Photoshop Toolbox Wednesday – Layers: Creating New Layers

Photoshop Toolbox

How do new layers get made? Well, when a mommy layer and a daddy layer love each other very much they…

Well, that’s not quite the way it goes.

When you open a new Photoshop document you are given a background layer, a clean canvas on which to work. But one of the fundamental and foundational parts of working in Photoshop is to use layers.┬áIt’s a fairly basic thing but there are many options to get there depending on your situation and the type of new layer you want to create. Most of us who use Photoshop on a daily basis probably don’t even think about how we perform such common tasks.

Here are a few ways to create new layers (in no particular order):

  • Go to Layers>New>Layer
  • Click on the “Create a new layer” icon at the bottom of the Layers Panel
  • Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+N (PC) or Cmd+Shift+N (Mac)

Another option is to duplicate the current layer so you can edit it, blend it, or reuse it elsewhere in the image. To do that:

  • Go to Layers>Duplicate Layer
  • Right-click (PC) or Cmd-click (Mac) on the layer you wish to duplicate and select “Duplicate Layer”
  • Drag the currently selected layer onto the “Create a new layer” icon at the bottom of the Layers Panel
  • Use the keyboard shortcut Cmd/Ctrl+J
  • With the Move Tool, select the layer you want to duplicate, hold down Option/Alt and you will notice the Move Tool changes it’s appearance to a double arrow. With Option/Alt held down, drag the layer in the document window and a duplicate will appear.
  • Likewise, in the Layers Panel, if you hold down Option/Alt and click and drag the currently selected layer, you will see the double arrows again and when you release your mouse button you will have a duplicate layer.

I am generally a keyboard shortcut kinda guy but I will usually click on the “Create a new layer” icon for creating layers and will use Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate most of the time. Though there are times when I will utilize some of the other options as well, when the mood strikes.

What method do you use to create and/or duplicate layers?

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