Layer Comps

What does Photoshop’s Layer Comps feature do and why you may need it…

Layer comps will store different layer visibility, position and appearance (layer styles):

New Layer Comp

Here’s an example (with layered PSD file below)…

4 layer comps used for 4 different states of neon sign I designed for a film introduction title back in 2003:

All with one PS file and fewest layers possible. It’s super useful for building various states of user interface design so you can switch to specific layer comp and show it to your client right away. For example, if you’re building a default/press/disable interface button with multiple layers and styles, you don’t have to turn on/off some layers/styles to get the press effect, you could just switch to different layer comp. You can download an example PSD layered file of Neon Sign to give you a better idea of how layer comps work:

One downside to Layer Comps is that it’s pain in the ass to update the comps often if you’re not close to finishing the work. You’ll have to resync the changes by clicking on Update Layer Comp button (Resync Button) otherwise all layer comps will not recognize additional layers and styles.

If you’d like to see the result of this work, here’s an animation created by my brother Wayne Betts, Jr. using Final Cut Pro: Rangeland Romances (QT mov.)