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Layer Types in Paint Shop Pro

written by: •edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 10/27/2009

In this overview, we’ll take a look at the different types of layers available in Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 and give some ideas when each type should be used.

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    Types of Layers

    There are nine different types of layers in Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2. In later articles of this series, we’ll delve deeper into each individual type, but for now we’ll give a brief overview of each.

    Background – Basically, the background layer is a special type of raster layer that makes up the “bottom" layer of the image. If you open a digital photo in Paint Shop Pro that has been stored in the JPEG format, it will automatically be classified as an image with a single background layer.

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    Photo Opens as Background Layer 

    Raster – Raster layers are generally considered to be the standard layer types when editing digital photographs. These types of images can only contain raster data, or data that is composed of pixels. One major drawback of working with raster data is that it doesn’t always scale very nicely, especially if you are trying to increase the size of your image.

    Vector – The natural counterpart to a raster layer is a vector layer. This type of layer only contains vector objects, or items made up of lines, curves, and text. Vector layers are more versatile than raster layers in that they can be rescaled to any size without losing detail. However, you will have to convert vector layers to raster layers before applying many types of imaging effects.

    Using Art Media Layer to Give an Aged Look Art Media – Paint Shop Pro contains a number of art media tools such as chalk, oil paintbrushes, crayons, and markers. When using these tools, a new art media layer is created so that you can experiment on that layer without modifying the background photo.

    Mask – If you want to show or hide certain areas of a photograph, you can create a mask layer to accomplish this. Actually, a mask layer is a special type of adjustment layer used to change the opacity of other layers.

    Adjustment – While you can make changes to the coloring and tone of a photograph directly on the background layer, it’s often better to create a new adjustment layer for each of these modifications.

    Group – A layer group is exactly what the name implies, several layers grouped together. By grouping layers into subsets, you can apply certain types of modifications to all layers in a set with one action. Using this feature also helps manage photo editing projects that contain a large number of layers.

    Floating Selection Selection – You can isolate a particular portion of an image to create a selection. These selections can then be promoted to full layers so that they may be edited without changing the entire photograph.

    Floating Selection – There are times when you may want to move a selection to a new position in the image. While in the midst of this process, this selection becomes a floating selection so you can maneuver it to a different location. After you’ve placed it where you want it, you can convert this floating selection to a new layer.

    Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 has the ability to support up to 500 layers for a single image. Whether or not you’re able to reach that theoretical limit for any particular image depends more on your computer’s memory capabilities than the software.

    Don't forget to check out the other Paint Shop Pro tutorials found here on Bright Hub's Digital Photography Channel.

Working with Layers in Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 Ultimate

What are layers and how can they be used to enhance your Paint Shop Pro digital photo editing projects? We’ll investigate these questions and more.
  1. Overview of Layers in Paint Shop Pro
  2. Layer Types in Paint Shop Pro
  3. Editing a Digital Photo Using Layers in Paint Shop Pro
  4. Layer Groups in Paint Shop Pro