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Chapter 5. Working with Layers > Understanding Layers

Understanding Layers

When you first import or scan an image into Photoshop Elements, it consists of just one default layer. You may find that in many cases, you’ll just want to make a few simple changes to your photo and don’t want to mess around with multiple layers. That’s fine. But when you start working on images with any level of complexity, you’ll find that layers make things a whole lot easier.

Layers act like clear, transparent sheets stacked on top of each other, and yet, when you view your image, they often appear as one unified picture (Figure 5.1). As you copy and paste selections, you may have noticed that these operations automatically create new layers in your image. You can edit only one layer at a time, which allows you to select and modify specific parts of your photo without affecting the information on other layers. This is the real beauty of layers: being able to work on and experiment with one part of your image while leaving the rest of it is completely untouched. One exception to this rule is Adjustment layers. These let you make color and tonal corrections to individual or multiple layers without changing the actual pixels.


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