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Work with layers in Photoshop on the iPad

  1. Photoshop User Guide
  2. Introduction to Photoshop
    1. Dream it. Make it.
    2. What's new in Photoshop
    3. Edit your first photo
    4. Create documents
    5. Photoshop | Common Questions
    6. Photoshop system requirements
    7. Get to know Photoshop
  3. Photoshop and other Adobe products and services
    1. Work with Illustrator artwork in Photoshop
    2. Work with Photoshop files in InDesign
    3. Substance 3D Materials for Photoshop
    4. Use the Capture in-app extension in Photoshop
  4. Photoshop on the iPad (not available in mainland China)
    1. Photoshop on the iPad | Common questions
    2. Get to know the workspace
    3. System requirements | Photoshop on the iPad
    4. Create, open, and export documents
    5. Add photos
    6. Work with layers
    7. Draw and paint with brushes
    8. Make selections and add masks
    9. Retouch your composites
    10. Work with adjustment layers
    11. Adjust the tonality of your composite with Curves
    12. Apply transform operations
    13. Crop and rotate your composites
    14. Rotate, pan, zoom, and reset the canvas
    15. Work with Type layers
    16. Work with Photoshop and Lightroom
    17. Get missing fonts in Photoshop on the iPad
    18. Japanese Text in Photoshop on the iPad
    19. Manage app settings
    20. Touch shortcuts and gestures
    21. Keyboard shortcuts
    22. Edit your image size
    23. Livestream as you create in Photoshop on the iPad
    24. Correct imperfections with the Healing Brush
    25. Create brushes in Capture and use them in Photoshop on the iPad
    26. Work with Camera Raw files
    27. Create and work with Smart Objects
    28. Adjust exposure in your images with Dodge and Burn
    29. Auto adjustment commands in Photoshop on the iPad
    30. Smudge areas in your images with Photoshop on the iPad
    31. Saturate or desaturate your images using Sponge tool
    32. Content aware fill for iPad
  5. Photoshop on the web (not available in mainland China)
    1. Common questions
    2. System requirements
    3. Keyboard shortcuts
    4. Supported file types
    5. Introduction to the workspace
    6. Open and work with cloud documents
    7. Generative AI features
    8. Basic concepts of editing
    9. Quick Actions
    10. Work with layers
    11. Retouch images and remove imperfections
    12. Make quick selections
    13. Image improvements with Adjustment Layers
    14. Move, transform, and crop images
    15. Draw and paint
    16. Work with Type layers
    17. Work with anyone on the web
    18. Manage app settings
    19. Generate Image
    20. Generate Background
    21. Reference Image
  6. Photoshop (beta) (not available in mainland China)
    1. Get started with Creative Cloud Beta apps
    2. Photoshop (beta) on the desktop
    3. Generate image with descriptive text prompts
    4. Generate background with descriptive text prompts
  7. Generative AI (not available in mainland China) 
    1. Common questions on generative AI in Photoshop
    2. Generative Fill in Photoshop on the desktop
    3. Generative Expand in Photoshop on the desktop
    4. Generative Fill in Photoshop on the iPad
    5. Generative Expand in Photoshop on the iPad
    6. Generative AI features in Photoshop on the web
  8. Content authenticity (not available in mainland China)
    1. Content credentials in Photoshop
    2. Identity and provenance for NFTs
    3. Connect accounts for creative attribution
  9. Cloud documents (not available in mainland China)
    1. Photoshop cloud documents | Common questions
    2. Photoshop cloud documents | Workflow questions
    3. Manage and work with cloud documents in Photoshop
    4. Upgrade cloud storage for Photoshop
    5. Unable to create or save a cloud document
    6. Solve Photoshop cloud document errors
    7. Collect cloud document sync logs
    8. Invite others to edit your cloud documents
    9. Share files and comment in-app
  10. Workspace
    1. Workspace basics
    2. Preferences
    3. Learn faster with the Photoshop Discover Panel
    4. Create documents
    5. Place files
    6. Default keyboard shortcuts
    7. Customize keyboard shortcuts
    8. Tool galleries
    9. Performance preferences
    10. Use tools
    11. Presets
    12. Grid and guides
    13. Touch gestures
    14. Use the Touch Bar with Photoshop
    15. Touch capabilities and customizable workspaces
    16. Technology previews
    17. Metadata and notes
    18. Touch capabilities and customizable workspaces
    19. Place Photoshop images in other applications
    20. Rulers
