoshop?

    Click on the layer you want to add a stroke to, go to the bottom of the layers panel, click on the "fx" button, and choose "stroke." Adjust the size and color of the stroke as desired.

  4. Can you add multiple effects to a layer in Photoshop?

    Yes, you can add multiple effects to a layer by clicking on the "fx" button at the bottom of the layers panel and choosing different effects.

  5. How do you clip a layer to another layer in Photoshop?

    Hold down the option key (Alt on Windows) and click on the line that separates the two layers in the layers panel to clip the top layer to the layer below.

  6. What is the purpose of the background layer in Photoshop?

    The background layer is a special layer that is created when you open an image that doesn't have any layers. It has certain limitations, such as not being able to have transparent areas or big data.

  7. How do you merge layers in Photoshop?

    Select the layers you want to merge in the layers panel, then go to the layer menu and choose "merge layers."

  8. What is the difference between merge layers and merge visible in Photoshop?

    Merge layers combines only the layers that are currently active, while merge visible combines all the layers that have the eyeballs turned on.

  9. What does flatten image do in Photoshop?

    Flatten image combines all the visible layers, deletes hidden layers, and turns the result into a background layer, making the image ready for saving in any file format.

  10. How can you move a copy of a layer in Photoshop?

    Hold down the option key (Alt on Windows) while dragging the layer with the move tool to create a copy of the layer.

Lesson Info

Using Layers in Adobe Photoshop

Back with another day. Photoshop CC: The Complete Guide. Here's our sessions for the first week. We're about to head in today to talking about, 1/5 of the way through our class, we're gonna jump in and talk about layer essentials. Now it's just called layer essentials because we have multiple sessions that talk about layers. And we just need to get started with the foundations of layers, so that's what we'll cover here. Then we'll get into the more interesting and advanced features of layers in other sessions. So we're gonna jump into Photoshop, so we just get started and start using layers. Here I am in Photoshop. And the first thing you might notice when I open my version of Photoshop is it might look different than yours. And that's because I like to have my layers panel on the left side of my screen. Doesn't matter which side you like to have it on. But if you want to happen to move yours, if you go above your layers panel to this little dark gray area, this little solid bar right ...

