O'Reilly logo

Photoshop Elements 8 for Mac: The Missing Manual by Barbara Brundage

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Chapter 6. Layers: The Heart of Elements

If you’ve been working mostly in the Quick Fix window so far, you’ve probably noticed that once you close your file, the changes you’ve made are permanent. You can undo actions while the file is still open, but once you close it, you’re stuck with what you’ve done.

In Elements, you can keep your changes (most kinds, anyway) and still revert to the original image if you use layers, a nifty system of transparent sheets that keeps each element of your image on a separate sliver that you can edit. Layers are one of the greatest image editing inventions ever. By putting each change you make on its own layer, you can rearrange the composition of your image, and add or subtract changes whenever you want.

If you use layers, you can save your file and quit Elements, come back days or weeks later, and still undo what you did or change things around some more. There’s no statute of limitations for the changes you make using layers.

Some people resist learning about layers because they fear layers are too complicated. But they’re actually really easy to use once you understand how they work. And once you get started with layers, you’ll realize that using Elements without them is like driving a Ferrari in first gear. This chapter gives you the info you need to get comfortable working with layers.

Understanding Layers

Imagine you have a bare-bones drawing of a room you’re thinking about redecorating. To get an idea of your decorating options, imagine that you ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required