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The Layer Palette
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The Layer Palette
Created by: Zonia

In this lesson we will be covering the different areas of the Layer palette such as layers, visibility, transparency, blend modes, context (right-click) menu, groups, and so on.
Download File Download File
The download file on the left contains some images we will be using in this tutorial.

The Layer palette displays the layers of an image. It allows to rearrange the order of the layers, hide/show layers, and provides a variety of options you can perform on the individual layers.

The layers are displayed to the left of the window. The right side allows you to toggle visibility, adjust the transparency, and choose blend modes. The top provides a variety of buttons which are shortcuts to the options found on the Layers menu. Right-clicking on a layer will display a context menu which also gives you a variety of tasks you can perform.

Open Image Open (go to File || Open) "/tutorial/html/beginclass/b06layerpalzjh2.jpg" image in PSP 8. Duplicate it with Window || Duplicate (Shift+D) and close the original.

Background Layer
Now look at the Layer palette: You should have one layer named 'Background'. The first thing we are going to do is promote the background layer to a regular layer. Go to Layer || Promote Background Layer, or right-click on the Background layer in the Layer palette and choose "Promote Background Layer" from the pop-up menu.

Raster Layer
The layer name has changed from 'Background' to 'Raster 1'. Let's rename the layer so we know what is on it. Right-click on the 'Raster 1' layer and choose "Rename" from the pop-up menu. Type in "Rose" and hit the Enter key.


Go to Layers || Properties or right-click on the 'Rose' layer and choose "Properties" from the pop-up menu. This will display the properties of the current layer. You can also change the name of the layer here as well as change the properties. You will notice that the tasks on the right side of the Layer palette are also available in the Properties dialog. Click on OK to close the Properties dialog.

Note: To save time I will not keep telling you to right-click on the layers, so keep in mind that most options on the Layers menu are also on the context (right-click) menu. Personally I prefer to use the context menu because it is easier for me.


Open Image


Now let's have some fun. Open (go to File || Open) "b06layerpalzjh1.jpg" in PSP. Go to Edit || Copy (Ctrl+C) to copy the image to the Windows clipboard. Close the original.

Make sure the Rose image is selected and go to Edit || Paste || Paste As New Layer (Ctrl+L). Now you will have a 'Rose' layer and a 'Raster 1' layer in your image. Change the name of the 'Raster 1' layer to 'Sun'.


Save Image

To the right of the 'Sun' layer you should see the word "Normal" (you may have to use the scrollbar of the Layer palette to see it). This is the Blend Mode. If you click on the arrow beside "Normal" you will see several Blend Modes you can choose from. Select each blend mode one at a time so that you can see what effect they have. Then choose your favorite (I chose "Screen").

Save your image (go to File || Save) as a jpg; you will get a warning that the layers will be merged, just click on OK. Then close it. If you open the jpg you will notice that the image only has a 'Background' layer. To preserve layers you have to save the file in the PSP format.


Open Image

Open "/tutorial/html/beginclass/backgroundzjh1.jpg", duplicate it (Window || Duplicate or Shift+D), and close the original. Go to Layers || Promote Background Layer.

This is a background I made when doing a GraphicButterfly's Effects browser tutorial. It is already a seamless tile but it is too loud to use as a background for a web page because it would be hard to read text on. Let's mute it.


New Raster Layer

Flood Fill Tool

Materials Palette - Materials Box  Materials Solid Color Option

Click on the "New Raster Layer" button (first button) on the Layer palette. Type 'White' as the name and click on OK.

Select the Flood Fill tool using the default settings, except change the Match Mode = None.

In your Materials palette, change your Foreground to Color and choose white. Note: You can right-click on the Foreground box and choose White from the pop-up menu.

Make sure the 'White' layer is highlighted in the Layer palette and then left-click into your image. Now if you want you can change the Blend Mode to see what effects they produce, just be sure to set it back to Normal when you are done.

To the left of the Blend Modes on the Layer palette is the Transpareny settings (should say 100%). Click in the middle of the transpareny bar beside the 'White' layer. You will notice that the little up and down arrows moved to around the center of the transparency bar. If you click somewhere else on the transpareny bar the arrows will move again. The arrows are the transparency slider, if you click on the arrows and hold down the left mouse button you can drag the slider right or left. Watch your image and move the transparency slider around. Change the Transparency to 50%.
Layer Visibility On     Layer Visibility Off To the left of the transparency bar you should see an eye. Click on the eye to turn the visibility of the layer on/off. If the visibility is off there is a red X over the eye. Make sure visibility is on for both layers.

Save Image

Now text should show up pretty well on this background. Let's merge the layers: Go to Layers || Merge || Merge visible. Merge all (Flatten) will fill any transparent areas of the image with the background color and change it to a background layer. In this case we are done with the image so we could have chosen Merge all (Flatten) but I chose Merge visible because unless otherwise specified this is what most tutorials mean if they say something like "merge the layers".

Save your image as a jpg. Now go to Edit || Undo Merge visible.

You can also use the Layer palette (or one of the menus) to rearrange the layers. Personally I use the Layer palette for that task. Click on the 'White' layer, hold down the left mouse button and drag the layer to the bottom. Now drag it back to the top. You could also go to Layers || Arrange and choose one of the options on that menu.

For the purpose of this lesson I have just covered the most commonly used tasks, however there are many more options left to explore. For example, masks are considered layers now so you apply them using the Layers options. We will be covering masks in the advanced lessons. You also have adjustment layers for correcting and enhancing individual layers and layer groups. You can use layer groups to group layers together. You can move an entire group at the same time, apply layer properties (transparency, blend modes and so on) to the entire group, and limit the effect of an adjustment layer.

We will also be covering vectors in the advanced lessons; for now when directed to add a new layer assume they mean a Raster Layer.

That's it for this lesson, I hope you enjoyed it.