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one layer from another ” a way to reveal changes between photographs.




Getting Layers
Your parents probably never explained where layers come from ” unless, of
course, you grew up on an egg ranch. Here™s the real story.

You always have at least one layer: the background layer. That™s the layer
where nearly everything happens until you add more layers. If you down-
load a digital photo from your camera, for example, the image is on the back-
ground layer. If you happily paint away, ignorant of all knowledge of layers,
all your painting is on the background layer.

You can get images with additional layers in a variety of ways:

Make a new, blank layer by using the various New commands on the
Layers menu (on the menu bar) or by using the Layer palette.
Turn a selection into a layer (promote it, in Paint Shop Pro terms).
Incidentally, make a new vector layer by drawing lines or shapes or by
adding text.
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Make a new raster layer by using a tool, like the Deformation tool, that
requires a layer to work on, and Paint Shop Pro creates one automati-
cally for you.
Paste an image from the Windows Clipboard by choosing Edit➪Paste➪
As New Layer.
Open an image file that already has multiple layers, such as many Paint
Shop Pro or Photoshop files have.
Add a picture frame with the Image➪Picture Frame command.




Calling a Pal for Help: The Layer Palette
The first thing you should do when you™re working with layers is to call a
friend for help. The Layer palette, as shown in Figure 11-1, is your best pal.
It™s a small pal; hence, the name palette. See how things make sense, after
they™re explained?




Figure 11-1:
Your pal,
the Layer
palette, is at
your side to
help you
with layer
stuff.



If your little pal isn™t on your screen already, call it by pressing F8 on the key-
board or click the Toggle Layers button on the toolbar. Do the same thing to
hide the palette again.

One of the not-so-adorable Paint Shop Pro quirks is that sometimes it opens
the Layer palette so that the names of the layers (and, hence, the only way to
select a layer) are hidden. Your Layer palette should look like ours, with at
least the Background layer visible on the far left side; if it doesn™t, right-click
and drag the vertical bar immediately to the left of the Visibility toggle (the
little eye) and drag it rightward to reveal all.

Here are a few basic factoids to help you get along with your new and complex-
looking pal:

Each row of the palette represents a layer. Your view of the image
in the image window is down through the layers, from top to bottom
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(background). The layers™ names are on the left side of the palette. You
assign names when you create the layers, or else you allow Paint Shop
Pro to create a boring but adequate name, like Layer3. Paint Shop Pro
automatically calls the initial, background layer (the one that every
image starts with) Background.
To work on a layer, click its name. Clicking its name makes that layer
the active one. Nearly everything you can do to an image in Paint Shop
Pro, such as paint, erase, or fiddle with the colors, affects only the active
layer. The palette helps you remember which one is active.
The icon to the left of each row tells you what kind of layer that row
represents. Four kinds of layers exist: raster, vector, grouped, and
adjustment. You use raster layers most often. See the section after next,
“Choosing a Layer That™s Just Your Type,” for details. In Figure 11-1, the
row named Pasted Alex, Sky, and Snow show you a raster icon, the
Lettering and Pentagon layers show the vector icon, the
Brightness/Contrast layer displays an adjustment icon, and Alex™s
Background shows the group icon.

Don™t bother trying to understand the palette all at once. We tell you how to
use the rest of the palette™s features as we go along.




Creating a New, Blank Layer
To create a new, blank layer, follow these steps by using the Layer palette:

1. Choose where, in your stack of layers, you want the new layer to
appear.
(If this is the first layer you have added to an image, you can skip this
step. The new layer appears just above the background layer.)
Otherwise, on the Layer palette, click the layer that you want the new
layer to appear above. In Figure 11-1, for example, we have clicked the
layer labeled Sky, to make that layer the active one.
2. For a raster layer (the most commonly used type of layer), click the
New Raster Layer button or choose Layers➪New Raster Layer from
the menu bar.
The New Layer button is in the upper-left corner of the Layer palette, as
shown in Figure 11-1.
If you™re savvy about the various types of layer and know that you want
a specific type, you can choose other types of layers from the Layer
palette button bar or Paint Shop Pro menu bar. You can choose Raster,
Vector, Art Media, Mask, or Adjustment layer. For more information
about types of layer, see the next section.


