So now you know how to Create a New Document in Photoshop that I taught you yesterday. Someone once said that, if you know how to begin, most of the work is done. So keeping that in mind, most of your work is already completed.

Today we’ll learn one of the most influential thing of Photoshop. This thing distinguishes Photoshop from its rivals, and this thing makes Photoshop a one of the most powerful image editing software. Its name is Layer, as it comes in a panel user interface, we usually call it Layer Panel. Because of its vastness, I cannot explain everything about layer panel in one chapter, this is why there’s a part two layer payer that’ll be discussed in next chapter.

5.1 What is Layer Panel in Photoshop?

So what is layer panel? Layer panel is a feature provided by Adobe that’ll help you with non-destructive editing. By non-destructive editing I mean that whatever you do, will not affect the original image. So if you have done some creative work on an image and you don’t like it, not an issue, your original image will always stay safe.

To turn on layer panel, either go to Window>Layer Panel or press F7.

A typical layer panel looks like figure 5.1.

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Figure 5.1 Typical Layer Panel

5.2 How Does Layer Panel Work?

That’s an interesting question. Its working is very much analogous to a stack of papers. Suppose you have a stack of 10 transparent papers. Your original work in drawn on the bottommost paper that is not transparent. Now you are looking at the stack from top. You try to alter your work but you don’t want to alter the original image. So instead you alter the ninth paper from the top. Being transparent in nature, the ninth paper only blocks the area where you have made changes. So the rest of the area where no work is done, we can easily see the original work, but the area where we made changes, we see the changes that we made as it hide the original work.

This is exactly how layers work.

In Figure 5.2, I tried to write “Rock On” on the image. I could have done it by altering my original image, but I chose not to. In the layer panel, you are seeing a new layer that has a logo of “T” and named as “Rock On”. That’s the new layer I created.

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Figure 5.2 A new layer is created to write the text “Rock On”

I can easily hide that layer to bring my original image back. A demo is shown in Figure 5.3. How to hide or unhide a layer will be discussed later.

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Figure 5.3 Original image remains untouched

 Now you can compare each layer with a paper in a stack. In layer panel, you may have multiple layers just like there are multiple papers present in a stack of paper.

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