above the word layers you could click there and drag the layers to the other side. And the only reason I like to have my layers over there, in fact it'll take me a minute get back to where I was, is that I find I don't like moving left to right across my screen so much. I don't want to sit there and have to go all the way across in order to access various features. I want to be able to have them all grouped together where my tools are. Either that or you move your tools panel over to the right side of your screen, but then you still have the options for your tools that will be always near the upper left. So if you move everything to the upper left it can clean it up a bit. Here I happen to have a document that already has layers. I just wanted to do that first to show you what the layers look like. It will end up creating these in a moment. And in order to make it easier for you to see what I do in the layers panel, what I'm gonna do is right-click in this empty area down here, where there are no layers. And when I right-click, I'm gonna find the choice of how large do I want those little thumbnail images that represent my layers, how large do I want them to be? And I'm gonna bring them up to medium or large just so it's easier for you guys to see. Now there's medium in here would be large. I would call that excessive instead of large for this particular screen. That's just for you guys to make them a little easier to see, you don't have to. If you want to make them tiny, you can have no thumbnails. If you ever want to mess with a coworker, easiest way to mess with a coworker that uses Photoshop is to make their layers look like this. All I did was right-click and say no thumbnails. Alright, so let's start using layers and see how we can think about them. I'm gonna start by creating a brand-new document. And let's say I want to create something that is a promo card. It's going to be a seven inch wide by five inch tall little postcard, that I might send out. And for resolution, I'll type in 300, 240 to is a pretty good range for printing, if you want high-quality printing, but we covered that in a different session. I have an entire bonus video that talks about resolution in depth. But 240 to 300 is pretty good for high-quality printing. Then down near the bottom here, there is a choice called background contents and that just means what should the document contain to begin with and white is fine. Click okay, so here's my document. Next I'm going to start putting some images in here because right now we have just one layer, it's called background, nothing else in there. So I'm going to go to Bridge, and just choose some images. I would like to make a promo for a trip that I did to Iceland, where I took some pictures of some icebergs that were dirty, because they had volcanic ash had fallen on them. And I want to create something that's just gonna be called black ice, that's my kind of name for my promo card, and we're gonna combine some of these images. So let's look at various ways to get an image between documents. The first method I could use is to double-click on an image here in Bridge, or if you're using light room, you go to the photo menu. Choose edit in, and tell it to go to Photoshop. And I could copy and paste this. To copy and paste, I go to the edit menu and copy this grade out, and that's because it doesn't know how much of the image you want to copy. So you first have to select all. Then I could copy. After I copy that, I can close the document because when you copy it, it's being contained in an area called the clipboard which is like a temporary storage spot. And now I'm gonna come over here and choose paste and there's my image in here. And the moment you paste into another document you're going to have it pasted onto a layer. That layer is automatically created. And so I could then go back to Bridge and open another picture that I might want to use. Double-click on it, and I could again copy and paste. But there are other methods of getting into that other document. I could use the move tool. The move tool is found at the top of your tool panel and to get it between documents you click within the document you would like to move and then drag your mouse and don't let go. Drag it on top of the tab for the other document, the document you want to put it in. If you drag your mouse onto that tab, that other document should come to the front but don't let go of your mouse yet. Instead, move your mouse into the image itself. So you're somewhere within that document and let go. And there, I just dragged and dropped between two documents so I'll do that again because it's something that takes a little bit of practice. A lot of people end up dragging to the other tab and just letting go and nothing happens. That's because your mouse must start inside the picture you wanted to move, and must end inside the picture you wanted to move it into. You can't let go when you're on top of the tab. I'll click on this other tab and close it because of I've already gotten that one in. And let's go back to Bridge and open another picture. And I'll drag-and-drop it again. I'm just gonna make sure I'm in the move tool. I make sure my mouse is within this picture. I drag it up to the other tab, wait for it to come to the front and then drag down into that document and let go. Now it's in there. I'll click over on the other tab and close it because I no longer need it as a separate document. Now there are other other methods for getting this in there. Let's take a look. When I'm in Bridge, in Bridge I could resize this window by moving my mouse to the lower right corner and dragging it over like this, so I can see what's behind Bridge which is Photoshop sitting there. And then I could click on the image I'd like to put in to Photoshop and just drag it from Bridge onto that document and let go. Now it does something extra when you do that. It actually does a couple of things extra. For now I'll just discuss one and that is if that picture was larger than the document you were dragging it into, this document is a seven inch wide, five inch tall document. If my image I'm dragging over it's just bigger than that, then it'll automatically scale it down for me. So it fits within, and it automatically turns on something known as free transform. Free transform is where I can scale or rotate that layer. And that's what this big X across the image is and these little handles that are on the corners I could grab those handles and reposition them to scale this picture. I'm not gonna scale it though, I want it just this size to start with, so I'll press return or enter to kinda confirm that yes, that's the size I want. Now what's nice is when you're over in Bridge you can grab more than one picture. Here I'll grab some color pictures so it's easier to tell when they get over there 'cause those other images are so similar you might not realize if more than one of them went. But here I'll grab three images. I click on the first image, I'll hold shift and click on the last of the three that I want and then I'll drag all three over here to Photoshop and let go. First one comes in and it just wants to know what size do I want it, so I could scale it by grabbing these corners. The moment I press return or enter, it brings in the next one. Return or enter and it brings in the next one. And I can quickly bring in a whole bunch of images. So what could we do? We could copy and paste. We could drag-and-drop between tabs or we can drag directly from Bridge onto Photoshop, and those are a couple of different ways of getting a bunch of images into a document. Now, if I was in Bridge, and I didn't have a new document yet, I didn't make that empty document to start with, and then I would have another option to get these into more than one image into a single document. And that is I can select a bunch of images, there's a choice under the tools menu. It's tools Photoshop, load files into Photoshop Layers. What that would do is it would create a brand-new document, and it would create one layer for each one of these images and the size of the document would be whatever the widest of all these pictures, whatever the widest one is would determine the width. Whatever the tallest one is would determine the height, and we would just have a brand-new document sitting there with those images within it. So those are a bunch of different ways of getting an image between documents. Choose whichever you personally prefer. I would say the copy and paste is very inefficient as far as speed goes. But it's easy to remember it, 'cause a lot of people are used to copying and pasting between email programs and other things, so if you remember it, good enough. But dragging and dropping from Bridge is pretty convenient. Especially because it scales things. There is something else that happens when you drag something over from Bridge, and it's something we won't have time to talk about until a different session that we covered. But I just want to mention it right now because if I don't you might end up with questions in your head about it. And that is the images that I dragged over from Bridge look different, if I look in my layers panel. Do you see that some of the layers have a little icon in the lower right corner, and others don't? The ones that I copied and pasted, and the ones that I dragged between documents don't have those icons on them, but the ones I dragged over from Bridge do have those icons. Those are what's called smart objects and they give those layers certain special qualities, but we have an entire session on smart objects. So note that I will get into what that means, for now just know that there's something special that happened that we'll cover later on. I'm gonna get rid of all these color pictures that are in here because I didn't need them in here, I was just showing you how to get images between documents. So if you want to get rid of a layer, you have many different methods. You can just select the layer in your layers panel and then click on the trashcan at the bottom. And if you do, it'll ask you, do you want to really delete that? I usually turn on don't show again, so that it doesn't ask me this every single time. And you can select multiple layers if you'd like and hit that trashcan. You can also drag them to the trashcan if you happen to be, wanna be less efficient. If you're in the move tool, you can simply hit the delete key. If you're in the move tool and you hit the delete key, it will delete whatever layers are active. Alright, now let's talk more about how to think about our layers. And first I'm gonna move a few things round to reorganize these because they didn't snap to where I wanted them. There we go. If you look in the layers panel, these are just like photographs sitting on the desk. And if you had four photos, stacked on top of each other on a desk, the topmost photograph would obscure your view of the ones under it, because it's covering them up, right? Same thing is true here. When you work with layers, it's as if you're standing at the top of the layers panel and you're looking down. And so whatever's on the top layer is gonna obscure your view of what's underneath it. Just like if you had a print on a table and it's sitting on top of something, it's going to cover it up. Now, when we work with layers, the first thing I'm gonna do is scale them, because I don't want these images to take up this much space. So I'll click on the layer I'd like to work on, I'll go to the edit menu and there is a choice called free transform. It has a nice keyboard shortcut 'cause it's something I use daily and that's Command+T. Ctrl+T in Windows for just transform. So I'll choose free transform. And when I do I'll get these little handles around my image. If I grab the corner, I can pull on it to scale the image but I have to be careful because if I just pull, I can easily squish the image in one direction. I'll choose undo by typing Command+Z. When you grab the corner and pull on it, hold shift. If you hold shift, it will maintain the proportions you originally had and it will not squish the image horizontally or vertically. When you're done, press return or enter. Now I really wish that that would be the default behavior because it's so rare when I'm scaling or rotating something that I want squish it in one direction. And it's been like 20 years that I've been having to hold Shift. I've begged Adobe, please make it the default, make me have to hold shift to squish it. So let's just scale the rest of these layers. I'm gonna click on the next layer down in my layers panel. And I'm going to go to the edit menu and choose free transform. I see the handles around it. I'll hold shift as I pull on the corner here. And the other thing you can do when you're transforming is if you click within the image, you can reposition it. And when you reposition it, you'll find some pink line showing up, those are called smart guides. That shows you when one layer lines up with another. And if you look at those little pink guides it'll let you know what it's lining up with, 'cause you just follow the pink line over and you can see it's on the edge of another layer. So I might move this so it's lined up at the top. And then continue resizing. Now I wish we would see a smart guide when I scale it to the same height as the other one, but I don't, and really, wouldn't it be useful? So I can get it to be exactly the same height. I just pressed return or enter to say I'm done. Now most of the time when I'm doing this kind of operation, I would most likely hide the other layers. 