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3. Type a name for the layer.
The Name field of the Layer Properties dialog box is already highlighted,
so you don™t have to click there before typing. Whatever you type
replaces the descriptive but rather boring name (like Raster1) that Paint
Shop Pro suggests. Enter a name in that field that describes what you
will put on this layer. If you™re not feeling creative, just skip this step and
Paint Shop Pro uses the boring name.
4. Click OK.
Get the heck out of this dialog box and get on with the fun!

Your image doesn™t look any different, so maybe you™re wondering “Just what
have I accomplished?” Fear not! You have indeed added a layer. The image
doesn™t look any different because your new layer is transparent and blank.
It™s just like a sheet of clear plastic placed over a painting.

Look at the Layer palette. You see your new layer, with the name you gave it,
highlighted. That means that it™s the active layer, and any painting, erasing,
selection, or color adjustment you perform now takes place on that layer.

When you float a selection, it appears on the Layer palette like a layer and is
named Floating Selection (in italics). It™s not really a full-fledged layer, but you
can use Layer menu commands on it, like moving it down in the stack. You
can turn a selection into its own layer, as we show you later in this chapter.




Choosing a Layer That™s Just Your Type
To make life a bit more complicated, Paint Shop Pro has four different types
of layers for different kinds of stuff. Four of those types of layers appear in
Figure 11-1, where you can see that they™re distinguished by special icons.
Here™s more about those layers:

Raster: You use this plain-vanilla type of layer most of the time. A raster layer
handles normal images ” the kind made of dots, called raster, or bitmap,
images. Raster layers are marked with the icon shown here.

Vector: This special type of layer comes into play mostly when you use the
Paint Shop Pro text, preset shapes, or line-drawing tools. Vector images are
made up of lines or curves connected in a connect-the-dot fashion. Paint
Shop Pro normally creates text, preset shapes, and lines as vector images,
although you can alternatively create them as raster images. Vector images
can™t appear on a raster layer, and raster images can™t appear on a vector
layer. Vector images are marked with the icon that appears here.




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Art Media: Art Media layers are for artwork made using the special Art Media
tools described in Chapter 10. These are paintings or drawings with an
appearance of being done with real paint, chalk, crayon, and so on. Be sure
to choose what type of texture you want when you create a new layer. Click
the Canvas Texture tab when the Layer Properties dialog box appears, and
then click the sample texture that™s shown to choose from a fly-out menu of
textures.

Adjustment: This special type of layer doesn™t contain any images! It™s like a
magical coating that imparts a particular image quality to the layers under it.
It works almost exactly like color adjustments. The advantage of adjustment
layers is that the enhancement is separated from the image, so changing your
mind is easier. Adjustment layers are named according to the kind of adjust-
ment they perform, and each of them has its own snazzy color icon; the one
shown next to this paragraph is Contrast.

Group: Many times, you want to apply an effect to the same two or three
layers while leaving the other layers untouched. You can group the layers so
that Paint Shop Pro treats them like a single layer, which is awfully handy; we
show you how to do this later in this chapter.

Mask: Masking is used to hide certain areas of an overlaying layer™s image
while letting other areas remain visible. It™s a little like masking tape except
that rather than cover parts of an image, like masking tape does, masking
makes areas transparent ” just as erasing on a layer does in Paint Shop Pro.
That allows the underlying image to show through. This handy trick for
advanced Paint Shop Pro users allows you to cut shapes out with little effort
or create transparent areas on the background layer.




Working on Layers
To work on a layer, click its name on the Layer palette to select it (make it
active). You can now paint, erase, adjust color, cut, copy, paste, and make
image transformations, such as flipping, filtering, or deforming, and the
results appear on only your selected layer. How tidy and organized!

