Photoshop Layers De-mystified: a beginner’s guide to smarter photo editing

Photoshop Layers Explained: a beginner's guide to post-processing the smart way

The Photoshop Layers Palette


Photoshop Layers PaletteHere’s the Layers palette in all its glory, showing the layers in our main image. The currently active layer is shown by the blue highlight.

Each layer has its own visibility eye by the side of it, which can be used to either hide or show the layer in the image.

From the top of the palette, you can choose the Blending Mode for the active layer and control the layer’s Opacity.

The Trash Can at the bottom is used to delete the active layer, and the Add New Layer icon sits to its left.

The bisected circle icon enables you to add new Adjustment Layers, and the small rectangle with the white circle is clicked to add a Layer Mask.

Notice that the Palette displays both image layers and Layer Masks with thumbnails, which show their contents.

The Layers palette is a vital tool for organising, creating and managing layers.

PAGE 1: What are layers?
PAGE 2: The Photoshop Layers palette
PAGE 3: Photoshop layers in effect
PAGE 4: The only 3 tips you need to know about using layers


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  • Wade Nelson

    Sorry, but I’ve been using computers and cameras for 30 years and this article doesn’t cut it.