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Working with layers

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I have several questions regarding the use of layers.  I'm a new user of Paint.NET, sorry if these questions sound simple.  After loading the original image, I want to add a layer.  Do I use the layer tab and click on "add a layer" or "import an image"?  Both actions add a layer to the "Layers box"  The "add layer: shows the layer with checkerboard background.  Where as "import Image" adds the image.  


Secondly, when I would click any of the layers, the image on the canvas does not change.  So if I wanted to work on a either the second or third layer I can't see it.  What I'm I doing wrong?


Any help is greatly appreciated.

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Hey mako49 - Welcome to the forum :D


If you want to add an empty layer use Layers > Add New Layer (or Ctrl + Shift + N) or the Add New Layer icon  :AddNewLayer: at the foot of the Layers Window


If you want to add an image in a new layer use Layers > Import from File. Note: there may be sizing issues if the imported image is larger than the canvas you have open (the canvas will automatically be resized to accomodate the larger imported image).



Only one layer is 'active' at any one time. Editing operations can only be applied to the active layer. The currently active layer is highlighted blue in the Layers window. As you've found - it's easy to change which layers you're working on; just clikc on the layer name in the Layers Window.


When you select a layer, the composite image on the canvas will not change. It represents the assembled image (composited from all the visible layers). If you want to view a single layer for editing purposes, uncheck the Visible checkbox for the other layers in the Layers window.

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Thanks for your response.  Maybe to better explain what I'm attempting to accomplish is to create a grayscale image that I can create a pattern to carve in wood.  Through the use of layers I can develop depth to an image.  So I need to build layers and "unfocus" each layer.  Each time I would unfocus a little more to each layer.  Once I achieve what I'm looking for, I save it to Paint.net.  Then I resave it as .png.  My carving program does not recoginize .pdn files.


I have to view each layer while adjusting the focus.  After following your response, when I unchecked Visible that layer disappears from the layers box.  Hopefully this will help you better understand what I'm doing.

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Is each layer a copy? Or do they differ from each other?


Have you an example you could post a link to?

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If you want to learn about understanding layers and working with layers, I recommend...
- Reading the paint.net documentation.
And viewing these two videos. Note, the videos are old, they use an older version of paint.net, but the concepts are about the same.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttaCIhpDKR0
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Z76ivYqXG0

Now, about how you want to use another program with layers.
The pdn format is the format to save in if you want to keep your layers. You can read about paint.net's formats here : http://forums.getpaint.net/index.php?/topic/12189-how-to-save-your-images-under-different-file-types/
But, the pdn format isn't normally recognized by other programs, which means you are mostly limited to working on each layer strictly in paint.net.

However, there are some workarounds to this.

That Other App Plugin. (how to install plugins?)
To use this plugin, click on the layer that you will want to edit in another program.
Then run that other app plugin and search for the other program.
When you have opened your image in the other program through the that other app plugin, go ahead and make your changes and edits in the other program and then click save.
After you click save in the other program, return to paint.net and click that other app's OK button. Your changes should be applied.

The other workaround is you might find the 'ZIP Archive' FileType Plugin useful. It is a layer saver plugin.
It can be used to...
- export the layers to an other application in a standard format.
- zip the image if an upload location does not allow .pdn format.
- is a replacement for the external Paint.NET tool LayerSaver

Also, I haven't tried this yet, but there is a photoshop file type plugin, I think it might save in layers, and since it is a photoshop file type, it might be more recognized by other programs.

Edited by Cc4FuzzyHuggles
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