View Full Version : CS2: Layer Properties Problem!!!

03-21-2009, 12:44 AM
Hi and thanks for reading and hopefully replying.

I have been using PS since it came out and never encountered this problem untill now when I participated in my first map challange. I am sure there is a simple solution for it, just something I never grasped about layers...hmmm.

Here is the problem: I have 6 layers and all have different blending options. Now, when I flatten the image or save as .jpg or something else, it somehow discardes all but one blending option, giving the flattened pic a different look (that of just one blending option)....strange.

Well, it never occured to me before as I usually never had to work with more than 2 layers...lol.

I overcame the problem for now by making partial screenshots and put them back together (how silly).

Anyway, I am sure I am doing something wrong, but what?

Thanks for any help.


03-21-2009, 01:12 AM
I noticed this too when I was working on a large image that only shows at like 33.6% zoom. It appears to look totally different when layered as it does when flattened. If you zoom in to 100% or more and then flatten, you see no difference at all. So it appears, to me, that layer styles are magnified when zooming out for some reason...I guess so that we don't forget that they're there :) This really drove me nuts when trying to figure out an outer glow for rivers on my old continent style. It seemed really dark when zoomed out but when I zoomed in it looked fine or disappeared. Why it does this I have no idea...hence I don't do outer glows for anything except text...I use an airbrush instead. Cut to the chase...it's sort of an optical illusion persistent in the zooming...it looks fine at full size.

03-21-2009, 01:42 AM
Yep, it's been driving me nuts the last few hours. I checked now. Zoomed in and out looking at it in both versions. When zoomed out it's fine. When zoomed in it changes badly. I actually thought I did test that possibility, but I guess one can get confused very quickly in PS...lol. Most jobs I do are colour corrections and some text art for web pages. Never made a 1000 by 1000 pixels or double that much giving me a 60-100MB file...lol. Always learn something new.

Thanks heaps.


P.S. Come to think off. How does one get around that the thumbnail looks actually completly different than the large map. Oh, well. Gotta live with it I guess.

03-21-2009, 02:19 AM
I haven't tried this yet but it's my first thought...rasterize the layer. Create a new layer, link it to the layer you're working on (with the layer styles), move this new layer underneath the working layer, click on the working layer, then merge down. This removes the layer style and turns the layer into a raster chunk but also removes the blend mode of the style (like an outer glow set to screen). So just reset the blend mode of the layer to what was the blend mode of the style.

If you have varying blend modes on varying styles you will need each separate style on it's own rasterized layer and this may chew huge holes into your memory (depending on the size and color complexity of the pixels on the layer) and defeats the purpose of styles in the first place (instead of having all of these numerous layers they get composited into one layer, more layers = more memory hogging). The one problem with styles such as outer glow and outer bevel is that they will go out over the ocean when you don't want them to (as in when using a dark green outer glow or a down outer bevel for a river valley). So in this case rasterizing that part of a style can let you go back and erase the parts covering the ocean.

Long story short -- turn off those annoying style parts until you need them, like at the end. :) You can turn off a layer style by poking out the eye in the layer palette, style sub palette as in the screenshot.

Steel General
03-21-2009, 12:44 PM
I was also going to suggest you try linking the layers before you 'flatten' not sure if it will make a difference or not.

03-21-2009, 12:57 PM
I had this problem on a photograph I was manipulating. I had about 6 layers each with various blend modes and layer styles and when I merged them, the merged result looked nothing like the 6 layers before they were merged.

So I went google hunting and the best thread explaining what was going on was this one. (http://www.adobeforums.com/webx/.59b6cdde)

I've also seen a number of suggested workarounds on the web, but I tried them all and none of them worked for me. So what I did in the end was merge the layers one by one to isolate the layer that was givng the problem. I changed the blend mode in that one layer so something that was very similar (but not quite the same) and it merged fine.

If you google: merge layer blend mode problems

It brings up references to this problem on a number of boards. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it's a real pain. (Only ever happened to me the once).

03-21-2009, 05:08 PM
Thanks for all your replies.

I am glad it's not just my problem...lol. (sarcasm)

Your link also shows it's a problem people get into lots of discussions and fights to realy solve this. I will try all the above mentioned solution and see what works best. Will let you know then.


