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The Essential Guide To Photoshop Elements Layers

Breakthrough the frustration and start using Layers with confidence. Presented in a clear, concise, and relaxed manner
4.9 (95 ratings)
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1,298 students enrolled
Created by Rick Peterson
Last updated 8/2015
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 3 hours on-demand video
  • 1 Supplemental Resource
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What Will I Learn?
Understand what Layers are and how to use them in Photoshop Elements.
Choose the right type of Layer for what you wish to accomplish.
Use Layer Masks with confidence.
Know if you should Flatten or Merge your Layers.
Take advantage of the flexibility of using Adjustment Layers.
View Curriculum
  • A copy of Photoshop Elements software installed on your computer. For this course I use PSE 13. If you have PSE 11 or newer, the interface will look the same. To get the most from this course you should be using PSE 9 or newer.

This course starts with an introduction into what Layers are in Photoshop Elements and how they work. You'll discover that you can actually understand Layers even if they've always been a complete mystery to you.

Master the Use of Layers in Photoshop Elements from the Clear Explanations and Presentations provided in this Course.

  • Simple descriptions of all the ins-and-outs of Layers
  • How to use Layer Styles to achieve special effects
  • What Layer Masks are and how to use them
  • What Adjustment Layers are and how to use them
  • How to Save Layered files

At Last You Can Have a Complete Understanding of How, When, and Why to Use Layers in PS Elements!

Layers are the heart of Photoshop Elements. A full understanding of Layers is the cornerstone for achieving exceptional results with your digital photos. Layers are used for everything in PS Elements from non-destructive photo editing to making composite photos.

Layers allow your creative ideas to flow freely by giving you the ability to try different ideas. Put each idea on a separate Layer and you can compare or combine items in multiple ways. Knowing how to use Layers will definitely bring your abilities in PS Elements to the next level.

Content and Overview

I'll give you clear explanations for all the different functions of Layers one-by-one and show you exactly how they work. Once you know how to use Layers, you'll be able to achieve much more in Photoshop Elements.

Each of the short lectures is packed with valuable information that will deepen your understanding of how to use Layers. You'll bring your skills to a whole new level as you eliminate the frustration of not knowing how to work with Layers.

You have the opportunity to gain mastery over Photoshop Elements by breaking through this barrier and becoming proficient at using Layers. You'll know how to use what I believe is the one thing you must grasp to use PS Elements to its potential.

In preparing for this course I asked my audience what they most wanted to know about Layers. I received hundreds of replies. Their questions became the basis for what to include in this course. Many admitted that they didn't know enough about Layers to even ask questions. They just wanted to start at the beginning and have Layers explained in an easy-to-understand, detailed format.

I present the material in a manner that people tell me again and again they find most helpful. That includes not going too fast, giving simple explanations using everyday language, not assuming prior knowledge, and clearly showing what to do.

By the end of this course you'll know how to use Layers with confidence. You won't have to wonder if you're doing it the best way or what to do to get the results you want.

Start now to break through the feelings of doubt and uncertainty that are common when you don't understand how to navigate Photoshop Elements. Layers are the key to using Elements to its full capacity and mastering Layers will help to eliminate much of your confusion and frustration.

What are the requirements?

  • A copy of Photoshop Elements software installed on your computer. For this course I use PSE 13. If you have PSE 11 or newer, the interface will look the same. To get the most from this course you should be using PSE 9 or newer.

What will you get from this course?

  • Over 30 lectures and 4 hours of content.

Who is the target audience?

  • Photoshop Elements users who want to understand how to use Layers.
  • Basic enough for beginners but complete enough to fill in any gaps for experienced users
Who is the target audience?
  • Photoshop Elements users who want to understand how to use Layers. Basic enough for beginners but complete enough to fill in any gaps for experienced users.
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Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 32 Lectures Collapse All 32 Lectures 03:03:26
Intro to The Essential Guide To Photoshop Elements Layers
1 Lecture 02:24
What Are Layers and How Do They Work?
14 Lectures 01:19:36

Layers are a strange concept in Photoshop Elements. I remember when I was first trying to understand them I was always getting confused. I would say things like:

  • "How did I make that happen?"
  • "Now how do you do that?"
  • "Do I affect the whole photo, or just this one Layer?"
  • "Can I undo just that one part and still keep the other part?"
I was constantly confused about what I was doing. Sometimes I would get lucky with the results but I had no idea what I did to make it work.
Or I would follow a tutorial step-by-step and get the desired outcome but I would never be able to do it on my own. It was only because the tutorial would say "make a new Layer by blah, blah, blah . . .".
I always thought "wow that's really cool, but I have no idea what I just did"!

To help you understand Layers we look at comparing them to how you would apply Layers in the physical world.

Preview 05:16

See how to use the Layers Panel to show or hide the contents of a Layer in the Active Image Area.

Layer Visibility

It's important to know which Layer is the Active Layer and how to make a Layer Active. That's what we'll discover in this Lecture.

