19 Replies Latest reply: Nov 7, 2008 3:37 PM by Jeffrey Tranberry RSS

    unlock background layer

    arlighet Community Member
      How do I unlock the background layer without duplicating it first and deleting the locked layer. It's a nuisance. I never ever want that background layer locked. why is photoshop locking it by default?
        • 1. Re: unlock background layer
          Welles Goodrich Community Member
          Double click on the background layer. A new layer dialog pops up allowing you to name it and change a few options or just hit return and have Background renamed Layer 0 and it will be a floating layer. Why? It's a convention which has been around since the beginning of Photohsop, I think.
          • 2. Re: unlock background layer
            arlighet Community Member
            thanks. that helps. still doesn't make sense why you can't just unlock it clicking the "lock" icon this was new with CS
            • 3. Re: unlock background layer
              Ramón G Castañeda Community Member
              No, it was not "new in CS" domihode.
              • 4. Re: unlock background layer
                Community Member
                It's been that way since what....PS 5 or maybe earlier. Before that you could use the Move (or Command key) to to move the Background and convert it to a Layer, which could lead to mistakes from time to time.

                Hold down Option while double-clicking on it to skip the naming dialog.

                Why is it a nuisance to have a locked Background? Do you very often need to move it around?
                • 5. Re: unlock background layer
                  Ramón G Castañeda Community Member
                  >It's been that way since what....PS 5 or maybe earlier.

                  Right. I've been using Photoshop since version 5.0, and it has always been this way for me.
                  • 6. Re: unlock background layer
                    Community Member
                    Just fired up PS 4.x.

                    Create a new document, and the Background is unlocked. If you choose the Move Tool, and click-n-drag in the document window, it will move revealing the checkerboard transparency indicator and automatically rename to "Layer 0"

                    In PS 4, neither the Background nor any layers above it can be locked into place. They can be made uneditable, but only by toggling their visibility to "off."
                    • 7. Re: unlock background layer
                      Community Member
                      Right. I started on PS 4 and remember that.

                      I think having it locked by default was an improvement.
                      • 8. Re: unlock background layer
                        Community Member
                        Oh, so do I, Ed.

                        It's always been simple enough to promote to a regular layer. I like having the Background locked by default.
                        • 9. Re: unlock background layer
                          I have always wondered why they locked the initial layer. Many times I will open a picture to do alterations on it, and many times I have to unlock that layer, pretty much all the time actually. It is simple to promote to a regular layer, I just don't see the productivity enhancement in locking it.

                          Many times a regular image you open will just have 1 layer, and the whole layer is the background layer. I agree that locking the "background" is a good idea, but not when an image is 99% of the time interpreted as a single layer, in the form of a locked background layer. Not that I'm sitting here day in and day out pulling my hair out over it, but it is slighty perplexing and slightly annoying, and I've always wanted to ask a Photoshop Guru the benefits of making this happen by default with no option to change it at all.
                          • 10. Re: unlock background layer
                            Community Member
                            Locking the layer stops you from moving it thats all you can do anything else to it.
                            • 11. Re: unlock background layer
                              Ramón G Castañeda Community Member
                              If you use something like PhotoKit Sharpener, it won't even work if the background layer has been unlocked. PKS won't even recognize it as a background layer. Period.
                              • 12. Re: unlock background layer
                                arlighet Community Member
                                a locked background layer is a nuisance to anyone creating serious composites. Still doesn't make sense why you can't just click the "lock" icon to unlock it. "Photoshop help" wasn't even able to answer me the question. I've worked with photoshop since 2.0. It always bothered me since they changed it whenever that was, but not enough to take the time to really figure out how to unlock it. I always just duplicated the layer and deleted the original. option click will make my life easier.
                                • 13. Re: unlock background layer
                                  Community Member
                                  > " I've worked with photoshop since 2.0. It always bothered me since they changed it whenever that was,"

                                  And you're still complaining about the change? Jeebers, I forget about old ways of doing things within 2 months of a change, mostly because I know I can't change them back. I move on, learn the new way, and internalize the process.

                                  I guess some of us just adapt quicker than others.

                                  But hanging on to a disappointment for about 10 years? Wow.

                                  • 14. Re: unlock background layer
                                    NotInUse Community Member
                                    Set the background to transparent for any new file... no locked background layer.
                                    • 15. Re: unlock background layer
                                      Community Member
                                      I know about one zillionth of one iota about scripting, but I have a hunch that a script could be written (or, more likelyhas already been authored) that will, in effect, unlock any image opened, automatically.
                                      • 16. Re: unlock background layer
                                        Paul Riggott Community Member
                                        Yes it can be done....

                                        This should do the job..
                                        Save the script as FileName.jsx, and set uo scripts event manager to call the script on open new document.



                                        if(hasBackground()){

                                        activeDocument.activeLayer = activeDocument.artLayers.getByName("Background");

                                        activeDocument.activeLayer.isBackgroundLayer = false;

                                        }

                                        function hasBackground() {

                                        var ref = new ActionReference();

                                        ref.putProperty(charIDToTypeID("Prpr"), charIDToTypeID("Bckg"));

                                        ref.putEnumerated(charIDToTypeID("Lyr "),charIDToTypeID("Ordn"),charIDToTypeID("Back"));

                                        var desc =  executeActionGet(ref);

                                        var res = desc.getBoolean(charIDToTypeID("Bckg"));

                                        return res;

                                        };
                                        • 17. Re: unlock background layer
                                          Community Member
                                          domihode,

                                          I don't know what is so hard about double-clicking on a Layer in the Layers palette (or better yet Option double-clicking). I still don't understand why you consider it a "nuisance". I've done tons of serious composites and it's never bothered me at all.
                                          • 18. Re: unlock background layer
                                            Community Member
                                            Personally I find it quite comforting to know that I still have the original image to refer back to at the bottom of the stack of layers. Instead of having to find the original image.

                                            Just dupe the background and turn it off. I agree with Phos yopu've got some serious issues if you're still freaking out about this.
                                            • 19. Re: unlock background layer
                                              Jeffrey Tranberry Employee Hosts
                                              Another way to unlock the background layer is to drag the lock on it to trash. It's locked for compatibility reasons. Another by product is a document with a single background layer is smaller in file size than a document with a single floating layer.