If you want to be master on Adobe Photoshop then you must know Layer Basics in Photoshop. As Photoshop works with different types of Layers it is necessary to know the layer principals and how they work. Which layer type to use where and when. Photoshop CS5 has 7 layer types. And each of them is made and used for different purposes.
- Image Layer
- Type/Text Layer
- Shape Layer
- Fill Layer
- Adjustment Layer
- Smart Objects Layer
- 3D and Video Layer
- Image Layer – is a pixel based layer. This is the most used layer in Photoshop. Whenever you import/open a picture or you add an empty layer or even paint on a layer with the brush tool(with default/basic options) you use the Image Layer.
- Type/Text Layer – is a non-pixel based layer. When you use the type tool, Photoshop creates this type of layer. With this layer type you can edit the text whenever and how you want. If you want to print texts nice and crisply then you have to use texts layers for texts and save file in Photoshop PDF format or EPS format.
- Shape Layer – is a vector based layer. With this layer type you can create predefine (can be loaded externally too) shapes easily. You can resize them any time without loosing the quality of the shape. Photoshop creates a shape layer with Photoshop default options for shape tools.
- Fill Layer – is a pixel based layer. If you want to change a layers fill color or add gradient/pattern overlay then you have to use this layer type. It allows you to add/remove or change color in a single(almost) click.
- Adjustment Layer – adds effects to image. This is one of the most used and effective layer type available in Photoshop. It allows you to add effects like change brightness/contrast, levels, color balance on image without touching the image itself.
- Smart Object Layer – is a special layer type. Adobe refers to this kind of layer as a container layer. Smart Objects layer allows you let you work with files that weren’t created with Photoshop, like Raw and vector files The best thing about a Smart Object is that you can swap and resize its content
without trashing its quality as long as you don’t exceed the file’s original pixel dimensions, unless it’s a vector.
- 3D and Video layer – allows you to add Video/3d files to Photoshop. In the extended version of Photoshop you can import 3D and video files into their own special layers. When you import video files using this method Photoshop imports the video in one frame in one layer, this allows you to work with videos frame by frame.
Here is how the layer pallet looks with all the layer types.
This is a 20 second video imported in Photoshop with 100 frames interval