Today's video will introduce you to Photoshop Layers using a free Desktop Organiser Template. You can learn all about layers and create a lovely, personalised desktop background in the process.
I've noticed these popping up on the Internet and thought they would be a great way to demonstrate using layers in Photoshop.
There are loads of beautiful desktop planners available for download. The only downside with one that is ready made is, it's fixed. You need to work within the layout and headings you are given.
Your current project isn't going to be the same as mine. The month needs changing periodically. And, the photo just adds a personal, one-of-a-kind touch.
That's the wonderful thing about Photoshop. It enables you to change things to suit your system and your needs. Why have a ready-made desktop organiser when you can have one made just for you?
This video covers:
- Grouping layers.
- Turning layers on and off.
- Changing layer properties.
- Using layers as clipping masks.
- Editing text layers.
The How To: Creating a Desktop Organiser
When you open the desktop organiser template — and many templates you purchase online — you will see the layers have been put into groups.
As you will see from this template, it doesn’t take a particularly complex document for you to end up with lots of layers. Groups make managing and working with multiple layers much easier.
While working on a document, I find it easier to keep the groups closed and open just the one group of layers I am working with.
To Expand a Group, click the arrow to the right of the eyeball, next to the folder symbol.
Turning Layers On & Off
The Calendar Area is a perfect way to demonstrate turning on and off layers.
The desktop organiser has been designed to be useful for more than a single month. To be able to do this, the document needs to contain all the months of 2016 but only show one at a time. This is simply achieved by switching layers on and off.
If you expand the Calendar Group, you will see that the first month is switched on and the others are switched off. To update each month, open the template, expand the group, deselect the old month and select the new month using the eyeball, then save your new version.
It is easy to see when you’ve forgotten to switch all the layers off you don’t need, it will look a mess!
Layers can contain a whole range of additional properties. One of the simplest to use, and most useful when creating blog images, is the Colour Overlay.
A good way to demonstrate this is by customising the colours of the background pattern.
Expand the Background Colour/Pattern Group and you will see two layers — one is the solid background colour, the other is the stripe pattern.
To change the colour:
- Double click where it says Colour Overlay.
- This displays the Layer Style panel.
- Click on the colour swatch to choose a new colour.
- You can change each colour individually, and mix and match to get exactly the look you want.
- If you prefer just a solid colour, switch the stripe layer off using the eyeball.
Clipping masks are brilliant, easy and an essential technique to know if you want to use Photoshop to create your blog, social media and product images.
You can take anything — a photograph, pattern or texture — and make it fit any shape you choose.
In this instance, you can use a clipping mask to really personalise your desktop organiser. Whether it is family, friends, pets or a wonderful holiday memory, it is nice to stare at something other than just work all month.
On the template, expand the Photo Group. You will see that there is a title in there, which is switched off. You can use this if you prefer not to add a photograph and use this space as another organising space.
If you want to add a photograph, insert the image so it sits in the layer directly above the clipping mask.
To create a clipping mask:
- Select the photo layer.
- Holding down your Alt/Option key, hover the mouse between the photo and clipping mask layers.
- You will see a down arrow and box appear.
- Click to clip the photo to the mask.
- Once the photo has been clipped, you can then move it around and reposition or resize, if you need to.
It is great to have a pre-made desktop organiser, but it is even better to have one that has been personalised to suit your own needs.
You can easily change the box headings to suit your own projects and to-do system.
To edit the text:
- Expand the Current Project group and select the Text layer.
- To edit the text, double click on the T symbol and type in your new text.
- Click the checkbox at the top or click on another layer to commit your changes.
When you are happy with your changes, File Save As a jpeg, which you can then use as your desktop background.
Each month you can open the template, change the date, update your project headings and maybe change the photo, to give you a new, personalised desktop wallpaper.