Photoshop CS5 Quick Tips Guide

Unlocking the Background Layer

  • Each new image opened in Photoshop will open in its own document with an initial layer called Background:

  • This layer serves as the background of your Photoshop document upon which further layers will be built.
  • A few things to remember about the background layer:
  • Its contents cannot be moved. Using the move tool on this layer will not work.
  • The Background layer does not support transparency. You will not be able to delete pixels in any way from this layer.
  • This layer cannot be dragged above any other layer. And conversely, no layers can be moved below the Background layer.
  • To work around these features of the background layer, you simply rename it! You can do so by:
    • Choose Layer > New > Layer from Background or…

    • Double click on the layer and rename it in the dialog box that appears.

  • Both options unlock the layer and give you a wide range of editing capabilities.

How to Add a New Layer

  • Layers are essential building blocks of a Photoshop document. Anyone using Photoshop should become familiar with and efficient at adding new layers to their project. As a rule of thumb, a new layer should be added for every major edit or addition to your document.
  • You can add a layer in several different ways:
    • Choose Layer > New > Layer. You can name and adjust your layer before it is even created, then click OK.

    • Click the Create a New Layer button on the bottom of the Layers Palette. This will place a new layer right into the layers palette named Layer 1 by default.
  • These other common actions will also create new layers:
  • Using the Text tool
  • Creating a new Fill or Adjustment layers
  • Using the Copy and Paste commands
  • Moving a whole image or part of an image into the document on which you are working

Image Size

  • You can find out the image size of the document you are working on by choosing Image > Image Size. This will bring up a dialog box that explains several things about your image.

  • The first part of the box, labeled Pixel Dimensions, simply tells you how big the image is in terms of pixels.

  • In this case, the images width is composed of 288 pixels and the height is composed of 432 pixels.
  • This part will also tell you your file size. This file is 364.5 KB.
  • The second part of the box is labeled Document Size. The height and width in this section indicate how large the document will be when it is printed. Note that you can change the unit of these dimensions depending on what measuring system you use.

  • The resolution indicates how many pixels there are per inch (or centimeter) of your document. Once again, this indicates how many pixels of your image will print in every inch of paper.
  • As you may guess, the resolution size will give you a more “clear” or “pixelated” image depending of how high or low it is.
  • If the resolution is high, more pixels will be shrunk to fit the one square inch space, making the image appear very clear and smooth.
  • If the resolution is low, a smaller amount of pixels will be stretched to fit one square inch, creating a blocky or blurry look.
150 dpi (high resolution)

25 dpi (low resolution)