Image Layers in Photoshop Elements 10 - dummies

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

Layer life exists beyond just converting an existing background into a layer. In fact, Elements offers five kinds of layers. You’ll probably spend most of your time creating image layers.

The image layer, usually just referred to as a layer, is the basic type of layer. In Elements, layers are essentially digital versions of clear acetate sheets. You can place elements, such as images, text, or shapes, on separate layers and create a composite.

You can hide, add, delete, or rearrange layers. Because layers are digital, of course, they have added functionality. You can adjust how opaque or transparent the element on a layer is. You can also add special effects and change how the colors interact between layers.

You can create blank layers and add images to them, or you can create layers from images themselves. You can have as many image layers as your computer’s memory allows. Just keep in mind that the more layers you have, the larger your file size and the slower your computer speed.

Each layer in an image can be edited without affecting the other layers. You can move, paint, size, or apply a filter, for example, without disturbing a single pixel on any other layer or on the background, for that matter. And, when an element is on a layer, you no longer have to make a selection to select it — just drag the element with the Move tool.