Managing Your Layers

Good news, we have reached the last topic in the introduction to layers.  There have been books written about the topic that are definitely worth reading, but you should have enough of the basics to go off and experiment.  When you start doing complex restorations or really creative graphic creations, you can soon wind up with hundreds of layers.  Luckily Adobe provided a couple of very handy tools which allow you to keep track of them. The first is the simplest and one we introduced back in lesson one—the ability to name your layers as you create them.  Take the time to do that and a month from now, when you really want to adjust the layer where you fixed the bride’s skin tones, it will be much easier to find that name, rather than Layer 27. As you work on similar segments of layers, Adobe lets you create a group folder which where you can put them.  Amazingly, it is the folder icon at the bottom of the layers menu.  As you can see, I created a wooden board as a background.   It is composed of three different layers.  The first is just filled with a decent brown color, selected from the color palate.  I then created two layers with filters (Warning-foreshadowing of an upcoming set of blog topics), a Cloud filter and then a Fiber filter.  Once I was happy with how they looked, I created a layer group and titled it with the very clever name of “Wood board”.  Then, just select the 3 layers and drag them onto the Wood board icon.

You can also color code the layers and layer groups which can help provide a visual cue as to where you are.   All you have to do is select the layer group, right click and go to Group properties at the top of the menu.  You can choose your color right there.

I just repeated the process for the two other elements in the picture, the text and its effects and the picture.

You can see that your layers palate can get fairly full, so you can just collapse the groups and ge a much clearner interface. It probably is a bit of overkill for a simple project like this, but if you establish your good work habits early, it will pay off when you are working on really complicated efforts. 

Once you have layers in a group, you can change the opacity and the blend mode of the entire group.  You can also apply filters to the group as well.  Fun stuff indeed.

We are awaiting the great spring snow tonight, so hopefully we will finally get some snow pictures this winter after all.