Photoshop – Layer Panel details for Beginner | Part 4 |

 Layers panel in Photoshop:

  • The Layers panel in Photoshop lists all layers, layer groups, and layer effects in an image.
  • You can use the Layers panel to show and hide layers, create new layers, and work with groups of layers.
  • You can access additional commands and options in the Layers panel menu. Photoshop Layers panel.

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Show/Hide all layers:

You can use the “show all/hide all layers” by right-clicking on the eyeball on any layer and selecting the “show/hide” option. It will make all the layers visible.


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  • Photoshop’s layers Panel is a
    powerful tool that allows you do many special things to your layer
    compositions. Next, we will look at the Photoshop layers pallet.

  • Layer Filter: This enables
    you to hide layers based on different things. Makes it easier to find the
    layers that you want to work with.
  • Opacity: 0= transparent 100 =
    fully opaque. press number keys on keyboard to instantly set to multiples of
    10, or adjust the slider for an exact amount of transparency on each layer.
  • Blend Modes: Change these to
    change the way that the selected layer blends with the layers underneath it.
    Great for compositing and special effects. (With the move tool selected,
    press Shift+ or Shift- to cycle through blending modes.
  • Fill opacity: Adjusts the
    amount of opacity of the pixels only, but any layer styles are unaffected and
    remain 100% opaque.
  • visibility: If the eye is
    showing that layer is visible. Click on the eye and the layer will still be
    there but invisible until you click on the eye again.
  • Locked: The padlock means
    that something is locked in the layer. (Also click in the 4 icons in the “lock”
    next to fill opacity to make certain things editable of locked). Here are the
    different things that can be locked/unlocked.
  • Lock all: If the box is
    checked the layer is totally protected from any editing.

  • Lock Position: 
    You can make any changes except for moving the image.

  • Lock Image pixels: 
    You cannot draw on this layer if checked.

  • Lock transparent:
     You can paint on this layer but not where it is
  • Useful tools at the bottom of the panel
  • Link: Enabled you to link
    layers. These will all move together unless unlined.

  • Layer Effects (Styles): Special
    effects applied to your image layer. Noted by the little f. Each effect will be
    listed. multiple effects may be used at once.
  • Add Layer Mask: This is the
    button to press to add a layer mask to the currently selected layer. Allows you
    to paint away parts of your layer without damaging your original image.
  • Add Adjustment Layer: The
    best way to apply image adjustments. There can change the color or tone of an
    image. All layers are affected underneath an adjustment layer (Unless clipped).
    This is a good option to using Image>Adjustments because adjustment layers
    are non-destructive and re editable.
  • Layer Groups: A good
    organizational tool. This puts layers into a folder. You can choose multiple
    layers and press CMD/CTRL+G to put them in a group, or create a group by
    clicking this icon. Layers can be dragged in or out of groups in the Layers
  • Create New Layer: Press this
    icon to create a new layer. Drag an existing layer into this icon to create a
    duplicate of that layer,
  • Delete Layer: Drag a layer
    into this icon to remove it. Or select the layer and then press this icon to
    get the same result.
  • Panel Options: This will open
    a drop-down menu that provides a number of options, many that aren’t listed
    anywhere else.


  • In Photoshop there are a number of
    different types of layers. They are usually indicated by icons, here is what
    they all do.
  • Thumbnail: A small picture of
    the layer’s contents.

  • Layer Group: This puts layers
    into a folder. Layers can be dragged in or out of groups in the Layers panel.
  • Type Layer: The same as an
    image layer, except this layer contains type that can be edited; (Change
    character, color, font or size)
  • Adjustment Layer: An
    adjustment layer is changing the color or tone of all the layers underneath it.
    To only affect the layer directly underneath it (an ignore the other underlying
    layers): Move your pointer on the line between the adjustment layer and the
    layer directly beneath it, hold down Alt/Option. You will see a symbol appear.
    Click to limit the adjustment. (clip to layer) do the same thing again to
    toggle this option off.
  • Layer Style: An effect has
    been applied. Click the eye to turn it on or off. Double click “effects” to
    open the Layer Styles options.
  • Layer Mask: Allows you to
    paint on the mask to show and reveal portions of the image.
  • Smart Object: A special type
    of layer that is actually a container that can hold; multiple (or 1) layers,
    vectors for illustrator, raw files, video, 3D or many other types of objects.
    To learn about Smart Objects in depth, check out this video,


  • Background: Always locked,
    cannot be moved or have layer effects applied to it. The little icon of the
    padlock on the right, indicates it is locked. Can be changed into a regular
    layer by simply double clicking on the thumbnail.


  • There are two different types of
    layers that have appeared in newer version of Photoshop. These used to only be
    in Photoshop Extended. With Photoshop CC, there is no longer a separate
    Extended version, all the features are now included with every copy of

  • Video Layer: This indicates
    that there is video on this layer. Photoshop is now able to be used as a video
    editor, to working with video, animated slideshows and motion graphics. See
    Video in Photoshop if you want to learn about video editing in Photoshop.
  • 3D Layer: Photoshop is
    capable of importing and working with 3D objects. It also has the ability to do
    3D printing.


Here are some useful tips for
working with Photoshop Layers:

Click to select a layer

  • CMD/CTRL+CLICK to select multiple
  • Drag your curser through the eye icons
    to turn the visibility on or off on multiple layers
  • Cmd/Ctrl+ J to copy a layer
  • Cmd/Ctrl+ J to copy a selection to
    a new layer
  • Cmd/Ctrl+Shift + J to Move a
    selection to a new layer
  • Click the padlock icon on the
    background to convert it to a regular layer
  • Press Cmd/Ctrl+G to Move all the
    selected layers into a new group
  • Cmd+Option+Shift+E
    (Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E windows) to create a new merged layer above all the other
  • Hold Option/Alt while adding a
    mask to create an inverted layer mask
  • You can drag elements from the
    layers panel into other documents
  • Hold down Option/Alt and click the
    pane between two layers to clip the contents of the top layer into the
    transparencey of the layer underneath it
  • Choose the move tool “V key” Press
    Shift + “+” to cycle through all the blending modes. Shift + “-” to cycle in

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