How to Add and Work With Layers in Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 – Part 2

Hello again and welcome back to our course
on PSE 15. In this section we’re going to continue
working with layers and I’m going to cover quite a few other aspects of their use in
PSE 15. I’m going to start by reopening the image
that I closed at the end of the preceding section. Note that I saved it in PSD format and it
has four layers. The top layer is an adjustment layer which
is currently invisible. When we edited the adjustment layer in the
preceding section I right clicked on the layer and you could see that a layer has quite a
long contextual menu. And one of the important options on a layer
is Delete Layer. And at any time if I really definitely don’t
need a layer anymore I would that option to delete the layer. Note that’s not the same as making it invisible. If I just make it invisible I can reintroduce
it at any stage. If I delete it it really is deleted. The other thing that I mentioned at the end
of the preceding section is that if I were to save this image as a JPG although all of
the information that you can see here would be in that JPG from the point of view of what
you can see in the image all of the layers would be sort of merged together if you like. Now that process is called Flattening. And one of the options on this contextual
menu is Flatten Image. If I flatten an image what happens is all
of the layers are basically merged into one. And if I have something like an adjustment
layer the effect of that adjustment layer will be incorporated into that process provided
the layer is visible. Now in this case that hue saturation layer
at the top is marked as invisible. So if I flatten this image that hue saturation
layer will have no effect because of course it’s having no effect here. If I flatten the image, Discard hidden layers? Yes. The image is now flattened. There’s absolutely no effect on the image
that you can see. What I’ve now got is a new background layer. And if I wanted to I could start again. So again I could make a copy of this. I could introduce other text layers and so
on. But I couldn’t treat Exmoor Ponies, that
text, as a separate layer because that separation has gone. On this occasion what I really want to do
is to carry on from where I left off. So what I could do is to close the PSD file
without saving changes and reopen it or of course if I go up to my History Panel, click
on Open and everything is fine again. Let’s now look at other ways of adding to
this image. And what I’m going to do next is to open
another one of the images that we worked on earlier in the course. And you may remember when we worked on this
lonely sheep that we had a selection made. What I’m going to do now is to copy that
selection to the clipboard. I’ve used the keyboard shortcut Control-C.
And then I’m going to go back to my ponies. So at the top of the Layers panel there is
an icon, Create a New Layer. Note also that on the Layer menu there is
a New Layer option. My new layer if you look over here, note the
hatching here indicating transparency. What I’m going to do now is to go to the
Edit menu and do a Paste. And now I have my lonely sheep and it’s
joined the Exmoor Ponies in the field. If you look over at the Layers panel and right
at the top you can just about see the tiny representation of that sheep in the middle
of the layer thumbnail. Let me move the sheep a little bit away I
think from the ponies. It’s keeping itself to itself over there. What I’m going to do now is to add a second
sheep. And the way that I’m going to do it is like
this. I’m going to go up to the Layer menu, click
on New and I’m going to choose the option, Layer via Copy. And I now have two sheep. Now because one of them is standing in front
of the other you can only see one but note that if I select a layer and make sure that
I’ve got Layer 1 Copy selected, which is in effect now the top layer, I can move the
sheep around just by making sure I’ve got the move tool selected and I can just drag
the sheep slightly over. Now notice the sizing handles around that
second sheep. You know which one you’ve got selected because
you can see the handles. You also know which one you’ve got selected
by looking at the Layers panel. If I want to select the other sheep let me
click on one of the others. Note as I hover I get that blue image of a
selections rectangle. Click on it. I’ve automatically changed the selection
in the Layers panel as well. Sometimes it’s easy to select the object
you want to work on by clicking within the image but it’s always possible to select
by selecting the correct layer. Now already with this image we’ve got six
layers and as I’m sure you can imagine sometimes you’re going to have a lot more than six. It’s very important to be able to keep track
of what’s what. So what I’m going to do is to rename Layer
1. So I’m going to right click, click on Rename
and I’m going to call it Sheep 1, just hit the Enter key, and I’m going to do a similar
change to Layer 1 Copy. Okay. One thing to bear in mind here is that at