As an artist who is using multiple layers, you™re like a doctor who is seeing
multiple patients. To avoid mistakes, you must know which one you™re oper-
ating on. You can™t tell what image is on which layer by simply looking at the
image. The transparency of layers prevents you. So, instead, keep an eye on
the Layer palette to see which layer is active. The active layer is highlighted
there. Pause your cursor over a layer™s name to see a tiny thumbnail image
of the layer™s contents. If a tool doesn™t seem to be working, you™re probably
trying to work on something that isn™t on the active layer. Try turning various
layers on and off to find the object you want.


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Here are a few peculiarities of working with layers:

Moving: You can use the Move tool (the four-headed arrow) to slide an
entire layer around (but not the background layer). Click the Move tool on
the Tool palette. Then, in the image window, drag the entire layer by drag-
ging any object on that layer. To move an individual object independently
of the others on that layer, select the object before you use the Move tool.
(If the object still doesn™t move independently, make sure that the object™s
layer is the active one, reselect the object, and try again.)
Selecting: When you make a selection on a layer, the selection marquee
penetrates to all layers. That means that you can select an object on one
layer, switch to another layer, and then, for example, fill that selected
area (within the selection marquee) with paint on that other layer.
Copying: When you copy, you copy only from the active layer ” unless
you choose Edit➪Copy Merged. A merged copy includes all the layers.
Erasing: When you erase or delete on a (nonbackground) layer, you
restore the layer™s transparency. (On the background layer, you leave
behind background color when you erase, or transparency if the image
was originally created with transparent background ” and for the
record, photos are not created with transparent backgrounds.)
Using raster, Art Media, and vector tools: Paint Shop Pro uses the three
distinct image types raster, vector, and Art Media, and has three distinct
sets of tools for these image types. (Refer to the section in Chapter 10
about Art Media and those who miss real Paint, and Chapter 12 for infor-
mation about vector objects, like text and shapes.) These tools work
only on layers of the same type (except that raster tools are also used
on mask layers). As a result, if you™re working on a raster layer, for exam-
ple, and try to apply a vector or Art Media tool, Paint Shop Pro offers to
create a new layer of the appropriate type.




Managing Layers
When you view a multilayer image, you look down through all the layers just
as you would look down through a stack of plastic sheets with stuff painted
on them. To control which layers you see and also adjust the order in which
they™re stacked, use these techniques:

To see just the active layer: Choose Layers➪View➪Current Only.
To see all layers: Choose Layers➪View➪All.
To see specific layers: On the Layer palette, click a layer™s Layer Visibility
toggle, known to its friends as the eyeglasses icon. Each layer has this
icon, to the right of the layer name. Click it once to turn the layer off
(make it invisible) and click again to turn it on. When a layer is off, an X
appears through the eyeglasses icon.
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To move a layer up or down in the stack: Drag it up or down in the left
column of the Layer palette. While you™re dragging, the layer itself doesn™t
move; instead, a black line follows your cursor to tell you where the layer
will go when you release the mouse button. An alternative to dragging is
to click a layer and then choose Layers➪Arrange➪Bring to Top, Move Up,
Move Down, Send to Bottom, Move Into Group, and Move Out of Group.
Renaming a layer: To change a layer™s name, double-click the layer™s
current name on the Layer palette. When the Layer Properties box
appears, type a new name in the Name field (already selected, for your
convenience) and click OK. Or, right-click the name once and choose
Rename from the context menu that appears, and you can edit the name
right on the Layer palette.
Removing a layer: To delete a layer on the Layer palette, click that
layer™s name and then click the Delete Layer button. Everything on that
layer goes away with the layer.



Pinning Layers Together: Grouping
After you have carefully positioned objects on different layers, it™s nice to
pin those layers together so they can™t reposition themselves. If you have
painstakingly put Uncle Tobias™s head on the neck of a giraffe, for example,
you want to keep them together while you get creative with other layers.

