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Reagan Ray is the lead designer and resident illustrator for Paravel.

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Layers Panel Options

June 13, 2011

If youʼre an avid user of Photoshop, then youʼre familiar with the layers panel. However, did you know it has some hidden options that allow you to turn off some of Photoshopʼs annoying habits?

Take, for example, every time you make a fill layer. It has this blank mask attached to it. What do you do with that mask? You either leave it there, out of laziness, or you delete it. Did you know that thereʼs a setting to turn off the creation of that default mask?

In the layers panel, click the little button in the top-right corner and youʼll get a drop- down. Towards the bottom of this drop-down is the option “Panel Options…” which will give you a new window titled “Layers Panel Options.”

From this window you can change thumbnail size between none, small, medium, and large. You can also change the “thumbnail contents.” This is really handy if you have a layer with an icon inside of a large document—by switching the setting to “Layer Bounds” you avoid this problem.

The last few options are my favorite. Remember that empty mask on fill layers I mentioned earlier? Uncheck “Use Default Masks on Fill Layers” to turn it off! You can also turn off “Expand New Effects,” which expands the layer styles & smart filters on layers every time you add or copy a new layer style. The last option removes repetitive “copy,” “copy 2,” “copy 3,” etc that Photoshop appends to each layer or folder that you duplicate. While these three options are all turned on by default, I suggest turning all three off.

Photoshop is slightly less painful now!

Oh, and for a little surprise, option+click on “Panel Options.”

Produced By

Erica Schoonmaker

Graphic Designer
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