Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
Photoshop Layers: Basics by nokari Photoshop Layers: Basics by nokari

It appears you don't have PDF support in this web browser. Download PDF

Last week I was asked by the Digital Photography instructor at my school to do some guest lectures on Photoshop. I thought it might be helpful for some students in the long run if they had some materials to read over afterwords to answer any further questions they might have, so I started putting together a simple guide.


This guide is a nuts and bolts explanation of Layers and all of the options there are for creating, adjusting, and managing Layers. This includes locations of menu items, keyboard shortcuts, and explanations of different layer types.
As I said, this is a basic guide to layers, so some things have been intentionally left out. In the future, I will be uploading an advanced user guide that will go into further details and include example images.

Requires Acrobat Reader 5 or above.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconphotoshop-tutorials:
Thank you for sharing. The ratings I've given you varies a bit, so I'll cover each point separately. Please keep in mind that it's just my own, very subjective, view. If I'd critiqued solely out from the guide's purpose (printed out and read by a newbie student), I would have given it higher ratings :)

Vision
Does the artwork present or reflect a point of view, theme or idea?

I'm not quite sure how this would apply to a guide, but I've chosen to interpret it as the guide's purpose. And I think it's great that you would take the time to do the extra work to write this for the students. I'm tutoring 1st years in Mediadesign and have done quest lectures in the past, so I think I can safely say that alot of them will find this helpful. I'll certainly refer people to it and perhaps it'll save me from having to repeat myself, heh.

Originality
Is the artwork fresh or new in its style, execution or approach? Is it something you haven’t seen before in its particular genre? Does it surprise you?

I would never have thought of making a guide about layers and even if I had, I would have dismissed the idea :lol: The subject is really extensive and it's difficult to choose what to leave out. I think you did a good job... it covers the most basic facts without going too much into detail, and keeps the guide "light". Layers are by far one of the most important Photoshop features and this would be a great thing to hand out to a person who's just been introduced to the program. Although I'm sure every Photoshop book out there has a chapter about layers, I'm giving you a high rating on this simply because I haven't seen a cliff note (?) version before :p

Technique
Was the artwork skillfully created? Does the artist exhibit advanced knowledge of the medium and/or bring special focus to the craft of the medium used.

This guide is, as your other tutorial, very clean and professional looking - it could have been taken right out of any book. The first thing I looked at was what you wrote on Layer Masks, as is it one of the things I have to explain most frequently to students. Your way of explaining is good, but it would have been even clearer if you had used image(s) to illustrate. I like that you've put "(non-destructive editing)" on both layer masks and adj. layers.

There are some points which I think you could improve upon, such as:

- I sorely miss an index at the beginning of all the topics - even if it's such a short guide. It would make it so much easier to see what you cover in one glance.

- The topic titles should stand out more from the text. As it is now, the font is the same size as the main text and in bold - which would be more okay if words inside the main text wasn't highlighted the same way.

- Images. Such a promising preview; I have to admit I was a tad bit disappointed with the pdf. Even if you don't want images to clutter up the guide, you could include (perhaps on its own page) an image of the layer palette itself with arrows that pointed to all the buttons and explained what they are.

Impact
Does the artwork resonate with you or evoke strong emotions? Does it make you think? Does it blow your mind?

The reason for only :star: :star-half: on Impact is simply because the guide did not teach me anything new, nor did it blow me away with its execution or personality. What I did like about it, is that it covers quickly Photoshop's most important feature, and it's usability for students.
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
54 out of 55 deviants thought this was fair.

The Artist has requested Critique on this Artwork

Please sign up or login to post a critique.

:iconlearninggirl:
learninggirl Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2016
Thank you Nokari. I'm a complete beginner at Photoshop, and this was really helpful.
Reply
:iconwynterphoenyx:
WynterPhoenyx Featured By Owner May 7, 2012  Student Digital Artist
In elements I was able to link layers and anything drawn on the top layer would only show up in the space in the bottom layer, how do I do this with CS5? I tried linking them but the colors go over the space I want to be coloring in.
Reply
:iconnokari:
nokari Featured By Owner May 7, 2012  Professional Interface Designer
I believe you're referring to a Clipping Mask. Place your cursor between the two layers you want to link, hold Alt (Option on Mac), and click. You can also find the option to make a clipping mask by going to the flyout menu of the Layers panel and select Create Clipping Mask, pressing the shortcut Control+Alt+G, or by going to Layer > Create Clipping Mask. I find the Alt+Click option to be the easiest. Here is what the result should look like: [link]
Reply
:iconwynterphoenyx:
WynterPhoenyx Featured By Owner May 9, 2012  Student Digital Artist
It worked! Thanks :D
Reply
:iconjdb-inks:
JDB-Inks Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Very useful! TY.
Reply
:iconmikomikisomi:
MikomiKisomi Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2011  Student Digital Artist
I think this is very amazingly written, but I still don't understand the main idea of layers and how to effectivly use them with a mouse........ Maybe it's me.......... ^^;

~MP, MK, HSF1, and liz
Reply
:iconnokari:
nokari Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2011  Professional Interface Designer
I meant to cover that with my advanced tutorial, but have put it on the back burner for a while.

