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Adobe Photoshop CC Bootcamp

Lesson 22 of 118

Introduction to Layers


Adobe Photoshop CC Bootcamp

Lesson 22 of 118

Introduction to Layers


Lesson Info

Introduction to Layers

Layers is a topic that is very difficult for a lot of people to wrap their head around. I had the fortunate, I guess, fortunate ability to get my degree in printmaking and sculpture, so I learned layers at a very early time, that's really helped my out with layers in Photoshop. So what we're gonna talk about today is layer demo, we're gonna actually do a physical demo where you're gonna see layers working on transparencies, we're gonna talk about how you can start envisioning layers in your mind, to set you up for success with layers in Photoshop, we're gonna talk about the types of layers, and then we're gonna talk about some practical application with those layers to get it all to kind of circle back to the very beginning of the basics of layers. So let's go ahead and start this layers demo. So if I told you to draw a smiley face on a piece of paper, you'd probably be looking at a sheet of paper like this here and you'd just draw your smiley face like this. And now we have a smiley f...

ace on a sheet of paper. This is not conducive for layered editing in Photoshop, because this smiley face is on its own layer, it's got an opaque background, and it doesn't really help us when we're thinking about layers in Photoshop. So the next transition for this is to think about layers in terms of actual transparency sheets. So I don't know if you're like me, but I learned math back when they had those old projector units, where they would draw the problem on the piece of transparency film, and then they would put the solution to the equation on top of it afterwards. And that's exactly what you need to think about layers in Photoshop as, is that you can slide these things in and out, you can build upon them, but you have to understand that each layer is it's own separate entity. So now, if I were to draw this smiley face on one transparent layer, this is a little bit more conducive for working in Photoshop, because now I have my transparency film. You can see through it. If we were to put this transparency on top of this piece of opaque paper, I did a pretty good job of getting that smiley face almost pretty close there, huh? We have one layer interacting with the other layer. But the even better way to do layers in Photoshop is to actually do each separate part of that smiley face on an individual layer. So we'll have the head will be on this layer, and then we would take our layer two, and maybe draw those eyes, and then our layer three, and now we have the smiley face. So each individual layer, then, can be modified. This smiley face, the smile of the smiley face, is on it's own individual layer, which can be edited or modified, and if I wanted to, I could then make him sad or angry with any other layer while still preserving the original eyes and the face. And that's the advantage with working with layers in Photoshop. So thinking about layers in terms of Photoshop, the transparency film helps, because you can see how they're individual, and the eyes are on one, the head is on the back of layer one, and then layer three also has a smiley face. And notice how they're all also very well labeled, one, two and three. And we can do this in Photoshop as well. So we can have those pieces of the smiley face individually compartmentalized in their own area with their own name, so we have a quick reference to them. So this is still a transparent layer, but it's a transparent layer with all of our individual pieces on it, and this is an opaque layer. And all of these actually do play into Photoshop. This would be essentially what we call a merged set of layers, that still has transparency to it. This would be a flattened document, which might be ready for print, and these would be your working documents. So envisioning this, envisioning layers, is the next piece to this. I've already kind of showed it with the transparencies, but you can really see how layers are now, we're taking a two dimensional thing that we think about, a photograph is two dimensional, and we print it out, all you see at the very end of it is a two dimensional object. But the building of that two dimensional object is