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Old Dec 5, 2004, 6:03 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2003
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I own Photoshop Elements 2.0 and am having a difficiult time understanding just how to use the Layer feature. I have even bought several books which included layer instruction, but to no avail! Does anyone know the best way to use this tool?

Perhaps someone has a few simple steps they can share? I understand a greatmany of the PS Elements actions, but layers has got me stumped. Without this knowledge, there are a great many image muniplations I am unable to achieve. Thanks. Shu

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Old Dec 9, 2004, 2:32 PM   #2
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Layers are used when you want to apply some retouching to the image but would like to be able to back to the original if needed. Layers also allow you to adjust certain parts of the image without affecting the image as a whole (with the use of paths and masks). The uses of layers are endless.

I work in advertising and we do alot of retouching. For example if we want to merge several shots together, like a road, a car, scenery, we would assemble each image in on a seperate layer. Each time we make a change, colour adjustment etc.it will be done on a seperate layer, this allows you to toggle the layer on and off to see the change. Some of our files will have upwards of 100 layers. The advantge of this is that we can always go back to any step at any point. If you retouch an image and save it as a flat file you can not go back to revise your retouching.

Hope this helps. I suggest you take a look at some of the sample psd files that come with photoshop (not sure if they come with elements).


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Old Dec 20, 2004, 8:22 PM   #3
Join Date: Jun 2002
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I'm not familiar with Elements, and this is like way late considering the date on your original query, but I suspect it works the same way as with PhotoShop. Essentially here's how you approach it.

First be sure you have the Layers Pallet visible. Click on Windows, the be sure there is a check mark by "Layers" and you "should" see a small window appear.

Click on the Layers drop down and then choose "duplicate layer" then "background copy." Make any changes you wish to what you then see on your screen. It will look exactly like the original, except the file name will also say "background copy".

When you have done whatever (applied filters, blurs, scratch removal, changes in skin color, or whatever changes you want, then hold the "ALT" key down and click on the small icon (in PhotoShop it's on the bottom) called "add layer mask". This icon in PhotoShop looks like a tiny camera. The "name" on the file will change to "background copy - layer mask" and the image will look exactly like the original without your changes.Choose an appropriate brush and opacity to suit, be sure the color "white" is chosen on the paint pallet and paint over the areas where you want the changes to appear. The changes will be made under the brush as if you were cloning only those portions from the background layer. If you make a mistake, use the eraser tool to return the portion where the mistake was made to the original condition. When you are all finished, click on "layer" then "flatten image" and you will have effectively combined the two images into one. Save your work under a new file name.

Sounds much more difficult than it is. It only takes a few clicks. This procedure is especially useful when you want to quickly make sweeping changes but to only portions of the image. For example, maybe you want to use a program like Neat Image, but you only want the noise filter to apply to the sky, or maybe only to faces on a portrait. You "could" mask those areas and then use the program, but that takes much more time than simply applying the changes to the entire background layer then simply brushing over the area on the layer mask where you want them to actually appear.

Hope this helps a bit - sorry I don't have Elements so can't be as specific on the drop downs and icons as I'd like.

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