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Layers

Layers are great and give you the ultimate over your image, as well as provide lots of additional creative opportunities.

Each layer can contain discrete elements of your project. Layers can contain photos, textures, or adjustments. There are lots of ways to create and manage layers, but it all comes back to having an organized design. Be sure to double-click on the name of each layer and give it a clear, descriptive name to make your workflow easier.

Using Layers.

To make sure Layers are visible, do the following.

  • Launch Luminar and open an image.
  • If Layers aren’t visible, click the Side Panel button in the Top Toolbar to open the panel. You can also press the Tab key to open the Side Panel if it’s hidden.

  • If Layers still aren’t seen, click the Layers button in the Top Toolbar to view Layers.

  • Review the Layers panel. 

When you first open an image, it’s named Layer 0. This base layer can have filters applied directly to it or you can add more layers above. Each new layer uses the previous layer below as its starting point. In other words, each layer imposes the result of its processing on the previous layer.

To add another layer, click the + button at the top of the Layers controls. You can either add an Adjustment layer or an Add Image layer.

Using the Add Image Command.

The Add Image command is a useful way to add one image on top of another in a Luminar project. There are many possible reasons to do this, including design and technical. In this chapter we’ll explore 3 uses for this effect.

Loading a Texture Layer.

The use of texture layers is quite a useful way to stylize an image. You can use the Add Image command to place a texture above a photo.

Click the + symbol at the top of the Layers panel and choose Add Image….

Navigate to a texture layer on your hard drive and click the Open button to add the file to your document. The layer is automatically named with the filename of the selected file.

To scale the texture, right-click on its thumbnail and choose Texture Mapping.
Select one of the three mapping options. You can Fit the image to the width or height, Scale to Fit to enlarge the image to fit the screen, or use Fill to distort the image to fill the screen.

Click the Blend menu to change the Blending mode for the Texture layer. Drag the Opacity slider to refine the blending of the two layers.

Remember, a texture must be an external file. As you adjust the blend mode and opacity of the texture layer, it will create many different creative effects. Each mode will have a different impact on your image based on the type and opacity you choose.

Adding a texture to your image can dramatically change the look and feel of your work, plus you may want to use a brush to apply the texture only in specific areas of your image.

NOTE: Textures are not stored in Luminar. These files are located wherever you’ve saved them for usage. For easy access, we recommend keeping all of your textures in a consistent place on your hard disk.

Here are some creative and handy usages of Layers & Textures.

Watch a Luminar video.

Add a Watermark or Logo.

A logo or watermark is an excellent way to brand an image before you post it to the Internet or make a print.

Before attempting this procedure, download this custom "invert" pre-set from this link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/8q4thom4km350lq/Invert.lmp.zip?dl=0 

Once you have found the file in your downloads, unzip and place the file into Luminar's custom presets folder.

To find the custom presets folder, launch Luminar, load any image and go to File > Show presets folder. Then place the invert preset file into this folder.

Next:

1. Launch Luminar and open an image.

2. Process the photo as desired.

3. When ready to add your logo, click on layers and select add new image layer.

IMPORTANT! Regardless of whether you wish to add a logo with white letters or a logo with black letters, choose black logo with transparent or white background.

Beginning with version 1.2.1, Luminar turns transparency into white color, so white logos on transparent background won't work.

How to display a BLACK-LETTERED PhotoLogo file in Luminar version 1.2.1:

1. After having selected the logo file the image on your screen will be completely covered by your black lettered logo on top of a white background.

2. Right-click on the new image layer you just created, scroll down to "Image Mapping" and select "Fit."

3. Change the blend mode from "normal" to "darken." This will reveal your black-lettered logo over your image file.

4. Select the transform tool, close the lock and enter the desired size of the logo. Then move the logo to the desired location on your image.

