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Beginning working with layers in Adobe Photoshop

After you have been working with Adobe Photoshop for a while, you will start hearing people talk about using layers, and how helpful they can be. For many tasks, such as using masks or using type, you must know how to work with layers. And, although you may not have realized it, you have been working with layers all along from the first time you started working with Photoshop! To see this go to Menu>Window>Layers, which opens the Layers palette. You will see that the layer that you are working on is called "Background".  All images in Photoshop starts by creating a layer with that name. The reason to use multiple layers is so that you are not doing everything on the background. For example, you may want to add some type. That creates a layer that is just above the background.

In the layers palette you will see a little eye icon which shows the layer is visible. If you click on the eye, the image visibility will disappear. Go ahead, you won't hurt it. It's still there, it just makes that layer invisible temporarily, until you click for the eye again. This can come in handy in the future when you have many layers in focusing in on just the layer you want. The default name for the layer is background, but you can change that by double-clicking on it. The icon just to the right of the name is a lock, which keeps you from accidentally moving the layer. To unlock it, just double-click and it renames itself to Layer 0.

There are many ways to add layers. The easiest one is to just use the type tool. Adobe Photoshop will add a layer as soon as you start typing. Go ahead and try it. I typed in the words "Tom's Car", and, as you can see, Photoshop added a new layer named "Tom's Car". You can also add a new layer by clicking on the icon at the bottom of the layer palette that looks like a little piece of paper with a dog-eared corner.

There are a lot of cool things that you can do once you have an understanding of layers. Among other things there are layer masks, color adjustments, and my favorite effects (see the little icon that says fx? - that's effects - and they are very, very cool! Layers are a secret weapon in Photoshop that opens up millions of possibilities. Give it a try!

If you would like to get personal on-site software training in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or Dreamweaver in the greater Phoenix, Arizona area, please contact me. Yes, I will also do a training session on setting up your blog on Google Blogger. Paypal accepted, morning appointments only.

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