    21. Show or hide non-printing Extras
    22. Specify columns for an image
    23. Undo and history
    24. Panels and menus
    25. Position elements with snapping
    26. Position with the Ruler tool
  11. Web, screen, and app design
    1. Photoshop for design
    2. Artboards
    3. Device Preview
    4. Copy CSS from layers
    5. Slice web pages
    6. HTML options for slices
    7. Modify slice layout
    8. Work with web graphics
    9. Create web photo galleries
  12. Image and color basics
    1. How to resize images
    2. Work with raster and vector images
    3. Image size and resolution
    4. Acquire images from cameras and scanners
    5. Create, open, and import images
    6. View images
    7. Invalid JPEG Marker error | Opening images
    8. Viewing multiple images
    9. Customize color pickers and swatches
    10. High dynamic range images
    11. Match colors in your image
    12. Convert between color modes
    13. Color modes
    14. Erase parts of an image
    15. Blending modes
    16. Choose colors
    17. Customize indexed color tables
    18. Image information
    19. Distort filters are unavailable
    20. About color
    21. Color and monochrome adjustments using channels
    22. Choose colors in the Color and Swatches panels
    23. Sample
    24. Color mode or Image mode
    25. Color cast
    26. Add a conditional mode change to an action
    27. Add swatches from HTML CSS and SVG
    28. Bit depth and preferences
  13. Layers
    1. Layer basics
    2. Nondestructive editing
    3. Create and manage layers and groups
    4. Select, group, and link layers
    5. Place images into frames
    6. Layer opacity and blending
    7. Mask layers
    8. Apply Smart Filters
    9. Layer comps
    10. Move, stack, and lock layers
    11. Mask layers with vector masks
    12. Manage layers and groups
    13. Layer effects and styles
    14. Edit layer masks
    15. Extract assets
    16. Reveal layers with clipping masks
    17. Generate image assets from layers
    18. Work with Smart Objects
    19. Blending modes
    20. Combine multiple images into a group portrait
    21. Combine images with Auto-Blend Layers
    22. Align and distribute layers
    23. Copy CSS from layers
    24. Load selections from a layer or layer mask's boundaries
    25. Knockout to reveal content from other layers
  14. Selections
    1. Get started with selections
    2. Make selections in your composite
    3. Select and Mask workspace
    4. Select with the marquee tools
    5. Select with the lasso tools
    6. Adjust pixel selections
    7. Move, copy, and delete selected pixels
    8. Create a temporary quick mask
    9. Select a color range in an image
    10. Convert between paths and selection borders
    11. Channel basics
    12. Save selections and alpha channel masks
    13. Select the image areas in focus
    14. Duplicate, split, and merge channels
    15. Channel calculations
  15. Image adjustments
    1. Replace object colors
    2. Perspective warp
    3. Reduce camera shake blurring
    4. Healing brush examples
    5. Export color lookup tables
    6. Adjust image sharpness and blur
    7. Understand color adjustments
    8. Apply a Brightness/Contrast adjustment
    9. Adjust shadow and highlight detail
    10. Levels adjustment
    11. Adjust hue and saturation
    12. Adjust vibrance
    13. Adjust color saturation in image areas
    14. Make quick tonal adjustments
    15. Apply special color effects to images
    16. Enhance your image with color balance adjustments
    17. High dynamic range images
    18. View histograms and pixel values
    19. Match colors in your image
    20. Crop and straighten photos
    21. Convert a color image to black and white
    22. Adjustment and fill layers
    23. Curves adjustment
    24. Blending modes
    25. Target images for press
    26. Adjust color and tone with Levels and Curves eyedroppers
    27. Adjust HDR exposure and toning
    28. Dodge or burn image areas
    29. Make selective color adjustments
  16. Adobe Camera Raw
    1. Camera Raw system requirements
    2. What's new in Camera Raw
    3. Introduction to Camera Raw
    4. Create panoramas
    5. Supported lenses
    6. Vignette, grain, and dehaze effects in Camera Raw
    7. Default keyboard shortcuts
    8. Automatic perspective correction in Camera Raw
    9. Radial Filter in Camera Raw
    10. Manage Camera Raw settings
    11. Open, process, and save images in Camera Raw
    12. Repair images with the Enhanced Spot Removal tool in Camera Raw
    13. Rotate, crop, and adjust images
    14. Adjust color rendering in Camera Raw
    15. Process versions in Camera Raw
