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Chapter Twelve. Layers > Miscellaneous


Q1:How can I make white pixels on a layer easier to see? When I try to view something white (like text) on a layer while hiding all other layers, it's really hard to see because of the white-and-gray checkerboard that shows layer transparency. Can I change this?
A1: Yes, go to Preferences (Command-K [PC: Control-K]), under Transparency & Gamut, and you can either pick a different preset checkerboard, create your own colors, or hide it completely.
Q2:How can I change or hide the layer checkerboard?
A2: In your Preferences (Command-K [PC: Control-K]), you can determine how you want layer transparency to display. Look under the Transparency & Gamut section.
Q3:Is there a quick way to find the center of an object on a layer?
A3: As long as the object is by itself on a layer (or selected), you can use Free Transform (Command-T [PC: Control-T]). This command adds “handles” and a center point. With that point visible, go to View>Rulers and drag a horizontal and vertical guide over that center point. Then press Escape to get out of Free Transform.
Q4:How can I make border effects? I have some photos that I want to jazz up for a presentation. I'd like to apply edges (sometimes called frames or borders) to the pictures that I can still edit later.

A4: Try adding a layer mask to the photo and adding a masking border. Click on the Add Layer Mask icon, and then create a selection on the layer mask using the Rectangular Marqueetool (M), inverse the selection (Select>Inverse), and fill it with black (Option-Delete [PC: Alt-Backspace]). Deselect by pressing Command-D (PC: Control-D). Now apply one or more filters, such as Brush Strokes, Spatter, etc. By using this method, your original photo is untouched, but the mask will make it look as though the edges have been altered. Note: You may need to hide your Background layer by clicking on its Eye icon.
Q5:How do I make an area around an image transparent? I have a picture with a logo design in the center of it. I want to cut the logo out and save it as a GIF file on its own without any background.
A5: What you need to do is select the logo and put it on a layer by itself (with no color around it). The easiest way is to select it by clicking with the Magic Wand tool (W) and going to Select>Inverse. Then, choose Layer>New>Layer Via Cut. Now hide the Background layer (click on its Eye icon in the Layers palette), and go to File>Save for Web. If you choose GIF as the format, it will automatically make the area around the logo transparent.
Q6:What is the Sample (or Use) All Layers tool option for?
A6: Tools with this option let you create a blank layer above your Background and the results of the tool will appear on the blank layer. For example, you could use the Clone Stamp tool and all the cloning would appear on the blank layer you created, allowing you to hide or change the opacity of the layer.



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