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2.1 How Photoshop Layers Work

In this lesson you will learn about some basic image adjustments: Auto Tone, Auto Color, and Auto Contrast. You will then use these adjustments to explore how to add layers in Photoshop and how to edit them.

2.1 How Photoshop Layers Work

Hi there, in this video, we're going to look at layers. We're gonna do some adjustments to this image all on different layers, so we can see the different effects, and really just get to understanding how layers work. All right, let's get started in this video. Okay, so first thing to do is, let's go up to File and let's go to Open. Now from the files that you've that downloaded, open up 01-layers. Okay, this image comes to us free from Milos Tronchenski, I practiced that. Let's open them up, thanks Milos. So the first thing we need to do is make sure you can see your layers panel, mine's over here. If you can't see it, go to Window and just make sure the tick is on Layers. What we might do is, see this libraries panel here? We're gonna look at him later in the course, but he takes up quite a lot of screen real estate. Now, my screen's quite big, yours is probably not. When I'm working on my laptop, see these little double chevrons, I always go through and just close this down, okay, just to give yourself a little bit more room. Okay, so down here in my layers panel, I've got one layer. By default, when you're opening up a JPEG, you'll get given the word background, it'll be locked, okay? What we wanna do is right-click the background, okay, and go to this one that says Duplicate Layer. We're gonna give it a name, we're gonna call ours Auto Tone. Okay, and that's the first of the automatic features, we're gonna click OK. Now, it hasn't changed anything, I've just got two layers sitting on top of each other, okay, I've got auto tone and auto background. Now, with the auto tone layer selected, okay, it's kinda this light gray, or in earlier versions of Photoshop, it's kinda a blue color. So we're gonna select it, let's go up to Image and let's go to Auto Tone. You ready, stand back, and pretty cool? Pretty cool little automatic feature. Now, what auto tone's doing is, it's looking at the highlights, midtones, and shadows, and trying to find kind of a better than the original we had. Okay, so it goes and does that for us, a nice little quick automatic feature. When do I use that, I use that quite a lot when I'm doing maybe images that they're not gonna be the front cover of a magazine or the hero image for a design. It's just, I want a quick fix, okay, I've taken them on my phone or something, and they're just not quite perfect. I'm gonna go through and use something like auto tone before I, say, upload them to social media. So over here in my layers panel, the thing to look at is auto tone, okay, it's a little hard to see, the thumbnails are slightly different. What we can do is turn the eyeball off on this auto tone layer, just click the eye right in the middle. Okay, and now we can see the layer underneath, which is the background. So the background's still there, he's protected, he's not being wrecked. Okay, and I can turn this top one on and off easily to compare the two. Now when you're working with layers, you're always looking from the top down. So imagine you're always a bird flying above, and you can see auto tone. And I can turn the eye on and off for background, but nothing happens, okay? It's because auto tone's covering it, okay, so I could turn you off and then you off. Okay, so that's I guess what we're doing this video, is getting an understanding of layers. Let's do the next of the automatic features, so let's turn off the eyeball, okay, so I turned off auto tone. Let's select the background layer and right-click it again and go to Duplicate Layer. Let's look at the other feature, okay, it's called Auto Contrast, and let's click OK. Then with that layer selected, it should be automatically, let's go to Image and then let's go run the other options. Okay, it's better, okay, the colors are a bit strange still. And so note that we've used auto contrast and it's given us a result. Now let's compare it to auto tone by turning on this auto tone layer, on, off, on, off. Sometimes it can be a little hard in this course to see the differences, depending on the video quality that you're kind of receiving. And I can see a real clear difference between, I like auto tone better, stronger darks. Now, don't think auto contrast is just broken or it doesn't work. Okay, what you'll find is, it depends on the image. Sometimes I open up stuff and auto tone does a horrible job, auto contrast does a great job. So open up your image and basically test all three of these. Okay, figure out which is the best, and then say you've got another ten images to do. Then as long as they're kind of photographed in a similar sort of situation, you can often not have to try all three, just