    16. Make local adjustments in Camera Raw
  17. Image repair and restoration
    1. Remove objects from your photos with Content-Aware Fill
    2. Content-Aware Patch and Move
    3. Retouch and repair photos
    4. Correct image distortion and noise
    5. Basic troubleshooting steps to fix most issues
  18. Image enhancement and transformation
    1. Replace sky in your images
    2. Transform objects
    3. Adjust crop, rotation, and canvas size
    4. How to crop and straighten photos
    5. Create and edit panoramic images
    6. Warp images, shapes, and paths
    7. Vanishing Point
    8. Content-aware scaling
    9. Transform images, shapes, and paths
  19. Drawing and painting
    1. Paint symmetrical patterns
    2. Draw rectangles and modify stroke options
    3. About drawing
    4. Draw and edit shapes
    5. Painting tools
    6. Create and modify brushes
    7. Blending modes
    8. Add color to paths
    9. Edit paths
    10. Paint with the Mixer Brush
    11. Brush presets
    12. Gradients
    13. Gradient interpolation
    14. Fill and stroke selections, layers, and paths
    15. Draw with the Pen tools
    16. Create patterns
    17. Generate a pattern using the Pattern Maker
    18. Manage paths
    19. Manage pattern libraries and presets
    20. Draw or paint with a graphics tablet
    21. Create textured brushes
    22. Add dynamic elements to brushes
    23. Gradient
    24. Paint stylized strokes with the Art History Brush
    25. Paint with a pattern
    26. Sync presets on multiple devices
    27. Migrate presets, actions, and settings
  20. Text
    1. Add and edit the text
    2. Unified Text Engine
    3. Work with OpenType SVG fonts
    4. Format characters
    5. Format paragraphs
    6. How to create type effects
    7. Edit text
    8. Line and character spacing
    9. Arabic and Hebrew type
    10. Fonts
    11. Troubleshoot fonts
    12. Asian type
    13. Create type
  21. Filters and effects
    1. Use the Blur Gallery
    2. Filter basics
    3. Filter effects reference
    4. Add Lighting Effects
    5. Use the Adaptive Wide Angle filter
    6. Use the Oil Paint filter
    7. Use the Liquify filter
    8. Layer effects and styles
    9. Apply specific filters
    10. Smudge image areas
  22. Saving and exporting
    1. Save your files in Photoshop
    2. Export your files in Photoshop
    3. Supported file formats
    4. Save files in graphics formats
    5. Move designs between Photoshop and Illustrator
    6. Save and export video and animations
    7. Save PDF files
    8. Digimarc copyright protection
  23. Color Management
    1. Understanding color management
    2. Keeping colors consistent
    3. Color settings
    4. Duotones
    5. Work with color profiles
    6. Color-managing documents for online viewing
    7. Color-managing documents when printing
    8. Color-managing imported images
    9. Proofing colors
  24. Web, screen, and app design
    1. Photoshop for design
    2. Artboards
    3. Device Preview
    4. Copy CSS from layers
    5. Slice web pages
    6. HTML options for slices
    7. Modify slice layout
    8. Work with web graphics
    9. Create web photo galleries
  25. Video and animation
    1. Video editing in Photoshop
    2. Edit video and animation layers
    3. Video and animation overview
    4. Preview video and animations
    5. Paint frames in video layers
    6. Import video files and image sequences
    7. Create frame animations
    8. Creative Cloud 3D Animation (Preview)
    9. Create timeline animations
    10. Create images for video
  26. Printing
    1. Print 3D objects
    2. Print from Photoshop
    3. Print with color management
    4. Contact Sheets and PDF Presentations
    5. Print photos in a picture package layout
    6. Print spot colors
    7. Print images to a commercial printing press
    8. Improve color prints from Photoshop
    9. Troubleshoot printing problems | Photoshop
  27. Automation
    1. Creating actions
    2. Create data-driven graphics
    3. Scripting
    4. Process a batch of files
    5. Play and manage actions
    6. Add conditional actions
    7. About actions and the Actions panel
    8. Record tools in actions
    9. Add a conditional mode change to an action
    10. Photoshop UI toolkit for plug-ins and scripts
  28. Troubleshooting
    1. Fixed issues 
    2. Known issues
    3. Optimize Photoshop performance
    4. Basic troubleshooting
    5. Troubleshoot crash or freeze
    6. Troubleshoot program errors
    7. Troubleshoot scratch disk full errors
    8. Troubleshoot GPU and graphics driver issues
    9. Find missing tools
    10. Photoshop 3D | Common questions around discontinued features

