Layers

Documents in the Editor can have multiple layers. Layers are used for advanced image editing. To work with layers, use the controls in the Layers group at the bottom of the Editor’s Side Panel, where the layer list is. Right-click a listed layer to show a menu for working with that layer. All the operations available for layers can also be accessed from the Editor’s Layers menu.

Working With Layers

To set the active layer, click its name in the list. The active layer is highlighted in blue in the list.

The basic parameters for a layer are its Opacity and its Mode, which sets how the image from this layer is blended with the image below it.

Show/hide a layer by clicking the eye icon in the layer list. Hold down [Ctrl] while clicking a layer to quickly show or hide all the other layers.

You can move and transform a layer using the Move and Transformtool.

There are several ways to add a layer:

  • Add Empty Layer – this adds an empty bitmap layer; you can draw onto it using the Brush or Fill tools, or select part or all of the empty layer and use either of two items in the Selection menu – Fill or Stroke.
  • Place Colored Layer – adds a new bitmap layer filled with a color of your choice.
  • Paste – adds a new bitmap layer with the contents of the Clipboard.
  • Paste from File – Shows a dialog for choosing an image file. After you choose a file, that file is added as a new bitmap layer.
  • Place Text – adds text as a new bitmap layer. Use the settings in the Side Panel to adjust its parameters.
  • Place Symbol – adds a text symbol as a new layer. Use the settings in the Side Panel to adjust its parameters.
  • Place Shape – adds a shape as a new layer. Use the settings in the Side Panel to adjust its parameters.
  • Place Line – adds a line as a new layer. Use the settings in the Side Panel to adjust its parameters.
  • White Balance, Exposure, Colors, Levels, Curves – These each add an Adjustment Layer – a settings layer that affects one or more of the other layers in the document.

You can also Duplicate a layer, Delete it, or Rename it. To change the order of layers, drag and drop them in the layer list.

For layers that contain an object (text, a symbol, a line, or a shape), use Rasterize to convert the layer to a bitmap layer. This is useful because filters and effects can only be used on bitmap layers. However, rasterized objects cannot be edited as objects (for example, rasterized text cannot be edited).

Use the following commands to merge layers:

  • Merge Down – the active layer is merged with the one right below it in the list, creating a new bitmap layer.
  • Merge Visible – merges all visible layers into one bitmap layer. The invisible layers will remain unmerged.
  • Merge Layer – merges all layers into one bitmap layer.

Adjustment Layers

Adjustment Layers are settings layers for lossless edits. Five kinds are available – White Balance, Exposure, Levels, Curves, and Color. There are two basic routes for adding these layers:

  • Clicking on the icon for adding an adjustment layer in the filter list next to the name of the filter (in the Home tool) – the layer is added above the active layer and is linked with this layer
  • using the Layer | Add Layer menu item or the toolbar under the layer list – the Adjustment Layer is added above the current layer and affects every layer below it in the list. Drag an Adjustment Layer onto a different content layer at any time to link it to that layer. Drag it above/below another layer to unlink it.

The settings for an Adjustment Layer can be changed within the Home tool at any time after the layer’s creation.

A mask can be added to any Adjustment Layer, and Opacity and a Mode can be set for it.

Layer Masks

Each layer can have a Mask, which sets which parts of the layer are visible, and which parts hidden (i.e. transparent). The mask is grayscale—a black mask color hides the layer (makes it transparent), while white reveals it. The best way to draw onto the mask is with the Paintbrush tool, but the other tools and filters will also work on it. To draw on the mask, first click the mask symbol by the layer you want to work with. The icon for the active part of the layer—the image or the mask—is outlined in the layer list. The lock icon between the layer icon and the mask sets whether or not the mask is bound to the layer, which has an effect when you are using Move and Transform

Functions for work with the mask:

  • Reveal All – adds a mask to the layer; this mask reveals the whole layer. You can then use e.g. a black Paintbrush to hide part of the layer.
  • Hide All – adds a mask to the layer; this mask hides the whole layer.
  • Reveal Selection – adds a mask to the layer; this mask reveals only the currently selected part of the image.
  • Hide Selection – adds a mask to the layer; this mask hides the currently selected part of the image.
  • Invert Mask – hides whatever the mask was showing, and vice versa.
  • Add Mask to Selection – creates a new selection by adding the mask to the current selection.
  • Subtract Mask from Selection – creates a new selection by subtracting the mask from the current selection.
  • Intersect Mask with Selection – creates a new selection from the intersection of the mask and the current selection.
  • Remove Mask – removes the layer mask.
  • Disable Mask – temporarily disables the layer mask. Use the same command to re-enable the layer mask.

Holding down certain keys while clicking the mask provides quick access to certain functions:

  • Ctrl – Set mask as selection
  • Ctrl + Shift – Add mask to selection
  • Ctrl + Alt – Remove mask from selection
  • Ctrl + Shift + Alt – Intersect mask with selection
  • Shift – Disable mask
  • Alt – Show mask only

Layer Effects

Various effects can be applied to layers. These can later be changed at any time. To show the dialog for setting up effects, use Layer | Effects… in the Editor menu, or the right-click menu for a layer, or the toolbar under the layer list. The following effects are available:

  • Shadow
  • Inner Shadow
  • Outer Glow
  • Inner Glow
  • Outline
  • Bevel and Emboss
  • Satin
  • Color Overlay
  • Gradient Overlay

To save effect settings or load them back in later, use the Presets controls at the bottom of the window. To copy and paste effects among layers, use the right-click menu for a layer, or the toolbar under the layer list.

The ZPS Format

An Editor document, including its layers, can be saved to a file in the ZPS format. During saving to any format other than ZPS, the layers have to be merged into a single layer, and thus no later edits to layers are possible.

More Information

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