How to Create a New Layer in Photoshop CS6
There are multiple ways to use and create layers in Adobe Photoshop Creative Suite 6. These various techniques allow you to tailor the process to your needs.
To create a new blank layer in an image that’s open: Click the Create a New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. You can also create a new layer by selecting New Layer from the panel menu or by choosing Layer→New→Layer.
Both methods open a dialog box in which you name your layer and specify other options for applying clipping masks, color-coding, blending, and opacity. Provide a name for your layer and click OK. If you chose the first method, a layer with the default name of Layer 1 appears in the Layers panel.
When you click the Create a New Layer icon, the layer is added above your active layer. By holding down the Ctrl key (Command on the Mac) when you click, Photoshop adds the new layer below the active layer.
To create an entirely new document with a layer: Choose File→New. In the New dialog box that appears, select the Transparent for the Background Contents option. Your new file then appears with Layer 1, rather than a background.
When your new transparent layer is ready and waiting, you can put content on the new layer in several ways:
Use one of the painting tools and paint directly on the layer.
Make a selection on another layer or the background within the same document or from another image entirely. Then, choose Edit→Copy. Select your new blank layer in the Layers panel and choose Edit→Paste.
Make a selection on another layer (or the background) within the same document or from another image and then choose Edit→Cut. Select your new blank layer and choose Edit→Paste. Remember that Photoshop deletes the selection from the source and adds it to your new layer.
Transfer an entire image to your new layer by choosing Select→All and then either Edit→Copy or Edit→Cut. Select your new blank layer and choose Edit→Paste.
Use layer via copy and layer via cut
Another way to create a layer is to use the Layer via Copy command on the Layer menu. Make a selection on a layer or background and choose Layer→New→Layer via Copy. The copied selection is placed on a new layer with the default name of Layer 1.
You can duplicate this with the Layer via Cut command, but now, Photoshop deletes the selected area from the source layer or background, and places it on the new layer. The source layer is left with a gaping hole. If you used the background for the source, your background color fills the space. Remember that you can use these two commands only within the same image, not between multiple images.
Note that you can now select multiple layers and perform the Layer via Copy and Cut commands.
How to duplicate layers
If you want to duplicate an existing layer, select it in the Layers panel. Then, drag the layer to the Create a New Layer icon at the bottom of the panel. You can also duplicate a layer by selecting Duplicate Layer from the panel menu or by choosing Layer→Duplicate Layer.
As with creating a new layer, both methods prompt you with a dialog box to name your layer and include other options. Provide a name for your layer and click OK. If you chose the first method, Photoshop provides the default name of the original layer with the word Copy appended to the name.
Duplicating layers can be especially handy when you want to experiment with a special effect but don’t want to harm your original image.