One thing to know is that it doesn't matter what input device you use. It can be a mouse, a tablet, whatever. You can actually do most things with nothing but keyboard shortcuts. What do you need help with?
Reply
:iconmikomikisomi:
MikomiKisomi Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2011  Student Digital Artist
O.O Wow, thank you for responding...... I never actually thought somebody would respond, expecially the creater of the tut..... ^^;

Well, I kinda don't get the idea of coloring with it. I've seen many 'how to color' tuts with the drawers coloring over things, but yet the lines stay there..... Whenever I try to use layers, it messes up...... ^^; I've tried many different things, but It's not woking. What do you think could cause this?

~MP, MK, HSF1, and Liz
Reply
:iconnokari:
nokari Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2011  Professional Interface Designer
You know in school when a teacher would pull out the projector and use transparency sheets to draw on with markers? Layers in Photoshop are a lot like those transparency sheets. You can shuffle them around however you like and anything you put on one layer shows through all the others unless something else is put on top. Photoshop Layers can also use blending modes, which is a bit complicated to explain, but here's what you do when you want to color a lineart drawing:

1. Make a duplicate of your lineart layer (you can do this by dragging the thumbnail down to the little post-it note looking icon at the bottom of the layers palette or pressing Control-J). Hide the original lineart layer so you always have the original drawing if you ever need to go back to it.

2. At the top of the Layers palette, change the blend mode of your duplicate lineart layer to Multiply.

Create your new layers wherever you want underneath the lineart layer and do your coloring on those. Setting the lineart layer to Multiply makes only the dark colors of that layer show up on top of any layer beneath it. Since you put it on top, your lines will always be there.
Reply
:iconmikomikisomi:
MikomiKisomi Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2011  Student Digital Artist
O.O That.... That.. worked!!! What do I do after that? (what do I do with the excess paint that went over the lines?)

~MP, MK, HSF1, and Liz
Reply
:iconnokari:
nokari Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2011  Professional Interface Designer
The most basic thing to do is just use the Eraser tool.
Reply
:iconmikomikisomi:
MikomiKisomi Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2011  Student Digital Artist
To earase all that excess?? :faint: Okay, I don't like how it gets darker every time I go over it. What do I do about that?

~MP, MK, HSF1, and Liz
Reply
:iconnokari:
nokari Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2011  Professional Interface Designer
What do you mean? I don't know what you were doing.
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconmonsteronabox:
monsteronabox Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2011  Student Digital Artist
thanks, very useful and help me much. thanks!
Reply
:iconquixotegraphics:
Quixotegraphics Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2011
Thanks for this one. I've been using Photoshop for quite a while but learning by doing it so this kind of information helps a lot.
Reply
:iconthelastmaze:
thelastmaze Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
this is awesome, a must read for newbies like me:D I'm glad you did that, and I love your other tutorials:)
Reply
:icongaylover101:
gaylover101 Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2010
thanks thanks thanks :hug:
Reply
:iconescara40:
Escara40 Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2010   General Artist
Thank you very much nokari, for sharing this :hug:

I work with PhotoShopElements 7,
think it will help mee too for better understanding :)
Reply
:icongreysidewinder:
GreySidewinder Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2010
Helpful for those like me who are starting out.
Reply
:iconkayceeus:
kayceeus Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think this is a great tut for beginner Photoshop users they'll get a lot of use out of it. :nod:
Reply
:icon21126662112:
21126662112 Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2010
I can't open this all I get is the page?
Reply
:iconnokari:
nokari Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2010  Professional Interface Designer
You need the latest version of Adobe Reader or any alternate program that can read PDFs. You can get Adobe Reader for free from Adobe.com > Downloads.
This is a 2-page document.

