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Chapter Twelve. Layers > Moving & Copying

Moving & Copying

Q1:How do I center layers when I copy them? When I drag-and-drop from one image into another, the new layer gets created “somewhere.” How can I center the new layer as I copy it?
A1: Hold down the Shift key as you drag-and-drop a layer into another open document and the layer will be centered.
Q2:Can I drag-and-drop into a specific location in another document?
A2: Make a small selection in the “destination” document that's in the center of the location where you want the layer dropped. Then return to the original document and drag-and-drop while pressing-and-holding the Shift key. The new layer will be positioned over the center of the selection.
Q3:(Part 1) Why can't I drag-and-drop? I tried to drag-and-drop from one image to another, but it wouldn't let me—it just kind of “bounced back.”
A3: Chances are you were trying to drag-and-drop into a color mode (such as Indexed Color) that doesn't accept layers. Dragging-and-dropping always creates a new layer, but Indexed Color mode does not support layers. You'll either have to change the mode or live with copying-and-pasting (and not using layers!).
Q4:(Part 2) Why can't I drag-and-drop? I tried to drag-and-drop from one image into another, but all I got was the selection shape, not the actual pixels (image).
A4: Once you have made your selection, you must switch to the Move tool (V) to drag-and-drop the pixels. You must have had a selection tool active when you dragged-and-dropped, so all you really dragged were the selection edges, not any pixels.
Q5:How do I move a layer to another document so it appears in the exact position from its original document?

A5: From your original document, in the Layer menu choose Duplicate Layer. In the dialog that appears, under Destination, choose the other document (or a new document). Your copied layer will appear in the exact position on your new document as it appeared in the original one.
Q6:Is there a quick way to duplicate a layer into a new document?
A6: Hold down Option (PC: Alt) as you drag a layer onto the Create a New Layer icon. In the dialog that appears, set the Destination as New.
Q7:How do I copy several layers at once to a second document?
A7: To drag-and-drop several layers at the same time, here's the process: Select the layers you want to copy, and then drag-and-drop them into the second document (which should be open onscreen).
Q8:Is there a quick way to duplicate a layer? A keyboard shortcut, maybe?
A8: With the layer you want to duplicate active, press Command-J (PC: Control-J). Note: If only a portion of a layer is selected, only that area will be duplicated onto a new layer.
Q9:How do I copy all pixels on all visible layers at once?
A9: Press Command-A (PC: Control-A) to select your entire image area, and then press Command-Shift-C (PC: Control-Shift-C) to copy all data on all visible layers.
Q10:How do I move only one object on a layer? I have several objects on the same layer, but only want to move one of them. I only seem to be able to move the entire layer as a whole. How do I move just one object?
A10: You have to select the object first. Use any selection tool, such as the Magic Wand (W), to select the object. Press V to switch to the Move tool and reposition it. After you move it and deselect (Command-D [PC: Control-D]), it will again be a part of the overall layer. Hint: If you're having trouble selecting an object, make a rough selection around the object, including some transparency. Then switch to the Move tool and press the Up Arrow key or the Down Arrow key. Doing this will automatically select only the pixels.
Q11:Why can't I move the Background layer? When I try to move the Background layer, I can't. Why not?
A11: By default, the Background layer is locked and to unlock it you must make it an editable layer. Double-click on the Background layer's name, choose another name in the resulting dialog, and click OK. Now the Lock icon will be gone and you can move the layer.
Q12:How do I paste an object behind something in the background? I have a photo of several buildings, and I'd like to add another building, but make it look as though the “new” building is behind the other building. Is that possible?

A12: Yes, you must use Paste Into to do this. First, make a selection around the area into which you want to put the new building (use any selection tool you'd like). Then on the other image, select and copy (Edit>Copy) the new building. Return to your original photo and from the Edit menu choose Paste Into. This will automatically put the new building on a separate layer with a layer mask, making it look like it is behind the other buildings. Then you can use the Move tool (V) to position and Free Transform (Command-T [PC: Control-T]) to scale.



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