The Layers Dialog

Figure 3.8

The Layers, Channels, Paths, Undo window (Layers dialog)

Figure 3.8

The Layers, Channels, Paths, Undo window (Layers dialog)

You can access the Layers dialog either from within the Windows > Dockable Dialogs menu item or from the Windows > Layers, Channels, Paths, Undo menu item in the image window. By default, when you start GIMP, it displays the Layers dialog in a window together with the dialogs for channels, paths, and the undo history. You can click a tab to select one of these dialogs (upper area in figure 3.8).

Here are the options in the Layers dialog:

• Auto: This button determines whether the Layers dialog should automatically display the layers of the current image window if you have several image windows open concurrently. Note that from your active image, an entry may not appear in the Layers dialog nor in the Channels, Paths, or Undo History dialog. You can activate it by clicking the Auto button and the entry should appear.

• Mode: This option determines how a layer interacts with other layers. The default mode is Normal.

• Opacity: This option lets you adjust the opacity of the layer. Move the slider to obtain a translucent layer fill. In the example image, the window pane layer was set to semitransparent opacity.

• Lock: The check box (with the chessboard pattern next to it) serves the purpose of protecting the transparencies. If Lock is activated, you cannot alter the transparent section of a layer.

The main part of the window shows the layer list. The sequence from top to bottom corresponds to the layers stacked in the image. The top layer is on the top of the list, while the bottom layer is at its bottom. This results in the order in which you see the image elements in the image window, one below the other.

The blue-highlighted layer is the active layer. If you wish to change active layers, simply click in the preview image of the layer you wish to edit or in the area to the right of it.

The eye icon can be clicked to make a layer visible or invisible. Invisible layers are not printed when you print the stack. (They also won't appear if you save the image in a file format that doesn't support layers, such as JPEG.)

If you click the area beside the eye icon, a chain icon will appear. If you want to edit, move, or scale several layers simultaneously, just link them together. To remove the link, click a visible layer.

Next to each chain icon area is a thumbnail of the image. The checkered surfaces are the transparent sections of the image.

The name of the object on a layer is displayed on the right of the thumbnail view. You can rename a layer by double-clicking its name and typing over the existing text. Double-clicking on the thumbnail image will open the Layer Attributes window so you can enter a new name. It's wise to use descriptive names for the layers since you can't always see the details in the thumbnails.

Before editing a layer, click the thumbnail, the layer's name, or the area to the right of it to activate the layer. The active layer will be highlighted in blue in the layer list.

The buttons below the layer list have the following functions:

Creates a new layer (see section 3.3.2). Press Shift to create a new layer with previously defined values.

Creates a copy of the current layer (see section 3.3.2).

Moves a layer up one position in the layer stack. Press the Shift key to move the layer to the top of the list.

Floating selections are a special feature of GIMP. If you copy and paste the contents of an image selection, it will appear in the Layers dialog as a floating selection. You can then either double-click to paste the floating selection as a new separate layer in the image or click Anchor Layer to merge the floating layer and the previously selected active layer. This is an efficient method when pasting multiple copies of your floating selection to an active layer or when pasting a previously modified selection to a specific layer.

Moves a layer down. Press the Shift key to move the layer to the bottom of the list.

Deletes the active layer without opening a dialog that will allow you to cancel the action.

Select Lock when you are finished working on a layer so the layer can't accidentally be modified. The program recognizes the layer for which you activated the lock. You can still work with the other layers that haven't been locked.

Before editing a layer, click the thumbnail, the layer's name, or the area to the right of it to activate the layer. The active layer will be highlighted in blue in the layer list.

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Edit Layer Attribute^..,

New Layer.,.

New from Visible

Duplicate Layer

Anchor Layer

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Merge Down

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Delete Layer

Layer Boundary Size,,.

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Layer to Image Size

Scale Layer,..

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Add Layer Mask.,,

Apply Layer Mask

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Delete Layer Mask

Show Layer Mask

Edit Layer Mask

Disable Layer Mailt

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Maslf to Selection

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Add Alpha Channel

Remove Alpha Channel

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Alpha to Selection

Merge Visible Layers...

Flatten Image

Figure 3.9

The Layers context (right-click) menu

Figure 3.9

The Layers context (right-click) menu

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