Layers 201

This tutorial covers the more intricate characteristics of layers:

Layer Opacity

Opacity modifies the degree to which a layer is transparent. 100% opacity indicates that the layer is completely solid and opaque, whereas a 10% opacity results in a very light, almost completely see-through layer.

To change the layer opacity:

  1. Locate the Layers palette.
  2. Select a layer.
  3. Click the downwards arrow next to "Opacity" on the top-right of the Layers palette.
  4. Move the slider to adjust the transparency of the layer.

Some applications of layer opacity:

  • Make different elements blend together
  • Apply colorization to lower layers
  • Lowering the opacity of a layer temporarily allows you to examine the layers beneath

Blend Mode

Blending modes adjust the way a specific layer interacts with the layers beneath it. Different blending modes will affect the transparency, hue, and saturation of the layer's various regions. Experiment to find the effect that you want.

To change the blend mode:

  1. Locate the Layers palette.
  2. Select a layer.
  3. Click the drop-down menu to the left of "Opacity."
  4. Select a blending mode

Layer Styles

Photoshop comes bundled with a set of effects called Layer Styles that can be applied to any layer. These include inner and outer shadows; inner and outer glows; color, gradient, and pattern overlays, stroke (aka border line), and various 3D bevel and emboss effects.

To adjust layer styles:

  1. Locate the Layers palette.
  2. Select a layer.
  3. Double-click the layer's thumbnail OR click the 'fx' symbol at the bottom of the palette and select "Blending Options."
  4. In the Layer Styles modal window, click any of the options listed in the left pane to apply the style. Adjustments to that style can be made in the center pane.
  5. Click OK to accept the style. The style will now be listed below the layer in the Layers palette under "Effects."
  6. These styles can be changed or deleted at any time by returning to the Layer Styles window. Alternatively, styles can be deleted by dragging their names from under the layer title to the Trash icon in the lower-right corner of the Layers palette.