Layer Comps in Photoshop and InDesign

Chad Neuman, Ph.D.
A free video tutorial from Chad Neuman, Ph.D.
Professor / Graphic Designer / Photographer 20+ yrs exp.
4.4 instructor rating • 15 courses • 517,748 students

Learn more from the full course

Adobe InDesign CC Complete Masterclass: Learn Adobe InDesign

The Complete Guide to Adobe InDesign Creative Cloud: Design a Poster, Lookbook, Annual Report, and More!

13:07:46 of on-demand video • Updated April 2020

  • You will benefit from over 13 hours of helpful video lessons, informative handouts and lifetime access to current and any future projects.
  • You will master Adobe InDesign, the industry-standard graphic design and publication software.
  • You will professionally design and produce a lookbook in Adobe InDesign.
  • You will professionally design and produce a poster in Adobe InDesign.
  • You will professionally design and produce an annual report in Adobe InDesign.
  • You will effectively place and edit text, images, and illustrations in Adobe InDesign.
  • You will formulate and apply color schemes by using a variety of methods.
  • You will learn how to use spot colors, process colors, and the context for both.
  • You will design, format, edit, and copy tables in Adobe InDesign.
  • You will use Photoshop and InDesign together seamlessly, to adjust layer comps, layer visibility, and other settings of placed PSD files in InDesign.
  • You will use Illustrator and InDesign together seamlessly, to produce patterns and place illustrations.
  • You will apply preflighting and printing techniques and principles for professional results.
English [Auto] Layer comps are a really powerful tool in Photoshop that we can also adjust when replacing PSP files in InDesign. It's a great way to try different looks in a layout and even if we don't use this layout in the final annual report we do need to know this technique because it's helpful for comping different looks in a publication or other type of design. So go ahead and open up layer comp's dot PSAT in Photoshop and we have 4 layers in this we have the background original layer and layer one layer to layer three. So if we wanted to add more those we could a file open and I could select one of the other photos from the support file click open click and drag it off this tab here and use the Move tool and just click and drag it over here and it has a different color profile and that's fine. I'm going to press OK and I can resize it. Hold shift to maintain the original proportion click and drag the corner like that. And we could add another image like that. We can also go to a file place and place other images in either way. So all press or turn or enter or click the checkmark or press apply when we select another tool there. So when I've added these photos here it's added new layers here of course. And what if we're designing something and we want to try different looks and place those images into Indesign with the different looks whether it be effects or placement of layers or visibility of layers. So I'll show you what I mean if you go to a window and then layer comp's right here we don't have any by default. But right now how these layers are set we can actually add a layer comp. So if I click the create new layer comp icon on the bottom of the layer comps panel we have less comp 1 and then there's visibility which means it's going to save which ones are visible and by default These are all visible. For this one position just where they are on the image and then appearance did they have some kind of style or do they have a layer blending mode. So this one is just the default look. We'll just call that default layer comp and I'm going to press OK. And so now let's just add some effects. So let's move this over there. So that's changing the position of a layer. Let's select all these layers so hold shift. So I'm going to hold shift on the keyboard and click layer 1 and that selects all four of those because this was selected by default. And from there we could change the opacity if we wanted we can move them around as a group with the move tool on the Tools panel and so on. I can click on just one of these like this one right here and add a style to it as good a layer and then layer style. And there are many effects here we can try drops shadow strokers or a border around the photo and many other effects here. But let's just go to drop shadow. That's easy to overdo soulis just do very subtle one. And if we have preview checked we can see the before and after. So this needs to be a little bit shorter there. And also on the other side like so much spring the opacity up a bit and so we cut out a drop shadow or we get add a stroke which is just a simple border and I can change the color by clicking on it there. I'll just change this to white and then we can adjust the size and whether or not it's on the outside or the inside of that photo. So for this example I have 8 pixels inside white color. The default for blending mode which is normal opacity 100 percent. So I'll press OK. And so now we'll see we have this stroke effects and if we added more effects that would be listed here. So instead of clicking missing going through all those steps again we can just hold off on the PC or option on the Mac and click and drag that. And then we can hold all or option and click and drag this on here make sure we're clicking and dragging on the effect and not the letter itself because then it would duplicate the letter. So I'm going to hover over the effects here on all click and drag and there we go. Now so that is a look that we want to save as a comp so I'm going to press create new layer come we'll call this photo borders and we don't want to uncheck apparence