Photoshop tutorials for professionals and beginners
Photoshop layers palette tutorial

#5 – The layers palette – Photoshop for beginners

This is probably one of the most important lessons for a Photoshop beginner in my opinion. Knowing how to work with layers is vital in Photoshop. Without being able to work with layers you cannot develop more advanced editing skills and it will be a lot harder for you to edit images. In this episode I show you the basics of the layers palette and the benefits of working with layers instead of making all the edits on the original image.

If you just started using Photoshop or you don’t know how to work with layers, you cannot miss this lesson. Layers are one of the most important features in Photoshop. They help you separate the elements that make up your design so that you can edit them separately and place them wherever you want on the canvas without affecting the other elements.

Another important reason for using layers is because we never want to make changes on the original image, so layers are a way of working non-destructively.

You will see how easy is to create new layers and how to manage them:

  • You can give custom names (always recommendable so that you always know what each layers contains just by looking at the palette)
  • You can group layers so that they take less space on the palette and work together as a single layer
  • You can apply different effects, styles and filters to each layers (more about that on a future lesson)
  • etc…

Maybe one of the questions most beginners make is “When should I create a new layer?”. The answer to that question is as simple as: “Whenever you want“. You can create a layer whenever you want to have a separate element that you think you want to apply a specific adjustment or if you want to position it on a specific place of a canvas. New layers will be created automatically when you paste a new image on the canvas.

Let’s see an example:

Let’s say you want to paint some hair on a portrait image to make it look better. You would create a new layer which you would call  painted hair for example, and start painting the hair on that layer. That way you don’t affect the portrait and you will have the ability to apply a Hue/Saturation adjustment to change the color of that painted hair without affecting the original portrait image.

There are a few different types of layers but for now we just need to know how they work on the palette without worrying too much about their type. I will make videos with practical examples where you will have to create layers so that you can see how they are used in real life situations.

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