'Cause right now, this is looking like clutter when I'm in here. To hide layers, you go into your layers panel and you have eyeballs. And just click on them, you'll hide that particular layer. It's still in your document, it's just hidden. And I can also click and drag down that particular column where the eyeballs would show up to hide more than one layer. So here we have two images, I want to get two more in here. So I'm going to turn on the eyeball for the next layer. Just because I'm visually thinking about that layer and I see it on my screen doesn't mean Photoshop knows that's the layer I want to work on. I do need to go into my layers panel and make sure it's active. So in my layers panel, I might have turned on the eyeball but that didn't automatically make the layer active so I need to click on it. This time I'm gonna use a keyboard shortcut. That keyboard shortcut is the one for free transform, remember it's Command+T, Ctrl+T in Windows, so I'll type that. Then I'll scale this one down. Now one of the boldest videos I have for this class is the logic behind Photoshop's keyboard shortcuts, because it seems like sometimes they are kind of random and that, it just seems like a lot to remember but there is a logic behind them. And if you happen to remember in the session when we talked about selections, I said that you could hold down a particular key when you're making a selection to make it start the selection from the center of the circle instead of from the corner of the circle. I don't know if you recall that or not but the same keyboard shortcut works here for a special thing, let me show you what it is. If I'm grabbing this corner and pulling on it, if I hold down the option key, it will do it from the center See how the center of the photograph is remaining in the same spot. And the key that I'm holding down right now is the option key, Alt in windows, and that is the same key I used doing work with selections, where it made a selection starting from the center of a circle instead of the edge. So just so you know, they do relate. Just not always obvious that they're related. So I'll hold Shift, bring this down. And that's over. Now when I move them, you notice those little pink guides, they tell you not just when things line up, but when things are evenly spaced. So when I move this so that the space between this image and the one to the left of it becomes the exact same amount is the space between the other two layers that are there, watch what happens. There, you see it? So it's really convenient that we have those things called smart guides. Now what I'd like to do is scale all three of those layers because I want to make them fill up this space that's over here on the right. So if I want to scale all three, I need all three layers selected. So over here, those are the three layers I'd like to scale. I'm gonna hold down the Shift key. I already have this one selected, I'll click on the top one. So when you hold Shift, you get all the layers in between the one that was already selected and the one you're clicking on now. With all three layers selected, I'll type Command+T and now, I can scale that to get it right where I need it. So we can work on more than one layer at a time if we'd like I have an extra layer in here, which I'll use later on. I'll use that actually when we get some text in here. I want to make it so that particular picture shows up inside the text. And so I'm just gonna leave it there hidden and let's look more at layers. So if you look at the layers panel, do you notice that you can see the picture in each layer but surrounding that picture is a checkerboard. Anytime you see a checkerboard, that's your indication that that area is empty. It means it's not white, it's not black, it contains nothing And so if it just showed it is white you might assume it's literally full of white paint. So they needed to come up with a concept that indicated emptiness and that's what the checkerboard means. And if I were to hide the bottommost layer that's full of white, you would actually see it over here on the main view of my picture. If I turn off that bottom layer you see the checkerboard there. So anytime you see that, it simply means it's empty. If you don't want it to be empty, then create a new layer, fill it with something and probably put it on the bottom of the stack. Now if I continue to move these around, I'm gonna do it using the move tool. I'll click on a layer and I'll just start moving it. You notice that this layer is on top of this one because you can see it obscuring your view of it. Well, you can change this stacking order of the layers. All I'm gonna is click on the name of this layer and I'm gonna drag it down to here. When I do that watch what happens to the image. Now you see it's underneath. And so that's why I say, it's as if you're standing at the top of your layers panel looking down. And so this is what's on top. It's obscuring your view of this, which is obscuring your view of this, and so on. And so always kind of think that way. There's other things we can do when we have multiple layers selected. Let's say that these were out of alignment, they're sitting in all sorts of disarray here. I could select all of those and then at the top of my screen in what's known as the options bar. There are a bunch of icons. Those are alignments icons or distribution icons, they do both. In this one right here, if I hover over it without clicking it tells me that would align the top edges of these layers. So if I click on that, that's going to move them all up so the tops line up, so that could be convenient. Now let's come in here and let's add some text. I'm gonna go to my tool panel and right down here, I see the text tool, click on that. And I'll just click within my picture where I want the left edge of the text to appear, and I'm gonna type in Black Ice. I'm going to then type Command+A. Command+A means select all. It's the keyboard shortcut for select all. And then in the options bar at the top of my screen, we have the size of the text. I'm just gonna click on that and use the up arrow key to increase it. If you hold Shift, it means turbo, meaning do a larger amount. I'll get that approximately the size that I want. Then I can click little old checkboxes here. That means I'm done. And now I have my text. Now let's say I want to move these things around and it's to me very inefficient to always move over to the left side of my screen and have to manually click on the layers to make them active when I want to choose different ones. I have a few options for quickly switching between my layers. I'll go to Photoshop's move tool. And when I'm in the move tool, there are a few tricks. There's a little icon up here in my toolbar, looks like this one. And just so you know, your options bar at the top of your screen might look slightly different than mine. Sometimes it will be text instead that's there. There's a setting in Photoshop that can cause a more compressed options bar, and that's if you have your screen set up, that a much smaller screen than usual. In order to save space, it turns certain features into icons that would usually be text. So on occasion you'll find that with mine because we set up the screen when we do our broadcast to act as if it's smaller. That makes it so the text on the screen is bigger and easier to read when you're going through the video. And it will occasionally cause the Photoshop interface to look slightly different, where some text might turn into an icon to save space, that kinda thing. So anyway, there's an icon up here that if I hover over it, it says automatically select a group or layer by clicking on a visible pixel. If I turn that on just by clicking on it. Now watch what happens when I move my mouse on top of my picture and I click. Remember I'm in the move tool. I'm gonna click on the picture in the upper left and when I click, look in the layers panel. I'll click on the middle picture. I'll click on the right picture. I'll click on the text. You see how it's switching automatically between the layers. That is known as autoselect layers, and it makes it so when you click it looks exactly where your mouse is and says if I were to go straight down below your mouse, what is the topmost layer that contains something right there? And that makes it a very quick way of switching between layers, if you want to reposition things. I personally find having it turned on to be annoying most of the time. There is a keyboard shortcut, though, that allows me to only use it when I need it, and that's the way I use it. So let me share with you what that is. I'll turn it off first by clicking on it to turn it off. And to temporarily access it, when you're in the move tool you hold down the Command key on a Mac, that's Ctrl in Windows. For only the length of time that I have that key held down, will I ave autoselect layers turned on. In fact, you'll actually see the icon get pushed in. Watch, I'll hold down the Command key. You see it pushed it down? I let go of Command, it turns it off. The only thing about that is when you hold down the Command key, there is another thing that happens, and that causes it to automatically measure how far the layer that you're working on is away from the edges of everything else. That's all the pink text. You can ignore the pink text if you want to but it's just telling me how far this particular layer is from the edges of my document. But if I'd now Command clicked, grab that middle layer, I can just move it around. Command click on this layer, I can move it around. Command click on that one, I can move it around. And so it's a convenient way of quickly targeting a layer. And you can either do it by clicking the icon up there in my options bar or if you're like me, where you only want to use it every once in a while, you get used to holding down the Command key when you're in the move tool and allows you to use it temporarily. The other thing that's nice about it is if I click an empty area, where it either looks like a checkerboard or whatever's in that area is contained in a special layer that's called background. It has to be called background or look like a checkerboard. One of the two, then I can actually click out here in this space, Command click and drag. Now when I drag, watch my layers panel. You notice that this, which looks like a selection is only touching one of those layers. So only one layer is active, my layers panel. But if I drag it over here, where now it gets on two, where it overlaps two, both layers are now active. And if I bring it over where it's covering all three, you can see where three of them are. But I bring it so that it also covers the text, you'll see here it becomes active. So I do that and let go so that now those layers have been targeted and then I could move them. But that only works if the area where you initially click either looks like a checkerboard or is contained on this special layer that's called background. We'll talk a little bit more about what the background layer means, but it's a special layer that has some special qualities to it. So what was that to get those layers? You have to be in the move tool and hold down the Command key to target a layer. Alright, now, why don't we get this layer that's hidden, right down in here. I want to get that layer to show up inside the text. So I'll turn on the eyeball for that particular layer so it's visible and I want that layer to cover up the text to begin with. In order to get it to cover the text I need it to be on top. So in my layers panel, you can see that the text player is sitting up here on the top. I'm gonna click on this layer and drag it up until it's above, it's all the way on top. Then I'm gonna scale that image so that it's large enough to completely cover up the text. Do you remember the keyboard shortcut for free transform, usually it's edit free transform is Command or Ctrl in Windows T for transform. And I'll grab this, hold shift and get it big enough, like that. And I might position it so that there's some good detail near where the text would be. And now I want to do something to make this layer only show up where the text is. And that's a special feature. Now let's see if we can figure out how to do it. In order to accomplish this, I need to make sure that the layer I want to clip to the text is directly above it. With that layer active, the one that I want to clip, there is a couple of different ways of doing it. One is to go to the layer menu, and there's a choice called create clipping mask, create clipping mask. If I choose that, watch what happens in the layers panel. Look at the layer I'm currently working on and watch what happens just to the left of the little thumbnail picture, those mini version of it. You see what just happened there? You see the little down pointing arrow? That's what indicates that this layer is now somehow clipped to this layer. So it can only show up where there's information on this player, and look at what we got. It's pretty cool, isn't it? And we can do that with anything. If you want to put it, something on a layer above, you can always clip it to the layer that's below and then whatever's in that layer, will only show up where there's something in the layer below. For instance, I could target this picture here and make it partially overlap that one. And then if I come over here, and say layer, create clipping mask, that layer that I just moved is now only gonna be able to show up where there's information and the layer directly below it, you see how it just clipped itself? So it's only showing up in there. I don't know why it'd want to do that in this particular case, but you could. Let's think about some other instances of when you might want to do it. What if I