Use Layers in Photoshop to Create Infographics

Using layers on your infographic projects in Photoshop will help you keep everything organized. Here’s how to get started with layers. Photoshop layer names appear in monofont like this so they stand out from regular text.

  1. Open or create a new Photoshop document.

  2. Open the Layers palette by choosing Window→Layers.

    When you create a new Photoshop document, it will start with one layer by default. That layer is called Background and is locked. That layer can be unlocked, used, or deleted. See the figure.

    Think of layers as a stack of individual images on your canvas. The image you see in your workspace depends on the opacity, order, and position of each layer. Layers can be sorted, grouped, or locked; and the visibility of that layer can be turned on or off. In the figure, you can see that each main element of the Uncle Sam graphic has its own layer.

    Using layers allows you to edit or apply effects to particular parts of your image without affecting the rest. You can try out changes and effects to your image, and then simply turn that layer off or delete it if you change your mind, leaving the rest of your work intact.

Here are a few other layer basics:

  • To create a new layer

    • a. Click the icon at the top right of the Layers palette.

    • b. From the fly-out menu that appears, choose New Layer.

    • c. In the New Layer dialog box that appears, you can name that layer and also select a highlight color.

      Name the layer something descriptive to help you easily identify layers as you work. For example, if you have a picture of an apple and want to try adding a highlight, name the image layer apple and the highlight layer above it apple_highlight.

      Getting started with Photoshop’s layers palette.
      Getting started with Photoshop’s layers palette.
  • To rename an existing layer

    • a. With the Cmd/Ctrl key pressed, click the layer.

    • b. Select layer then go to Layer/Rename layer from the dropdown menu along the top. The name field of your layer will become active, allowing you to type in the new name.

      Even easier, just double-click the name itself within the Layers palette. The name becomes editable, and you can start typing a new and better name.

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