More Than One Way to Skin a Cat or Dupe a Layer

As you have discovered by now, there are multiple ways to perform the same command in Photoshop Elements. And for almost all of them, there is a keyboard shortcut. This quick tip addresses simply duplicating a layer.

The long way from the Menu bar is to click on Layer > New > Layer Via Copy. Doing it this way names the new layer a copy of the original layer, e.g. Background Copy.

The commonly used shortcut key for this is Ctrl+J. This results in the duplicate layer being named Layer X, e.g. Layer 1.  This shortcut is also great for copying selections to their own layer.

If you want to give the duplicated layer a different name from the default, you must do that as a separate step. But if you use the shortcut key, Ctrl+Alt+J, a dialog box appears (as shown below) giving you the option to change its name, as well as Bending Mode. This is true whether you are duplicating a layer or copying a selection to its own layer.

Ctrl Alt J

If you like this tip and would like to see more, please rate it at the top and also click on the Like button below. Also, please add any comments you have about this post in the Comments section below.

Exploring Blending Modes

Whenever you create a new  layer or duplicate a layer, you can control how the two layers will interact. You use the Blending Mode to do this. Often you will use the Normal blending mode, which basically stacks the two layers with no interaction between them. But there are 24 more in Photoshop Elements. One quick way to cycle through them and see their effect is to first select the Move Tool. Then click on Shift+ to work down the list of blending modes, and Shift- to work up.

As an experiment, stack two images, for example a portrait over a textured background. With the portrait on the top layer, and the Move Tool selected, cycle through the blending modes as described above. The figure below shows an example. In this case, the Blending Mode was Hard Mix. Remember you can vary the effect by adjusting the top layer’s Opacity.

Hard Mix Blend Mode

Happy Holidays!

PV NET’s Announcement of My Upcoming Class

I just got this email announcement from PV NET regarding the class I will be teaching there beginning January 12th. They send out announcements like this periodically to several thousand residents in the Palos Verdes area. By the way, their computer classroom can only accommodate sixteen students, so if you are thinking about taking the class, I would not wait too long to register.

Happy Holidays!

Start off the New Year with a BRAND NEW class from Don Stouder!

   December 20, 2011
Start off the New Year with a BRAND NEW class from Don Stouder!

Exploring Photoshop Elements 9/10 on Your Laptop (January 12th, 2012 – February 9th, 2012)

Have you recently purchased PSE 10, and want to learn more about the program’s new features? Would you like to work with your own pictures as you learn the program? Are you using Photoshop Elements on an Apple laptop? If one or more of the above apply to you, this brand new course from Don Stouder just may be the course you have been waiting for. As the title implies, it will be taught using Photoshop Elements 10 installed on a laptop. The class will cover both using the Organizer and the Editor in PSE.

For more information

Click here to register!


310•544•5395 or

If you do not wish to receive any more emails from PVNET, please click here to be removed from our mail list.

Use the Magnetic Lasso with Caps-Lock On

I still find the Magnetic Lasso in Photoshop Elements to be my selection tool of choice at times. There are times when the newer semi-automatic selection tools don’t work as well for me. Recently I learned that if I used it with Caps-Lock turned on, the cursor becomes a circular brush with a + sign in the center. Zoom in sufficiently to see this symbol, and it is much easier to trace along the edges of your selection. Try it. It really does improve your tracing accuracy. This also works in Photoshop.

Preview of a New Course at PV NET

I am teaching a new course in January at PV NET called “Exploring Photoshop Elements 9/10 on Your Laptop”. The class starts on January 12th. CLICK HERE to register for the class. This short video should give you a better idea how the class will work and the general topics we will be covering.

Organizing Your Photos Using Photoshop Elements Class

This short video briefly describes the Organizing Your Photos class I will be teaching this winter at both the South Bay Adult School and the Torrance Adult School. To register for either class, click on the applicable school link. If you want to see the descriptions/schedules for this class and other classes I’m teaching this winter, see the panel on the left.

Organizing Your Photos Using Photoshop Elements

Check it out.