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Photoshop Layers

Layers are a very important part of graphics work. If you have never used layers before, make the effort to learn how they work — you will probably find that it revolutionises the way you approach graphics and images.

A photoshop image file (.psd) can be made up of numerous independent layers which are overlaid on top of each other. In the example shown here, a single image file is made up of three layers.

Any part of a layer which contains no image information is transparent, so layers below are visible in these areas. Each whole layer can also have different opacity settings, so some layers can be partially or completely transparent.

The three layers in our example are a photograph, a lower third graphic and a text key. The chequered areas contain no information (so they are transparent).

The main thing to note about layers is that each layer can be edited without affecting any other layer. In the example above, you could change the graphic or text at any time without disturbing the photograph. You could also re-use the same graphic layer with different photos, or re-use the graphic with different text.

There are so many advantages of working with layers that it's difficult to summarize them, but here are a few things you'll love:

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