a three dimensional, almost sculptural type of mentality, where you have to think of those layers as sheets that rest on top of each other, and actually pull them apart in your mind, to see how they're interacting with one another. So looking at the screen, it's just flat. You have your layers, and they're also flat, but if you think about that layer stack that we're gonna see when we get into Photoshop as each one of those layers being a physical object that can be moved around, it's a lot easier for you to understand layers than the paralyzing fact that you have multiple things going on in one layer stack, okay? So here's our smiley face. If we envision that smiley face as our three dimensional object, just like we saw on the transparencies, you can see how now the eyes and the mouth are pulled away from this object there. So the first object would be the face, the second object would be the eyes and the mouth, and they are separate. When you pull them apart, you can actually see a shadow on them too. That's thinking about this in three dimensions. So we have two layer qualities, and we've already kind of talked about those layer qualities. The first layer quality is an Opaque layer. And and Opaque layer is a layer that has an opacity of 100%. That's a fully Opaque layer. The second one is a Transparent layer, which would be a layer that has an opacity that is set at 99% and below. So it's somewhat transparent, it can be seen through. And some of these, we also have to understand that some of these layers can be opaque and transparent. So that's one of those things to wrap your head around, is that if you have a solid fill of that eye of the smiley face that's 100% opacity, but the area around it is transparent. So we have two layer qualities, but the third layer quality is kind of that hybrid mix of both of them. So let's talk about the layers in Photoshop. There are three main types of layers. Regardless of your layer styles that you have applied to them, which we'll talk about in the next lesson, the Opacity, the Blend Modes or the Fill, there are always three types of layers in Photoshop. And these are your basic layers that you're gonna also need to kind of wrap your head around when you're thinking about things in terms of layers. The first one is a Pixel Based layer. And a Pixel Based layer is any layer that is Rasterized. That's a big word that you probably right now just stumbled upon, but that's fine. We'll take care of that one. These are layers that contain pixel data. Think about a background layer, or an imagine right out of your camera that you pull into Photoshop. If you notice that when you pull it in, it's got a thing that says Background with a lock on it, that is a Pixel Based layer. It's a layer that's comprised of Pixels, because our camera sensors take Pixel Based images. The next one is a Vector Based image. Now, as photographers, we don't always see Vector Based images. Vector Based images are typically something that you would see coming out of Illustrator, or something that uses lines, shapes, and text to create an image. And Vector Based layers are separate and different from Pixel Based layers. Then we have Adjustment layers, and these are kind of the thing that turns all of it on its head. Adjustment layers are what I like to call Calculation Based layers. Adjustment layers will take anything that is underneath an Adjustment layer, and make a calculated representation in the layer above. Think of things like a Curves Adjustment layer. That Curves Adjustment layer is a calculation. It's looking at everything that's happening below it, it's calculating things based on curves, and then also levels, gradient maps, hue saturation, anything you see in the Adjustment layers that when we get to the end of this lesson here, you'll see exactly what I'm talking about. But these are all calculations. These are temporary things that are happening within that layer that are not destroying anything that's going on underneath your layers, because it's happening right within that Adjustment layer. So let's go ahead and hop into Photoshop, and we'll do a little bit of practical application with this. Take a look at layers, how layers are organized, how to organize them best, and also look at how we can look at Vector Based images, Pixel Based images, and Adjustment layers individually.

