Simple Layer Techniques (Updated)

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Simple Layer Techniques (Updated)

Post  Sheilsoft on Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:34 pm

Folks,

I've written a short description on how to use 'Layers' in Paintshop Pro to achieve various creative effects. Although written for Paintshop Pro, layers are used in Photoshop and other graphic apps, so the steps described below can be transferred to whatever program you use, although there may be minor changes in values required.

Layers are a device to add multiple levels of images, colours or effects, one on top of another, and merge them together in different ways to achieve a variety of effects.

The Layers palette (where you will see any layers in use), is normally visible on the bottom right of the Paintshop Pro screen. When you open any image, you will always see a small thumbnail version of it in the Layers palette entitled 'Background'. This effectively forms the base level of any layers we may want to add.

If you think of layers as a special sheet of paper which we can add one on top of another, to form a stack of 2, 3 or more levels. We can either add a new layer from an existing image by 'pasting' it on top of another, or by adding a new 'blank' layer on which we can paint or add an effect. We can then select any layer and choose from a variety of 'Blend Modes' which will 'mix' that selected layer with the layer below. You can also use the Eraser tool to 'rub away' areas of an upper layer and expose the layer below.

NB - When you select a layer, any work you then do, whether it be painting, erasing, adding blur, desaturating etc, will ONLY be applied to that currently selected layer.

You can create large stacks of layers to create very complex effects, or just as effectively create very useful results using only two layers. To keep things simple, the techniques detailed below use only two layers, but still offer a large amount of flexibility.

As you will see, when working with layers, it is important that the last stage of any layer work, is to merge all layers (flatten) together, so you are left with one image, which has all the layer effects integrated into it. This final image can then be either renamed, saved to a different location or saved as a different file type.

NB - Although, if you are working on a project that you want to come back to and do further work to the layers, do not merge the layers at the end of your current session, and you can Save As... Using the file format .pspimage This will save the file in an unmerged format, so that when you open the file again, all the layers and history are retained.

I've written a step by step description showing the various tools and effects used, along with suggested values, which can be tweaked to taste. After each step, written in brackets in blue, are the shortcut paths to where you will find the various tools from the Menubar. These are of course paths to tool locations in Paintshop Pro, but there will be similar tools located in similar locations in Photoshop and other apps.

NB - Please note, where I say 'Select a layer' (top/background) you simply have to click once beside that layer's thumbnail. To select the blend mode for that layer (usually the top layer) double-click the layer, which will bring up a dialog box, where you can select the Blend Mode from a dropdown menu, (and can also adjust that layer's Opacity setting)... then OK.


Glamour Effect

1) Duplicate layer (Layers/Duplicate)
2) Select Background layer
3) Gaussian Blur 20 (Adjust/Blur/Gaussian Blur)
4) Select top layer & Blend / Overlay or Screen
5) Merge / Flatten (Layers/Merge/Merge all (Flatten))

Note - If you select the 'Screen' blend mode above (instead of Overlay), this changes the result from a Glamour effect to a 'High Key' effect.


Toned Down Effect

1) Duplicate layer (Layers/Duplicate)
2) Select Top layer
3) De-saturate -100 (Adjust/Hue and Saturation/Hue,Saturation,Lightness)
4) Select Top layer & Blend / Soft Light or Hard Light
5) Adjust layer Opacity to taste
6) Merge / Flatten (Layers/Merge/Merge all (Flatten))
7) Adjust Histogram ( http://almanzoraphotoclub.forumotion.com/t127-histogram-levels-adjustment )


Simple Graphic Effect

1) De-saturate -100 (Adjust/Hue and Saturation/Hue,Saturation,Lightness)
2) Add New Raster Layer (Layers/New Raster Layer)
3) Select Colour from materials palette
4) Select Fill tool and fill top layer
5) Select Top layer & Blend / Multiply, Screen or Difference
6) To simplify image…
a) Select Background layer
b) Adjust Threshold ~128 (Adjust/Brightness & Contrast/Threshold)
7) Merge / Flatten (Layers/Merge/Merge all (Flatten))


Expose Layer Below

1) Duplicate Layer (Layers/Duplicate)
2) Select Background layer
3) Apply effect required… Desaturate -100 (Adjust/Hue and Saturation/Hue,Saturation,Lightness)
4) Or Blur 5 – 20 (Adjust/Blur/Gaussian Blur)
5) Select Top layer
6) Select Eraser tool and remove areas where you want lower effect to show through
7) Merge / Flatten (Layers/Merge/Merge all (Flatten))

Note - Although I've shown 'desaturate' and 'blur' as the two options for the 'expose' technique above, you can modify the bottom background layer with any effect you want from hundreds of options... Sepia, solarization, colorize etc etc.


I hope that all makes sense! If you need further help, please post your query in the Photo Cafe section of the forum.

Rgds,
Howard Very Happy


Last edited by Sheilsoft on Sat Feb 09, 2013 4:15 pm; edited 18 times in total

_________________
Nikon D7100, Windows 7 64bit, Lightroom 5.2, Paint Shop Pro X5/X6
avatar
Sheilsoft

Posts : 235
Join date : 2011-09-11
Age : 65
Location : Los Llanos del Peral, Almeria

View user profile http://www.sheilsoft.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Simple Layer Techniques (Updated)

Post  Richard on Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:57 pm

Thanks for this Howard. Personally, I found this session very useful and it has certainly encouraged me to learn more about this software, which in itself is frustrating as there are so many things I want to know!

Regarding your first topic, glamour effect, what does the gaussian effect 20 actually do? I ask this because I have been using this on an image of Margie and the result has been to change skin tone almost orange. On my particular software, the default value for the gaussian blur (radius?) defaults to 3 and even at this level the results are too strong. In fact, a blur value of 3 and one of 20 has, on the picture I used no discernable differences. One thing I didn't do, which I will, is try a different image and see if that makes a difference- I am thinking here maybe the image I used had an unsuitable colour balance in it in the first place and by applying the glamour effect, exaggerated the problem.

Richard.

Richard

Posts : 59
Join date : 2011-09-16

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Simple Layer Techniques (Updated)

Post  Sheilsoft on Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:34 pm

Richard,

The Gaussian Blur tool in itself will not change the intensity of the colour in your image. The blur value only adjusts the size of the radius of the circle around an area of pixels that it blurs together... if that makes sense!

In the Glamour technique, the thing that will be affecting the colour is the Overlay blend mode, which does indeed intensify/saturate the colour with a slight glow (try also using the 'Screen' blend mode for a 'High Key' effect). So if your original image has a slight colour cast, that will be exaggerated. As you have said, try again with a more 'nuetral' image... and also, you will get more 'realistic' effects, whatever you do, with physically larger source images. The same effect applied to an 800x600 pixel image looks far more intense than if it were applied to a 6000x4000 pixel image... resolution is king, even in creative work.

Rgds,
Howard Very Happy

_________________
Nikon D7100, Windows 7 64bit, Lightroom 5.2, Paint Shop Pro X5/X6
avatar
Sheilsoft

Posts : 235
Join date : 2011-09-11
Age : 65
Location : Los Llanos del Peral, Almeria

View user profile http://www.sheilsoft.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Simple Layer Techniques (Updated)

Post  Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum