Basic Layers Commands in Photoshop Elements 10 - dummies

Basic Layers Commands in Photoshop Elements 10

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

Image layers are the heart and soul of the layering world. You can create multiple image layers within a single image. Even more fun is creating a composite from several different images. Add people you like; take out people you don’t. Pluck people out of boring photo studios and put them in exotic locales. The creative possibilities are endless.

Layer via Copy and Layer via Cut commands in Photoshop Elements 10

One way to create a layer is to use the Layer via Copy and Layer via Cut commands on the Layer menu. Make a selection on a layer or background and choose Layer→New→Layer via Copy or Layer via Cut.

Elements automatically creates a new layer and puts the copied or cut selection on the layer. Remember that if you use the Layer via Cut command, your selection is deleted from its original location layer, and you’re left with a transparent hole. If you use the background for the source, your background color fills the space.

A reminder: You can use these two commands only within the same image. You can’t use them among multiple images.

Paste into Selection command in Photoshop Elements 10

The Paste into Selection command lets you put an image on a separate layer while also inserting that image into a selection border. For example, use this command to make it appear as though the surfer in the image is in the water.


You can do the same by following these steps:

  1. Make your desired selection on the layer in your destination image.

    In the figure, select the area in the water where the surfer would be positioned.

  2. Select the image that will fill that selection.

    The image can be within the same file or from another file. The surfer actually used was in another file.

  3. Choose Edit→Copy.

  4. Return to the destination image layer and choose Edit→Paste into Selection.

Elements converts the selection border on the layer into a layer mask. The pasted selection is visible only inside the selection border. In the example, the surfer only shows inside the selected area. His ankles and feet are outside the border and therefore are hidden.

Duplicate Layer command in Photoshop Elements 10

Duplicating layers can be helpful if you want to protect your original image while experimenting with a technique. If you don’t like the results, you can always delete the duplicate layer. No harm, no foul.

To duplicate an existing layer, select it on the Layers panel and do one of three things:

  • Drag the layer to the Create a New Layer icon at the top of the panel. Elements creates a duplicate layer with Copy appended to the name of the layer.

  • Choose Duplicate Layer from the Layers panel menu.

  • Choose Layer→Duplicate Layer.

If you use the menu methods, a dialog box appears, asking you to name your layer and specify other options. Provide a name for your layer and click OK. You can specify the other options later, if you want.