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How to Use Layers and Overlays in the Photoshop Mix Layers App

We recently showed you everything you need to know in order to start using the Photoshop Mix app, so now it’s time to take a deeper dive and really tap into how this app can help you to create amazing finished images all while using only a smartphone or tablet. If you are on-the-go a lot and need a way to create new images without a laptop, this is going to be a huge change to your editing routine!

Let’s get started on how to use overlays and layers to make a big change to your images with Adobe’s Photoshop Mix.


Get your files together

In order to start editing your image, the first thing that you will need to do is to get all of your files into the same place: on your device. It’s quick and easy to do, and there are a number of methods you can use, so let’s go through some ideas here:

  • Email files to yourself as an attachment. If it’s too large to send the images you want to use via your own email account, you can use WeTransfer as an alternative method
  • Upload the files to a cloud service like DropBox, Google Drive, or so on, and then download them from your device after logging in
  • If you’ve forgotten to prepare anything ahead of time and you need to get access to images while on the move, try downloading images from your own website or social media pages (though be aware they may not be the full resolution if you follow this route)

You can also prepare some overlays by going into your Summerana account and selecting the overlay collections which seem the most interesting to you. Whether you are going to go for a new sky for your image, an animal friend to accompany your model, or a lens effect such as rainwater coming down across the image, you can find a lot of overlays to suit your needs. Using the device that you want to edit on, simply download and unzip the files to begin using them.

If you don’t know how to unzip a file on your mobile device, we’ve also made a handy guide on that which you can access here!


Upload your files into Photoshop Mix

Now that you’re ready to begin, you can get all of your image files into Photoshop Mix ready to edit. Open up Photoshop Mix and select the plus sign at the lower right side of the screen. Now you’ll have the option to open files from a number of sources, including Adobe Cloud – which is a great way to share files between various apps when you are using them on the go.

Now you will see your image opened up with a smaller box to the right side which also depicts the image. This is your layers interface, which shows you the layers you have open and which one you are currently working on. Go ahead and select the plus symbol above this box, and you can open another file to layer on top of it!

Don’t worry about the order in which you open your files, as you can change the order later simply by dragging and dropping the layer boxes. You can also tap each individual layer to start editing them, and then double tap each layer to open up a further list of menu items (including deleting any layers that you didn’t mean to open). If you go wrong at any time, just hit the undo arrow at the top of the screen and everything will reset to how it was before your last action.


Editing layers

There are a wide number of things you can do with the layers in your Mix app, but the ones we’re going to focus on today are those which will help you to position the overlays properly.

If you only want them to cover part of the image, you can actually erase the other parts so that they can no longer be seen. If you’re putting in a new sky, for example, you may want to set the sky as the bottom layer, and then select the original sky in your image with the magic wand tools before deleting it. This will allow the sky layer to show through as if it was part of the original image. Make sure that you play around with the layer edge and feathering tools to make the edit look as smooth as possible.

You can also reposition layers; for example, if you are adding an animal to your composition or giving your model some new fairy wings. Just touch the main image part of the screen and swipe around while the layer is selected. You can also pinch to zoom, or hold two fingers on the image while moving them to rotate it. These are the gestures you’re likely used to using with your device already, so it’s quite intuitive!

Once you have your layer positioned where you want it and have erased everything you don’t need, you can use the other editing tools to make sure the contrast, brightness, and colors all look realistic compared to the rest of the image so it seems natural for the new element to be there.


Finalize your image

When you’ve finished editing the image and you have it the way you want it, you can save it very easily by using the button at the top of the screen on your main image to share it wherever you want. This includes saving it to your device or uploading it to the cloud. Don’t worry about saving the edits as you go – they are automatically saved within the app, which means you need to be very careful about using that undo button if you go wrong!


Photoshop Mix is a great way to edit on the go. It may not have the full capabilities of Photoshop on your computer, and it will take a while to get used to controlling the tools with your fingers, but you can achieve some great results once you know what you’re doing!

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