Class Description

Adobe® Photoshop CC® is a valuable tool for photographers, but it can also be intimidating. In this all-inclusive 20 lesson course, you’ll go from opening the program for the first time to creating images that really stand out. Join Blake Rudis, Photoshop expert and founder of f64 Academy, as he shows you how to maximize your use of Photoshop. 

Topics covered will include:

  • Class Introduction & Bridge, Adobe Camera Raw, Setup Interface, Cropping and Layers
  • Layer Tools, Masks, Selections, Clean-Up Tools and Shapes & Text
  • Smart Objects, Transforming, Actions, Filters, and Editing Video
  • Custom Creative Effects, Natural Retouching, Portrait Workflow, Landscape Workflow, and Composite Workflow

Don’t let the many aspects of Photoshop prevent you from maximizing your use of this amazing app. Blake will help you develop the confidence to use your imagination and create the images that you will be proud to share with your clients.


Adobe Photoshop CC 2018


  1. Bootcamp Introduction
  2. The Bridge Interface
  3. Setting up Bridge
  4. Overview of Bridge
  5. Practical Application of Bridge
  6. Introduction to Raw Editing
  7. Setting up ACR Preferences & Interface
  8. Global Tools Part 1
  9. Global Tools Part 2
  10. Local Tools
  11. Introduction to the Photoshop Interface
  12. Toolbars, Menus and Windows
  13. Setup and Interface
  14. Adobe Libraries
  15. Saving Files
  16. Introduction to Cropping
  17. Cropping for Composition in ACR
  18. Cropping for Composition in Photoshop
  19. Cropping for the Subject in Post
  20. Cropping for Print
  21. Perspective Cropping in Photoshop
  22. Introduction to Layers
  23. Vector & Raster Layers Basics
  24. Adjustment Layers in Photoshop
  25. Organizing and Managing Layers
  26. Introduction to Layer Tools and Blend Modes
  27. Screen and Multiply and Overlay
  28. Soft Light Blend Mode
  29. Color and Luminosity Blend Modes
  30. Color Burn and Color Dodge Blend Modes
  31. Introduction to Layer Styles
  32. Practical Application: Layer Tools
  33. Introduction to Masks and Brushes
  34. Brush Basics
  35. Custom Brushes
  36. Brush Mask: Vignettes
  37. Brush Mask: Curves Dodge & Burn
  38. Brush Mask: Hue & Saturation
  39. Mask Groups
  40. Clipping Masks
  41. Masking in Adobe Camera Raw
  42. Practical Applications: Masks
  43. Introduction to Selections
  44. Basic Selection Tools
  45. The Pen Tool
  46. Masks from Selections
  47. Selecting Subjects and Masking
  48. Color Range Mask
  49. Luminosity Masks Basics
  50. Introduction to Cleanup Tools
  51. Adobe Camera Raw
  52. Healing and Spot Healing Brush
  53. The Clone Stamp Tool
  54. The Patch Tool
  55. Content Aware Move Tool
  56. Content Aware Fill
  57. Custom Cleanup Selections
  58. Introduction to Shapes and Text
  59. Text Basics
  60. Shape Basics
  61. Adding Text to Pictures
  62. Custom Water Marks
  63. Introduction to Smart Objects
  64. Smart Object Basics
  65. Smart Objects and Filters
  66. Smart Objects and Image Transformation
  67. Smart Objects and Album Layouts
  68. Smart Objects and Composites
  69. Introduction to Image Transforming
  70. ACR and Lens Correction
  71. Photoshop and Lens Correction
  72. The Warp Tool
  73. Perspective Transformations
  74. Introduction to Actions in Photoshop
  75. Introduction to the Actions Panel Interface
  76. Making Your First Action
  77. Modifying Actions After You Record Them
  78. Adding Stops to Actions
  79. Conditional Actions
  80. Actions that Communicate
  81. Introduction to Filters
  82. ACR as a Filter
  83. Helpful Artistic Filters
  84. Helpful Practical Filters
  85. Sharpening with Filters
  86. Rendering Trees
  87. The Oil Paint and Add Noise Filters
  88. Introduction to Editing Video
  89. Timeline for Video
  90. Cropping Video
  91. Adjustment Layers and Video
  92. Building Lookup Tables
  93. Layers, Masking Video & Working with Type
  94. ACR to Edit Video
  95. Animated Gifs
  96. Introduction to Creative Effects
  97. Black, White, and Monochrome
  98. Matte and Cinematic Effects
  99. Gradient Maps and Solid Color Grades
  100. Gradients
  101. Glow and Haze
  102. Introduction to Natural Retouching
  103. Brightening Teeth
  104. Clean Up with the Clone Stamp Tool
  105. Cleaning and Brightening Eyes
  106. Advanced Clean Up Techniques
  107. Introduction to Portrait Workflow & Bridge Organization
  108. ACR for Portraits Pre-Edits
  109. Portrait Workflow Techniques
  110. Introduction to Landscape Workflow & Bridge Organization
  111. Landscape Workflow Techniques
  112. Introduction to Compositing & Bridge
  113. Composite Workflow Techniques
  114. Landscape Composite Projects
  115. Bonus: Rothko and Workspace
  116. Bonus: Adding Textures to Photos
  117. Bonus: The Mask (Extras)
  118. Bonus: The Color Range Mask in ACR


