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Compositing with Layers

One of the drawbacks to using the single-layer select-copy-move technique is that after the duplicated copy is deselected, it's part of the background image. If you try to move it, you'll be left with white (or whatever background color you have specified) pixels in its place. Therefore, copying selections for compositing into new layers has a number of advantages. First, pixels on a separate layer can be moved around after the fact, as long as the image is not flattened. Second, all the myriad layer styles, blending modes, and other layer effects can be applied. Third, different filters can be used on each layer independently.

Copying Selections to New Layers

In its most basic form, creating a new layer from a selection is as simple as creating the selection, selecting the Edit, Copy menu command, clicking the New Layer button at the bottom of the Layers palette (or using the menu command Layer, New Layer), and then using the Edit, Paste menu command. This process can be done as many times as necessary, and, as you know from working with layers in general, each layer can be treated differently. You can also duplicate a layer by dragging it to the New Layer button. For example, in Figure 22.8, a selection was copied to a new layer, and that layer was duplicated multiple times. Each layer was then scaled and repositioned to create the illusion of a sky thick with balloons.


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