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Photoshop is one of the most advanced photo manipulation applications with complex features for high-level photo editing. However, the edits in Photoshop are destructive by default, and you might lose your original image. Learning how to duplicate in Photoshop will help you duplicate various elements and edit non-destructively.
- How to Duplicate in Photoshop
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
How to Duplicate in Photoshop
Keeping in mind that Photoshop is a versatile photo manipulation software, it allows you to work with various elements, such as objects and image pixels. It also allows you to organize your workflow and edit non-destructively by stacking the photos in layers.
Typically, the Photoshop layers are like transparent sheets of glass that allow you to stack images and edit them without mixing the pixels. That means you will have to duplicate the layers and other elements so you can work on newer versions of the photo without affecting the original version.
In most cases, you will need to start by duplicating the original image you import into Photoshop, usually called the background layer. Regardless of the edits and effects you want to apply, you can use the following steps to duplicate the various elements.
Duplicating Photoshop Layers
Keeping in mind that Photoshop layers are the foundation of non-destructive editing, Photoshop comes with a wide range of ways to duplicate the layers, including:
- Using the top menu: The standard and conventional way to duplicate a layer in Photoshop is to navigate to Layer on the top menu and then choose Duplicate Layer
- Using the layers panel: Usually, there is a layers panel located on the bottom area of the right-hand side of the interface. You can duplicate any layer by selecting it, right-clicking and then choosing Duplicate Layer
- Using the layer options: The layer options icon looks like four lines, usually located in the upper right-hand corner of the layers panel. Click on the icon and then choose Duplicate Layer
- Dragging the layer to the layer icon: You can duplicate the layer by choosing it in the panel and then dragging it down to the Create a new layer icon at the bottom. Usually, this icon is indicated by a small box with a plus sign inside it.
- Using the document options: If you are using selection tools such as the lasso, marquee, or quick selection tool, you can duplicate the layer from the document by right-clicking in the document area and then choosing Duplicate Layer
- Using the keyboard shortcut keys: The most straightforward way to duplicate a layer in Photoshop is to hit the keyboard shortcut keys Ctrl + J if you are using a Windows PC or Command + J if using a Mac. However, you need to make sure you have selected the layer you want to duplicate before hitting the keys.
In case you want to duplicate multiple layers, simply hold the Ctrl key if you are using a Windows PC or the Command key if using a Mac, and then select the layers you want to duplicate. You can also speed up the selection by holding the Shift key and clicking between two layers.
Usually, this will select both layers, allowing you to select a pair of layers at a time. You can then use the above methods to duplicate the layers after selection.
However, if you want the duplicate layer to be in a new window, you need to use the top menu option and change the Destination to New. You can use the same option to duplicate the layer to an existing project by selecting the project in the Destination rather than choosing New.
Duplicating an Image in Photoshop
Apart from the layers, you might want to duplicate the entire original image into a new Photoshop project. Simply navigate to Image on the top menu and then choose Duplicate. Enter the name of the duplicate image and hit Ok.
Alternatively, you can use the conventional copy and pasting shortcut keys to duplicate the image by hitting Ctrl + C to copy if you are using a Windows PC or Command + C if using a mac.
You can then paste the image by hitting Ctrl + V if you use a Windows PC or Command + V if you use a Mac. However, note that using the shortcut keys will duplicate the image in a new layer in the same project.
Duplicating a Section of the Image in Photoshop
Generally, you can duplicate a section of an image in Photoshop using the above steps. However, you will first need to select the part of the image you want to duplicate using a selection tool such as the Object Selection Tool.
That means you can create a new layer with the selected part of the image if you duplicate using the Command + C and Command + V on a Mac or Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V on a Windows PC. However, if you want the selected part of the image to be in a new project, you will need to use the top menu.
Duplicating Pixels in Photoshop
Sometimes you will want to duplicate specific pixels in an image, especially when you want to use the pixels to replace a certain part of the photo. In most cases, this helps to remove blemishes or spots on some regions of the photo.
Typically, Photoshop comes with different tools such as the Clone Stamp Tool that can help you pick pixels from a certain region of the image and duplicate them on another part. Regardless of the image pixels, you can use the following steps to duplicate the pixels using the Clone Stamp Tool.
- Pick the clone stamp tool from the toolbar located on the left-hand side of the interface. You can also pick the tool by hitting the S key on your keyboard.
- Pick a brush, adjust its hardness level to make it soft enough for seamless blending. You can also resize the brush size to allow you pick pixels that can cover the blemish or spot you want to remove.
- Place the mouse cursor on the region you want to copy the pixels from. Hold down the Alt key if you are using a Windows PC or the Option key if you are using a Mac, and then click on the area you are sourcing the pixels. Usually, the cursor will change to a crosshair.
- When you click, the cursor will show the pixels you have copied. Release the keyboard key and then paint over the spot or blemish you want to remove.
- Although you have duplicated the pixels, it’s advisable to make the blending with the nearby pixels seamless and natural. In most cases, you will need to zoom in on the area so you can fine-tune the photo.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Make Multiple Copies of the Same Layer in Photoshop?
Yes, you can make multiple copies of the same layer in Photoshop. Simply hold down the Alt + Ctrl key on your Windows PC or Option + Command key on your Mac, and then hit the arrow keys on your keyboard. Usually, Photoshop will create a new copy every time you hit the arrow key.
Why Do I Need to Duplicate a Photoshop Layer Before Starting My Edits?
It’s advisable to duplicate your background layer before you start editing in Photoshop, as it helps you save your original image. Usually, this means you can start over and over every time you are not satisfied with the edits. Duplicating also allows you to apply some appealing effects using different levels of transparency.
Learning how to duplicate in Photoshop will help keep your edits non-destructive. You can duplicate the entire image, a section of the image or layers. You can also duplicate specific pixels and use them to replace pixels of a certain region of the photo.