Adobe Photoshop – layer management

Rule 1: Name your layers

Fastidiously naming your layers allows you to find the item you want to work on while you still remember what you want to do with it once you find it.

Rule 2: Use layer styles

Layer styles let you create completely editable effects that can replace meticulous (tedious) trial-and-error painting. This creature comprises mostly shape layers, to which a complex cocktail of layer styles is applied.

Rule 3: Reuse layer effects

A carefully crafted layer effect can be instantly reused on a different layer. You can easily copy layer styles, or combinations of multiple layer styles, to another layer by pressing Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) and dragging from the fx icon on one layer to the other.

Rule 4: Group layers

Once you organize your layers into groups, you can apply a mask or effect to that whole group in one fell swoop. Layer groups are an excellent way to keep track of which layers are serving which purpose in your document.

Rule 5: Collect organized layers into layer comps

Layer comps allow you to capture a particular configuration of your document for quick retrieval. For years, I saw this feature demonstrated as a handy but rather quotidian way to show clients variations on text treatments or color schemes. But the power of layer comps is much more interesting to me when it tells a progressive story.

 

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