go to the one that works. So we've got auto tone, which is nice, my favorite, auto contrast, and background. So let's turn the two eyes off on these top ones. Let's look at the last of those automatic features. Right-click background, let's go to Duplicate Layer, call it Auto Tone, nope, we're using Auto Color, and let's click OK. Let's go to Image and let's just set this one. Pretty good, okay, it's pretty close to auto tone. Now if I turn them all on, what I want to do is, I know auto contrast is not that great, so I'm gonna turn it off. And what happens is, if I have this off, remember, you're the bird flying on top. If I wanna compare auto tone with color, okay, I can turn auto tone at the top. And as long as auto contrast is off, if I turn this eyeball off, you'd imagine you're seeing auto color. Turn it back on, you can kinda see I'm toggling between these two here, okay, to see the difference. You have to experiment a little bit and play around. Okay, and if it makes it a little easier, sometimes this guy here, you can just click on him and click on the trash can, okay, if he's wrong. Okay, keeps the layers a little bit tidier, you can also drag them. Let's say that we want auto contrast on the bottom. So we want it underneath auto color, not underneath background, okay, he's at the back. So click, hold, and drag auto contrast, and you'll see this little blue line appears. Okay, that little blue line, it's a little hard to see, that's where it's gonna go. Okay, I would like you to play around, I'm gonna set you a little task. I would like you to have them in alphanumeric order. So auto, my ABCs, auto color's at the top, then auto contrast, and then auto tone at the bottom, okay? Just to practice dragging them, that's all I want you to do, really. And you'll notice that the difference between, say, auto color and auto contrast, on the video, it might be so minutely different, just a slight color change. Then it's kind of up to personal preference, do you like auto color better or auto tone better? Now, if you go through, open up a bunch of images, and just run that one automatic feature. All right, so that's a basic introduction to layers, and we looked at some of the cool little automatic features in Photoshop. Now we're gonna use layers all throughout this course. So if you're finding, man, that was confusing with layers, don't worry. We're gonna kind of work through them every video, looking at layers, and you'll get a bit more comfortable with them. One of the things we'll have to do before we go, though, is save this document. Now we opened it up, remember, it was a JPEG when we opened it. Now if I go to File > Save, okay, it's gonna say, you can't be a JPEG, why is that? A JPEG can't have more than one layer, JPEG just had the background layer, and that's it. If you had not created these other layers, it would have just saved over top of the original. Okay, but Photoshop says, hey, you can't be a JPEG, so you're gonna have to be this Photoshop file, it's a PSD, there he is there, okay? And I'm happy for you to save it straight back into the source files using the same name, the only thing different will be the PSD. Don't change any of the settings, okay, and just click Save. This little Photoshop format options opens up every single time. Don't worry about this, okay, it just means that Photoshop's asking, if i save this as a PSD, do you want me to save it as a maximum compatibility version? And all that means is that it's more likely to open in really old versions of Photoshop. Okay, so I always leave this on, it makes the file size slightly bigger, but just leave it on and click on don't show again. Because it's not something that needs to pop up every time. I'm gonna leave mine on cuz I'm an instructor and I need to explain this thing. It's a pain, but let's leave it on there, let's click OK. Cool, so let's finish this off by going to File and Close. And before you go, let's practice that, so let's go to File and go to Open. And I want you to, on your own, open up the 02-layers, the Tevin Dodson, thank you very much for the image, click Open. And I'd like to set you a task, I want you to go through, duplicate the background layer, you'll end up with four layers in total. Okay, and I want you to practice with these three different automatic features. And then I want you to reorder them to the one at the top that you feel is the best. Remember, it's not always 100% perfect, okay, it's a bit of personal judgment. But drag the one that you think is the best to the top of the layers group, okay, and stack them up, just a bit of practice. All right, and I'll see you in the next video, where we are going to look at a little bit more of Photoshop kind of foundations. Where we show you how to work with multiple images, kinda copy and paste from one to the other, and how that works. All right, I will see you in the next video.

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