Working with Layers

Aurora HDR™ support.

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Each layer can contain discrete elements of your project. Layers can contain photos, textures, ore adjustments. There are lots of ways to create and manage layers, but it all comes back to having an organized design. Be sure to double-click on the name of each layer and give it a clear, descriptive name to make your workflow easier.


Using Layers

Let’s explore using Layers. To make sure Layers are visible, do the following. 

  1. Launch Aurora HDR 2018 and open an image.
  2. If Layers aren’t visible, click the Side Panel button in the Top Toolbar to open the panel.  You can also press the Tab key to open the Side Panel if  it’s hidden.
  3. If Layers still aren’t seen, click the Layers button in the Side Panel to view Layers. 
  4. Review the Layers group. When you  first open an image, it’s named based on the source file.  This base layer can have filters applied directly to it or you can add more layers above.  Each new layer uses the  previous layer below as it's starting point. In other words, each layer imposes the result of it's processing on the previous layer.
  5. To add another layer, click the + button at the top of the Layers controls.  You can either add an Adjustment layer or an Add Image layer.
  6.  


Using the Add New Image Layer Command

The Add Image command is a useful way to add one image on top of another in an Aurora HDR 2018 image project.  There are many possible reasons to do this, including design and technical. In this chapter we’ll explore two uses for this effect

Loading a Texture Layer

The use of texture layers is quite a useful way to stylize an image.  You can use the Add Image command to place a texture above a photo. 


  1. Click the + symbol at the top of the Layers panel and choose Add New Image Layer….
  2. Navigate to a texture image on your hard drive and click the Open button to add the file to your document.  The layer is automatically named with the filename of the selected file.
  3. To scale the texture, right-click on its thumbnail and choose Image Mapping.
  4. Select one of the three mapping options.  You can Fit the image to the width or height, Scale to Fit to enlarge the image to fit the screen, or use Fill to distort the image to fill the screen.
  5. Click the Blend menu to change the Blending mode for the Texture layer.
  6. Drag the Opacity slider to refine the blending of the two layers.

As you adjust the blend mode and opacity of the texture layer, it will create many different creative effects. Each mode will have a different impact on your image based on the type and opacity you choose. Adding a texture to your image can dramatically change the look and feel of your work, plus you may want to use a brush to apply the texture only in specific areas of your image. 


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NOTE

Textures are not stored in Aurora HDR 2018. These files are located wherever you’ve saved them for usage. For easy access, we recommend keeping all of your textures in a consistent place on your hard disk.

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TIP

Single View Mode, accessed from the View menu, displays adjustment controls for only the selected tool in the Tools Sidebar. With this viewing option, all the tools, except the current one, are closed. Click on a different tool and the current one will be closed and the new one opened. In this mode, only one control is visible, cleaning up the sidebar interface significantly.

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Adding a Watermark or Logo

A logo or watermark is an excellent way to brand an image before you post it to the Internet or make a print. You can use the Add Image command to place a watermark or logo above a photo. 

  1. Click the + symbol at the top of the Layers panel and choose Add New Image Layer….
  2. Navigate to a logo or watermark on your hard drive and click the Open button to add the file to your document.  The layer is automatically named with the filename of the selected file.
  3. To scale the texture, right-click on its thumbnail and choose Image Mapping.
  4. To prevent unwanted distortion of the watermark or logo, choose Fit. 
  5. If the logo is over a white background, set it's blending mode to Multiply to blend the background. If the logo is over black, set it's blending mode to Screen.
  6. To scale the watermark, click the Transform Tool.
  7. Use the Scale and Rotate properties to size the logo.
  8. Use the X Offset and Y Offset to position the logo. 

Using an Adjustment Layer

Aurora HDR 2018 offers a special type of layer that makes it easy to precisely edit your photos.  An adjustment layer can hold all of the filters available to you for a second instance.  You can disable any of the filters that you do not want to use. This is a really flexible way to work with your photos as it means you can easily control advanced options for filters such as their opacity, or blending modes.  Adjustment layers give you the most flexibility when editing a photo. 


Here’s how to work with Adjustment Layers.

  1. Open an image within Aurora HDR 2018.
  2. If hidden, open the Layers panel.
  3. At the top of the Filters section click the + button.
  4. Choose the item Add New Adjustment Layer.
  5. To make things easier, be sure to give the new adjustment layer a descriptive name. You can right-click on the layer and choose Rename to do this.  Type in the new name and then press the Enter or Return key.
  6. The new layer contains access to all of the filters. Adjust any of the one’s you want to modify to taste.
  7. Disable any filters you do not want to use by clicking their visibility icon (eyeball).
  8. Use advanced controls to refine the look of the filter such as the layer’s Blending Mode and opacity settings. Continue to add additional effects as needed to their own adjustment layers.
  9. As needed, you can turn layers on or off to alter the image’s appearance.  You can also drag adjustment layers up or down in the layer stack to generate new effects. 


Using Blending Modes with Layers

A blending mode compares the content of two layers and enacts changes based on the content of both. You can choose from 14 different blending modes using the pop-up menu at the top of the Layers controls.  Understanding blending modes requires a bit of science.  To start let’s establish three key terms.

  • Base color. The original color in the image
  • Blend color. The color being applied by the top layer or Adjustment layer.
  • Result color. The color resulting from the blend

To adjust a layer’s Blending Mode is easy.

  1. Open a photo within Aurora HDR 2108.
  2. In the Layers controls click the + button and choose the Add New Image Layer option or Add New Adjustment Layer. A new layer is added to your project.
  3. For the top layer, click the Blend pop-up menu in the Layers control area. 
  4. Choose from one of the 14 available blending modes.
  5. Experiment with the Blending Mode and Opacity settings to create new looks. 


Download Aurora HDR 2018 User Guide in PDF Format

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