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Layering Techniques

A Guide to Layer Blending Modes

Saufnase's Tutorial on creating a 10 second shadow

Copying multiple layers

2004-05-27 09:05:43 PM mumbling2myself
If you hit shift-ctrl-c instead of ctrl-c to copy, it copies exactly what you see (basically does the whole merge/copy/unmerge things for you). If you only want a few layers merged, make the others invisible.

2004-05-27 09:16:10 PM modified_dangler
If you hit ctrl-alt-shift-n then ctrl-alt-shift-e, it will make a new layer and paste a merged copy of all visible layers into a new layer. Your head asplode!

Adjusting Multiple Layers

2004-05-27 11:46:28 PM doccm9
How do you adjust multiple layers at once for brightness/contrast or color adjustments and the like while keeping them as separate layers?

2004-05-28 12:42:28 AM mumbling2myself
You use an adjustment layer. They are teh coolest. Basically it's a layer that treats everything underneath it as though it's been adjusted.

2005-01-28 11:04:03 AM mccaffry
Stupid question, but how do you get an adjustment layer to only modify a single layer, or folder of layers?

2005-01-28 11:11:49 AM bargirl24
mccaffry clip the adjustment layer to the layer(s) in question

2005-01-28 11:18:43 AM 64nDh1
Another solution mccaffry, use merging. Put in your adjustments layer above the layer you want to alter. When you have it to your liking then [apple-e] or [ctrl-e]. The see how the base layers which had been affected are no longer adjusted. Hope that helps too.

2005-01-28 11:22:46 AM bargirl24
Merging the layers defeats the purpose of using an adjustment layer instead of using Image>Adjustments>(whatever) from the file menus.

By not merging the adjustment layers down you can always readjust as necessary or even delete it later if desired. By merging or using the dropdown menus you can go back and undo it later (easily) unless there is a saved copy elsewhere

2005-01-28 11:26:02 AM modified_dangler
McCaffry, make sure you have the layer you want it to effect selected when you make the adjustment layer. Then hold down the key as you create the adjustment layer. When the dialog box pops up select "use previous layer to create clipping mask" then click "OK".

You can do the same thing after you've made the adjustment layer by holding down the alt key, placing your cursor between the adjustment layer and the layer you want it to effect in the layers palette and clicking.

To have an adjustment layer effect only a layer set, put it at the top of the set, select the set and change its mode to "normal" in the layers palette.

bargirl24's Guide to Seamless Image Overlays

  1. Make sure your subject is resized to the final image size before you overlay the image.

  2. Make sure your overlay image is resized to reflect where the image edges are where you want them to appear. In the example of earthshirt I wanted the edges of the heavenly body to reflect where a shirt hem would appear but in woodnymph I wanted the entire subject covered. The best way I have found to do this is reduce the overlay images opacity to 75% and then hit ctl-T (transform) so you better see and gauge how much you have to resize. Remember in most cases when you scale the image you will want to constrain the proportions, so holding down the shift key while you scale is something you will want to remember. Once that is done, return the image opacity back to 100%

  3. Once your images are resized, here comes the fun part... layer blending modes. With the opacity of the overlay image set at 100%, start playing with the layer blending modes. In most cases Overlay, Screen or Multiply will give the best results, however every now and then one of the other modes will give you the stunning results you want. The important thing is to find the one that is closest to what you have in mind. Once you find the right blending mode, you can play around with the opacity of the layer to tone down the results a bit if needed. Reducing the opacity to say 95% can often help in achieving a look that is more natural, depending on the chosen mode (usually color burn and linear burn benefit the most, as do hard light, linear light, vivid light and pin light).

  4. Now it's cleanup time. There is almost always part of the overlay image overlaying parts that don't need to be overlayed. For this I prefer to break out the layer masking, since it allows you to fix your mistakes with the switch of a brush as often as necessary as opposed to the eraser which makes you undo everything. Once you have it all cleaned up that's it. You can play around with the opacity of the overlay image some more if you think it's not properly blended in or you may go in and blur the edges a bit if they are too hard, but if you're happy with what you've got, save it and show it off.

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