5. Once you are satisfied with the result, you may "save" and/or "export" your finished work.

How to display a WHITE-LETTERED PhotoLogo file in Luminar version 1.2.1:

1. After having selected the logo file the image on your screen will be completely covered by your black lettered logo on top of a white background.

2. Right-click on the new image layer you just created, scroll down to "Image Mapping" and select "Fit."

3. Go to presets, select custom, and click on the "Invert" preset. You will now see your image covered by a white logo over a black background.

4. Change the blend mode from "normal" to "screen." This will reveal your white-lettered logo over your image file.5. Select the transform tool, close the lock and enter the desired size of the logo. Then move the logo to the desired location on your image.6. Once you are satisfied with the result, you may "save" and/or "export" your finished work.

Replace a Sky.

A professional photographer can spend a good part of a day waiting for the perfect sky and weather conditions. Sometimes though, no matter how patient you are, skies will often be washed out and appear missing due to overexposure. One solution is to take pictures of the sky when it looks its best, and then use a few techniques to combine two or more images into a new composited photo.

These technique can be easily done using Layers, along with the Gradient Mask and Transform tools.

  • Open a photo that needs a new sky. 
  • Use any filters needed to enhance the image to better match the style with the sky you’ll add.
  • Click the + symbol at the top of the Layers panel and choose Add Image….
  • Navigate to a sky image on your hard drive and click the Open button to add the file to your document. The layer is automatically named with the filename of the selected file.
  • Once the file is opened, it will obscure the layer below it.
  • Click on the gear icon and choose Clear Mask to see the original image again.

In order to add back the sky image, one technique is to apply a Gradient Mask, which will have the effect of pulling back in the sky with more emphasis on the upper part of the image. Resize or move the gradient as needed for the best fit and click the Apply button to apply it.

Sometimes the horizon line can be slightly harsh, so to tackle that by clicking on the Transform tool. Move the bottom handle to re-position the sky more to your liking. You can also touch up edges of the Gradient Mask using a brush with decreased exposure and set to a low Opacity such as 20%. Brush over any areas that need additional blending.

Note: The desert or the ocean is the best place to shoot the sky. This is often because the amount of environmental and light pollution is greatly reduced and you often have a strong horizon line. Don’t worry, just keep your eyes out for a great day with beautiful skies and remember to shoot them.

Using an Adjustment Layer.

Luminar offers a special type of layer that makes it easy to precisely edit your photos. Any filter or filters in Luminar can be applied to an Adjustment Layer. This is a really flexible way to work with you photos as it means you can easily control advanced options for filters such as their application order, opacity, or blending modes. 

Adjustment layers give you the most flexibility when editing a photo. Here’s how to work with Adjustment Layers.

  • Open an image within Luminar.
  • If hidden, open the Layers panel.
  • At the top of the Filters section click the + button.
  • Choose the menu item Add New Adjustment Layer.
  • From the Add Filters list, choose a filter to attach to the adjustment layer.
  • To make things easier, be sure to give the new adjustment layer a descriptive name.
  • Adjust the filter’s results to taste.
  • Use advanced controls to refine the look of the filter such as the layer’s blending mode and opacity settings.

Continue to add additional effects as needed to their own adjustment layers.
As needed, you can turn layers on or off to alter the image’s appearance. You can also drag adjustment layers up or down in the layer stack to generate new effects.

Creating a Stamped Layer.

As you work with layered photos, you may decide that you want to create a merged copy of those layers. Perhaps its to apply additional effects, or maybe to mask and blend the layers together. 

Luminar calls this feature a stamped layer, and it simply means that all of the current layers and filters combine into a new layer at the top of the Layers panel. Here’s how to create a stamped layer.

  • Open an image within Luminar.
  • If hidden, open the Layers panel.
  • Design using Adjustment and Image layers as you wish.
  • When ready to merge layers, click the + button at the top of the Layers’ section and choose Create New Stamped Layer.
  • The new layer based on all the others is at the top of the Layer stack. Feel free to use options like masks, blending modes, or additional filters to process.

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