Converting and
Duplicating Layers
You now know that you can create a new
layer using the Layer> New command; in
addition, Photoshop Elements creates layers
in all sorts of sneaky ways. For example,
whenever you copy and paste a selection into
an image, it’s automatically added to your
image on a brand-new layer.
When you start editing an image, you’ll often
find it convenient to create a selection and
convert it to a layer to keep it isolated and
editable within your photo. It’s also quite
easy to duplicate a layer, which is useful
when you want to copy an existing layer as
is, or use it as a starting point and then make
additional changes.
The background layer is unique and by
default can’t be moved, but sometimes you
will need to move it, change its opacity, or
apply a blending mode. To do any of those
things, you’ll need to convert it to a regular
layer. And sometimes youll want to convert
an existing layer to the background. While
these conversions are not necessary for
most simple photo projects, they are quite
common when you combine or make com-
posite images.
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Working with Layers
Converting and Duplicating Layers
To convert a selection to a layer:
1.
Make a selection using any of the selection
tools (Figure 5.29).
2.
From the Layer menu, choose New; then
choose one of the following commands:
To copy the selection, choose Layer
via Copy (Ctrl+J/Command+J)
(Figure 5.30).
The selection is copied to a new layer,
leaving the original selection
unchanged (Figure 5.31).
To cut the selection, choose Layer via
Cut (Shift+Ctrl+J/Shift+Command+J).
The selection is cut to a new layer,
leaving a gaping hole in the original
layer, with the current background
color showing through (Figure 5.32).
Figure 5.32 The Layer via Cut command cuts the
selection to a new layer.
Figure 5.30 Choose Layer > New > Layer via Copy to
copy the selection to a new layer.
Figure 5.29 Any selected area can be converted to its
own layer.
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Figure 5.31 Copying a selection to a new layer leaves
the original selection unchanged.
Figure 5.35 The new layer appears right above the
original layer on the Layers palette.
Figure 5.34 You can also duplicate a layer by dragging
any existing layer to the New Layer icon on the Layers
palette.
Figure 5.33 Use the Duplicate Layer dialog box to
rename your new duplicate layer.
To duplicate a layer:
1.
Select the layer on the Layers palette.
2.
Duplicate the layer using one of the follow-
ing methods:
If you want to create a new name for
the layer, choose Layer > Duplicate
Layer.
The Duplicate Layer dialog box
appears, where you can rename the
layer (Figure 5.33). Note that you
can also get to this dialog box from
the Layers palette menu.
If you’re not concerned with renaming
the layer right now, just drag the
selected layer to the New Layer icon
on the Layers palette (Figure 5.34).
The new layer appears right above the
previous layer with a “copy” designation
added to the layer name (Figure 5.35).
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Working with Layers
Converting and Duplicating Layers
To convert a background to a layer:
1.
From the Layer menu, choose New >
Layer from Background.
2.
If desired, type a new name for the layer
and click OK (Figure 5.36).
Tip
You can also convert the background by
double-clicking the background on the
Layers palette, which brings up the same
New Layer dialog box.
To convert a layer to a background:
1.
Select a layer on the Layers palette.
2.
From the Layer menu, choose New >
Background From Layer (Figure 5.37).
3.
The new background appears at the bot-
tom of the Layers palette (Figure 5.38).
Tips
The Type and Shape tools also each auto-
matically generate a new layer when you
use them, keeping those elements iso-
lated on their own unique layers.
This command won’t work if you already
have an existing background layer in your
Layers palette. Why? Because no image
can have two background layers at the
same time. To get around this, create a
duplicate of the current background layer
(you can rename it later). You can then
safely delete the background layer, then
follow steps 1–2 to convert a regular layer
into a background.
Figure 5.38 New background layers always appear at
the bottom of the Layers palette.
Figure 5.37 You can convert a layer to a background
by choosing Layer > New > Background From Layer.
Figure 5.36 You can convert the background to a layer
and rename it during the conversion.
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Chapter 5
Converting and Duplicating Layers

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