Active Layers

You can name a new Layer when you create it or you can rename a Layer at any time.

Naming Layers

Yes, the Move Tool is used for moving items. But the Move Tool also has a bunch of Options that are helpful when working with Layers.

Layers and the Move Tool

In this Lecture we look at the difference between editing on a Blank Layer and a Duplicate Layer. We'll also look at some different ways to create Layers.

Add a New Layer - vs - Duplicate the Background Layer

In this lecture we'll discover how to move objects of a Layer above, below, left, right, up, and down relative to the contents of other Layers.

Preview 03:57

In this lecture we'll see how the Background Layer is different from regular Layers.

The Background Layer

This lecture explains how to quickly convert the Background Layer to a regular Layer.

Changing the Background Layer to a Regular Layer

In this lecture we'll discover what Layer Opacity is and some different ways to change it.

Layer Opacity

This lecture explains what Blend Modes are, how to change them, and some ways to use them to edit your photos.

Layer Blend Modes

In this lecture we explore how to link Layers together and how to unlink them. We'll also see what happens when Layers are linked.

Linking Layers

In this lecture we look at locking Layers and what that means. In addition we'll talk about locking just the transparent areas of a Layer.

Locking Layers

What does Sample All Layers mean and when should you use it?

Using "Sample All Layers"
Layer Styles
3 Lectures 19:09

In this lecture we look at Layer Styles:

  • What are they?
  • Where are they located?
  • How do you apply them?
Adding Layer Styles

In this lecture we go over how to adjust Layer Styles to get the custom look you want.

Editing Layer Styles

In this lecture we explore some of the ins and outs of how Layer Styles work, including:

  • What happens when you add new items to a Layer that already has a Layer Style applied to it
  • How to move a Layer Style to a different Layer
  • How to copy a Layer Style to a different Layer
  • How to remove a Layer Style
  • How to hide a Layer Style
  • How to scale a Layer Style
Working With Layer Styles
Layer Masks — What they are and how to use them
7 Lectures 38:17

In this lecture I'll show you the quickest way to add a Layer Mask to a Layer.

Adding A Layer Mask

In this lecture we discover the importance of having the right thumbnail active.

Two Thumbnails On One Layer

This lecture gives the real meat and potatoes of how Layer Masks work.

Remember! White Reveals

This lecture shows how you can affect part of your Layer Mask by painting on it with the Brush tool. In the previous lecture we discovered how Layer Masks work. In this lesson we see an actual example of how you can use Layer Masks to achieve an effect.

Adding Black And White To A Layer Mask

This lecture explains what effect gray has on a Layer Mask and gives a formula for using gray as a percentage of black.

Adding Gray To A Layer Mask

In this lecture we see that there's more than one way to add black, white, or gray to a Layer Mask. We also discover that you can combine different methods.

Other Ways To Change A Layer Mask

This lecture shows an easy way to blend two photos together using a Layer Mask.

Blending Photos With Layer Mask
Adjustment Layers
6 Lectures 32:44

This lecture shows the quickest way to add an Adjustment Layer.

Adding An Adjustment Layer

This lecture goes through the benefits of using Adjustment Layers by first showing what happens when you make your changes without using Adjustment Layers.

Editing Without Adjustment Layers

We continue our comparison of using Adjustment Layers vs not using Adjustment Layers and the benefits become obvious.

Editing With Adjustment Layers

In this lecture you'll discover how to clip a Layer to the Adjustment Layer so that you can limit the adjustment to only the Layer that you want to apply the change to.

How To Control Which Layers Are Affected

In this lecture we combine our knowledge of Layer Masks with our use of Adjustment Layers to put our changes exactly where we want them.

Adjustment Layers And Layer Masks

Another awesome benefit of using Adjustment Layers is the ability to simply drop your Adjustment Layers onto a different photo to apply the same changes to both photos. You'll get all the details in this lecture.

Apply Adjustment Layers To Other Photos
Ending A Layer Session
1 Lecture 11:16

In this lecture I explain what to do to end your Layer session and save the Layered file.

Saving Layered Files
About the Instructor
4.9 Average rating
95 Reviews
1,298 Students
1 Course
Photoshop Elements Instructor

I launched a website dedicated to Photoshop Elements training In 2008 after a friend suggested there was a real need for helping users of Photoshop Elements.

I pride myself on taking my time and making PS Elements easy to understand by giving detailed explanations using everyday language and doing whatever I can to make my tutorials crystal clear.

The response to these efforts has been great! My website gets tens of thousands of visitors each month and my YouTube videos have over a million views.

I began using the full version of Photoshop in the early '90s to edit images as a pre-press operator in the printing industry. Over the years I've had the opportunity to edit images for many popular, high-end magazines and catalogs including National Geographic, GQ, Esquire, LL Bean, Watkins, REI, Target, and many more.

It will be an honor to help you understand how to use Photoshop Elements!

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