Learn the basics of working with layers in Photoshop on the iPad.

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Topics in this article:

Work with layers 

Layers contain the images, fonts, and objects that make up a layered file. Layers enable you to move, edit, and work with content on one layer without affecting the content within your other layers. Use layers to perform tasks such as compositing multiple images, adding text to an image, and applying filters and adjustments.

Layers are arranged in a stack and can be viewed by tapping either the compact or detailed layer view from the taskbar in the workspace.

Create stunning composites

Layer views

You can choose to view the layers in your document and other layer information from the taskbar. The available layer view options are compact, detailed, or hidden layer view.

Compact layer view

Compact layers view

Tap  from the taskbar to view layer thumbnails only. Swipe left on a thumbnail to see applied mask, if one has been applied to the layer.

Detailed layer view

Tap  from the taskbar to view layer names, visibility, and thumbnails of the layer and applied mask, if one has been applied to the layer.

Compact layers view

Hidden layer view

Deselect the compact layer view and detail layer view to hide both layer views from the canvas.

View generative variations in the Properties panel

Introduced in Photoshop on the iPad 5.0 (September 2023 release)

Choose from variations of an image previously created using Generative Fill on Photoshop desktop or the web in Photoshop on the iPad and experiment to create AI-generated variations of objects, effects, or even patterns.

Select the Generative Fill layer in your PSD file, go to Layer properties, and navigate to Generative to select your preferred option from the Variations panel. 

Anything is possible with generative layer variations--- try it to see what you can create on Photoshop desktop and the web.

Layer properties

Tap   from the taskbar to access layer properties:

Thumbnail: Displays the layer thumbnail and name.

Blending options: You can create various special effects using blending options — Opacity and Blend mode.

  • Opacity: Use the Opacity slider to adjust the overall opacity level of a layer. Opacity determines to what degree the selected layer is obscured or revealed. A layer with 1% opacity appears nearly transparent, whereas one with 100% opacity appears opaque. To learn more about how opacity works in Photoshop, see Layer opacity and blending.
  • Blend mode: A layer’s blending mode determines how its pixels blend with underlying pixels in the image. You can choose from a list of special effects using blending modes available in the drop-down list. To learn more about blending options in Photoshop, see Blending modes.
Layer properties

Add clipped adjustment:  Adds a clipped adjustment layer to the current layer — Brightness/Contrast, Black and white, Color balance, Curves, Exposure, Hue/Saturation, Levels, and Vibrance.

Effects: This feature is not supported on iPad yet. Adobe is working to add more Photoshop capabilities and workflows that can be used while on your iPad, in future releases.

Smart filters: This feature is not supported on iPad yet. Adobe is working to add more Photoshop capabilities and workflows that can be used while on your iPad, in future releases.

Dimensions: Displays the dimensions of the current layer bounds.

Add and name a layer

Tap  from the taskbar, to add a new layer. The new layer is inserted above the currently selected layer. To name or rename a layer, open the detailed layer () view. Double tap the layer name to bring up the Rename layer dialog. Type a name for the layer and tap Rename to confirm the name.

You can also long press  to bring up additional layer options — New layer, Adjustment layer, New empty group, and Paste as new layer.

Layer visibility

You can choose to show or hide the contents of a particular layer with the layer visibility () option available in the taskbar. Tap  from the taskbar, or from the detailed layer view to hide the contents of a selected layer. Tap again to view the contents of that layer. 

Layer mask

You can add a mask to a layer to show parts of the layer and hide others by tapping on the layer mask () icon. In the areas where the layer is masked (hidden), the layers below are visible. Masking layers is a valuable compositing technique for combining multiple photos into a single image or for removing a person or object from a photo.

You can edit a layer mask to add or subtract from the masked region. Areas you paint in black on the mask, hides those areas of the layer while areas you paint white on the mask are visible. For areas you paint on the mask in shades of gray, the layer appears in various levels of transparency.

Tap the mask visibility () icon to temporarily make the mask invisible, so that you can see the entire layer without the mask applied. 

By default, a layer or group is linked to its layer mask. To break the link between a layer and a mask, tap (). This allows you to move the layer image and the mask independent of one another.

Clipping mask

A clipping mask allows you to use the content of one layer to mask the layers above it. The masking is determined by the content of the bottom or base layer. The non-transparent content of the base layer clips (reveals) the content of the layers above it in the clipping mask. All other content in the clipped layer is masked out. When the layer to be clipped is selected, tap the clipping mask () icon and the layer below it is used to clip the layer. More layers can be placed on top and clipped to the same shape.

