Class Introduction: Organize Your Layers
This time let's take a look at advanced layers. There's so much you can do with layers and earlier we had a separate lesson on layer essentials. Now we're gonna dive a little deeper. And let's start off with how to organize your layers. Here's a complex Photoshop document that I created decades ago. This was the back cover for a brochure that was sent out for a seminar tour that I did. Now, I've blurred a lot of the pictures that are here. and that's because they were stock photos that I don't have to rights to give to you guys. And if you purchase the course then you get this document to play with and I couldn't have those pictures in. So therefore that's why it looks just a little bit different. But let's take a look at the layers panel. And what it takes to make this document. If I simply start scrolling through my layers, you can see that there's a whole lot of 'em and if you look at the pictures in the layers panel. A lot of them is hard to tell exactly where something is used wit...
hin a document. And I'm not even halfway done going through my layers panel. And I can see this image has already been simplified because of one piece there but, it just keeps going and going and going. So if you create a complex document and you opened it up months later and try to work with it. It can be tough to figure out what's happening in the various areas. So let's figure out how we might organize these layers. So I'm gonna start turning off layers, kinda one at a time and seeing which portion of the image it affects. So the topmost layer looks to me to be a bolt that's near the upper right corner of the document. Turn off the layer below it. That's another bolt and I can see just by the layer names there's a total of four of them. Then I see a type layer. I made the text disappear. And then a little bar. All right, those seem to logically belong together because they make up the top bar in this document. So I'm gonna turn their eyeballs back on. And with the bottom most of those layers selected I'll hold Shift and I'll click on the top layer to get all of those layers. And then I'll go to the bottom of my layers panel and I'm gonna click on the folder icon. It's not actually known as a folder, it's known as creating a group but if I click there now those layers look like they almost got merged into one but in reality they're contained within this folder. And if I click on the little arrow next to it I can expand it to see the layers that are contained within. Now when you have a folder which is officially known as a group. Then you gotta think about the way the Move tool is gonna work to reposition layers. If I have an individual layer highlighted, active in my layers panel, then when I go and click it within my image and drag, I'm gonna move one layer. This layer right here. Choose Undo. If I wanna move more than one layer at a time, I can select more than one layer, in this case I'll select both this layer and the layer above it. Then, I would be moving both of those layers. But when you use folders, if the folder itself is active, it's as if all the layers contained within it are active. And therefore with just the name of that group active, when I click and drag, everything within that group moves. And so therefore if I organize my document in a logical fashion, those can really help me out. So let's look at some of the other layers. Here, I have some text and I see it on the right side of the picture near the top. Then I have the photo that is above the text and I have the white background that's supposed to make it look like a Polaroid. Then I have a shadow layer. I have the photo that would be to the left of it. The little base of it and that makes another logical grouping which would be those two images that are supposed to be kind of a before and after image. So with the bottommost layer of that selected, I'll hold Shift to get the top one and I'll click on the folder icon. So now if I use my Move tool, when that folder is active, you see those two moving together. And then I could continue doing that for the rest of the document. And just grabbing each logical grouping and putting them into a folder. Well, I've already done that. I'm gonna close this document and switch to another one I already have open here and that one has extensively used the folder icon, which is known as a group and let's take a look at how the image is now structured. So now I have one group which is for the top bar just as we had before. And then I have a separate one that is for all of the Polaroids that are here in the middle. And then finally have another one for the whole backdrop. But you can put a folder inside of a folder. And so I further organized this image where if I open some of these, here is one called Digital Mastery Logo and that's because the logo you see here at the bottom wasn't just one piece, it moves around as if it's one piece when that group is active but within it is the text for the word digital, a text for the word mastery and the color for the base layer that's there as well. And if I go up here to the Polaroids. Those have been organized. And here are Polaroids that originally featured a picture of cars. Which are there, here is ones that had a house and so on. So each grouping is in there. Then if you want you can get much more detailed and it really depends on how many people are gonna be accessing this document and needing to truly understand how it's made or how often are you going to need to do the same to figure out how many of these groups you might want to use, but if I open this up here the one called car Polaroids, which are these two are then divided up into the individual red car, that was here and the yellow car that was there. And I don't think they go on any more than that, yeah. But you can see that you can put a folder inside of a folder. You just select multiple layers that were inside of an existing group and click that folder icon to create another. Now, that also affects how another feature in Photoshop works. If I'm in the Move tool, there's an option near the top of my screen called Auto-Select. And I mentioned in the lesson that was about layers, that I prefer to have that turned off and therefore when I click within my image to drag it never changes which layer is active without me purposely trying to do so and that I end up using Auto-Select manually and the way you can do that is when you're in the Move tool, you can hold down the command key, that's Control on Windows and click on something. And if you do it's the equivalent to have an Auto-Select turned on just for the moment of time that you Command click on your image. Control clicking in Windows. And therefore I can target a layer. And it's nice 'cause it expands all the groups down the where you can see that particular layer. But you should be aware that there's an option up here right next to the Auto-Select checkbox, is a choice called Layer or Group. If this is set to group then when I Command click on my image or you have Auto-Select turned on manually, then when I come over here and I Command click, instead of getting an individual layer selected it's going to select the topmost group that contains that layer and therefore I can move this. Choose Undo. Or if I come down here and target one of these Polaroids, it's gonna grab the topmost group and that one contains all the Polaroids. And what that means is that sometimes you can use too many of those folders if you wanna be able to very quickly target and move things. And in this case, I think having these many is a bit excessive. And so what I might do here is I might expand a few of these and get it so I can see the individual Polaroid groupings and I can select them if I hold down the Command key control on Windows and click within my layers panel, I can select the deeper individual Polaroids and then drag them up in my layers panel so that they're no longer in those subfolders and I can grab that base subfolder and throw it away. And it looks like I didn't get all of them out of there. Looks like there was still one in there. Probably those, yeah. So I'm gonna grab those and drag 'em out and then throw that away. So I think this is the right level of organization. Because now when I have Auto-Select set to Group, I can come in here and grab these individual Polaroids and move them around, which is what I might wanna do when working with this layout. If you see all those pink numbers and guides those are called Smart Guides and if they bother you because they're rather excessive in this particular document, feel free to go to the View menu and here under Show there's choice called Smart Guides and you can turn that off and now those pink lines wouldn't show up. But at this level I think it's just right for me where I can adjust my layout as needed and if I needed to move more than one Polaroid at a time, whenever you're using Auto-Select if you hold down the Shift key, you can make more than one active. So for instance, if I make this one active and then usually I click over here and separately get that one. If I hold Shift when I click, now I'm getting both, or I hold Shift and I grab this as well. And this as well. So I can easily really manage things and grab many different layers. I just have to keep in mind with Auto-Select is it set to grab an individual layer or is it select to grab a group? And if it is grabbing a group it's always gonna grab what you might call the ultimate parent of whatever layer you're clicking on so if it goes back and finds the, you know, kind of base level group that that layer is contained within. You can always hold Shift and click on additional areas and therefore select additional groups. So you'll see me switching between group and layer depending on the document and what I'm really needing to do.