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Copy and Paste Between Layers?

Started by VBrestorer, November 13, 2006, 12:05:32 PM

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I'm almost embarrassed to ask this, but after referencing 3 PhotoShop "How To ..." books, I haven't been able to find the answer.  So I thought I'd ask you experts.

First, my setup:  I'm using PhotoShop Elements 2.0 on a PC.  The function I'm trying to accomplish seems so basic that I'm sure if it is in PhotoShop, it would be in Elements as well.

One method of "attack" that I use on a restoration is to 'Select' a section of damaged photo (say "Lower left corner"), and put the selection in a layer by itself using "Layer/New/Layer Via Copy".  I then work on that piece of the original photo in its own layer.  While working on it, one thing I sometimes do to correct a damaged area is 'Select' the shape of the damaged area using the Lasso tool, then move the damaged section's selection shape (not its contents) to a "good" area, make a copy of the shape's contents while in the "good" area, and then move those contents back over the damaged area I started from and drop it there thus overlaying the "bad" area with the "good".  Before committing the "paste", I use the arrow keys to nudge the copy around for a good blend.  This, I'm sure, is pretty standard stuff.

Recently I had a situation where the "damaged" piece of the full photo I was working on in its own layer ("Lower left corner") didn't have an acceptable "good" area to copy from for a particular damaged area using the "move the selection shape" method.  But, the layer with the full image did have some good areas I could use.  No problem, right?

For the life of me, I cannot figure out how to create a selection shape in one layer, move that shape (but not its contents) to another layer, copy what the selection shape is enclosing on the layer it was moved to, and then move the selection shape with the copied contents back to the layer where the selection shape was originally created.  (I think this all boils down to "How do you copy a piece of one layer to another layer and have the capability to move the copy around on the layer it was copied to?  I know this can, in a fashion, be forced by creating additional intermediate layers, but I keep feeling that there must be a simpler way.)

If anyone can figure out what I'm talking about, and has a solution, please let me know what it is.  Don't be fooled when reading this, thinking that what I'm trying to do is Soooo Simple that you must be reading it wrong because no one would ask how to do such a simple thing --  believe it.  This might be a "Can't see the trees for the forest" thing, but I haven't been able to figure it out.

Thanks in advance for any help provided.



Larry, not sure this is what you need. This is in Photoshop.

1 Make selection
2 Click new layer at bottom of layers palette (or the Elements equivalent)
3 Empty selection shape should be on the new layer

Click the thumbnail

Photoshop 2021, MacPro


Larry, if I'm understanding this correctly, I'll tell you what I do for that.

If I need a part of one layer, I just go to that layer and select what I want, then copy and paste the selection above the layer I'm working on. Then I can move the piece around however I need it. I'm not sure if you have the healing brush in elements, but you have the clone stamp, right? You can set the clone stamp to a low opacity and use it to blend in edges. It works really well that way for blending.

Hope this helps.

Kenny :)

But why is the rum gone?


Hi Larry
I use this system in Photoshop and it works for me.
Go the layer you want to repair and get the shape of the selection.
Go into the menus click on  select and then save selection { I hope its the same in Elements} and give your selection a name. Choose the "good"  layer go back into menu select and then load  selection and copy and then paste it. When you paste anything it automatically makes a new layer but when you have it positioned correctly you can merge the 2 layers.
This method has the advantage that if later you are not happy with what you did you have the selection shape save so don't have to redo it.



Hi Larry,

You can make a selection in Photoshop, keep it active and just click on another layer.  The selection will still be active on the new layer.  I'd assume Elements works the same way. You can then move the selection wherever you want on the new layer, copy your selected pixels to a new layer above your working layer.  If you put a slight feather on the selection, 3-5px (maybe less), it should blend without having to play with the clone tool too much.  Or before you merge your layers you can use Layers-Matting-Defringe set to 1px.  Sometimes that blends a layer to another very well.

You can also paste into a selection from the clipboard.  If both selections are feathered, you can move the object pasted into the selection until it's where you want it with a smooth transition between the two. The advantage is that what you've pasted "into" is UNDER the selected area, so you can see the outer edges.

What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal. ~Albert Pine

(Photoshop CS5 /Mac Pro)


Thanks Kiska, Kenny, Harvey, and Glenna for your quick response.  You each have an interesting approach for solving my problem.  Well, at least the one I'm having with PhotoShop  :wow:.

My original message was posted yesterday just before going to a Doc-in-the-Box hoping to get some relief for a worsening sore throat.  I figured the doctor visit would take several hours, and hoped to have a solution to my PhotoShop problem by the time I returned.  By the time I got back home I had FOUR solutions!  You guys are great.

Unfortunately  :-[ my doctor visit wasn't as successful.  The throat swab culture (I hate that procedure!) revealed that my sore throat is being caused by a virus, not a bacteria, so I'm having to just deal with it until my throat heals by itself.  (Even worse, now that I've retired, staying home sick isn't nearly as much fun as it used to be.)  Once I'm feeling better, I'll try out your offered solutions.

Thanks again for all the support.



Hi Larry

I hope you're over your virus quickly.  They can be awful. I love your remark about its not being as much fun being sick if you can't miss work.  Be glad you're retired!  I'll be banging on my keyboard until I keel over.

A great - as well as frustrating - thing about Photoshop is that there are so many ways to attack a problem.  And each of us has to determine what works best for us -- thankfully we have plenty of choices.

One thing you can depend on is that the OPR crew is always ready to jump in and help where they can.  I find I enjoy trying to work out other people's dilemmas almost as much as I do mine. And when I post for help it's quick in coming. A great team, I'd say!

Good luck!

What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal. ~Albert Pine

(Photoshop CS5 /Mac Pro)