create a layer, let's say over here we have a tool that allows you to make shapes. And I'm gonna create an ellipse. Usually it's created using your foreground color, which is this color. I don't want black, so I'm gonna click there to choose a different color, I'll choose red. And then I'm gonna draw a shape. There it is. Now what if I want to paint, and I want to add shading to that particular shape? I want to make a highlight on it, I want to make shadow on it so that it looks instead of like a flat piece, instead it looks a three-dimensional ball. Well, first off, I might want to put that paint on its own layer because if I paint directly on that circle if I'm allowed to do that and I accomplish it, then what if I mess up? What if I paint in the wrong area or something? It's gonna be attached to the same piece as the red circle and is gonna be difficult to fix any problems that I have. But if I put it on its own layer, it's completely independent from the red circle, I can always throw it away if I screw up. Or I can create additional layers, I have more versatility. So let's create a brand-new empty layer. I'm gonna do that at the bottom of my layers panel. I see all these icons and one of them looks likes a sheet of paper with a corner turned up. This one right here, to the left of the trash. What that does is it creates a brand-new empty layer. The empty layer will appear directly above whatever layer is currently active. So I'm gonna click that icon and if you watch in my layers panel, you see the new layer? If you look at its contents in the layers panel, it is completely empty. That's why it looks like a checkerboard. So now I'll grab my paint brush tool and this time I'm gonna paint with black. Now if you want to change your brush settings you can go up here, near the top of your screen and there's a preview of your brush. If you click on it, you can change the size and there's a setting called hardness, which means how hard or soft is the edge of your brush. I have my hardness turned all the way down, so we have a soft edge brush, and it's pretty big. You're gonna paint with whatever your foreground color is. And you can see right now, I'm gonna paint with black. And so if I paint right now, do you see how I can get overspray beyond the circle, right? I'll choose undo 'cause I don't want paint in that particular area, but I'm gonna clip this layer to the one below it. And therefore, whatever I put on this layer will only show up where there's information in that layer below. Just like the photo only showing up inside the text, and so on, so I'm gonna go to the layer menu and I'll choose create clipping mask. When I do, I look in my layers panel and I see a down pointing arrow to indicate that this layer whatever I put in it, will only show up where there's information here. Now, when I paint, the paint is still created out there beyond the circle but it's hidden automatically. You can tell that it's still created 'cause look in the layers panel. Do you see paint going all the way out to the corner of the document? It's just being clipped. I'll choose undo because I don't want the paint to be completely black. I want you to be able to see through it. In order to see through it, I go to the top of my screen where I find a choice called opacity. If this is set to 100%, that means my paint is completely opaque, meaning you cannot see through it. If I lower the opacity setting just by clicking on the word opacity and dragging, I might bring it down to maybe 20 or 30%, so that when I paint you can see through my paint and it's not totally black. It's somewhat transparent. So I can build up the brightness of that by painting over this multiple times. Getting it darker on the edge, and getting it lighter in other areas. To make this look more like a truly three-dimensional ball though, I'm gonna add a highlight, a bright area. I could do that directly on this layer or I can create another new layer to contain that. It's up to you. Now if you want to control it separately, you might want it on a separate layer. So I'll create another new layer. I want this layer to also be clipped. So, go to the layer menu and remember that choice called create clipping mask, let's do it. Now look at what we have. We have two layers with the little arrows. And the way the little arrows work is they always clip through the first layer below that that is not indented. So this layer here is clipped all the way down to this. It's not clipped to the layer directly below it. It always looks down to the first layer that's not indented like that. Does that make sense then, that it's clipped to this. So now I'll switch with color I'm painting with, so I'm painting with white and I'm gonna paint a highlight in there. My opacity is still down to about 23, so hopefully that'll give me a nice little bright highlight. So now it's starting to look like it has a little more dimension to it. Now I put these on separate layers so I can have separate control over what's happening in each one, so if I decide that I don't like that white highlight, I can just turn off the eyeball in the layer, it'll go away. But I still have the black shading. If they were both in the same layer, then turning off the eyeball would make them both disappear. I can turn off the black shading and just have the highlight if I want. And if I want to control how strong each one of these layers is, let's say the black painting I put in there, maybe it's a little bit too dark. Or here, I'll make it a little too dark. By painting and even more, get a little more shading in here. And let's just say, I went a little bit beyond how far I should have. Well, what I can do is with that layer active, if I go to the top of my layers panel, you're gonna find there another choice called opacity. And what this does is it makes it so we can control how much that particular layer shows up. So it's similar to turning off the eyeball in that layer which would make it disappear. It's just with a slider where I can say how much should I make it disappear? I'll click on the word opacity and first I'll drag way to the left so it goes to zero. That would be the same as turning the eyeball off. It's completely gone. Then I'll drag towards the right and slowly bring it up, and as I do it, watch my picture. And I see it's showing up if I get it all the way to 100, it's completely showing up, but I might bring it down a little bit to lessen it. To get however much I want. If I were to do that to a picture, you'd be able to start to see through the picture to whatever's underneath it. If what's underneath it is light, it would just, like the picture is lightning up, because you're seeing white show through it. So now I want to move that circle so that it becomes the dot on the top of the letter I for ice, fancy little dot. Well, the problem is if I were to grab the layer that contains the red circle and I were to use the move tool let's see what happens. I can move the circle, but the problem is that paint that I put in is staying stationary. So if I move over here, I might get near it but it's stationary. I'll choose undo by typing Command+Z. What I need to do if I want to move that is make sure all three of these layers are active at the same time. So I hold Shift, click there, so they're are all selected and I make sure I do that before I end up moving this around. Now that's too big. I want it to just be the dot on the top of the letter I. So I'm gonna type Command+T, remember Ctrl+T in Windows for transform. Now, the little transformation handles might not make sense to you right now, because of how far out they're extending. Well, that's because we have more than one layer active and it's looking at what's known as the bounding box for those layers. Which means if you go all the way out to where that information in those layers ends, it's drawing a box around it and just because we happen to have painted with black all the way out, quite a bit beyond where the circle is, there's information out there. It just happens to be hidden right now because the layer is clipped to what's below, but is still thinking about it. So it's showing me the bounding box of the entire contents of the layer. If we were to unclip those layers, you'd actually see the paint extending all the way out to these boundaries. So I'll click, hold Shift. I might also hold option if I want to get fancy, keeps it centered. Press return or enter to say I'm done and then move that down. Now, you'll notice that this jumps around a lot because those smart guides are trying to be really smart and helpful, but they're not always helpful. Right now it's thinking about the bounding box for all of those layers, just like when I transformed them. That's why it's thinking out here, and it's aligning it with the layer that's above right now or somewhere else, and it's becoming difficult to move. So here are a few tricks when you're moving a layer. The first one is you can temporarily disable snapping to things by holding down the Ctrl key after you click the mouse button to move a layer. It has to be after, not before you click. So I click as if I'm gonna move this and then I hold down the Ctrl. And that's controlling Mac or Windows. In just for the length of time you have Ctrl held down, it's not gonna snap it to anything. So that's one method I could use. The other method I could use is when I'm in the move tool I can use the arrow keys on my keyboard. That means nudge this layer, usually by one pixel at a time. So I can nudge it up, I'm just using up arrow keys right now. I can just hold down the down arrow key to keep it moving till it gets to the position I want. If you like keyboard shortcuts, add Shift. So Shift and the arrows is like Turbo mode. It means move it further each time. So when I hold shift, it's moving, like jumping more, wheres when I don't have Shift, it's tiny amounts. But hold Shift and it's big amounts. I don't expect you to remember all the keyboard shortcuts, but there's like, I don't know 5% of people out there that are like, get that keyboard shortcut into their head and remember it, it's gonna save them so much time over the day, that's why I bring them up. But I don't expect the average Photoshop user to remember them all. But you just look at what's important to you, and if it's important you're gonna use it all the time, know the keyboard shortcut. If it's not important, you're not gonna use it all time, who cares, do it the manual way. But I'll try to bring it up so that you know how to work with it. Alright, so we're starting to get our little promo together. I don't know that I actually like the red dot there 'cause it's kinda distracting, but I needed to have something to create with these layers. Now let's add a background to this. I'm gonna go over to Bridge and let's see if I can find a background. Here I have one. Gonna have a really monochromatic theme here and, remember how you can drag-and-drop if you have Bridge small enough for you, it can see Photoshop back there. So I'll just drag it over and let go. Now you gotta be careful because if I happen to have had this layer right here active when I did it, whenever you drag over or copy and paste, it always puts that layer directly above the layer you were working on. So had I had this layer active at the time that I dragged it over, it might've gotten trapped in between these two layers where it became quickly clipped to that little ball. So just know that you gotta look out on occasion. But it usually appears directly above the layer that's active, so you might want to just glance in your layers panel and click where you really want to think about, but that's fine where it is. And I'm just gonna make this a little larger so that it fills the whole document. Press return or enter, say I'm done. And now, I can't see the other pictures and that's simply because of the stacking order of the layers. It's as if you're at the top of the layers panel looking down and what do I see, one picture which is clipped to some text and then that texture, which is completely covering up everything that's below it. So I'm gonna click on the name of that particular layer and I'm gonna drag it down. When you drag, you're gonna see feedback. Do you see a little bar that appears between the layers? So be sure to watch that feedback because you might think that you're moving it below this layer, but unless that bar is moved down there, it's still thinking about the slot above. So I'm gonna move it to right there. So now it's becoming very difficult to see parts of these images because they're so monochromatic. So let's see if we can get some separation between the layers. First, I'm gonna work on the text. I'll click on that particular layer and what I would like to do is add a drop shadow underneath it. So there's a soft dark shadow sitting there and that should make it pop off the background a little bit more. And so I'm gonna click on a layer that contains the text. And in order to add an effect, you go to the bottom of your layers panel and down there, you see the letters fx? If you click there, you have a bunch of choices, one of which is called drop shadow. Now when I choose drop shadow, watch what happen to the image. It might be hard to see the drop shadow, you'd have to zoom up real close, but there is one. Can you see a little slight hint of one right there? When this is open, the options for the drop shadow, you can actually move your mouse on top of the picture and drag. And all its gonna do is it's gonna change two settings in here as you drag. The distance, which is how far away the shadow is from the original layer and the angle that you dragged. So if you watch