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how to organize layers

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Old 01-21-2005, 02:39 PM
sunkist4338 sunkist4338 is offline
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how to organize layers

Hi all

I'm new here and would like some help. I have an image in photoshop and am using layers. What I don't know (which is alot) is how to use layers properly. for example:
1. background layer
2 Colour adjust layer
3 Marquee layer.. cut out an image
3b create background
4 copy of Marquee layer.. brighten teeth skin etc
5. now i want to add some lighting

I dont know what layer to copy to create the lighting I want omni spot etc
because if i copy the background layer all the other changes i made are gone
and the lighting does not merge with all other layers. Is there stuff I need to do in some sort of order??? Help please.

P.S. as well how do I blend the cut out image with my background so it doesnt look like I 1st grader cutting from a magazine and pasting on paper.

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Old 01-21-2005, 03:04 PM
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Axleuk Axleuk is offline
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Location: Wales, UK
Posts: 216
Hi sunkist4338

First of all, there is no hard and fast rule for working with layers, its all about personal preference, however, with that said it is important to keep your work organised if you are working on a project that requires a lot of adjustments.

Personally, i always start by making a copy of the original image into a new layer, and then turning off the little eye icon beside it, this will help protect the original image in the event you need to revert back to it.

Imagine the layers as sheets of glass...

You paint some trees on sheet number 1...
You paint some hills on sheets number 2...
You paint some sky on sheet number 3...
You paint a pretty little squirrel on sheet number 4...

Now if you put all the sheets together you build a nice picture...

Now if you want to change the squirrel for a fox, you take the sheet of glass with the squirrel, erase it and paint a fox and put the sheet back. Now you have pretty picture with a fox instead of the squirrel.

With layers, as long as each element that makes up the image is on its own layer, you can change its properties independently of all the other layers.

In order for your lighting to work, you need to make sure that the layer you want the lighting effects applied too are not obstructed by anything in the layers above, if they are, then you will receive undesired results.

Try to get in the habit of naming your layers, it can soon get hectic as the image grows.

This is only a brief summary, but a search on Google will help bring up various layers tutorials that you will find very helpful.

Last edited by Axleuk; 01-22-2005 at 08:16 AM.
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Old 01-21-2005, 03:34 PM
sunkist4338 sunkist4338 is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 17
Thanx Axleuk

YOur suggestions are great. Good analogy. So what you are saying is that

1. Background layer
2. Copy background layer (Skin Adjustsments (teeth skin etc)
3. Copy # 2 not #1 because if I copy # 1 I will loose adjustments from #2.

Basically I must think Chronologically.

Thanx for the insight

Have a good weekend

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Old 01-21-2005, 04:31 PM
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Ed_L Ed_L is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: northwest Indiana, about 45 minutes from Chicago, IL
Posts: 2,824
Hello Sunkist4338,

Not knowing where you are with Photoshop, I'll take a guess that you don't know how to use layer masks. This is something you'll find invaluable to use, and I'm sure you'll find a tutorial by Vikki on it if you do a search on this site. You will also find a tutorial on avoiding the "cut-out look". Just playing around with layers, moving them from one place to another in the stacking order will give you an idea of what happens when you change layer placement in the order. Axleuk gave you some good info too. Nothing beats reading how to do things, then actually doing them yourself. Sometimes you won't get it right the first time, but the second or third time trying it will really drive it into your head. At least that's the way it works for me. Sometimes it takes a little longer.

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Old 01-22-2005, 04:10 AM
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Flora Flora is offline
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Hi sunkist4338,

Axleuk explained beautifully how layers work ....
Ed pointed you torwards Layer Masks which are a vital addition/tool to Layers, among others, when "blending the cut out image with my background so it doesnt look like I 1st grader cutting from a magazine and pasting on paper. "

Originally Posted by sunkist4338
because if i copy the background layer all the other changes i made are gone
.... What I'd like to point out is that when visible, (little eye on the left of your Layer is visible) and not hidden behind a black Layer Mask, the top Layer is the one which, at Normal blending and 100% Opacity, will 'cover' everything underneath ... meaning, if you create several correction's layers and then copy and paste the original background Layer on top of all the others .... even though your corrections still exist, they will have been covered/hidden by the 'background copy' on top ....
So, what I am suggesting is if after corrections you need to work on a merged Layer which includes all the corrections done so far, you can:

1) Activate/Highlight the top Layer.
2) Create a New Layer by clicking on the 'New Layer' icon at the bottom of your Layers' Palette.
3) Click on your Layers' Menu (the little arrow on the top right of your Layers' Palette and, keeping the Alt (Mac= Option) key pressed, click on the 'Merge visible' Option.

This procedure will create a new merged Layer, containing all the changes made on all 'visible' Layers so far, on top of everything else ... without deleting any of the steps previously taken .... this way, you can always go back and retrace your steps ....

It surely seems very confusing, but hope this helps...
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Old 01-22-2005, 10:03 AM
sunkist4338 sunkist4338 is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 17
Thanx Flora this has helped.

I will need to read up on Layer Masks. It seems that this is a valuable tool
Thanx Ed

Once again thanx Axleuk for all your help.

the response on this site is fantastic.

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