The first thing to do is to select the first layer you want to add to your group
and then click the New Layer Group button near the upper-right corner of
the palette. This action brings you to the ever-so-titillating New Layer Group
dialog box, which looks almost exactly like the New Layer dialog box, and
you should do the same thing you did there: Ignore all those options and just
type a friendly name for your group. Then click OK. (As with the New Layer
dialog box, if you leave it to Paint Shop Pro, it chooses something delightfully
nondescriptive, like Group 1.)

As you can see in the Alex™s Background group, as shown in Figure 11-1,
you now have a group on your Layers palette, complete with the layer you
selected neatly tucked under it. (You also should see a tiny box with a “ next
to it; if you don™t want to see all the layers contained in this group, click the “
to hide them. Click the + sign next to the group to reveal them again.) To add
another layer to your group, click the name of the layer, drag it back up to
just underneath the name of the layer (it turns into a small black bar), and let
go. Your layer is now a part of the group! (If only high school had been this
easy.) To remove a layer from a group, simply drag it above the group name.

Layers with the same group name behave as though they were pinned
together: When you move one layer with the Move tool (the 4-headed arrow
thingy), you move the entire group. Members of a group keep their indepen-
dence in other ways, though. If you change the appearance of a layer (make it
brighter, for example), its fellow group members don™t change.
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Gone but not forgotten: Layer links
In the old days of Paint Shop Pro, you didn™t because it has a small number next to the tiny
have the handy-dandy Layer Groups command; chain image.
instead, you used layer links, which were clum-
Honestly, the new Group Layer feature is so
sier and harder to remember, and you could
handy that we™re only letting you know about this
have only 12 of them. In a nod to older Paint
ratty ol™ layer link feature in case you open a Paint
Shop Pro .psp files that may not support layer
Shop Pro 7 (or earlier) file that uses it. You don™t
groups, Paint Shop Pro 9 allows you to use layer
want to know what happens if you start mixing
links in addition to groups.
layer links and layer groups. (It™s much like mixing
Click the layer link toggle to assign a layer link tequila and rum.)
number to your layer; layers that share the same
The upshot is that if you have a layer that you
layer link number act exactly like groups. Click the
could swear you have grouped properly but just
Layer Link toggle button to assign a given layer to
doesn™t seem to be affected by something that
Layer Link 1, and click it again to raise the number
changed the rest of the group, check to see that
by one each time, all the way up to the number of
it doesn™t have a layer link number. If it does, click
layers you have within your image ” at which
the toggle enough times to set the layer link to
point it goes back to having no layer link. You can
None and then group those layers. You can thank
tell whether a layer is assigned to a layer link
us in the morning.




Using Layers to Separate
or Combine Images
The main reasons for using layers are either to break an image apart into sev-
eral layers for more flexible editing or to combine multiple images into one.
This section describes how to do both.



Combining entire images
Do you have two entire images to combine? To combine an entire image file
with the image you™re working on, follow these steps:

1. On the Layer palette of the image you™re working on, click the name
of the layer above which you want to insert your new image.
If the image doesn™t have multiple layers, skip to Step 2.
2. Choose File➪Browse and open the image browser to the folder con-
taining the image file.



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Thumbnail pictures of the images in that folder appear. (For more infor-
mation about how to use the image browser, refer to the section in
Chapter 1 about opening, managing, and sorting files with the browser.)
3. Drag the thumbnail picture of the image file to the image you™re work-
ing on.
Paint Shop Pro inserts the new image as a layer, above the layer you
selected in Step 1. (If the image you™re dragging contains multiple layers,
all its layers are grouped together.) The cursor turns into a 4-headed
arrow to indicate that Paint Shop Pro has selected the Move tool for you.
4. Drag the new image to position it where you want it.

After dragging, we often click the Arrow tool (at the top of the Tool palette)
or some other tool to avoid accidentally dragging the selection when we
move the mouse again.



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