PaintShop Layers

Paint Shop Layers Are Our Friends!
PaintShop layers are very useful and the can cause a new digital editor terror.  Despite you initial skepticism if you persevere then you will find your projects going to a new level.

There are only a few things you absolutely have to understand when working with PaintShop Pro and this is one of them.

Once you understand layers your digital imaging projects will go to a whole new level.

I understand the confusion because I was a newbie once and layers were a complete and utter mystery to me.

The original tutorial was prepared with an earlier version of PaintShop Pro and the information is still accurate for the latest version (X6).

General Stuff

When you create or import an image in Corel PaintShop Pro, the image has a single layer.

Depending on the type of image you create or import, the single layer is labeled as Background, Raster, Vector, or Art Media.

When you open a photo, scan, or screen capture, the single layer is labeled as Background on the Layers palette.

For most simple corrections and retouching, you do not have to add layers to an image.

However, it is a good practice to duplicate the single layer before making image corrections, so that you preserve the original image on its own layer.

If you intend to do more complex work — such as adding elements to the image, creating photo compositions, adding text, or applying other effects — the use of PaintShop layers is highly recommended.

What Are PaintShop Layers?

Think of PaintShop layers as sheets of acetate stacked one on top of the other above your image.  Making adjustments on the layer above your original image means the original is not being modified but its appearance is changing.

You can have as many layers as you wish so don't be stingy with them.  If you are burning or dodging an image don't do it all on one layer - add additional layers for different items and give each layer a name so you can find it if you need it.

So what are the values of working on Layers?

PaintShop Layers Benefits

In actual fact learning how to use Paint Shop layers is a joyous journey and there are some very good reasons why you should learn everything you can about them!

Image Protection

When you are working on a layer you are not working on the original image and that's a good thing.  

Say, for instance, you are doing some adjustments on a valuable image and being a good digital imager you are saving your work regularly.

The time comes when you realize you have gone too far and want to get back to the starting point only to discover - to your horror - that you were working on the original image and it is the only one you have of that subject and now it is headed for the trash.

That won't happen if you're working on a layer!

Use Multiple Layers To Save Time

There'll come a time when you are retouching an image and everything is perfect except for one little area.  If you were regularly adding new PaintShop layers (and naming them) it is easy to locate the offending area and eliminate that particular layer.

If, on the other hand, you completed hours of work on a single layer and realized something was amiss - well - out goes the layer and you get to start all over again.

Decrease The Impact Of an Adjustment

The opacity of each layer can be lowered making it easy to decrease the effect of an adjustment.

Add Layer Effects

There are really cool ways that one layer can react with other layers.  Effects like drop shadows and emboss among others.

See The Results Of An Adjustment

Layers can be turned off and back on to see the results of an adjustment you have made. This is very useful.

If you don't like what you see then modify the adjustment or throw out the layer and start again!

The PaintShop Layers Palette

This is where you control everything to do with PaintShop layers.  Its just a tiny little thing, really but it's oh so useful!

layers palette
  1. Create New Layer

  2. Delete Layer

  3. Layer Information

  4. Background (original image)

  5. Copy of Background

  6. Raster Layers

  7. Layer Visibility

Now for an explanation of the palette ...

Palette Top

layers palette top

Number 1 is a drop down menu to select the different type of layer.  There are six layer type choices.  

paint shop layer options

Number 2 is the Delete Layer icon - self explanatory, right?

Right Side Of The Palette

paint shop layers right
Number 3 is the information for each layer.

The number at the top (100 or 26 or 11 or whatever) is the Opacity of the layer. The opacity can be lowered by dragging the slider to the left.

To the right of the opacity setting is the Layer Effects Visibility Toggle.  If there are any effects appled to the layer they can be turned off and on by left clicking on this icon.

Right below the opacity setting is the layer Blend Mode drop down menu.  It defaults to Normal and can be changed to  one of twenty different options. This will be covered in more detail later.

To the right of the Blend Mode drop down menu us a little lock.  Left clicking will lock out any further changes to the layer.

The bottom control is the Link Layer Toggle.  Layers can be linked and when one linked layer is moved with the Move Tool all of the linked layers move together.

Left Side Of The Palette

paint shop Layers left
Number 4 is the Background Layer - the original image.  You cannot do anything to this layer - unless you change its name then it acts like any other layer.  The name is changed by double clicking on it.

Number 5 is a copy of the background.  It is created by right clicking on the Background layer and selecting Duplicate from the options available.

Number 6 are the thumbnails of the raster layers.  There can be as many raster layers as you want.  It is a good idea to name each layer according to what part of the image they are modifying.

Number 7 sets the visibility of each layer.  When the little eyeball is visible then the information on that layer is visible and when the little eyeball is not visible then the information on the layer is not visible.
This means you can turn a layers visibility off and on by clicking the eyeball to see the result of any adjustment made on that layer.


Well thats OK if you are because learning often has to move through confusion because if you don't know anything about a subject then you can't be confused!

And always remember ...

Layers Are Your Friends!

Raster Layer Examples

psp layersBasic Paint Shop layer manipulation is the starting point to understanding how to use this powerful feature of Paint Shop Pro.

Clicking on the thumbnail will take you to a thorough discussion of basic layers.

PaintShop Layers
On Page Links

General Stuff

What Are Layers

Layer Benefits
The Layers Palette

Raster Layer Example

Layer Images

Layer Palette

Layer Options

Blending Options

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