Working with Layers
So go to your class materials folder and open 1, 2, 3 layers dot PSD. So I already have this open in Photoshop here, and we can use this to understand how layers work. Now, the layers palette is down here in the lower right hand corner. In the handout in the workbook that comes with this workshop, we have just labels of what each of these different things are. So you might wanna look at that to see what these are all called technically, but we're gonna go through some of the most important things that are here with layers. Okay, so the first thing we wanna understand is opacity. So something that is completely opaque, you can't see through it. Something that is totally non opaque, you can see through it. So what we can do here is we can click on a layer, and you know that you have a layer selected when there's a little white box around the thumbnail for that layer. So you can see here, I have selected this layer that has a three on it. And if I go up here to this little opacity box, I ...
can click this little triangle here, and I get a slider, and I can reduce the opacity so you can see through that layer to the layer below. I can make it where it's almost not visible at all. I can make it completely opaque. I can change how much you can see through a layer. We can also change the order that layers appear in, just so I can take this three right here and I can click and drag it below the two. And now the two is above the three. I can take the one, I can move it to the top of the stack. And now the one is at the top of the layers. So I can change the layer order. I can change the contents of the layer. I can move those around. And so what we're gonna do here is, the very top of our toolbox over here, we have the move tool. So I'm gonna click on that, and I'm gonna click on my one right here. I'm just gonna drag it, and now you can see two. Then I'm gonna drag the two over to the left. Now you can see the three underneath there. So we can move these layers with the move tool. We can also be a little bit more accurate and move the layers with our keyboard. So we can use the arrow keys. So if I use the right arrow, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, I am nudging that layer to the right one pixel at a time. I can use the left arrow key, 1, 2, 3. You can see that I'm only moving that one pixel at a time, very, very precise movements. If I hit shift and one of the arrow keys, it's gonna move it 10 pixels at a time, up or down. So I can do that if I really need to just get it into a very specific place. So that's another option for moving your layers around. Okay, so the other thing we want to do is we wanna be able to take these layers and make sure that we don't accidentally edit them for some reason. And so you can see in the layers palette there is something that says lock. And then there are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 different little icons next to that. And so these icons do specific things. So this first icon, if I click that, I'm locking transparent pixels. And you can see over on the right hand side, there's a little lock icon. It's telling us this layer is locked in some way. So what does this mean? So I'm gonna unlock it to start with. And I'm gonna go over here and I'm going to get a brush. And so I have a pretty big brush. I'm gonna change the brush size something much smaller. Okay, so that's good. Now what I can do is, this is a blue color, I mean a red color, and I'm just painting away, and you see, I can paint anywhere on that layer. I'm painting on the layer one. And so I'm gonna undo that by using my history palette there if I click on locked transparent pixels. Now if I try to paint, it's only going to paint inside the layer itself. Anything that's transparent is safe. It's not going to be painted at all. So that's the first one, let me undo this. Okay, so now what we're gonna do is we are going to unlock that. We're gonna do the second one. This one here says "lock image pixels". So if I lock that, what this is doing is now you see I've got a little, "no, you can't do it" icon. And so the reason for that is I have the brush selected and I'm on a locked layer. And it's saying, you can't paint on this at all. The pixels are locked. You can't paint here. So that's what that does. I can still move this. So if I have the move tool, I can move this layer around. I can do other things. I just can't paint on that. I can't change the pixels on that layer. Okay, the next one is this guy right here, and that locks the movement. And so now I can't move this. Nope, you can't because it's locked. But what I can do is I can get a brush, and I can paint all day long on that layer. So I've only locked the movement, nothing else. And so I'll undo that. Now, the other thing that you can do here is you can combine different types of locks. So let's say I want to lock the movement and I wanna lock all the pixels that are transparent, but I wanted to be able to paint on the numbers here. So I've got the first one locked and the third one locked. So we can paint, so we've locked where it can paint. And if I change my tool to the move tool, ah, I can't. So I can paint, I just can't move. And when I do paint, it only paints on the visible areas. So you can mix and match different locks. The other locks that we have, we have this lock over here. This is for art boards and frames. So that's an advanced topic we're not gonna talk about, but if you do use art boards and frames, this is how you lock things in and out. And then the last lock here, if you click that, that layer is totally locked. You can't do anything to it. You can't do anything. You can't paint, you can't change. It's locked in. And so if you wanna make sure that you have a layer that nobody can touch, just lock it all the way, click it again and now it's unlocked, which is really, really easy. Okay, so the other thing we might want to do is we might want to turn layers on and off where you see them or don't see them. So for example, if I want this one to go away, there's a little eyeball to the left of the little thumbnail here. If I click that, the layer vanishes, you don't see it anymore. If I click the two, that vanishes. I can click the one, I can click the two. So you can turn layers on and off depending on what you want to do. The other thing you can do is you can use modifier keys here. So if I hit the option button or alt button and click on the two, it leaves the two visible and everything else it hides. If I hit option and two again, it turns on all the other layers. If I hit option and three, leaves three visible, but one and two are hidden. And so you can turn on and off layers like that. You can drag your mouse over the layers to turn on and off the little eyeballs. So it's pretty intuitive on how you do that. And so, as we go forward, you might see a point where you have a layer and you're like, ah, I just don't think that's adding anything to the composition. You might wanna turn it off or turn it on. And so it allows you to create things and then hide them. But later, non-destructively, you can turn them back on to do some edits, which is really, really pretty darn cool. The other thing you can do, let's say you have a layer that is always gonna be your background. You don't wanna do anything to it, like this little three here. I can always go to layer and say new background from layer, and it does the opposite. So I'll click that. And now three changes from three to background, and now it's locked. And so that is a background layer, it's locked off and you can't do anything to it. It's pretty cool. The other thing to note is the layer names can change. So I created the layer names 1, 2, 3. I can just click on this layer, double click it, and you see it says two, I can type in something else. This is my layer, and enter. Now I have a layer name. I can change it to whatever I want. I'll double click that and say this is two. And so it's a really good idea to name the layers as you're going forward, because it helps you keep track of what's going on. You'll see in the future, we might have 10 or 15 or 20 layers, and to keep track of all those things, naming those layers is very, very important. Okay, now that we know how layers sort of work let's put things into practice by making a groovy three!