They really are indispensable for most of your digital editing projects.
To a great extent, your ability to work on a layer will likely determine your success with PaintShop Pro or any digital editing program for that matter.
As a review, these are some of the most compelling reasons why working on a layer is preferable to working on the original image.
1. Original image protection.
2. Time savings.
3. Modify the effects of an adjustment.
4. Add layer effects.
5. Before and after adjustment evaluation.
There are two way to add a new layer ...
the first is to go to Layers > New Raster Layer ..., and
the second is to click on the New Layer Icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette and select New Raster Layer ...
When the palette comes up you can accept it as is or make a few changes like naming the layer (which is a good practice), applying a color to the layer (to help find it later) and/or changing the layer blend mode.
In this section we'll work through a simple project and this is the image we'll work on ...
There's really nothing wrong with the image but we can have some fun with it anyway.
The background copy layer was created by right clicking the Background and selecting Duplicate or by clicking Layer > Duplicate.
The Raster layer (called Raster 1) is created by clicking the New Layer Icon and selecting New Raster Layer or clicking Layers > New Raster Layer.
The layer that is highlighted is the active layer - that means it is the one where adjustments will be done.
The active layer is changed simply by clicking on another layer.
This is simple, isn't it?
So lets try out some adjustments on this simple layer. How about a bit of makeup and cloning on this image?
Activate Layer 1, make the foreground color a nice red and paint over the cheeks on the layer (this will add some blush to the cheeks). It works best if your use a soft edge brush (ie. Hardness = 0) and of course, I used my Intuos Pro.
The brush hardness is set in the Option bar when the Brush Tool is selected
Now that looks really weird, doesn't it - kind of like a clown!
One of the great things about raster layers is that we have the ability to lower the opacity of the layer and when it is lowered down to about 11% this is the result.
Now that makes a very subtle difference, doesn't it?
How about some eyeliner? Create another new raster layer and select a nice deep purple color. Now paint her eyelids with a slight;ly smaller soft-edge brush and lower the opacity of this new layer (this was lowered to 26%).
OK - so I'm no makeup artist. It's the technique that's important, not the artistry of the operator.Moving on - let's do some cloning on a new layer ...
When cloning there is a check box named Use All Layers at the top of the screen. When it is checked it's possible to clone from one layer to another. Working with the same image we will remove some of the small hairs between the eyebrows and lighten up the areas under her eyes.
This is the image after using the Clone Tool to eliminate the dark shadows under the eyes.
The settings for the Clone Tool were ...
One last thing to do with this image. This is a trick I learned from a professional photographer for sharpening the eyes ...
Jump back down to the Copy of Background layer and:
Turn off the other layers visibility so only the Promoted Layer is visible - it should look something like this ...
It looks kind of freaky, doesn't it?
Now go to Adjust > Sharpness > Unsharp Mask, put a check mark in Preview On Image and then do your favorite sharpening.
If you want you can also grab the dodge tool and lightly dodge in the whites of the eyes and the spectral highlights in the eyeball.
Turn on the visibility of all the layers and then turn off and on the eye sharpening layer to confirm you are totally amazed by your work
This little eye sharpening exercise on a layer can make an enormous difference!
So far, we've been using simple Raster Layers. In this step we'll still use two more Raster Layers and the Blend Mode of them will be changed to Soft Light (an amazing Dodge and Burn Blend Mode (if the concept is new to you then check out the Dodge and Burn tutorial).
The intent with this photo is to burn in the lips on one layer and the eyebrows on the other.
Slowly and carefully paint over the lips on one dodge and burn layer and do the same with the eyebrows on the other dodge and burn layer.Take a look at the end result and if one of them is burned in too much then just lower the opacity of the layer.
So here is the final image complete with seven new layers.
That is a lot of changes with the addition of 6 new layers and the nice thing is that the original image has not been modified at all. Additionally, if you find that one of the adjustments just doesn't fit the overall appearance you're after then either lower the opacity or delete the layer and start again.
It's that easy!
view the results of each layer simply click on the little eyeball on
each layer to turn that layer off - click it again to turn visibility
To make all layers visible again select Layers > View > All.
There were 6 different modifications made to this image without touching one hair on the original image meaning it is still intact!
Layers are not only great for doing this kind of image - they
work perfectly on any image in any situation.
Layers are your friends!
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