Preserving Layer Transparency

Areas of a layer that don't contain images are transparent. You can preserve the transparent areas of a layer with the Preserve Transparency check box on the Layers palette. This option affects which areas of a layer you can create images on. It also affects the results of erasing or deleting images on a layer.

By default, the Preserve Transparency check box is disabled, which lets you paint anywhere on the layer. When Preserve Transparency is enabled, the transparent areas are preserved, and you are confined to painting on areas of the layer that already contain images.

If you want to paint on a shape, you must first commit the shape to a pixel-based layer. For more information, see "To paint a shape" on page 350.

A good way to think about the Preserve Transparency option is in terms of a layer mask. As described in "Working with Layer Masks" in the Help, a layer mask defines the visible areas of a layer.

Preserve Transparency provides a powerful selective editing capability to create interesting effects by altering the strokes you've already applied. For example, you can enable Preserve Transparency to fill a set of hand-drawn letters with a pattern, a color gradient, or other brush strokes.

Preserve Transparency also affects the results of cutting or erasing on a layer.

The results of painting on a layer with the Preserve Transparency option disabled (left) and enabled (right).

• When Preserve Transparency is disabled, erasing or deleting images restores transparency to the area and reveals the underlying image.

• When Preserve Transparency is enabled, erasing or deleting images reveals the document's paper color. In effect, erasing or deleting with Preserve Transparency enabled is the same as painting or filling with the document's paper color.

Erasing part of a layer(the top-right wing ofthe butterfly) with the Preserve Tansparency check box disabled restores transparency(left). When the option is enabled, erasing reveals the paper color (right).

Erasing part of a layer(the top-right wing ofthe butterfly) with the Preserve Tansparency check box disabled restores transparency(left). When the option is enabled, erasing reveals the paper color (right).

You can create a layer mask based on the layer's transparency. A layer mask defines which areas of a layer are visible in the document window. For more information, see "Creating Layer Masks" in the Help.

To preserve layer transparency

• On the Layers palette, enable the Preserve Transparency check box.

You can also load a layer's transparency to a selection. On the Layers palette, hold down Control and click the layer (Mac OS), or right-click the layer (Windows), and choose Select Layer Transparency. For more information about selections, refer to "Selections" in the Help.

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