How do Adobe Photoshop Layers work?
Layers in Photoshop are an essential tool for making edits and adding elements to an image in a non-destructive way. Each layer behaves like a transparent sheet of paper on which you can add elements such as text, shapes, images or effects.
How do they work?
When a new layer is added to an image in Photoshop, it is placed on top of the existing layer and can be moved and arranged freely. Each layer has its own properties, such as opacity and blending mode, which control how it blends with the layers below it.
For example, if you add a text layer to an image and set the opacity to 50%, the text will appear with 50% transparency and you will see the image underneath it. If the blending mode is set to “Multiply“, the text will appear darker and an overlay effect will be applied to the image below it.
In addition, layer masks can be used to show or hide parts of a layer in a non-destructive way. For example, if an image layer is added to an image and a layer mask is applied, brushes and drawing tools can be used to selectively show or hide parts of the image.
With layers, you can adjust color and brightness, apply special effects, change the position of content, specify blending and opacity values, and so on.
It is possible to rearrange the stacking order, link layers to work with them simultaneously and create animations.
The only layer that cannot be changed is the Background layer, as it is always locked.
Photoshop has a dedicated panel for layers. It is usually located in the lower right corner, although it can be placed wherever the user likes.
Can’t find the layers panel? If it is hidden or you have closed it by mistake, you can look for it in the menu, in the WINDOW > LAYERS tab.
In the layers panel, each time we create a new layer, one layer will be stacked on top of the other, being the bottom layer level 0. Let’s see the dynamics of the layer system.
As the layers are stacked, if the layer on top is completely solid (for example, an image) it will cover the rest of the layers, although they will still be there.
If we adjust the transparency, the layer below it will be displayed better as we increase the transparency.
Types of layers
In Photoshop, there are different types of layers that can be used to make edits and add elements to an image. Here are some of the most common types of layers that can be found in Photoshop:
Normal layer: this is the most basic layer and is used to add elements to an image, such as text, shapes or images. This layer can be adjusted by opacity and blending mode to control how it blends with the layers below it.
Adjustment layer: is a special layer used to make adjustments to the image, such as changing brightness, contrast or color. This layer does not contain visible elements, but affects the image below it in a non-destructive way.
Text layer: is a layer used to add text to an image. By using a text layer, you can edit the text at any time without affecting the image below it.
Shape layer: is a layer used to draw vector shapes on an image. By using a shape layer, you can edit and resize shapes without losing quality.
Image layer: is a layer used to insert one image into another. When using an image layer, you can move, resize and adjust the opacity of the image without affecting the image below it.
Mask layer: is a special layer used to hide or show parts of the layers below it. By using a mask layer, cutting and overlay effects can be applied non-destructively.
Vector layer: is a layer used to draw vector shapes and add text on an image. By using a vector layer, you can edit and resize shapes and text without losing quality.
In summary, layers in Photoshop are essential tools for making edits and adding elements to an image in a non-destructive way. By using different types of layers, you can control how they combine with each other and apply effects more precisely and flexibly.
ADVANTAGES OF LAYERS
Working with layers in Photoshop offers many advantages, including the following:
Non-destructive edits: layers allow you to make edits to an image without directly modifying the original file. This means that you can undo changes and revert to the original version of the image at any time.
Greater control and precision: By using layers, you can apply effects and edits in a more precise and controlled way. For example, layer masks can be used to selectively apply effects to an image.
Increased workflow flexibility and efficiency: Layers allow you to organize and manage the content of an image more efficiently. They can be easily moved, copied and deleted without affecting the original image.
Increased collaboration and teamwork: Layers are also useful in teamwork as they allow several people to work on the same image simultaneously without interfering with each other.
Fast-track your knowledge by signing up for this easy-to-follow Adobe Photoshop online course with videos compiled by our graphic designer teacher. Learn Adobe Photoshop shortcuts, tips and techniques to get the maximum out of this top design course.
Try 20+ Adobe creative apps, including Photoshop and Acrobat Pro, plus all the perks of membership.