those two settings when I drag my mouse, that's all it's doing. And so I can position that where I like and then the choice in here, that's called size. Controls how soft the edge is. It's the size of the blur on the edge. So if I want to soften it more I could bring that up to get us a nice soft shadow. The choice is called opacity, controls how much you can see that shadow, is it prominent or not? And there is a bunch of other settings, but most of them you could ignore. You can click okay. I still want that to separate more. So I'm gonna go back down to the letters fx at the bottom of my layers panel and I'm gonna choose another choice that's just called, where is it, stroke. Stroke means draw a line around the edge. If I choose stroke, there is a choice called size and I'll just use the up arrow key after I click on it and right now we're adding a black line around the edge. Do you see it? If you want to change the color there's a little rectangle here you can click on, and that would bring you into a color picker. With the color picker, you just choose the basic color you want from the vertical bar and then choose a shade of the color from over here. But I think black is fine. Now, it is a little bit weird that I put the drop shadow and the stroke on the text but I have a picture clipped to it and it seemed to complete that clipping part first. And then on top of that, it did the effect which is actually convenient. I would've thought, just knowing how clipping works where this layer only shows up where there's something below will have completely obscured my view of the original color of the text, why wouldn't it completely obscure my view of that black line being put around the edge? It just happens to be that that's how clipping works, is that if you apply a, effect to the base layer that things are clipped to, the clipping happens first, then the effect is put on the result, it's convenient. Now when I do that, if you look in the layers panel you will find the effects listed right here just below the layer. And you can turn off these little eye icons to hide the stroke. Click again to turn it back on or hide the drop shadow. And then if you turn off the eyeball next to the word effects, it turns off all effects that are listed below. So you can see the difference. So now what I'd like to do is add a drop shadow just like this one to the photos that are there, so they separate from the background. Now I don't feel like going in there and manually creating it again where I had to choose the opacity, I had to choose the size and I needed to drag and to control the position. I'd like it to be identical to what we currently have here. So what I'm gonna do is position my mouse on top of the word drop shadow. That's attached to that layer, and I'm just gonna drag that down until my mouse is on top of one of those pictures in my layers panel, watch what happens when I let go. If you look in the layers panel, did you see it move right there? The only problem is, if I choose undo, watch the image. Do you see it got removed from the text? Because we moved it between layers, we didn't copy it between layers. So let's learn how to copy things when we're moving them between layers. In order to copy something, you need to hold down the option key, that's Alt in Windows. So I'm holding that down right now. And then I'll click on drop shadow and I'll drag it down to that picture, then I'll drag it down to the next picture and I'll drag it down to the next picture. So we have it on all of them. But I needed to hold option in order to cause it to move a copy. If I drag the word effects, it would copy all of the affects so sometimes you have a whole bunch of them. But now you can see our nice little setup. Now I think that this background that's here is still making it too difficult to see everything. So what I'm gonna do is just click on that particular layer and I'm gonna make it so it barely shows up. So with that layer active, I'll go to the top of my layers panel, I see the word opacity, I'll click on the word opacity, drag it left and that's gonna make it so that that layer becomes barely showing up at all. And so I'm seeing through it to whatever's underneath. And if you look at what's underneath, it's a layer that's full of white. Alright, it's not the most beautiful thing we're making but we just need to work with layers, so I needed to come up with something. Now the layers panel is starting to look pretty complicated, isn't it? So it takes a while to get used to, all the features that are here and to kinda decipher what all the icons mean, but let's take a look. So here we have our texture. This icon means it's a smart object. We haven't uncovered what that means yet but we'll have a whole session on smart objects mean. That's a special thing. Up here, we have our next layer and it has some affects on it. The effect is called a drop shadow. And on the right side, you also see the letters effects. That's because this sometimes can make your layers look cluttered, and so there's a little arrow pointing up here, if you click on it it will collapse that down. So the letters fx means there are effects on that layer, but they're hidden. You just can't see them in layers, you would have to click that little triangle on the right. So that hides or shows the list of effects. And so if I were to do that in each one of these layers then my layers would be a little easier to visually look at because I wouldn't see so much in there. But seeing effects over there tells me that they're applied. I can always click there, expand it. Then if I move up in our layers panel, you remember what those little arrows mean, right? That means it's clipped, and it's always clipped to the first layer that's not indented. So I can see which ones are clipped. You can unclip those layers. If you did it by accident or later on, you decide you didn't want to for some reason, there's a choice that's called release clipping mask. It's in the exact same slot where it used to say create clipping mask. There's one already there so it changes to release. So I'm actually gonna choose that. And that's because there is more than one way of clipping a layer. And so let me show you one other method. If you want to clip a layer, you don't have to go to the layer menu and choose create clipping mask, that's what we did so far. You can instead move your mouse to the little line that separates two layers, and just get the mouse right on that line. And then if you hold down the option key, Alt and windows and click, it does it for you. I option clicked on the line that divides two layers. I don't expect you to remember that but there's 10% of the people out there that clip layers all day long, and if they're going to the menu to do it all the time, now they're gonna be like cool, I can do it right there on the layers panel. I don't expect you to remember it though but there are 10% of you that will and they'll love it. So there's also a keyboard shortcut if you go to the layer menu. If you're not used to hieroglyphics here, that's option. That's what that symbol means. Option Command+G, that will be Alt+Ctrl+G in Windows. Alright, then there are some little tricks when you're in the layers panel that can be helpful. Sometimes you look in the layers panel and things can look awfully small. Do you see how tiny that red dot is? And sometimes it's useful to hide everything except for one layer, just so you can visually look over on the main screen where your actual image is and see what remains, so you know what's in that layer, and everything else is hidden. It's just an easy way to identify things. Well, I don't feel like coming over here and dragging across all these eyeballs and then just turning that one on to do that, that's too inefficient, and I could drag all the way up the calm to turn them back on. So there's a trick. And that is if you move your mouse on top of the eyeball that you'd like to keep, you can hold down the option key, Alt in windows and click on it. If you option click, it means hide all but this. And if you option click a second time, it means bring everything back the way it was before. So often times if I'm not certain what's in a particular layer, like what the heck is here? I can't see anything there. I'll come over here and option click. Now in this particular case, I know that this is clipped to the ball in, and so the ball has to show up in order to let you see what's here but I can see that it's the white highlight. So option clicking on an eyeball, Alt clicking in Windows means hide everything but this. So that's nice, yes, question? How can you (mumbles) Do the exact same thing a second time? Meaning if I option click on that lines between two layers to clip it, option click it a second time it'll unclip it. Now, let's name our layers, because it's starting to get really cluttered in here, and if I open this document six months from now, I might forget why these layers are in here, what they're doing. So I'm going to double-click on the name of a layer to change its name. So I'll just double click here and I'm gonna call this photo one. Usually I'd be a little bit more descriptive, but these are so similar of images that it's not easy to be too descriptive. It's double-clicking, okay. Then, I'm just gonna call this Red Ball and so on. Let's be black shading. Now if you want to rename all the layers, because let's say you're done with a project, you're about to save it and you just want to do yourself a favor so the next time you open this image which might be months from now, you remember why those layers are there, check this out. If you double-click on one layer's name, so you can start typing in name, go ahead and rename it, then hit tab. It'll bring you down to the next layer's name. And then hit Tab, it'll bring you to the next one. So as long as you've double-clicked on one to start typing in the name, you can tab through the others to quickly name the others. If you do Shift+Tab, it'll send you the other direction. Up instead of down. And then once you're done you press return or enter to say you're done. Now we've been working in here and this layer has been at the bottom called background, just sitting there the whole time and I haven't really mentioned much about it. You should know that the background layer is a special layer. And it has a lot to do with how Photoshop used to work. And it's a little bit outdated as far as the concept goes. They could kind of get rid of that concept if they wanted to but it's hanging around there. And you notice there's a little lock symbol on the right, that's because there is a lot of things you can't do when the background layer is active. For instance, if I try to use the move tool to reposition the background layer. See, it says it can't 'cause it's locked. If I try to move a layer underneath the background layer, so I go over here and I drag this down, put it down, do you see a no symbol? It won't let me. The background layer is always at the bottom of your layers panel. So there's certain things that just won't let me do when the background layer is active, so what is it and why do we have it? If you ever open an image that you've never used layers on, let's say you got a JPEG file, somebody emailed it to you, you open it, it'll always have a background layer. That's all it will contain. The picture will be sitting in the background layer. And the reason why it's there is because there are certain file formats that don't understand layers. Usually if you have layers, you save your images in either Photoshop file format, which has a file extension of .PST or TIF. Those two are the best usually for layered files. They'll save all your layers, so the next time you open it it looks exactly like it was when you closed it. The JPEG file format does not support layers in any way whatsoever, so if I say this is a JPEG image, It will do what's known as flattening your image. Flattening your image combines all these layers into one piece and that piece will be called the background. If you wanna see it, I'll go to the layer menu and there is a choice here called flatten image. When I choose it, do you see what we got? It combined all the layers together and it's called background. And it will be called background, even if there was not a background contained within this file to begin with. 