Working with Layers

Working with Layers

Using Layers is a fundamental skill in many photo projects, from a simple collage to the most complex masterpiece. This tutorial will teach you the basics of working with layers in PaintShop Pro.



Layers can help you with projects such as:

  • Collages
  • Scrapbooks
  • Background replacements
  • and many more!

By the time you’re finished, you will know how to create a simple collage with layers in under 5 minutes. Check out the three photos below that were combined to create a beautiful 3-layer collage.

1.  To begin with, open PaintShop Pro and make sure that you’re using the Edit Workspace.


2.  Next, open the Layers Palette. You can do this by going to the View menu Palettes and then putting a check mark in Layers – or by pressing the F8 key on your keyboard.



In this example we will create a simple 3 layer collage using one photo as the base and then changing the background and foreground.

You can picture a collage much like setting up a play.  The middle photo is the stage, there is a backdrop behind, usually of a sky, and then props are in the front.

First, open the image that you will be using as the base.

You will see this image appear in your Layers Palette named “Background”.



3.  Right-click on it    and rename the layer to “Base”.  You will need to do this, as any layer with the name “Background” cannot be moved around.

In this example, we will remove the sky behind the hillside and add some flowers to the foreground.

4.  Next, open the image you wish to use as the background.

5.  Go to Selections > Select  All or use the key combination Ctrl+A on your keyboard.



6.  Next, use they key combination Ctrl+C, or go to Edit > Copy.

7.  Click on your project and from the edit menu select Paste As New Layer.


8.  To resize, click on one of the corner nodes and drag outward.



To move layers around, simply hold down the left mouse button over the layer and drag it above or below the other layers.

9.  Take the Eraser Tool and remove the sky of the base layer to reveal the background image below.



10.  Next, open the foreground image.

Repeat the steps from earlier to copy this image into your project and resize it appropriately.

Use the Eraser Tool again to remove everything but the flowers at the bottom.

Now that the collage is finished it should be saved as a PSPIMAGE file.  That way, if you wish to make changes later, those layers will stay separated.

To save a copy that you can upload to Facebook or send via e-mail, go to   File Save As and select Jpeg.   

Since Jpeg images can only hold a single layer, you will get a warning message.  Click YES to this message to continue.

It’s just that simple to create a stunning collage from multiple images using the Layers function in PaintShop Pro.



If you have enjoyed this tutorial, be sure to check out the other tutorials that are available in the Discovery Center.  If you have any ideas for tutorials or projects that you would like to see in the future, please leave us some Feedback.

Thanks for watching! We hope you found this tutorial helpful and we would love to hear your feedback in the Comments section below. And don’t forget to visit our social media pages and show us what you’ve learned by sharing your photos, videos and creative projects with us.

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Comments (8)

  • ep giovannini Reply

    Thanks for this one.. makes working with layers more intuitive and productive, for me!

    EP Giovannini

    January 3, 2019 at 6:36 pm
  • Carol burdett Reply

    I am terribly frustrated with the lack of information on cloning. The tutorial above is fine but how do I clone from one photo to another? I don’t know how to get two photos into the workspace at once. And I don’t know how to make the clone brush stop working. I know it says to unclick the brush but nothing I try accomplishes that.

    December 10, 2017 at 9:35 pm
    • Adam Reply

      Hello Carol,

      While the copy/paste commands can move between different photos without both being displayed, if you prefer to see both at once that can be done as well! You can change the photo view from tabbed to tiled using the Window > Tabbed Documents menu at the top of the screen.

      Hope this helps!
      Discovery Center Team

      February 3, 2018 at 6:53 pm
  • Sandi Reply

    Recently purchased PaintShop Pro X9. I need to use this to create images for an e-commerce web site that sells swimwear and lingerie. I have a main image that I crop and then I crop other images to fit inside the main image and all to fit specific size requires for our database. I do not see anything in the tutorials telling me how to crop an image and place it within the frame of the original image to create a new image.

    August 15, 2017 at 10:40 am
    • Adam Reply

      Hello Sandi,

      What did you mean by placing an image within the frame of the original? Were you looking to create an icon surrounded by blank space, overlay one image over another, or do something else entirely?

      Corel Discovery Center Team

      August 17, 2017 at 12:03 am
      • Scott Smith Reply

        Not that you may care 6 mos later, but I think Sandi may benefit by watching the tutorial on “Working with layers in PSP”. I think you may have hit it with “…overlay one image on another…”.
        It seems like she is asking about having a background (the “original photo”) with other smaller photos placed within that background/original photo. Then she would have the original (the website background) with the tiles of the other photos ‘within’ that photo, if you will. My two cents, admittedly probably useless six months later.
        Using layers seems like one of those things “how did I ever get by without this?!” My wife is in design school and didn’t want to plunk down the monthly subscription for “the other program”, though I do see their motivation in terms of no upgrades to buy, etc. Looks like once we get these functionalities down, the paycheck to paycheck thing will finally be behind us for good!

        February 24, 2018 at 12:45 pm
        • Adam Reply

          Hello Scott,

          Thanks for the suggestion! I agree, once you get used to working with layers it is hard to imagine doing anything beyond a basic touch-up without them.

          Discovery Center Team

          February 24, 2018 at 9:21 pm
    • Roy Reply

      I’m picking that you need to resize the images not crop.

      September 10, 2017 at 2:11 pm

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