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This menu has controls for working with your document layers. From here you can add and delete layers, create layer masks, and merge layers, among other things.
This command adds a layer or layer group to your image.
This option does just what its name implies: Makes a copy of the current layer.
Choose this item when you want to delete a layer. You can also select a layer and press the Delete key (Backspace on a PC). This is new in Photoshop CS4.
This option lets you rename the current layer and assign it a color. It’s a handy way to organize your ever-lengthening Layers panel.
Go here to set the blending options for the current layer and to apply effects like drop shadows, glows, and gradient overlays.
This option lets you delete or disable a Smart Filter mask. Chapter 15 has the scoop on using Smart Filters.
Go here to create a layer and fill it with a solid color, transparent color, or gradient.
This option makes a new Adjustment layer so you can apply nondestructive changes to your images.
If you need to change an Adjustment layer’s settings, you can choose this command, but it’s a lot faster to simply double-click the Adjustment layer in your Layers panel.
From here you can show, hide, delete, and apply layer masks.
This option works much like Layer Mask item above, but it lets you work with vector based objects instead.
This command converts a layer into a clipping mask.
The Smart Objects option includes tools for working with Smart Objects—editing them, duplicating them, and so on.
Video Layers this item lets you add, remove, and paint video layers. If you have Photoshop CS4 Extended, you can also use this item’s options to restore video frames, manage color, edit video and animation layers, and set when video layers appear in a timeline.
This option lets you convert text to a shape, warp text, and much more.
This command converts text, vector-based objects, Smart Objects, shapes, 3D objects and video frames into raster-based objects. Chapter 2 explains the difference between raster and vector objects.
This item adds slices for Web layouts to the currently selected layer based on its content.
Use this command to group selected layers together. The layers will appear in their own folder in the Layers panel.
This command removes layers from a group and deletes the group (but doesn’t delete the layers).
Use this command to hide layers or layer groups temporarily so you can see and work with objects in complex images.
This item lets you change the order of layers and layer groups in your image.
This option lets you align objects that are on different layers.
This item aligns the contents of three or more layers along the object’s edges or center points.
This command lets you lock selected layers in a particular group so you don’t accidentally edit or change them. If you select layers that aren’t grouped, the menu item changes to “Lock Layers”.
Use this command to hook layers together so they move as if they were a single layer. You can still edit linked layers, and you can unlink them, too.
Choose a linked layer and then use this menu item to select the layers linked to it.
This command combines selected layers or layer groups into a single layer.
Use this command to blend all your image’s visible layers into a single layer.
This command merges all your image’s layers into the Background layer.
This option removes the extra pixels surrounding an object’s edge after you’ve selected it and isolated it from another larger image. After you apply matting, the item’s edge should look cleaner and more natural.
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