Photoshop Tips ~Layers {1}

Recently I was invited to be the Photoshop Expert over at Crazi Beautiful Women.  This is an amazing website with all kinds awesome resources and great stuff for women!  While  calling me an “expert” in photoshop isn’t entirely accurate…let’s just pretend it is..okay.  Photoshop is one of those things that I could seriously spend all day every day learning and I still wouldn’t know EVERYTHING there is to know in that program.  Mostly because just when you think you’ve got a handle on it….. they introduce the ever illusive “UPGRADE!” But, I do know a few things and I’d like to share them in PLAIN English ~with those that are interested.  So here we go!

Do you remember these???

overheadFor those of you Spring Chickens….these are what you might call an ANTIQUE.  For the rest of you Old School folk that actually remember what these are you know them as Overhead Projectors… might remember how your teacher would take Transparent Paper and lay it down and it would project on the screen.  (And if you had weird science teachers like I did they would most always get it upside down or on the wrong side, it would take them a minute to realize it, all the while your class was giggling at what a nerd the teacher was 😉  Something like that…right?

Well, layers in Photoshop are very similar to those transparent or acetate papers that would be placed down on the overhead projectors.  You draw different elements, text, pictures on the various sheets. What you draw on one sheet doesn’t affect the other sheets. You can show only one sheet, or you can stack many on top of one another to create a combination image. You can shuffle around the order of the sheets, add new sheets, or delete old sheets. Any space on the sheet that doesn’t have a mark on it is clear, or transparent.

That’s similar to how layers work in Photoshop.  It is a beautiful thing! To have the ability to move, change, combine, delete and get all artsy with multiple layers is nothing short of a Christmas Miracle!  And unlike sheets of acetate, you can also adjust how opaque or transparent the element on the layer is, as well as change the way the colors between layers interact (blend modes).

So whether you’re a Spring Chicken or Old School like me, if you understand how layers work all the info I’ll give you from here on out will make a gazillion times more sense!


Bryn Swensen - They don’t use overhead projectors anymore? I remember forever ago when you made a comment during the relief society photo class that you weren’t a teacher, well I beg to differ, you are an incredible teacher! Thanks for sharing your knowledge!!!

Camille - I’ll be the first to admit – I’m “old school”! I totally remember those overhead projectors. I always wanted to use one in a classroom – never got to. I’ve been playing around with PhotoShop lately with my brother. I’m with you, I could spend all day, every day, learning about it and not knowing EVERYTHING! Such a complex tool, but amazing! Thanks for the tips! 🙂

Beth - CAPICHE! There ARE a million things to learn on Photoshop and I don’t claim to know any of them 🙂 But, I do love to learn… And, I think your photos are amazing so I’m ALL EARS.

Elena - What? They don’t use projectors anymore? I’ve been out of school WAY too long. But, thanks for explaining that. You taught it so well. I’m excited for the next intallment. I don’t even have photoshop (yet) but will take the advice from the experienced one when I get it.