Let me know if you have any other problems.
Reply
:icon21126662112:
21126662112 Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2010
I got it open and it looks like a great tutorial however I am not able to use it this is sooooo frustrating kuz I know if I could FIND some one to take %min to show me what I need to know I could play with it and teach myself quite abit but that is proving harder than I thought I spent 80 bucks on a "layers" book great book but it does noy cover what I need to know. Once I DO I will want to do a tutorial with this tidbit in it for WORTHLESS MORONS like me!!!LOL I am sure that after that I will be able to use this group to it's full benefit.:)
Reply
:iconnokari:
nokari Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2010  Professional Interface Designer
What is it you're looking for?
I'm working an advanced guide that includes EVERYTHING about layers that's going to include 10x more information.
Reply
:icon21126662112:
21126662112 Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2010
Gee ok well what I need well what I would like to be able to do is is take an object off one image and put it on another. But even the Guide for dummies assumes that you can do somethings that i cant I fear that I will have to accept the fact that I need a TUTOR kuz I cant even really explain what it is I need to know hence my rapidly increasing frustration!!!!
Reply
:iconnokari:
nokari Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2010  Professional Interface Designer
So it's basically telling you to do something but now how, right?

If you're talking about the basic act of moving one thing to another, you can do that by making a selection using any of the selection tools (lasso, polygon lasso, marquee tool, pen tool, etc.) and then copy/paste it on a layer of your choice.

I can help you better if I knew exactly what it is you're working with and what you want to do.
Reply
:iconsamphi:
Samphi Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2009
Very Helpful
Reply
:iconfreakylaurent:
FreakyLaurent Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2009  Professional Photographer
Excellent well written !

:D
Reply
:iconnokari:
nokari Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2009  Professional Interface Designer
Look for the Advanced version coming soon.
Reply
:iconshakoob:
ShaKooB Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2009  Hobbyist Interface Designer
tnx a lot it will help me
Reply
:iconxerces:
Xerces Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009  Professional Artisan Crafter
A nice, handy little guide :-)
Reply
:iconasdfgfunky:
asdfgfunky Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2009  Student Interface Designer
I'm quite sure anyone who has just started using photoshop,would find this very helpful!:+fav:
Reply
:iconphotoshop-tutorials:
photoshop-tutorials Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2009
On the edit:
:star::star::star::star::star-half:
Yes! That's what I wanted! :D *prints out 20 copies of the diagram* By the way... I think I have a proposal for this - note you about that later.

I'm happy you found the critique constructive. Keep up the good work.
Reply
:iconangeljasiel:
AngelJasiel Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
is very useful for begginers
Reply
:iconwonenownlee:
wonenownlee Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
Where is the tutorial?
I only see the photo!
Reply
:iconlapine-taureau:
Lapine-Taureau Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2009
If you click the "download" link it takes you to the pdf file.
Reply
:iconwonenownlee:
wonenownlee Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
Ah, thank you!
Reply
:iconlapine-taureau:
Lapine-Taureau Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2009
You're welcome. :-) It stumped me for a few moments as well, but I figured it had to be there somewhere since so many people were giving kudos.

Btw, I looked through your gallery and was blown away by your photography. It's all incredibly lovely.

Cheers!
Reply
:iconwonenownlee:
wonenownlee Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
Wow, thanks for the kind words, it's sure nice to be appreciated :heart:
Reply
:iconnokari:
nokari Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2009  Professional Interface Designer
Click Download on the left.
Reply
:iconwonenownlee:
wonenownlee Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
Gotcha! :wave: Thanks :D
Reply
:iconheysawbones:
heysawbones Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2009  Professional General Artist
Thank you, sir ;_;
Reply
:iconnokari:
nokari Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2009  Professional Interface Designer
I hope you can handle the advanced version, cause it's going to be intense.
Reply
:iconheysawbones:
heysawbones Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2009  Professional General Artist
SO INTEEEEENSE
Reply
:iconeilorendil:
Eilorendil Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2009
Well done! :clap: :+fav:



ps: I'll post a critique from the club account later.
Reply
:icontrankos74:
TrAnKoS74 Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks a lot
Reply
:icontheone89it:
TheOne89it Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2009
this is very useful :) ..
Reply
:iconbutnotforme:
ButNotForMe Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2009  Student General Artist
Very helpful. I wish that I had found this tutorial months ago when I was struggling with layers. The only thing I would also recommend adding, and forgive me if I somehow missed this, is that the order of layers in the palette determines what is visible- this is important especially for those who are learning layers and working with lineart, like comics and manga. Again, thanks for the tutorial, very comprehensive.
Reply
:iconnokari:
nokari Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2009  Professional Interface Designer
That was one of the first things I touched on in the guide. It wasn't as defined as that, but I mentioned that layers are stacked from top to bottom and can be moved up and down.
Reply
:iconbutnotforme:
ButNotForMe Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2009  Student General Artist
Oh, okay. My mistake, then :)
Reply
Add a Comment:
 
×




Details

Submitted on
November 6, 2009
File Size
226 KB
Link
Thumb
Embed

Stats

Views
15,375
Favourites
270 (who?)
Comments
55
Downloads
3,197
×