Introduction to Layers

What are Layers?

Layers are an important concept to understand when working in photo editing or graphic design. BeFunky uses layers a few different ways in our application, but the core concept of them remains the same.

Every image starts as a single layer. Once you start adding extra elements to an image, like for instance another image, a graphic or block of text, you add multiple layers onto your image. Each layer stands alone as far as editing goes, and you can move between them to make edits to one layer without directly affecting another. In this guide we’ll go over the different types of layers you’ll encounter on BeFunky and how to utilize them.
 

Image Layers

Check out this screengrab below to see how image layers work. First we have a cutout of a horse in our image manager. This cutout has a transparent background, so you’ll just see the horse added as another layer.
 
You’ll see the option to ‘Add as Layer’. Choose this and you’ll see the horse hover over your original image, which is set as the background. Your horse will be considered a ‘layer’ here, as will any subsequent images added over the background.
 
Once your layer has been added, you can use the blue checkered border to adjust the size of the layer, or rotate it to fit in better with your image. Click the layer and drag it around the canvas to move the location of your layer.
 
You'll also see an "Image Properties" panel come up when you add a new layer. This will let you make some changes to the image, like adding a color overly or tint, or click on the 'Options' sub-menu to change things like Blend Mode, Opacity or layer placement.
 

Graphic Layers

If you’re looking to add graphics to your project, each graphic you add will be a separate layer. Just like you’ll do with image layers, under the 'Graphics' menu, you can 'Search Graphics' and select the graphics you want to use to add them to the Image Manager. From there, either drag and drop or double click the graphic to add it to your background.
 
Once it’s been selected and added to a canvas, you’ll see a ‘Graphic Properties’ panel appear. This will give you options to add a Color Overlay or Tint, change the position of the graphic relative to the rest of your layers, adjust opacity, change the Blend Mode or other alignment.
 

Text Layers

For adding text layers, you’ll do the exact same process as graphic layers. Head over to the Text menu, then click ‘Add Text’ to create a new text layer. Once you’ve typed in the text you want to use, you can use the ‘Text Properties’ panel to change the font style, size, color, background and more.
 
Each piece of text you add will be considered a new layer. Depending how you want your text to look, you may want to make several different layers of text so you can have them at varying sizes and colors as opposed to one uniform font. Experiment with different options and find what works for you!
 

Layer Groups

On the bottom bar of your workspace you’ll see a couple options for managing layers. First you’ll see an icon that looks like three sheets of paper stacked. Click on that to control your layers and groups. You can click between each layer in that panel to make it the active layer you’re currently working on.
 
If you want to manipulate multiple layers at the same time, you can select them into groups. This can be helpful if you’re grouping several different layers of text or graphics that you want to experiment with.

To select a group, hold down the ‘Control’ button or right click on your keyboard, then click on the layers you want to group. You’ll see them all get selected, with one larger selection box around all of them.
 
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