The top layer is the layer to be clipped. The middle layer determines what is clipped. The bottom layer is the lower layer that shows through when the top layer is clipped.

Add a clipping mask in Photoshop on the iPad
Add a clipping mask in Photoshop on the iPad

Filters and adjustments

Tap  from the taskbar to bring up the Filters and adjustments panel.

Gaussian blur: Applies the selected amount (from .1 to 1000) of Gaussian blur to a layer.

Invert: Inverts the contents of the layer.

Liquify: Corrects and modifies images and clears distortions.

Liquify now available in Filters and adjustments in Ps-iPad

Liquify now available on iPad

Introduced in Photoshop on the iPad 4.8 (July 2023 release)

Use the Liquify   filter on the iPad to correct and modify images, clear distortions, and create cool artistic effects. 

You can warp, smooth, twirl, pucker, or bloat the pixels of your image by adjusting the size of the brush and make subtle or drastic edits. 

Liquify filter is now available on the iPad
Liquify filter is now available on the iPad


Liquify filter has been disabled for text layers, smart objects, Layers (size more that 8192 X 8192 pixels), mask, and color modes including Grayscale, Lab color, RGB (16 Bits and 32 Bits), CMYK (16 Bits and 32 Bits). 

Add Stroke and Drop shadow layer effects

Introduced in Photoshop for the iPad 4.7 (June 2023 release)

Add Stroke or Drop shadow effects to a layer by navigating to Layer properties > Effects > Add layer effect.

Add layer effects using Ps-iPad

Your designated layer will be marked with the   icon, and you'll be able to make adjustments for different sliders, such as Blend modeOpacitySize, Distance, Spread, Size, and Position.

Drop shadow effects using Ps-iPad

You can also use the Layer effect actions three-dot icon to hide or delete actions or reset to default.

Use the three-dot icon in Layer effect actions to hide or delete actions or reset to default

Layer actions

Tap  from the taskbar to bring up the Layer actions panel.

Lock layer: Locks the layer so it can’t be edited.

Delete layer: Deletes the active layer.

Rename layer: Renames the active layer.

Add clipped adjustment: Adds a clipped adjustment layer to the selected layer.

Add layer effects: Adds Stroke or Drop shadow layer effects to a layer

Begin multi-select mode: Allows you to select multiple layers.

Duplicate layer: Duplicates the active layer.

Copy layer: Allows you to copy a selection or layer to be pasted.

Select all: Selects all contents of the active layer.

Load as selection: Selects all the nontransparent areas on a layer, or if a layer mask exists all the unmasked areas. Selecting these areas is useful when you want to select text or image content that is surrounded by or contains transparent areas or to create a selection that excludes masked areas on a layer.

Convert to smart object: Transforms operations on a layer—Scale and Rotate, Skew, Distort, and Perspective—without losing original image data or quality because these transformations don't affect the original image data.

Flatten layer
: Brings all layers of a multi-layered document to one plane.

Merge downMerges the active layer with the layer below it.

Merge visibleMerges all visible layers into the active layer.

Layer actions panel in Photoshop on the iPad
Layer actions panel in Photoshop on the iPad

Auto-select the preferred layer straight from the canvas

Select your preferred layer or bounding box directly on the canvas without navigating to its thumbnail view on the taskbar. Or, once selected, tap outside the transform bounding box and move the layer.

You can also add text to images, apply filters, and make adjustments without slowing down your workflow. 

This feature is enabled by default but can be disabled from the Move tool settings. Toggle between Individual Layer and Group to work with either individual or group layers. 

Manage your layers

Select multiple layers

You can select multiple layers to work with. Select the compact layer view or the detailed layer view, and tap the layer actions () icon. Select Begin multi-select mode from the layer actions panel that opens. In the Select layer mode, checkboxes appear next to each layer thumbnail in the layer view. Tap only those checkboxes that are next to layer thumbnails you want to select. Tap Done in the Select layer mode, or Cancel to exit selection.

Group and ungroup layers

You can select multiple layers that you want to group as described above. Tap the folder icon () to group the layers together. To ungroup layers, do the following:

  1. Select the grouped layer.
  2. Tap the three dots icon () on the taskbar .
  3. Tap the open folder () icon to ungroup layers. 

Reorder layers

To reorder a layer, long-press the thumbnail of the layer you want to move and then move it to the desired location in the layer stack. 


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