any time I could change the appearance of that little flock of sheep. For instance, I could drag Sheep 1 to the
top of the Layers panel and Sheep 1 is now the front sheep. Of course Sheep 2 is now partly not visible. So changing the order of the panels is fine. And the other thing that you may want to do
is although these two sheep are on separate layers of the image you may want to move this
little flock around as a flock. So you may want in some way to combine those
two layers together to make it possible for them to be processed if you like as a unit,
particularly from the point of view of them moving round Exmoor. Let’s look first at a temporary way of doing
this. Note that I currently have Sheep 2 selected
in the Layers panel. If I hold the Control key down and select
Sheep 1, so I’ve now got two layers selected. If I click on one of the sheep, note I’ve
got the Move tool selected, and move it. I’ll actually move both of them. But that’s a purely temporary arrangement. Once I click on an individual sheep again
then that would be moved around separately. Let’s do that in a sort of semi-permanent
way. Note that I’ve currently got Sheep 1 selected. Again I’m going to hold the Control key
down and select Sheep 2 as well. If I right click now one of the options on
the contextual menu is Link Layers. And if I click on Link Layers those two layers
are now linked. And in fact if you look at the selection rectangle
you’ll see that it covers both of the sheep. And if I now click with the move tool somewhere
on those two sheep, move them round. They are in effect now a unit. They are a pair of linked layers. Even if I click on something else in the image,
so for instance if I click on the text and then go back to one of the sheep, select one
sheep and move it it’s still moved as part of that flock. If I want to unlink then all I need to do
is to make the same selection again, right click, the option now is Unlink Layers and
they are once again separate sheep. That’s the sort of semi-permanent way of
doing that. There’s an even more permanent way. Let me just select those two layers again,
right click again. One of the options is Merge Layers. And that will actually merge those two sheep
into a single layer. That’s an operation that you would have
to be confident in though because you cannot unmerge a layer other than of course going
back in history and going back to an earlier version of your image. One other item I’d just like to briefly
mention here on working with layers is that you can group layers together and having grouped
them you can also color code a group. Particularly as the number of layers gets
larger this can be a very convenient way of identifying related layers and groups. It’s a very straightforward thing to do. Let’s suppose I want to make a sheep group. Whether or not I’m starting out with linked
layers. And one way of doing this is to select the
layers that I want to group and then if I right click there’s an option on the contextual
menu of Group from Layers. If I do it this way then automatically I get
a group. I can give it a name. I could just call it Sheep. And I can assign a color to it, say yellow,
click on OK. And in my Layers panel now what I see is the
Sheep Group just as a group. It can be a convenient way of sort of reducing
the clutter in the Layers panel. And it’s particularly useful when you’re
dealing with layers and groups of layers where you’re unlikely to need to make many changes
in the short term and you may just want less clutter really. It’s easy enough to ungroup. Right click, click on Ungroup Layers. And then up on the Layer menu you’ve got
options such as Delete Group, Rename Group and so on. The grouping facilities for layers were actually
enhanced in PSE 15. So you may want to check those out in the
PDF and the online Help. In this section we’ve looked at several
aspects of working with layers and during the balance of the course we’re going to
be looking at several more. Some of the icons along the top of the Layers
panel we’ve used, some of them we haven’t. And I’m going to be working through the
balance of these during the rest of the course. One or two that are worth pointing out now,
for example, are that one, that trashcan which is a Delete Layer icon. I talked about delete layer earlier on. And one last point to mention in this section
is that if I were to print this image at this point it would appear as it appears there. So when I print the printing process takes
account of the visibility of layers as well. So anything that’s not visible is not printed
either. That’s it for this section. I’ll see you in the next one.

2 Replies to “How to Add and Work With Layers in Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 – Part 2”

  1. Excellent courses…thank you so much! Just one suggestion: Make your cursor larger and brighter so it is easier so see where it goes when you open a new tool, etc. Sometimes when you open a feature I have to watch several times before figuring out where you when to do it.

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