What are Photoshop layers?

Photoshop layers, although simple to understand are an extremely powerful part of Photoshop. Allowing you to place multiple images and objects above each other. This creates a stack of images and shapes that all combine to create the image or design. You may have heard of the terms “Layer Mask” and “Adjustment Layers” These all allow changes to sit above images and objects. You can also “Clip” layers allowing you to only apply changes and effects to one layer and not all. Without layers, it would be extremely difficult to move elements, objects and images around independently.

Photoshop Layers

How To Create Layers In Photoshop.

There are a few ways to create layers. Manually by pressing the new layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. Or by simply creating a new object or dragging in a new image. When you do this Photoshop automatically creates a new Layer for every image dragged on to the canvas, and when adding text to a page, by simply selecting the text button and typing a new layer is created.

Photoshop Layer Groups.

photoshop layer groups

As multiple layers start building you can group these layers together by clicking the small folder icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. This improves workflow and organisation, allowing you to move groups of layers around.

Duplicating Layers

Duplicating layers can be important to improve workflow and reduce repetitive tasks. Being able to quickly duplicate an image is important if you want to keep an original in case everything goes horribly wrong and you need to revert back. Maybe you have similar elements on the page that only need a colour change or a text amendment.

The two best ways to duplicate a layer:

1. Drag the layer you want to copy over the “New Layer” icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and let go.

2. Select the layer you want to duplicate and press and hold Ctrl + J (Cmd + J on Mac)

You can then double click the layer to change its name.

Selecting Groups & Layers.

autoselect layers or groups

When you group a number of layers together and select the move tool you can tell Photoshop what you want it to automatically select by defining the “Auto Select” box. The choices are the layer or the group. If you choose the group it will move all layers within this group at the same time. If you select layers, as you select multiple objects on the page Photoshop will automatically find that layer even if it is in a group. Allowing you to move layers individually. You can always tell what layer you are working on because it will be highlighted in the layers panel.

You can easily drag layers out of groups or delete the group folder all together without effecting the layers inside.

In the example video of the magazine, I grouped text items together making it extremely easy to copy, duplicate and move all similar layers at once.

Hope you enjoyed the Photoshop layers tutorial and video.

Don’t forget to leave your comments below. All feedback is appreciated.

Thanks Rick.