'Cause you can throw away the background layer, get rid of it. So here are the limitations of the background and then you'll get an idea of why it's there, why it exists. The background layer does not understand what transparent is meaning the checkerboard. You can never make part of the background layer look like a checkerboard. If you were to try by selecting an area and hitting delete which would be one way to poke a hole in the layer, or you were to grab their eraser tool and try to erase part of the background layer, it won't happen. Instead, it will simply put white in there. It will put in there what's known as your background color. This is your foreground color, that's what you usually paint with. This is called your background color and that's what you get anytime you try to delete part of the background, puts that in. So if you happen to have switched so these are reversed, when you use the eraser tool, where you try to hit delete to delete part of the background, you'll get your background color. So we can't have any part of it be transparent, that's one limitation. Another limitation is if I were to grab one of these layers and move it so it extends beyond the bounds of the document, that's what's known as big data. Big data means you got data outside the edge of your actual document, it's extended up there. It's still there, if you open the document a month later you could pull it back down like this to get it back in, but that would be known as big data. It just means it's bigger than the actual document. The background layer doesn't understand big data. It can't have anything go beyond the edge. That's another limitation of it. So if you can't have anything be transparent and it can't have any big data, the reason it has those limitations is those are the same limitations of all file formats that do not understand layers. The JPEG file format can never have a transparent area. It doesn't know how to save transparent, it doesn't know what that means. A JPEG file cannot save big data. You can't have anything that goes beyond the edge. If I did, if I happen to have this pushed out here like that we can save it as a JPEG, but whatever's out there beyond the edge is just thrown away, it's discarded 'cause JPEG does not know how to save that, and the same is true for many other file formats that you have that, you can save it. So usually we use Photoshop or TIF for our layered files. There is no quality difference between the two. It is a personal choice to which one of the two to use. I personally use TIF but don't feel bad if you use Photoshop. The quality is exactly the same, so it doesn't really matter in the end. But if we use other file formats, they're gonna have the same limitations in the background and so when I go and open a JPEG file. This one right here, just double-click on it. Look in the layers panel, what is it called? Background, and as long as that's all you see, you know that everything in that file can still be saved into a JPEG file, because it doesn't contain anything that's incompatible with JPEG, doesn't have any transparency doesn't have any big data, doesn't have any of that kinda stuff. It generally has the background. It's as if the background means you have no layers, if that's all that shows up in there. It means nope, you're not utilizing layers if that's all you see. And so we have this background layer sitting there because when you first open an image, like a JPEG or something it will make a background so that it's, everything contained within your picture can be saved in any file format available. But you don't have to keep the background. You can double-click on it and change its name. And then you'll find the little lock symbol that used to be over on the right side is gone, and now this is a normal layer. Now if I use the move tool, it will allow me to reposition it. Now if I select an area and I hit delete, it will actually create a hole in that layer where if you look in the layers panel, will be a little hard to see but that looks like a checkerboard. Because now all the limitations that used to be on that background layer have been lifted. And just in case you wanted to get it back, you wanted to somehow turn that back into a background layer you do have a choice. I for the most part never use it. But if you want to know, there is a choice called background from layer. And that means turn this layer back into a layer that can't go beyond the edges of your document, cannot have areas that are transparent and has that little lock symbol turned on. And now I have a background again. Just changing the name back to background wouldn't do it. You can name as many layers as you want background, doesn't mean they are the background, yes? Ben, is there any file size difference between PSD and TIF? There is a difference in file size. The TIF file format has compression options that you can switch between and it will change the size of the file. It really depends on what is contained within the file as far as what features you're using, as far as which one will be smaller but I find that TIF is often a little bit smaller than Photoshop. And if you use some of the compression settings that are in there it can be quite a bit smaller but the problem is when you use those compression settings, it takes longer to save and open the file. So you're saving some of, space but you're losing the little speed, so you have to just decide if that's worth it or not. So, the background layer, that's the concept. It's just nice to know why it's there. It's there because if you open a picture and all it says is background, you know that you can save it any file format, and you're not losing data in general. And if you don't have a background of you have stuff above for the background, then it should only be saved in TIF or Photoshop file format, if you want to still have all that stuff when you open it next time. Now this image is starting to have a lot of layers in it. So let's see if there's any way I can simplify it. Well, I could click on one layer, hold Shift, click on another to get three layers selected. In this case I have the three pictures that are in here. I can go to the layer menu and there's a choice in here called merge layers. Merge layers means combine layers. So if I choose merge layers, it just combined all those together into one piece. Now there is a problem with that and that is there is no longer the word drop shadow sitting right below it, 'cause it got incorporated into that. It's no longer a setting attached to the layer that I can turn off or throw away later on. Instead it's just been reproduced as like a picture. So what I might want to do if I actually wanted to combine those together is I could choose undo and I could get rid of the drop shadow. If you want to get rid of the drop shadow, what you can do is just click on the word drop shadow and drag it to the trash. Click on the word drop shadow, drag it to the trash, click on the word drop shadow, drag it to the trash. Then I'll merge those three together. I'll say layer, merge layers, and then do you remember, I had the drop shadow on this other layer up here, the one that contained the text, I'll just drag it back down. I'll hold option to mean move a copy so that now, I still have the ability to change the settings for that drop shadow or to get rid of it later. So it's a personal choice if you wanted to keep it as a separate piece, but sometimes you need to kinda think that way, work around things. But now, if I want to move these three photos independently, it can be done, but what I'd have to do is make a selection. I would make a selection like this. It doesn't have to be exact, it just has to contain all of that particular photograph, then I could use the move tool and move just that. And I could do that, but it's less convenient. And if I were to move this over here like this, it's not a separate layer. That means that it's the same piece as those other two photographs, and so if I deselect now the piece that was underneath here is gone. It no longer exists. So if I try to move it back, I'm gonna have to make a selection again, this will have to be precise 'cause I need to get just up to that corner. Well, I didn't get exactly precise, but close enough for demonstration purposes, but now you see the chunk is gone, Because it's not being retained. It's not on a separate piece. It's on the same piece, the same layer. And so I usually would want that stuff to be on separate layers, because then I maintain that versatility, but sometimes it just becomes a pain in the butt, to complicated of layers panel that you decide to merge some of them together. Now let's see how can I get those back into being separate layers again. Well, I can make a selection of this and I can say layer, new and via copy, that means, or via cut actually in this case. Cut means remove from the layer it's currently on, put it on a new layer. So if I choose that, I don't know if you just saw in my layers panel, but I just popped it up there. Then I could grab the middle one between this but I need to make sure I'm on the layer that contains the mental pictures, so I look in here and right now, if I say new layer via cut it's looking at this layer, I have the middle area and here selected there's nothing there, it's empty, right? So if I choose layer, new via cut, it will tell me, hey, there is nothing there because what it's doing right now is it's only looking at the layer that's active. So let's do that ourselves, let's only look at that layer or option click its eyeball, what is there to copy there? They're cut from there, there's just nothing. And so you do need to be careful when you're doing things like this, in that you always look in the layers panel to confirm that you're actually working on what you think you are. And so that's what that middle photo is, and I'll choose layer new via cut. Now it's on its own layer, and so now I have those three layers sitting on their own. There's also a choice called new layer via copy. So if I wanted to come in here and grab maybe this little element here, let me zoom up a little, I want to get just that little thing. I can come over here and imagine this was precise, I'm not gonna spend the time to be precise. I got that and I want to copy that onto its own layer, so it stays on this layer but they have a copy sitting right above. And so I can do that. First, I need to again look at my layers panel and make sure it's the right layer I'm thinking about. 'Cause it's the rightmost photo I'm working on right now and it'd just be this layer, wouldn't it? So then I can choose layer, new via copy, has a keyboard shortcut that's easy to remember if you think of jumping to a new layer. Let's jump this to a new layer. Command+J, Crtl+J in Windows. So I'm gonna type Command+J, watch my layers panel. You see the layer called photo one, near the bottom of my screen, the one that's active and when I type Command+J, you see a new layer directly above it. It's hard to tell if there's anything in it but I don't know, do you see a little tiny speck up there? So now I could use my move tool and you can see a copy there. Maybe I want to go put that in this water. I'd have to move it up there and you notice that it disappears, so it must be underneath. So my layers panel I click on that and I drag up, drag up, now it's on top. Unfortunately, it looks like it's floating 'cause it has a drop shadow. So in my layers panel you see the word drop shadow attached to it, I just click on that and drag it to the trash in there, we got a little piece. So you get the idea, sometimes you want to do layer of your copy. I'm gonna throw that layer right away because I didn't actually need that, but it might be that I do something like that. So instead of having this little ball for the top of the I, I have a little iceberg or something else up there to do it. So hopefully, this is giving you some sense for layers. Remember to get a layer, oftentimes you'll have a layer created automatically for you. When you copy and paste, new layer appears. When you use the text tool, a new layer appears. When you drag-and-drop from Bridge, a new layer appears. Oftentimes these layers will come up even when you don't want them. But sometimes you have to manually do it. If I'm about to paint, usually I would end up painting directly on whatever layer is currently active. And if I don't want to permanently change that layer, I probably want to create a new one, an empty layer to put that on. So lots of useful features in there. Why don't we open up some documents that have already used layers, and just take a look around. First off, here's the document I described when we had a class on selections. I said you might want the word coffee with a coffee mug in there. There is a feature in here we haven't talked about yet, and that's this piece. That's called a layer mask. We'll have an entire session about layer masks coming up, so you'll understand what they do. But what they do in general, if you just want to know off the top of your head, is they hide a part of a layer without deleting it. So in this case, you see the coffee mug? The entire mug, including its handle and the original background on the mug is contained in that layer. If you actually look in the layer, can you tell that it's a rectangular picture sitting there? And then this is causing it to hide part of it. There's a way of turning it off which I'll cover when we get into layer mask, but there you see the whole picture. So it's a nice way because otherwise if you just select the circle of the mug and copy and paste and later on, you say I want the handle, well, if all you did was copy and paste, you didn't copy that handle over. And you'd have to go find the original picture and redo it in order to do it. But if you used the layer mask, you still have the same look end result, but it's not permanent and therefore I can very easily get that mug handle to come back. And so we'll have a whole session on those. And then in here, we just have a drop shadow. And if I turn that off, you'll see the drop shadow on my coffee mug. And then we have some text in a white background 'cause if we didn't have a white background, you'd see a checkerboard, so that's a pretty simple one. Let's look at other ones, here's a better looking promo. This is saying I have missing font. I'm gonna tell it to not do this. It was just saying, hey, you're missing a font, do you want me to go look for it, and I said no. So here's a promo for images that I captured in Iceland. It's not bad, we take a look in here though. I have some interesting stuff set up. I wasn't sure what images I might want to use, and let's say I'm doing it for a client. When the client shows up, I want to be able to show them different options for things. So I have some layers here that are hidden. And if I turn off the top layer, do you see the alternative picture there? Well, how did I do that? Well, here is a box, just a rectangle. We have