Photoshop Tutorial: Get to know Layers

Layers are one of the most fundamental concepts in Photoshop. They allow you to create complex images by separating different elements of your design onto different layers. This makes it possible to edit, manipulate, and composite your images without affecting other elements.

What are layers?

Think of layers as transparent sheets of acetate stacked on top of each other. Each layer can contain any type of object, such as text, graphics, or images. The order of the layers determines which object appears in front.

Why use layers?

There are many benefits to using layers in Photoshop. Here are a few of the most important ones:

  • Non-destructive editing: You can edit and manipulate layers without affecting the original image. This allows you to experiment and try different things without worrying about making mistakes.
  • Flexibility: You can easily rearrange, delete, and duplicate layers. This gives you a lot of flexibility when creating your designs.
  • Efficiency: You can work on different parts of your design simultaneously without affecting each other. This saves time and makes the design process more efficient.

Creating new layers

There are two main ways to create new layers in Photoshop:

  • Click the “Create a New Layer” button in the Layers panel.
  • Press the “Ctrl” + “Shift” + “N” keyboard shortcut.

You can also create new layers from existing objects. For example, you can create a new layer from a selection, or you can create a new layer by copying and pasting an object from another document.

Managing layers

The Layers panel is where you can manage your layers. It displays a list of all the layers in your document, as well as their properties. You can use the Layers panel to perform a variety of tasks, such as:

  • Renaming layers: Double-click on a layer name to rename it.
  • Moving layers: Drag and drop layers to reorder them.
  • Hiding and showing layers: Click on the visibility icon (eye icon) to hide or show a layer.
  • Locking layers: Click on the lock icon to lock a layer in place.
  • Deleting layers: Click on the trash can icon to delete a layer.

Compositing layers

The most important thing to understand about layers is that they can be used to composite different elements of your design. This means that you can blend, combine, and overlap layers to create a variety of effects.

There are many ways to composite layers in Photoshop. Some of the most common methods include:

  • Using layer masks: Layer masks allow you to control which parts of a layer are visible. This can be used to create effects such as transparency, feathering, and blending.
  • Using adjustment layers: Adjustment layers allow you to apply non-destructive changes to your layers. This can be useful for adjusting brightness, contrast, color, and other aspects of your image.
  • Using blending modes: Blending modes allow you to control how layers interact with each other. This can be used to create a variety of effects, such as darkening, lightening, and blending.


Layers are a powerful tool that can be used to create complex and creative images in Photoshop. By understanding how to use layers, you can take your Photoshop skills to the next level.