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Look for similar tool icons in your program:

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Photoshop Elements 3 Tutorial

Layers don't have to be complicated. Think of a layer as a piece of transparent film where you can add shapes, photos, colors or text. You can also chop off or cut out pieces of the layer to reveal areas of other layers beneath it. And, each layer can have different percentages of transparencies applied to them.

The bottom layer is called the background. It's like a blank canvas. If you were painting a picture, you would start with objects in the distance and come forward, making the objects closest to you look sharper and brighter, but instead of thinking of back and forward, you will be working from bottom to top. Each layer on top hides or reveals areas of each layer beneath it, so you can easily edit each piece of your composition.

A graphic saved in editable format (.psd) saves all the layer information and data. You can also save editable graphics in other flattened formats for printing and the web from your original.

Create a new graphic 200 x 100 pixels with white as the background color (File - New - Blank File). With yellow as the foreground color, select the rectangle tool and draw a rectangle on the background layer.


Elements just created a shape layer automatically for you. To create a new transparent layer yourself, click on the 'create a new layer' icon on the layers palette. Now the new layer is the selection. If you save your file as a .psd, it will hold the layers you just created and you can edit them later. To save the visible layers as a graphic in another format, use the 'save as' command. You will then have two graphics, one editable and one in a flattened format. Only use the 'save' icon or menu selection to save changes to your .psd file.


Add as many layers as you like and put shapes, text or paste a photo into each layer. The eye icon on each layer turns on or off the visibility of that layer only.

To delete a layer, make sure the layer you want to delete is selected and then click on the little trash can.

You can also create various other layers from the drop down menu or you can create a duplicate layer by selecting the layer from the layers palette and dragging it to the "create a new layer" icon and just dropping it in. You can delete a layer the same way by dragging and dropping it into the trash can icon.

That's a basic introduction to layers. The more you work with them, the easier it gets to use them.





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