Raster Layers

Raster layers in PaintShop Pro are the easiest to use and understand as you can see from the PaintShop Layers tutorial.

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 ...

raster layers original

There's really nothing wrong with the image but we can have some fun with it anyway.

Creating Raster Layers

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.

raster layers layer 1

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?

Working With A Basic Layer

So lets try out some adjustments on this simple layer.  How about a bit of makeup and cloning on this image?

raster layers original
raster layers start layer
Original Image The Layers

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

raster layer red cheeks
raster layer cheeks layer
Red Applied
to Cheeks
Layer Named "Cheeks"
Layer Highlighted with Red

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.

raster layer cheeks layer opacity lowered

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%).

raster layer eyelids colored
Raster Layers Eyeliner layers plaette
Raster Layers Eyeliner lowered opacity
100% Opacity Palette
Color Coded and Named
18% Opacity

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 ...

Cloning To A Basic 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.

Raster layers dark eyes
Raster Layers Cloning
Dark Areas Under
The Eyes
Dark Areas
Cloned Out

Raster Layers clone palette
This is the image after using the Clone Tool to eliminate the dark shadows under the eyes.

The settings for the Clone Tool were ...

  • A new Raster Layer was added, named and color coded.
  • Soft Edge Clone Brush was used.
  • Aligned Mode checked.
  • Use All Layers checked.
  • Intuos Pro pen set to change opacity with pressure.  If you're using a mouse then lower the opacity in the Options bar.

One last thing to do with this image.  This is a trick I learned from a professional photographer for sharpening the eyes ...

The Eyes

Jump back down to the Copy of Background layer and:

  1. Zoom in tightly on one of the eyes.
  2. Select the Freehand Selection Tool.
  3. Select the eye - the white and the middle.
  4. Pan over to the other eye and do it again.
  5. When both eyes are selected, Layer > Promote Selection To New Layer or Ctrl-Shift-P.
  6. Give the new layer a unique color and a name - say - Eye Selections.

Turn off the other layers visibility so only the Promoted Layer is visible - it should look something like this ...

Raster Layers selected eyes

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!

One Last Thing

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.

With ...
  • A soft edge brush set to change opacity with pressure
  • The foreground color set to black.
  • Both new layers set to Soft Light Blend Mode, named, and
  • The new layers color coded black.

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.

Raster Layers end

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!

The End

Raster Layers all visible

To 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 on again.

It can be a tad cumbersome to see a true before and after view unless you are really a high speed clicker.

The way to quickly view one layer on its own is to highlight the layer you want to see and then select Layers > View > Current Only.

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.

Always remember ...

       Layers are your friends!

Raster Layers
on Page Links

Creating Raster Layers

Working With Layers

Cloning To A Layer
One Last Thing

The End

Always Remember

 Layer Menu

psp layer menu
Layers Menu

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