92. Create a New Image Layer
Before You Begin
91 About Layers and the Layers Palette
93 Create a Layer Filled with a Color, Gradient, or Pattern
94 Create an Adjustment Layer
You can add a new image layer to just about any image you have open in the Editor. Because an image layer can hold any type of raster data, you might insert an image layer so that you can paint or draw on it, make a selection on the new layer and copy data into that selection, create a clipping mask to partially block data on another layer, or fill the layer with a filtered rendering of clouds. However, you don't have to create an image layer if your plan is to copy data from some other layer or image into this image; the Editor will paste the data on a new layer automatically.
When you add the new layer, you must first determine the location for the layer within the layer stack. To specify the layer location, select the layer below where you want the new layer (in other words, the new layer is added above the current layer). For example, to insert a new layer at the top of the layer stack, you select the top layer in the Layers palette. If the only layer is the Background layer, the new layer will always be placed on top of the Background layer because the Background layer is always at the bottom of the layer stack.
You cannot add layers to images that are using bitmap or indexed color mode. To change color modes, see 63 Change Color Mode.
If the image has only one layer (the Background layer), the new layer will be created above that layer. You cannot place any layers below the Background layerunless you first convert the Background layer to a regular layer. See 95 Convert a Background Layer to a Regular Layer and Vice Versa.
Select Layer Position
Open an image in the Editor in Standard Edit mode and save it in Photoshop (*.psd) format. In the Layers palette, select the layer you want to be below the new layer you are adding. Photoshop Elements will insert the new image layer directly above the selected layer.
Create New Layer
To create a new layer above the selected layer, select Layer, New, Layer from the menu bar. The New Layer dialog box opens.
Specify Layer Settings
In the New Layer dialog box, specify the settings for the new layer. Type a Name for the new layer (I usually use a name that reminds me of the layer's content or purpose), or accept the default name the Editor suggests, which is typically something like Layer 1.
The blend mode of a layer specifies how the pixels on that layer mix with pixels in the layer(s) below. The blend mode for a new layer is set to Normal by default. To select a different blend mode, open the Mode list and select the one you want to use. See 111 About Tool Options for more information on blend modes.
You can create a clipping mask by grouping this new layer with the layer you selected in step 1, using the Group with Previous Layer option in the New Layer dialog box. See 163 Mask an Image Layer.
The opacity of a new layer is set to 100% by default. To reduce the overall opacity of the new layer, adjust the Opacity value. The lower the Opacity setting, the more transparent that layer's pixels will appear. If you add semi-transparent pixels to this new layer, the Opacity setting will reduce their overall transparency even more.
You can click the New Layer button on the Layers palette to create a new layer above the current layer. Photoshop Elements automatically assigns a default name to the layer, an Opacity level of 100%, and a blend Mode of Normal.
After creating the new layer, you can change the Mode and Opacity settings on the Layers palette by selecting the layer and then using the controls at the top of the palette.
You can duplicate the contents of a layer by dragging that layer onto the Create New Layer button on the Layers palette, or by selecting the layer and choosing Layer, Duplicate Layer.
If you select an object from another layer and copy and paste it onto your new blank layer, the copied data is placed on that layer. In other words, unlike normal Copy and Paste operations, a new layer is not created when data is pasted onto an empty layer.
Click the OK button to close the New Layer dialog box and create the new layer using the specified settings. The new layer appears on the Layers palette above the layer you selected in step 1.
View the Result
After you have created the layer, it is ready for you to add data to it. A new image layer is filled with transparent pixels so that, at least initially, it does not block any layers below it. However, as you add opaque pixels, they will block the data below (or blend with them, if you selected a blend mode other than Normal). When you're satisfied with the image, save the PSD file. Then merge the layers together and resave the result in JPEG or TIFF format, leaving your PSD image unflattened so that you can return at a later time and make different adjustments if you want.
I started this image with data copied from anotherof my great-nephew sleeping peacefully. I added some text, and then inserted a new layer and used the Clouds filter to create a puffy cloud background. I moved this layer to the bottom of the layer stack so that it would be behind the baby and not on top of him. Then I inserted the Pillow layer and used the Brush tool to paint him a pillow. I locked the transparency on this layer so that I could brush soft texture along the edges of the pillow, giving it some dimension. To this I added a shadow. Next I inserted the Halo layer, on which I painted a yellow halo. I added an Outer Glow layer style to complete the effect.
You can make a selection and create a new layer above the current layer by choosing Layer, New, Layer Via Copy from the menu bar. A new layer is created instantly, and the data in the selection is placed on the layer.