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Lost in the new CS2 Layers Palette? We'll show you the way

Added on Monday 27th of February 2006 05:52 am EST


Adobe Photoshop CS2

Operating Systems:

Macintosh, Microsoft Windows


Photoshop, Layers, Linking, Merging

If you’ve recently upgraded to CS2 you may be experiencing some frustration in the Layers palette when you find that some things no longer work the way you expect. We’ll go over some of the Layers palette changes that occurred with the upgrade and get you back on track.


To bring you up to speed on the Layers palette, we’ll:

     Fill you in on the fundamental way CS2 handles layer-based selections so you can enjoy all the benefits it offers.

     Show you how Quick Mask mode and clipping masks are affected by the changes to the CS2 Layers palette so you don’t have to fumble for the answers.

     Let you know what happened to the Link Layers column, and give you the skinny on the easier way to link your layers.

     Fill you in on some of the ways working with layers has changed, from layer groups to creating composite layers.


With the release of CS2, Adobe included significant changes to the CS2 Layers palette, which is quite different from recent versions. It’s no surprise if you’re experiencing some frustration finding some things no longer work the way you expect. However, the way Photoshop CS2 handles layers and the changes made to the Layers palette are actually more intuitive. Once you pick up on the differences, you won’t want to go back.


Selections and layers in CS2

One of the most significant changes in the way Photoshop CS2 handles layers is with selections. The concept of selecting multiple layers has arrived, and the way you transform a layer into a selection has changed.


Select multiple layers

The ability to select multiple layers is an extraordinary breakthrough. It’s so simple to do and you can even select non-contiguous layers (layers that don’t touch each other).


To select multiple layers in CS2:

1.       Select a layer in the Layers palette.

2.      [command]-click ([Ctrl]-click in windows) on one or more other layers in the Layers palette. Alternatively, you can [shift]-click on multiple layers, but the first option allows you to select both contiguous and non-contiguous layers.


Select multiple objects

An object-oriented way of selecting has arrived with Photoshop CS2. You can now select specific objects on layers.


To select specific objects on layers:

1.       Lock the layers you don’t want to include.

2.      Enable Layer Edges (View > Show > Layer Edges) to view the selection edges of the objects.

3.      Select the Move tool Move in the Toolbox.

4.      Select the Auto Select Layer in the Move tool options bar.

5.      Draw a marquee around items in the document window while holding down the [command] key ([Ctrl] key in Windows). Alternatively, you can leave the Auto Select Layer check box selected, and draw without pressing a modifier key. You’ll see blue layer edges around the content of selected layers in the document window, and the selected layers will be highlighted in the Layers palette.


Load layer selections

Previously you could [command]-click ([Ctrl]-click in Windows) anywhere on a layer in the Layers palette to load its contents as a selection. With CS2 you need to select the actual thumbnail.


To load layer selections in CS2:

1.       [command]-click ([Ctrl]-click in Windows) on the layer’s thumbnail image in the Layers palette.

2.      Press [shift] and [command]-click ([Ctrl]-click in Windows) on multiple layers’ thumbnail images in the Layers palette to load more than one selection. (You could do this in previous versions.)


Use the Auto Select feature

Previously, [shift]-clicking the Move tool on your canvas while the Auto Select Layer check box was selected in the tool options bar resulted in linking the content to the selected layer in your Layers palette. Not so in CS2. In CS2, this same action simply selects multiple layers.


To use auto select to select multiple layers in CS2:

1.       Choose the Move tool from the Toolbox.

2.      Select the Auto Select Layer check box on the tool options bar. (Select the Auto Select Groups check box to select groups.)

3.      [shift]-click on multiple spots of your image window with the Move tool while the Auto Select Layer check box is selected.



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