because that would affect whether or not we have the Lear style saved as part of the lyric. So we definitely want to keep that checked because then we'll have that effect that we just applied. Press OK and let's toggle the visibility of some of these. So we have a simpler way out here. Let's move these two minute shift and click this one so we can move those over something like that will go in the middle there and let's use this as a third layer comp will say simple three photos. And then finally let's just have a simple original version but let's just add some text. You don't want to have text in Photoshop brought over into InDesign. We'll talk about that. But for this example let's just add some text up at the top and I'm going to click the moved tool here make sure show transform controls is checked up there in the options panel. So then we can click and drag the corner or something like that. So let's save this one as Alair Kompas well and we'll notice that we added a new layer and we can add it to a Larcom so I'm going to hit that and we'll have this one as simple title click OK. So now we can click in default in the layer comps panel we can click photo borders. Simple three photos and then simple title. So let's save this. I'll say this as a new file where comp's added up to your mirror we do want to add that as a PSG file not a jpeg or a paying because that will Wetton those images. Now this is the cool part when we go to InDesign. Let's go to a file place and let's select layer comp's added And let's be sure to have show import options checked or hold shift when you press open either way. So now instead of adjusting the visibility of the layers right here under the show layers option right here layer come up. We've got some more options here instead of last document state meaning what state the document was in when we had it in Photoshop and saved it. We can set this to default and it previews it right here. So we have show preview check we can place it as photo borders simple three photos and simple title. So this is the same PCD file this is not for JPEG-XR not for PSAT files. It's one pastie file with layer comps as part of the file. So now when I press OK and if I just click and drag this here it'll show that version of the SD file. And if I went to file place later comp's add it again make sure shoat import options is checked and we can get to simple three photos. OK. And then click and drag and we'll see that example there as well. So we can have many different iterations of a design a photo gallery and so on from the same file while placing it in design and just like toggling the visibility of layers. Even after we've placed a file we can change the layer comp in a place to PCD file like this as well. So if I had this selected I'd go to object and then object layer options and then instead of toggling the visibility here of the layers Well it's good Alair comp and go to photo borders. And then there we go it changes that for us. Click OK click this one could object objects layer options and then changes to the simple title. So I could even move this up here all click and drag it to duplicate it and then adjust the settings Object object layer options set this as the default. Click OK. And I could do the same thing here. Alt click and drag Object object. Player options and then simple three photos. So those are the four letter comps that we had produced. You can also change layer blending modes as an option in here. So we have default here and let's just say I change the blending mode of this image here to multiply it kind of darkens and blends in a little bit different way than just being completely opaque like normal mode. If I set that there I could create a new layer comp like that. And then now we've got one where we have this as with a layer blending mode of multiply. So I clicked default and it goes back to that original setting. Now if we change some settings while selecting a layer comp for example let's just say have these and I change the opacity down a little bit. I could create a new layer comp and it would save those settings or you can click this double arrow icon here and that would update the lead cop. In other words it applies these current settings to the Lehre comp here. And if I go to Indesign will notice this still looks the same. That's because I haven't saved the SD file so if I go back here and go to File Save now save the file I go to InDesign. Yes we have that exclamation point that warning sign hey hey this has been updated. So we click on that and updates it. And now we have that more transparent effect on these photos for this default Leor Cup that we designed and click on this one. It will look the same though. This one will look the same as well because we did not change those leather cups. And another way to update the current settings to match it to one of the Lair comes through already created. Besides clicking this update layer comp we can also update just the visibility's of the lecture Larry Thompson layers update the positions and update appearances. So for example I move this one over here and I click Update positions right here then that's defined. So if I click for the borders click for a default notice that now it's here. So that's another way to redefine that layer comp. So that's using layer comps to try to for looks in a layout in a raster image. Photo Gallery for example or some kind of raster design or other design in Photoshop and adjusting the layer visibility the positioning of layers and then the appearance including layer styles and layer blending mode and then using that one piece of file to place different iterations of that image in design. Thanks and I'll see you in the next lesson.