excerpt from DSU 130, Intro to Paint Shop Pro
by Emma Powell
Layers are critical to working with Paint Shop Pro. The open image is a view from above, like looking down at a paper scrapbook layout. The Layers Palette is looking at those layers from the side, like the layers of a sandwich. Just as papers and photos on a paper page are layers and can be moved and overlapped independently from one another, digital scrapbook pages have the same layers.
The explanatory image in Figure 1 has 5 layers: the white background, and each of the 4 shapes is one layer.
The view of the example image is from above, as if looking down on a piece of white paper with four colored paper shapes on it. The view in the Layers Palette on the right is like looking at the side of the layer stack, like the layers of a sandwich, with the white paper (Background) as the lowest layer, and the shapes on top of it. The active layer is highlighted in the Layers Palette, as the Black Square layer is blue in Figure 1 above.
To view the Layers Palette if it's not showing, hit F8, or go to View>Palettes>Layers.
Using the Move Tool (Press M or click in the Toolbox) to rearrange the shape layers, we can see how each layer remains separate and distinct, independent of the surrounding layers. The Move Tool will be covered more in depth in Number 5 below.
Each shape is repositioned using the Move Tool to drag and drop it.
Placing each shape near the center of the white paper shows that the red star is the uppermost layer, with the black square beneath it, followed by the orange circle, then the green triangle, as reflected in the stacking order in the Layers Palette.
To reorder the layer stacking order, simply click and drag any layer in the Layers Palette to a different location, or go to Layer>Arrange and choose a new location.
Note: Often PSP cannot reorder layers by dragging because a tool needs to be reset. In that case, try moving it the opposite way in the stacking order (up or down), or move other layers in relation to it. Or select the layer to move go to Layers>Arrange and choose the direction to reorder the selected layer, as in figure 3:
Dragging a layer to a different stacking order affects the way it interacts with the layers around it. In the example, the red star on top is dragged beneath the other shapes, so is no longer completely visible, but obscured by the higher layers. The new position of the star is visible in the Layers Palette.
The image information isn't lost if overlapped by something else, as demonstrated with the black square. When separate, the entire shape was visible. When covered by the red star, it was not completely visible, but the information was not lost because when the star was placed below it, the black square became completely visible again.
If this image was actual paper on a desk, imagine moving the paper shapes around, overlapping them in various ways. The same concept is evident in digital layers. Now apply this concept to the photo or image layers on the scrapbook layout.
© 2005 Digital Scrapbook Place, LLC