by Julieanne Kost

 Comments (3)


May 4, 2012

There are several new features in Photoshop CS6 that make working with layers more efficient.

• In previous versions of Photoshop, we could select the Move tool (or the Marquee, Lasso, Quick Select etc. – basically any tool that didn’t have an Opacity setting), and use the numeric keys on the keyboard to change the opacity of a layer. Tapping one number assigns the percentage of the tapped number (1 = 10%, 2= 20% etc. and 0 = 100%). Tapping two numbers quickly will give you that exact amount (5 + 4 = 54%). In Photoshop CS6, tapping 0 + 0 quickly will set the Layer’s opacity to 0 (zero). This works with either a single layer or multiple layers selected.

• With multiple layers selected, you can now change the Blend Mode for all selected layers.

• If a layer is targeted (selected) in the Layers panel, but hidden (the eye is toggled off) the Opacity and Blend Mode are now visible.

• With multiple layers selected, you can now lock all selected layers by tapping the lock icon.

• With multiple layers selected, Command + J (Mac) | Control + J (Win) will duplicate the selected layers. This shortcut works for Layer Groups as well.

• With Multiple layers selected, Control -click (Mac) / Right Mouse -click (Win) on the eye icon in the Layers panel to change the color label of all selected layers at once.


  • By Bojan Živković - 8:37 PM on May 5, 2012  

    I realized that Shift + number change Fill opacity in CS5, it is not possible to set lower of 1%, I quess now works in CS6 to set Fill opacity to 0 with Shift + 0-0.

  • By Karen - 9:55 AM on January 7, 2013  

    What if I make a selection of a particular part of an image. Shouldn’t I be able to change the opacity of just that selected area? Not sure if our software has a glitch or not, but we are unable to do this!

    • By Pete Green - 2:12 PM on January 8, 2013  

      The shortcut Julieanne refers to (In the Layers Panel, layer opacity) affects the layer’s entire opacity, so making a selection and adjusting this value will still make the entire layer partially transparent according to the value you select.

      If you want to use your workflow for selecting an area and making only that portion partially transparent, you will want to add a layer mask to your layer you want to have partial transparency with (third button from the left at the bottom of the layers panel), then create your selection of the area you want partially transparent. Next, fill (edit > fill) that selection with a neutral color value, a variation of gray. 100% lighter is White (the entire mask is currently white) and White Reveals, 100% dark would be Black, and Black Conceals (or shows what’s underneath that layer).
      Any value of gray in-between 100% white and 100% black will produce the level of transparency you’re desiring. The darker the fill on the layer mask, the more transparent the selected area will get and visa-versa (because black is concealing that portion). You can even use any of your paint brush/pixel editing tools on this mask to get more creative than a blanket “fill”.

      Just be sure that before you do any filling or painting, that you’re painting/filling on the layer mask layer thumbnail (on right) and not the image pixel data thumbnail (on left).
      Hope this helps