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The Layer Menu

The Layer menu gives you many options that create or effect the layers in your document: For example, you can apply layer styles to a layer, which can affect the color, shadow, and embossing. You can merge layers together and turn type layers into graphics. The Layer menu contains many commands that can also be accessed from controls on the Layers palette and its palette menu. There are so many layer commands they all could not be covered here. Chapter 6, “Working with Layers in Photoshop,” focuses entirely on the subject of layers.

  • New: Create a new empty layer above the layer you are working.

  • Duplicate: Create an exact copy of the layer you are currently working in. Choose a name for the duplicate, or Photoshop assigns the duplicated layer the name of the original layer with the word COPY behind it.

  • Layer Style: A library of layer effects are available under this menu. Selecting one effect from the menu gives you the Layer Style dialog, which gives you access to all styles (see Figure 4.12). Check the boxes to apply styles and make adjustments for all effects.

    Figure 4.12. The layer styles give you options to affect the layer in many ways. This dialog is used most often for adding drop shadows or embossing effects to text and buttons.

  • New Adjustment Layer: Apply certain effects to the layer without changing the layer itself. An adjustment layer changes the layers below it without affecting pixel values. For example, you can create a levels adjustment layer to alter brightness and contrast of the layer below without affecting the actual lower layer's pixel values.

  • Group Layers: Hold down the Shift key to select multiple layers. Then group them together to keep your Layers palette organized and easier to move around.

  • Merge Layers, Merge Visible, Flatten Image: When you are ready to compress your image, use the different flatten options to combine layers. Sometimes you will use this to finalize an effect or make adjusting part of an image a little easier.


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