Part 6 Using Layers to Combine Photos and Artwork

If you know how animated movies were made in the days before computer generation, you’re already familiar with the concept of layers. Animation artists traditionally used a process called ink-and-paint to draw cartoon characters on transparent sheets of celluloid, or cels. One new cel had to be created for each time a character moved. Cels were then placed over elaborately painted backgrounds, such as witches’ castles or the decks of pirate ships. Painting on separate layers—the animated character on the cel and the background beneath—made it possible to reuse the same background throughout a long scene.

Layers in Photoshop Elements work much the same way. The image you begin with is the Background ...

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