Digital Digest
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  • Basics you MUST Learn!
  • Toolbar Basics
  • Selections (pt 1-4)
  • Layers, Layers, Layers!
  • Using Filters
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  • Setting Colour & Resolution
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  • Using Text
  • Resizing & Distorting
  • Adjustment Layers
  • Using Channels & Masks
  • Advanced Techniques
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  • Photographic Retouch etc...
  • Art & Design Theory
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  • Perspective
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  • Glossary
  • Glossary

    Layers Part 2

    Select Layer 1 of our squiggly red picture, like this:

    Now choose the Move tool from the ToolBox:

    We already know how to move the layer about and reposition the red squiggle. In the picture below I used the move tool to move the red squiggle in Layer 1 to the left.

    From this:to this:


    TIP: If a layer has to be moved by only a single pixel (dot) at a time an easy way to do this is to use the arrow keys on your keyboard. Just click the up, down, left or right arrows to nudge the layer in any direction.



    But what if we wanted to reposition the red and blue squiggles together. This may be a very important thing to do, especially if we have lots of layers making a complex image, because moving like ten layers to the exact same position would be murder. So what we do is link together all the layers we would like to move. To do this click on the second check box next to the eye icon until it has a chain link icon over it (encircled in red).

    In our squiggle picture we only have two layers (and a background layer) so I have linked together both Layer 1 and Layer 2. Once this is done I can use the move tool and they will move both together.

    Note: You may have noticed that only Layer 2 looks linked. In fact both layers are linked, but because I have selected Layer 1 it shows the brush icon instead of the link. Since Layer 1 is selected even if it wasn't linked it would still move because the move tool moves the selected layer plus any layers that are linked to it.



    Don't skip this bit, locking layers is a vital skill to learn if you want to benifit from using Layers, you'll see why. Okay, imagine you have one layer perfect, exactly as you want it. There are four ways you can protect your layer from being changed accidently.

    First you can stop all alterations to your layer (option 4 in the above picture). This is the best way to protect your layer because it makes it imposible to move the contents of the layer or draw on the layer or do any changes like that. Anytime you lock a layer a little lock icon appears on the Layer that is locked. For example, in the picture below we can see that Layer 2 is locked. Since this option locks all layers all other lock options are greyed out to avoid confusion.

    Other lock options let you lock the layer so it cannot be moved (3) and locking the layer so it can be moved but cannot be painted on (2). These options are pretty straight forward but the best is still to come.

    TIP: If you need to lock out many layers at once first link them together and then lock them. You can also go to: Layers > Lock all Linked Layers.


    Lock Layer Transparency

    The final locking option deserves special attention because its so damn useful! It locks the layers transparency (1). This means you cannot paint over where the layer is normally transparent.

    Lets go back to our squiggle example again to explain what this does. Click on the blue layer (layer 2) and make sure the lock transparency option is selected as can be seen in the picture below:

    Next, choose a new colour (I've chosen green) and scribble across the middle of layer 2.

    Wow! See what happened?! You can draw anywhere on that layer where there was already a picture. But since the transparent part of the layer is locked out the only part the green draws over is the blue squiggle! Now select the layer with the red squiggle and lock the transparency on that one too, you get the idea!

    TIP: Do you remember what I said in my selections guide? Although you can save selections and reload them when you need to its a pain in the neck. Instead of saving selection I prefer to just add more layers and preserve the transparency. If done correctly this technique is just as simple as saving selections only faster. Spend some time playing about with this one and you should get the idea!

    Ready for more, then go onto my Layers guide Part 3



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