Paint Shop Pro Layers pg 2: Production Graphics with Wendy Peck at | WebReference

Paint Shop Pro Layers pg 2: Production Graphics with Wendy Peck at

Paint Shop Pro Layers: Layer Basics

A layer preview pops up when you hold your mouse over a layer in Paint Shop Pro The red circle marks the New Layer icon.

NOTE: Don't miss Masks are Easy ... Really, if you are interested in making the most of your layers. With a solid understanding of layers and the power of layer masks, you can accomplish fantastic effects.


We should start with a few basics about layers in Paint Shop Pro. I have included the image from the previous page, along with a section of the Layers Palette. I created one layer for each of the three rectangles that form the base of this image. Although Paint Shop Pro does not have thumbnails visible at all times to help determine which layer contains which objects, it has a wonderful mouseover thumbnail that is truly large enough to identify even subtle differences between layers. Simply hold your mouse over the any layer in the Layer palette and the thumbnail you see in the image at the left will pop up.

Raster and vector layers
Paint Shop Pro is primarily a raster program, but it also offers some vector capability. (See Graphic Underworld for more information on raster and vector formats). Vector and raster objects cannot be on the same layer, though. In fact, they have their own layer type. For those who are used to raster format programs, or worked with Paint Shop Pro before vectors were added, a raster is the familiar layer type. Vector layers are used for vector objects and can be converted to raster format at any time. Raster layers cannot be converted to vector format.

Take a look at the sample shown here. I have added a vector layer to the previous sample. Note how the first four layers have a set of circles to the left of the layer name. The vector layer, named (most creatively) Vector Layer, has a rectangle with selection points as an icon. It is important to be able to distinguish between raster and vector layers, since there are many features that cannot be applied to a vector layer.


Layer5 is the result of choosing Promote to Layer from a popup menu. You can double click on the layer to rename it to a meaningful name.

Background layers
When you create a new document in Paint Shop Pro, a background layer is created automatically. This is a raster layer, but you cannot apply effects to a background layer. In Paint Shop Pro, though, you can easily convert the background layer to a regular raster layer. Right click on the background layer and choose Promote to Layer from the popup menu. The layer name will change from Background to Layer plus a number. Double click on the layer listing to open the Layer Properties window and rename the layer. Your layer is now regular raster layer.

I still prefer to have a background layer, though. Most times when we are working with layered images, we want the layers to have transparent backgrounds. Without a background, we would be working with the checkered background that signifies transparency. When I open a file, like a photograph, I will usually promote the automatically created background layer to a regular layer. I then create a new layer, which I name Background.


Right click on any layer and choose raster or vector as the new layer type, or click on the New Layer icon, highlighted with a red circle, to create a raster layer.

Creating a vector object will create a new vector layer. Note that Layer1 and Layer2 are vector layers. Each layer holds one of the vector objects shown on the canvas.

Add a layer
To add a layer, right click on any layer and choose New Raster Layer or New Vector Layer, depending on what the layer will hold. As a shortcut to create a raster layer, you can click on the icon in the upper left corner of the Layer Palette, as highlighted here by a red circle.

With a raster layer active, you can also add a vector layer by simply choosing the Preset Shapes or Draw tool, and creating a new object. A vector layer will be created to hold the new object. However, if a vector layer is active, the new vector object will be placed on the active layer.

Duplicate a layer
Often you will find that you wish to repeat elements in different places on your page. You can easily make a duplicate of any layer through the right click popup menu. Choose Duplicate and a new layer will be created. Paint Shop Pro will name the layer with "Copy of" and the original layer name. It is a good idea to double click on the new layer and assign a name that identifies the contents of the layer for more efficient work.

Reorder a layer
To change the order of your layers, simply click and drag the layer to a new position. Layers that are higher in the layers order will appear on top of layers that fall below.

Delete a layer
Simply right click on the layer you wish to delete and choose Delete from the popup window.

Make sure you read on to discover the secrets for organizing your layers.


Next page

Paint Shop Pro Layers Tutorial Index

Paint Shop Pro Layers Start
Layer Basics
Working with Layers
Vector Layers
Layer Effects

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Created: August 30, 2000
Revised: August 30, 2000