03-21-2009, 05:18 PM
how big is your psd file? maybe I can take a shot at solving it

03-21-2009, 05:29 PM
Yeah it really gets people flaming each other on those threads.

03-22-2009, 12:34 AM
Thanks for your intrest in this problem. I guess it's common when using large size images or layers. I beleive the problem wouldn't exist on small files as it never occured to me before I started doing large maps.

Left is what I get when working with the file using about 10 layers. Right is the result after flattening or saving as .jpg. That's a huge difference in tones and details. These are at 25% display. When looking at a section at 100%, both look identical. So my question is: how can I create a .jpg that looks exacly as my original. I mean what's the point doing color balance and contrast when it all gets messed up again.

Thanks for your help and input.



EDIT: please look at next page for something I missed completely, the left which I work on actually will look like the flattened. Confused, yet?

03-22-2009, 12:57 AM
I just realized, when looking at 100% that I've been actually getting the results of the flattened image. (recognisable from the features)

So what this realy means is that the layered styles I am working on is not what I get on the end. This makes it realy difficult. The good thing is to know that the flattened is the real deal. At least one of the two is right....lol.


The layered (left) is actually not showing really what I see. Weird. I must be doing something wrong.

03-22-2009, 01:00 AM
Whoa, yer right. Can you zip it and upload it to somewhere like a free host? I'll grab it and see what's up.

03-22-2009, 02:32 AM
For those intrested to have a look at the original file.


Notice, when resizing image to 1000 or 500 (from 2000), the same thing happens, too.

EDIT: Something intresting I noticed right now. It never occured to me as I mostly switched between 25% and 50% and 100%. Now I switched from 25% to 25.1% and then it happened. It looks like the flattened image. I just realized that looking at the layered work with 25% gives you a false image. At 25,1% it starts more like it realy is. So I adjusted the layer levels to come close to the desired results and flattened. Still some change, but not as big anymore. I come to the conclusion that is a matter of size. But how else can you work on such a large file without zooming. It is very hard. I think I need a bigger screen.

03-22-2009, 08:02 AM
The problem layer is layer 5. If you merge everything under that the image appearance doesn't change, but when you merge layer 5 down, it changes significantly. It's not the blending mode but the layer style which is causing the problem.

I tried saving level 5 as a png and then importing it back into the main image and merging it down, but no joy....I'll keep at it.

This zoom level thing is really strange too (but I think it's unrelated to the layer 5 problem), but I think that just may be a factor of how PS interpolates data it will show given the zoom level you're working at....I'll keep fiddling.

03-22-2009, 08:13 AM
OK, so it looks like PS displays a calculated layer style differently at different zoom levels than it does the same layer with the layer style effects 'baked into' the layer. But they still look exactly the same at 100% zoom. I don't think there is a work around to this, but just one of the magical photoshop characteristics we have to know and love :)

Sorry Benarius, I'm out of ideas. I thought that there might be a display resolution in the PS menus that might have had an effect on this, but I couldn't find one. (I'm using CS2 btw).

03-22-2009, 11:06 AM
I'm with Ravs in that there's a display problem but from what I can tell styles don't even factor into it. Here are two screenshots, showing a flattened image and an unattended one in each...the first one is at full 100% zoom and the second one is at "fit on screen" at 49.9% zoom. You'll notice that the little mountains along the bottom appear to change when "fit on screen" as in the second screenie but look exactly the same at full zoom irregardless of layered or flattened as in the first screenie.

I also went thru and put each layer style on its own layer, then flattened, and had the same result...so I won't bother putting up screenies of those. I'm using CS so I don't know if the whole thing has something embedded into it due to being a CS2 file that is making it weird but I'm suspecting that it is just a plain ole Photoshop problem...version be damned.

You might want to look thru the Adobe boards and see if there is anything there on display problems, and if not then post this up with screenshots as well as the link to your psd file. Or learn to live with it since it's just in the zoom display.

03-22-2009, 02:34 PM
Thanks heaps to all of you for taking your time looking at it.

Yep, learning to live with it is what I have to do. Anyway, knowing that it displays it strangely helps a lot. I probably also will need to look at some of the professional map making tutorials. The technique I applied was realy just a matter of tweaking and twisting and a bit of luck...lol. But it worked, almost.