a Creativelive Student

Amazing course, but don't be fooled into thinking this is a beginner's course for photographers. The problem isn't Blake's explanations; they're top. The problem is the vast scope of this course and the order in which the topics are presented. Take layers for example. When I was first learning Photoshop (back when we learned from books), I found I learned little or nothing from, for example, books that covered layers before they covered how to improve/process photographs. These books taught me how to organize, move, and link layers before they showed me what a layer was actually for. Those books tended to teach me everything there is to know about layers (types of layers, how to organize them, how to move them, how to move them two at a time, how to move them two at a time even if there are other layers between the two you're interested in, useful troubleshooting tips, etc. ) all before I even know (from a photographer's point of view) what it is the things actually do. The examples of organizing, linking, and moving mean everything for graphic designers from Day One, but for photographers not so much. Blake does the same thing as those books. Topics he covers extremely early demand a lot of theoretical imagination for a photographer who doesn't already know quite a bit about what he is talking about. Learning about abstract things first and concrete things later only makes PS that much harder to understand. If you AREN'T a beginner, however, this course is amazing. I thought it would be like an Army Bootcamp, taking you from zero and building you into a fit, competent Photoshop grunt. Now I think it's more like Army Bootcamp for high school varsity jocks. It isn't going to take you from the beginning, but the amount you'll get out of it is nonetheless more than your brain can imagine. I've been using PS for years to improve my photographs, and even to create the odd artistic composite or two. The amount I've learned in the first week is amazing, and every day I learn something -- more like many things -- which I immediately implement to improve my productivity and/or widen the horizons of what I can achieve. If you ARE a photographer who's a Photoshop beginner, I'd take very seriously the advice Blake gives in the introduction: Watch one lesson, and practice the skills and principles you learn in that one lesson for two weeks. THEN watch the next lesson. You can't do that of course without buying the course, so it's up to you to decide whether you'd like to learn Photoshop and master Photoshop all from the same course. Learning it first and mastering it later will cost more money, but I think you'll understand everything better and have a much more enjoyable ride in the process. As for me? I'm going to have to find the money to buy this course. There is simply way too much content in each lesson for me to try to take on all at once, but on the other hand I don't want to miss anything at all that he has to share.

Robert Andrews

Blake Rudis is the absolute best in teaching photoshop. His knowledge and how he presents the instruction is clear and concise - there is NO ONE BETTER. Yes, his classes require some basic skills, and maybe I'd organize the order of (or group) the classes in a different order, but, let me be clear - if anyone is to be successful or famous in the Photoshop world, it should be Blake Rudis. I strongly recommend his teaching. I started photography and post processing in 2018, and because of this class, I'm know what Im doing. The energy you get when you create something beautiful is profound, it makes you bounce out of bed (at 4AM) like a 5 year old, to go create. It's a great ride! Thanks Blake, & Thanks Creative live.

Esther Gambrell

WOW!!! I've been purchasing CL classes for several years now and have watched HOURS of "How-To Photoshop" classes, but this is the first one I've actually purchased because of the AWESOME BONUS content!!! SERIOUSLY??!!?!? A PLUG-IN??? But not only that, Blake is SO easy to understand, and he breaks down concepts in different ways to connect with different people's learning styles. I REALLY appreciated this approach because I am a LEFT-BRAINED creative that has an engineering background, so I really connected to what Blake was saying. THANK YOU FOR THAT! There are TONS of Photoshop courses out there, but I found this one to be the most helpful in they way Blake teaches concepts so that you know WHY you're doing what your doing. I feel like he taught me how to fish with Photoshop to feed me for a lifetime instead of just giving me a fish to feed me for one day. This is the BEST overall PS course out there!!! Thank you!!!!