Introduction to Layers Basics in
Photoshop Elements

Understanding and using Layers is the key to getting the results you want with Photoshop Elements. Whether it's creating special effects or applying the powerful editing features of PSE to make your photos look crisp and clear with the right color and tone. You can do all of that without worrying about messing up your original photo because it will remain untouched on its own layer.

And if you get into the really cool stuff like removing people from or adding people to photos, layers are essential to the process.

If you've had a hard time figuring out how Layers work in Photoshop Elements, you're not alone. Just grasping the basics of Layers can be a major challenge.

Click on the video below to see me make a comparison between how we might do something in real life and how using Layers in Photoshop Elements is very similar.

I think it will help you to understand what Layers are and how they work in Photoshop Elements.

Under the video are some important takeaways for you to use as a quick reference.

Important Takeaways When Using Layers In Photoshop Elements

Layers are like clear sheets of acetate or plastic that you lay over your photograph.

This represents a photo laying on a table with a clear sheet of plastic over the top of it. A mustache has been drawn onto the plastic sheet.
This represents the same photo opened in Photoshop Elements. You can see in the Layers panel that there is a transparent Layer with a mustache drawn on it.

Let's take a closer look at both examples to see the similarities.

The Real World Tabletop Example

We could have drawn the handlebar mustache directly on the photo. But then we would have altered the photo and we wouldn't be able to draw a horseshoe mustache to see how that would look.

The Photoshop Elements Example

We could have drawn the handlebar mustache directly on the Background Layer. But then we would have altered the Background Layer and we wouldn't be able to draw a horseshoe mustache to see how that would look.

Both examples allow us to see how changes would look without actually changing the original image.

To help you understand how and why to use Layers focus on these similarities:

The photograph compares to The Background Layer.

A clear sheet of plastic  compares to A transparent Layer.

Drawing on the sheet of plastic compares to drawing on the transparent Layer.

I hope that these simple examples help you to begin to see what Layers are and how to use them in Photoshop Elements.

We'll look at more similarities next time to continue your understanding of Layers.

See ya then!

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