Adobe Photoshop Layer Madness

Being the best photo editing program on the market, Adobe Photoshop has more features than you can shake a stick at. One of the most valuble features though is it’s use of layers. Being able to have different elements of your design work or photo manipulation work on different spaces is an amazing thing. However, this is a feature that can be over used as well as abused if your not careful.

Photoshop BoxWhere do you draw the line when using layers? For me once I actually have to start scrolling for 10 seconds or more in the layers palette, I know it is time to start grouping like elements into folders to make things more organized and tidy. This is a realtively new way of thinking for me. My design process in photoshop used to consist of hundreds of layers that are unnamed, unorganized, and in general disarray. It would be nearly impossible at times to find the correct layer I was serching for to makes changes or whatever the case would be. Now though I have become more concious and aware of what I am doing with my layers and have started making groups and actually naming them all something relavent so that I can find things easier.

There are some people that take this practice a bit to far in some cases. What I mean by that is that I have seen some designers that have multiple groups, with groups inside groups, insided groups, going 3 maybe 4 levels deep. Needless to say that makes it hard to find things as well if you don’t know how deep in the folders you have to dig. Color coding the layers and groups is also a good practice but that too can be used a bit obnoxiously. I don’t like digging into a folder and seeing it go 4 or more levels deep with a rainbow of colors mucking everything up. So where does one draw the line between being organized and just being anal?

It would be nice if everyone could follow one simple method that makes things so much easier, KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). If more people would latch onto that cocept, layer madness could be a thing of the past for all guilty parties. Which side of the fence do you fall on when it comes to photoshop layer management? Conservative or Anal? Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: Shawn Grimes on August 24, 2006