I can’t believe I’m only writing about this now :)) One of the most essential, useful, time and effort saving knowledge when using Adobe Photoshop. Ah yes, the most dreaded layers! I can almost remember the first time I saw these intimidating boxes and icons *shudder* — but understanding layers is quite simple and easy! EMBRACE THEM :)) I promise it’ll make your life easier!!!
ANYWAY! Before I start blabbing again…I will start by opening my Adobe Photoshop /click.
FILE -> NEW
It’s always advisable to set your backround layer to transparent first. If you’re quite sure of the backround color you want for your artwork, go ahead and click on white or backround color — automatically set to white. Take note that when you open a new file with a white or any other color you select, that layer (first layer / backround layer) will automatically be locked.
But do not fear! Simply double click on that layer then click OK to unlock it :D
After clicking OK, the ‘lock icon’ is removed and you are free to edit that layer.
As I was saying, open a new file and set the backround to transparent.
Note that there’s a gray/white checkered pattern on your canvas/file. The area covered by this pattern means that the area is TRANSPARENT (no pixels). See what happens when I color a part of that area.
Because the opacity and flow of my brush is set to 100%,
it covers part of the transparent area completely.
When I set my brush opacity / flow to a lower percentage — in this case both 50% , see what happens:
You can still see the ‘transparent area’ underneath the brush stroke, right? When working on an artwork, you can play with the opacity and flow of your brush to have more control over your strokes and color :) You can also use this if you want certain colors/parts of your work to intersect without completely covering the other element:
Opacity and flow command/option is not limited to your brushes. You can also change an entire layers opacity and fill.
In this image, I filled out the entire canvas in blue at 100%.
* No more transparent area.
Now I’ll lower my opacity and fill to 70%.
This is what happens:
My entire layer is at 70% opacity and fill :)
Now I can add another layer beneath my blue layer without it being completely covered.
Image underneath the 70% opacity/fill layer.
• Fill - affects only the layers content.
• Opacity - affects the entire layer, including any effects (e.g drop shadow, inner glow, stroke etc.)
/Got carried away. OKAY! Now for the layers! :D
When I had no clue what the layers were for — my line art, colors, textures, and everything else was on a single layer. This means that every mistake, or every time I want to tweak something (like the color of hair/eyes), MY ENTIRE ARTWORK GETS MESSED UP. This means I have to carefully edit my mistakes or changes without touching any of the parts I don’t want to edit/delete.
Notice how the entire artwork is on just one layer (right). What If I suddenly change my mind and wanted her to have a sad face instead of a smiley one? Do I erase, recolor, and re-draw the mouth?
TOO TIME CONSUMING LITTLE CHINESE GIRL IS NOT PLEASED!!! :c What if my artwork had shadows and textures? — it will take you forever to edit that! O_O
Okay I got carried away… ON TO THE LAYERS! To make it simpler, just imagine a clear acetate. One layer is equal to one clear acetate.
So let’s start by opening a new file and setting the back round layer to transparent - 1 clear acetate.
Note that I have only one layer and that is my backround layer — BOTTOM MOST LAYER.
Now I have a cupcake drawing and I’ve already isolate the backround thus creating a floating line art (pls see my tutorial on this)
* Imagine a clear acetate with a cupcake drawing on it *Used black pentel pen 100% opacity)
Now I’m going to take my lineart and place a NEW LAYER on top of my back round layer. (Acetate with cupcake drawing ON TOP of clear acetate)
It should look like this:
Here’s what it basically looks like (concept) in 3d:
Now, if I fill my BACKROUND layer with white, nothing will happen to my lineart because it is IN A SEPARATE LAYER.
However, because I isolated the backround of my line art (floating line art) this layer has some TRANSPARENT areas/pixels. Since the entire BACKROUND layer is filled with white, it will also show on the transparent areas of my lineart layer. It should look like this:
/Hello says the cupcake 8D
Now that I have a backround layer and my line art layer, I am now ready to fill in the colors. Don’t color the entire thing on one layer because that actually beats the purpose of having layers. In this case, it is best to divide your colors by
1. Cupcake paper holder
2. Cupcake paper holder LINES
3. Cupcake Body
4. Cupcake Icing
6. Whites and Sparkles
So you won’t get confused, I suggest you rename your layers by double clicking on that layer and typing in your desired code/name.
So, where do I start? Do I add a new layer on top of my lineart or below my backround layer? — NO. Adding a new layer and coloring on TOP of your lineart will result to this:
AHHHHH!!!! Why? — you covered your lineart by placing it on top! (at 100% opacity)
How about if I color below my backround layer? — OH DEAR GOD NO .___.
Why? — Your backround layer will COMPLETELY COVER your color/all the layers below it since the whole layer is filled with white (no transparent areas)
*** See? The concept is very easy :D
Obviously, if i want to see my lineart and colors on a white backround, I should add new layers in BETWEEN my BOTTOM MOST LAYER (BG) and UPPER MOST LAYER (line art). If I want anything on top covering my lineart — let’s say some sprinkles, I need to add a new layer ON TOP of my lineart so it will NOT look like this.
But instead look like this:
Okay fast forward! I have already finished coloring on all the layers and changed my lineart color. I now have a total of 9 layers.
Btw, that little eye icon thing you see there is the visibility button. If you click it the layer will ‘hide’ — not deleted. Click it again then the elements ON THAT LAYER will re-appear on your canvas.
All 9 layers in 3d format:
ON YOUR CANVAS:
Say I’m fickle and I suddenly want to change my cupcake to BLUE! What do I do? — I simply select my CUPCAKE BODY layer
and recolor it in blue.
NONE of my layers will be affected because everything is on a different layer :)
PLEASE TELL ME YOU UNDERSTOOD ;_____; /back pain.
Anyway, I think that’s about it! :D Basic knowledge on layer functions :) There are more things you can do with layers so maybe you can explore too! (Merging layers, flattening, linking, etc)
Hope this helps!!! :) Comments and likes are always lovedddd <3