a photo clipped to it. And we just have another photo above, clipped to it as well. And so the top photo will obscure your view of the one below it when it's turned on. But just turning off that eyeball suddenly reveals the layer that's underneath, does that make sense? So therefore, I could have a stack of a dozen layers sitting there, all clipped to that same box. And then when the client shows up, maybe I've just done a shoot, a wedding shoot or baby shoot, whatever it is and I've set up this promo thing that I think I wanna try to sell them in some card thing or big print, and I can say, what do you think, and they're like, I love it except for that one photo. And you're like, well, let me show you some alternatives 'cause you've already picked out images that fit within the proportions of that horizontal box. So you've picked out good horizontal images from your shoot and all you're doing is turn off the eyeball on the topmost one to show him the alternative. And if you have a dozen of them there, then you'll just keep turning off eyeballs until you run out of options. And once the client chooses the option they want, then you could throw away those layers that you've hidden because you know that they don't want them as options. And then there's a special command. If you go to the side menu of the layers panel, so here's layers. Click here, it's a side menu. Do you see a choice called delete hidden layers? That means turn off, delete all the layers that have the eyeball turned off. And therefore, if you've gone through with a client, they've already picked out the pictures they want and you've been turning off the eyeballs of all the ones they rejected, then you don't want your files to stay huge with all those images in it, so you can go to that side menu and choose delete hidden layers, and suddenly all the ones with the eyeballs off are gone. And so therefore, your file size can go down quite a bit. There's a whole bunch of options on that side menu. I got to it right here. You see this little ... So there's duplicate layer, delete layer all sorts of things in there. Release clipping mask, there'd be create clipping mask if there wasn't already one in there. Merge down, all that kind of stuff. Alright, then all we have in here are a bunch of rectangular boxes and images clipped to them. If I were to turn off the images that are clipped to the boxes, you would find ... This, this, is what I would call a template. Why not create a bunch of templates, so that when you have clients that you're going to do shoots for and everything, when you're done if you want to try to sell them a group of pictures or something else, well, you could open this document and then you can start dragging over all the pictures. Drag them over from Bridge, remember how with Bridge it automatically starts scaling where you can just grab the corners? And so just scale it down, so it just covers whatever box, the size of the box, when you're done clip to the box. And it will be cropped to that particular size. Now, we've actually done that for you. My wife Karen has spent time creating a bunch of templates for you guys. So you don't have to spend the time to create things like that. And if you look here, she hand drew little boxes so they that little kind of illustrative look around the edge. And if you look at them, they're gonna have layers in here where here this is the shadow, like if you look over here, see that shadow here? It's on a separate layer, so if you didn't want the shadow you can hide it, or if you wanted to lower to lower the opacity, you can do that. Here's the box that holds the photo and then this is the frame that's hand-drawn around it. So I can just click on that middle layer 'cause that's the layer I want to clip things to. I can go to Bridge and take a picture and then just drag it over here. I haven't pre-determined if that's the right size or not and this, I'm just gonna scale so that it is going to fit within that. Okay, press return or enter and then I'll clip it to the layer that's below, option and click on that line. There, it's clipped. And when it's clipped, you can still move it around and reposition it, so that it's, looks good in there. And then I can just repeat the process for the others. Now this is using something else that is called a group which are these little folders. That's a way you can organize your layers and we'll talk about those when we get into a different session that's called advanced layers. And that's where we'll talk about how you manage your layers panel. 'Cause you see how simple my layers look here. Remember how complicated ours we're getting. Well, we can organize by putting our layers in these little folders that are known as groups. And that's what's incorporated in here. And so we've created these, where my wife did hand lettering 'cause that's one of her passions. And so she did one that says it's a boy, it's a girl, I don't remember the other ones, but there's like ones for weddings and other things. And you see like here she did some hand lettering of something, so it doesn't look like the standard, and I just type in text on top of stuff and you can put it in, and by way this is my wife, Karen. So she's done that for us, which has been nice. And during one of the sessions I'll find that folder and show you what all those look like. It just won't be in this particular session. Here's a, 'it's a girl' promo for instance, and you see the nice little loopy things on the picture itself. All that is is you just put one picture in there and clip it to the layer, and it's all done for you. So, but if we didn't happen to create what you need, make your own templates. All they are are rectangle sitting on layers and all you are gonna do is clip a photo to them. And you might choose to add drop shadows or a stroke but make a few templates and then they are very easy to use. One thing I didn't mention is when you're using the move tool, and you're dragging something, you can hold down the option key, Alt in Windows to move a copy of a layer. That can be useful if you want to repeat something around the edge of your picture, let's say. You're doing a coupon or something. You made one dash and now you want to duplicate it across. You hold option when you're dragging with move tool and it will duplicate the layer each time you drag. Same is true if you drag a layer up or down in your layers panel. If you hold option when you do it, you're moving a copy. It can be useless for some things. Also when you're moving a layer, if you hold the Shift key, Shift means constrain the direction you're moving it in. So you can only move it horizontally or vertically. It does let you do 45° angle, but it's gonna only let you use those. I should cover a few differences that are found in the layers panel, so let's, go back and I think I have a different document open here too, yes, this one. Alright, so far we've used a command in here that was called merge layers, and that is available when you have more than one layer selected in your layers panel. Then when you come here, you'll find the choice of merge layers. Remember that combined together, only the layers we had active so they became one. But then we have merge visible in flattened, and I'd like to tell you the difference between them. So merge layers means only combined together the layers that are currently active in your layers panel. Merge visible means combined together all of the layers that have the eyeballs turned on, but leave the layers that have the eyeballs turned off alone Then flatten image is doing more than one thing at a time. It's actually doing three things. First, it's using that command that was on the side menu of the layers panel, do you remember the one called delete hidden layers? First, it does that, then it runs the command called merge visible, which means combine together all the layers that are visible. And then it runs the command, I don't know if you even remember it, it was layer, new background from layers or something. It turns the end result into a background, which means it throws away anything that's going beyond the edges of your document, remember what big data is? And if there's any areas that are transparent, that look like a checkerboard, they get filled in and they get filled with your background color. So choosing flatten image finalizes your image completely so that now it's compatible with any file format. You can save to JPEG, you can save as whatever you want. You don't have any features that those file formats can't save. So flatten image is kinda finalized. I personally never choose flatten. What I would do instead is I always keep the layered file 'cause who knows, I might want to change it at some point. But if I need to give it to somebody else and I don't want them to have the layers, here's what I'll do. I'll come down here and choose save as. And if I choose save as, there's just a checkbox right here that says layers. I'll turn it off. And if I turn off, that's gonna flatten my image. That's gonna say combine all those layers so you don't have any. When you don't have any layers, what do you have? You have a background, don't you? A background means you have no layers, right? So that's all I do is turn off that checkbox, now I can choose whatever file format I want. Doing JPEG would do that automatically 'cause I can't save layers. And I can save it out to give to somebody else but I personally, pretty much never use flatten image. I might if, I don't know, I need to copy it and paste it somewhere else, but even then I don't need to. I can do this, edit, instead of choosing copy, I can choose what, copy merged. Copy merged means act as if all the layers are combined together into one. So instead of copying only the contents of one layer you get all of them combined. You should know that when you have more than one layer active, there's a lot of things you can't do. You can't apply filters, you can't go to the image menu, choose adjustments and adjust 'cause it only can do those things in a single layer at a time. Alright, well, I think that is the majority of what I wanted to cover during this session. So let's think about, what we're gonna be doing after. So tomorrow, we're gonna get in to layer masks. We saw a layer mask already on screen. Do you remember, it was something attached to a layer that temporarily hid part of that layer. And between now and then you should go to Facebook. And on Facebook, if you go to this particular website, the URL that's there, you can get on the Facebook group. Remember it's a private group which means you have to ask to join it within Facebook. We'll let you in, that's fine. And the reason it's private is 'cause whatever you post there is only seen by other members not seen by the people following you on Facebook. That means your clients won't see it unless they choose to get on that group, and therefore ask your questions there. Bring up whatever you can think of, and, that's where I go just about every day to answer questions. And finally, if you want to follow me on social media, you want to find my website, you want to find me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, here's how you do that. But this has been another day in Photoshop CC, a complete guide. Hope to see you next time.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Color Palettes
Edges and Textures
Hand-drawn Frames
Hand-drawn Graphics
Layout Templates
Practice Images - Lesson 18: Tips and Tricks
Practice Images - Lesson 19: Actions and Automation
Practice Images - Lesson 17: Advanced Layers
Practice Images - Lesson 12: Advanced Masking
Practice Images - Lesson 15: Advanced Retouching
Practice Images - Lesson 10: Blending Modes
Practice Images - Lesson 2: Camera Raw
Practice Images - Lesson 8: Color Adjustments
Practice Images - Lesson 5: Layer Masks
Practice Images - Lesson 4: Layers
Practice Images - Lesson 9: Retouching Essentials
Practice Images - Lesson 3: Selection Essentials
Practice Images - Lesson 14: Shooting for Photoshop
Practice Images - Lesson 13: Smart Objects
Practice Images - Lesson 1: Starting from Zero
Practice Images - Lesson 7: Tonal Adjustments
Practice Images - Lesson 6: Tools and Panels
Practice Images - Lesson 20: Troubleshooting and Advice
Practice Images - Lesson 16: Warp Bend Liquify
Practice Images - Lesson 11: Filters
Script Elements
Week 1 - Day 1 Homework
Week 1 - Day 2 Homework
Week 1 - Day 3 Homework
Week 1 - Day 4 Homework
Week 1 - Day 5 Homework
Week 1 - Photoshop CC Workbook
Bit Depth
Color Modes
Color Spaces
Logic of Keyboard Shortcuts
Pen Tool
Week 2 - Day 6 Homework
Week 2 - Day 7 Homework
Week 2 - Day 8 Homework
Week 2 - Day 9 Homework
Week 2 - Day 10 Homework
Week 2 - Photoshop CC Workbook
Homework - Shooting for Photoshop in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Smart Objects in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Filters in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Advanced Masking in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Advanced Retouching in Adobe Photoshop CC
Week 3 - Photoshop CC Workbook
Homework - Warp, Bend, Liquify, in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Tips & Tricks in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Actions & Automation in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Troubleshooting & Advice in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Advanced Layers in Adobe Photoshop CC
Week 4 - Photoshop CC Workbook
Bens Actions Sampler ReadMe
Bens Actions Sampler
Bens Styles Sampler ReadMe
Bens Styles Sampler
Texture Sampler
Save for Web
Facebook Q&A #1
Facebook Q&A #2
Q&A #3
PSD Preferences
File Formats
Customizing PSD

