Layers in Photo Editing Programs or in PowerPoint

The concept of layers is basically the same among photo editing programs and even PowerPoint. Most people are more familiar with PowerPoint than a specific photo editing tool, like Photoshop, so this example is done with PowerPoint.

Play with paper

Get several different kinds of paper in front of you. Make one sheet yellow, one transparent and colorless, another white, and the last sheet black.

Draw a big, red X on your yellow paper, right in the center of the paper. Draw a green star on your white paper and a house on your black paper. Draw a cloud on your transparent paper.

Now, stack the papers. Put the transparent paper on the bottom, then the yellow, white, and the black. If the black paper is on the top of the stack, all you can see if black paper with a picture of a house on it.

Re-order your stack. This time, put the black one on the bottom, then the white, then the yellow, and then the transparent paper. Now you can see the cloud you drew on your transparent paper in addition to the big red X and the yellow paper.

From this, you should garner a few pieces of information about layers. Each layer has some properties.


Is the layer transparent or opaque? Can you see through it? When you’re using PowerPoint, every shape, text, graph, or smart art is its own layer. Select the shape. Right click on the shape and then select “Format Shape” from the menu that comes up. Go to the “Fill” section. Click on “Solid Fill.” Then, underneath the fill color, is a slider bar with transparency. If the slider is set to 100%, then the layer is completely transparent. If the layer is set to 0, then it is completely opaque.

This is a little different from the paper example, however. In the paper example, the cloud you drew was not transparent. In PowerPoint, the entire shape is its own layer and has the same transparency level.

Order of the layers

Just like you controlled the order of the papers in your stack, you can control the order of your shapes (your layers) in PowerPoint. Right click on any object and a menu will pop up. The menu has “Bring to Front” and “Send to Back” options. If you hover on the “Send to Back” option, another option appears to “Send Backward.” “Send to Back” puts the layer on the bottom of the stack of images. “Send Backward” just sends the layer one back.

How can I make part of the shape transparent?

If you want part of the shape transparent and part opaque, you can use the “remove the background” feature to make parts of the picture transparent. This only works with photos, so if you want to do this with a normal shape, you need to save the shape out as an image and then reload it into your document.

For example, say you have a photo that has a cloud in the sky, and you want the center of the cloud to be transparent with a dog showing through.

Size the dog so it will fit in the cloud.

Click on the picture that has the cloud in it. Go to the “Format” tab. On the left hand side, click on Remove Background. PowerPoint 2007 doesn’t give you a whole lot of control here, but 2010 is much better. Use the plus sign to mark areas to keep. Use the plus sign to mark everything that is not a cloud. Use the minus sign to mark the cloud to remove. Leave some of the edges of the cloud there. If you don’t like the results, click on “Remove Background” again and modify your work.

Online Photo Editing Programs

As technology increases and the internet continues to expand, it is increasingly common to use a simple photo effect for free digital artwork creation. Manipulating photos, creating website banners and developing new icons are just a few of the thousands of things people can create to add to their web pages or to use as internet ads. A photo manipulation program can digitally edit a user’s existing media, but can also be costly. People can try free online image editors before purchasing expensive image editing programs.

How To Use an Online Editor

Step 1: Save your media or photos you want to edit in a place you will be able to access them easily, either on your desktop or in a new folder created just for this purpose. The online photo editor allows you to open multiple images at the same time.

Step 2: Find the free image program you wish to use. There are several programs available. Within these editors you will see many of the same functions as standard photo editing programs, such as removing red eye, cropping and resizing. As well as special effects, like retro and vintage. You do not need to download the software; all editing can be done within your browser.

Step 3: Select the first image to edit from your folder. If you want to open several images the program will tell you which keys to hit for multiple selections. You can have as many images open as you like and easily switch from one to the other rather than just working on one before starting on another.

Step 4: The toolbar gives you different tools to use. Additional menus offer more choices to help you create the effects you want to add to your images. By creating a new layer, you are able to experiment with various effects. If you do not like the effects on the new layer, you can delete it without changing the original image. You can continue to experiment with new layers as many times as you wish.

Step 5: Once you are happy with the changes you click the done button and save your images with a new name. You can choose the file extension you would like to use to save your image.

Most websites with the free software include a video tutorial with a live demonstration to show you how the product works and how to create a simple, free, fun effect for your photo.

10 Free Windows-Based Photo Editing Programs For Preparing Your Photography For Canvas

Creating a canvas art print is quite a major event in your home’s interior design! While there are plenty of ready-to-order landscape canvas prints and images from pro photographers, it can be even more special for your canvas art to have that personal touch. Given the right resolution photo, any of your most special images can be made suitable for canvas printing without any further investment; that is why we are looking at the best free photo editing programs for Windows computers here. Have a read, and download whichever sounds good to you… there is nothing to lose!

1. The GIMP

This is at the top of everybody’s must-have free photo editing list, and is a serious competitor for mainstream paid photo editors like Photoshop. It has a friendly user interface and plenty of options.

2. VCW Vicman’s Photo Editor

This program helps create perfect canvas art prints with an interface that will look very familiar to users of any mainstream image editing program… especially those familiar with Adobe CS. The commercial version costs $30, but the free version will be suitable for the touch-ups necessary for canvas art printing files.

3. Image Force

You can both paint images and edit photos with this free Windows-based software. It has some visual effects for photos – use these sparingly with your canvas prints, though.


This ongoing project was begun by Washington State University students, and is easily a match for paid applications. It has the capacity for standard image edits as well as effects and painting.

5. Ultimate Paint

Creation, editing and effects are all possible with this program – the difference is its size and directness. The release now available is getting on in years, but some people still swear by it for editing photos for canvas art printing.

6. PhotoFiltre

If you aren’t confident with choosing levels for adjusting your images, PhotoFiltre takes a lot of the guesswork out of the task. It is also very fast – you won’t spend hours locating the tasks you want. Commercial organizations must pay – but for you, it’s free!


Not technically an image editing Windows-based application – this is actually a browser based application. You don’t need tpo download anything, and the interface will seem much more familiar… because it comes on the background of your favorite browser. There are free options for use


Another software-as-a-service type offering for canvas art print creation, FotoFlexer is a very simple to use online image editing application. This one includes a Photoshop-style Curves dialog – but a downside is that rotation is limited to 90 degree increments.

9. Photoscape

It doesn’t look like much at first glance – but those who have been using it for a while are often ardent proponents of Photoscape. It has an enormous feature profile, rivaling that of Photoshop, as well as handy tools like batch processing capability, RAW converter, screen capture tool, colour picker, etc.

10. Serif PhotoPlus

Using this software for editing your canvas art print photos is a great way to get to know a paid, commercial program for free. Serif PhotoPlus gives away the old versions of their software for free, to entice users to buy the current version. Great deal!