How to Overlay Images in Photoshop (Work with Layers)


Working with Photoshop layers is like being in front of stacked acetate sheets, only digital, which allow you to superimpose images. Something very similar to the principle of cartoons. Through the transparent areas of a layer, you can see the layers below. In addition to moving them to reposition the content in the layer, as if sliding an acetate sheet into a stack, without any harm, the movement can be undone or moved at any time.

Layers are used to perform tasks such as compositing multiple images and adding text or graphical vector shapes. You can apply a layer style to add a special effect like a drop shadow or glow. Whenever possible, use layer groups to organize and manage layers.

How to Overlay Images in Photoshop

  1. Open Photoshop;
  2. Menu “File” > “New”;
  3. Or follow the shortcut “⌘ + N” ( macOS ) or “Control + N” ( Windows );
  4. Inform the size of the file you want to work with;
  5. Click Open – locate the images and click “Open” again;
  6. Or follow the shortcut “⌘ + O” or “Control + O”;
  7. With the “Move” tool or press “V”;
  8. Under “Layers”, click on a layer or group and drag it up or down;
  9. Release the mouse button when the highlighted line appears where you want to place the layer or group.

You can easily rearrange an image’s layers in the Layers panel or directly in the Document window. You can also lock layers to protect them.

How to Move a Layer to a Group in Photoshop

  1. Drag the layer to the “Group”;
  2. If it is closed (internal content not visible), the layer will be directed to the bottom of the group;
  3. If the position is not desired, open the group folder and drag the image to the desired location;
  4. Release the mouse button when the highlighted line appears where you want to place the layer within the group.

Important tips:

  • To facilitate the selection of individual objects, select the “Move” tool with the “Auto-Select” “Layer” or “Group” function activated;
  • Create new layers when starting something new with the stroke tool, for example, and make your work easier in case of adjustments;
  • Create groups to arrange them in a logical order and reduce clutter in the Layers panel. You can nest groups within others. You can also use groups to apply attributes and masks to multiple layers simultaneously;
  • Always pay attention to the order of the layers, so as not to make mistakes regarding the plane, depth and order of entry of elements in the scene.

How to Arrange Layers in Photoshop

  1. Select the text layers;
  2. Menu “Layer” > “Arrange” > “Bring to Front”;
  3. Create a group with all text elements;
  4. Name the group (eg Portuguese);
  5. Duplicate the group and name it (eg English);
  6. Save the file.


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