Ratings and Reviews


Ben Willmore is exceptionally and intimately knowledgeable about Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, including Bridge and Camera Raw, and how they work together. He's also a wonderful photographer. That's great, but what's even better for us is that he's an incredible and generous teacher. He shares his knowledge and experience in an organized, thorough, thoughtful and relatable way. I envy his efficiency with words and ideas! He isolates hard-to-understand concepts - things we'd be unlikely to figure out on our own - and explains them in simple terms and with on point and memorable examples. I completely enjoy Ben's teaching methods and his personality. His admiration and appreciation of his wife, Karen, are telling of what a good guy he must be, and he's got just an overall pleasant personality. I love his amusement when something "ridiculous" happens during an edit! This bootcamp is fantastic and just what I need. It's only one of Ben's many CL classes that I've watched and learned from - they are all excellent. Thank you, Ben Willmore. (And Karen!)

Lynn Buente

I purchased this course ---SMART MOVE!--because, at 74, I learn more slowly and need more practice. While I've had some "novice" experience with PS, this course is moving me along in a totally different way. Most tutorials just tell you what to do. Ben tells you not only WHAT to do, but WHY (--or why not) and HOW. Understanding better can lead to using the practices in PS more fluently AND to greater freedom to be creative. I find Ben's approach to be kind of a "come as you are" session. No matter where you are on the learning spectrum, there is something to review, something new, or a brand new challenge. The relaxed manner of presentation is great, but doesn't minimize the content of the class. I appreciate the additional explanations and theory. These help to make total sense of the tools and practices of good editing. I would really recommend that, if possible, you purchase the course. The practice images, the homework, and the evolving workbook are great review and reference points. Personally, I have downloaded the classes by week so I can view, re-view, and stop, start, and repeat segments as often as I need to --which is often! Also, sometimes I like to view and work on one segment of the class at a time. My study of this course will be a LOT LONGER than four weeks, and I know I'll be referring to it as long as I'm a Photoshop user. Thanks, Ben! (And thanks to your wife for her contribution as well.)

Carol Senske

I've used PS for about five years in many of it's various versions. Learning on your won is a tough proposition, and I've struggled the whole time. Seeing work I admired and that inspired me to strive for great er things then not being ablr to figure out how to do them was a major frustration. The jargon was sometimes foreign, the complexity of the program overwhelming but I soldiered on and learned bits and pieces. A friend recommended Ben's course and I immediately came to CL to see what she was so thrilled about - I was amazed! Ben is down-to-earth, explains each step, gives shortcuts, defines terms, and shows how to accomplish what he's teaching. After two weeks I bought the class. I not only bought the Photoshop course but I added the Lightroom course as well. I'll do that, on my own, when things slow down a bit, and I have no doubt that course will help me even more than the PS course. I'm totally at sea with LR. I like Ben's teaching style, appreciate all the homework and extras included, and greatly appreciate the magnificent, easy to use, workbook by Ben's wife. I give my wholehearted endorsement for this course!

Student Work