Photoshop 7: Disabling that "everything new = new layer" thing?

Is there a setting or a hack that will cause Photoshop 7 to behave more like Photoshop 3, i.e., if you select a drawing tool (e.g., line tool, pencil, brush, etc) it draws in the layer that you’re currently on instead of creating a freakin’ new unasked-for layer?

Old workflow, MacOS 9, Photoshop 3: Print to PICT or do a marquee-delimited screen cap (courtesy of FlashIt), paste into or open with Photoshop, draw various lines and arrows and circle things and type in an explanation or comment, save as JPEG, email.

New workflow, MacOS X, Photoshop 7: Print to PDF or do a marquee-delimited screen cap (courtesy of Snapz Pro), paste into or open with Photoshop, draw a line or arrow, flatten the image, draw something else, flatten the image, draw a circle, flatten the image, draw something else, select a region to apply a filter, realize that I’ve only selected the last thing I’ve drawn because I forgot to flatten the freakin’ image, flatten the image, type some text as explanation or comment, flatten the image, save as JPEG, email.

Now, the text layer I understand and approve of. It is one aspect of Photoshop where the PS 3 way of doing things sucked, and this is nice, to be able to go BACK later and change the font or edit the text.

But the drawing tools? C’mon! I know how to create a new layer if I want one. Hmm, this is shaping up to be more of a pit thread than a request for information. Sorry. Anyone know how to turn off this unwanted feature?

What are you using to draw your lines and arrows?

if you are using the vector based tools, then you will get new layers, and if you find that annoying, then you probably should be using illustrator instead of photoshop. If you are using raster based tools such as the brush tool or the paint bucket, then you should not be getting new layers everytime you draw something.

It sounds like you’re using the shape tools in Photoshop. First of all, be aware that you are using vector shapes and Photoshop doesn’t offer the flexibiliy that Illustrator or freeHand do in that arena (like wet marble said).

If that’s cool with you and you want to be using Photoshop anyway, look beneath the menubar for the tool option panel. Near the middle of the panel, you will see a series of 5 buttons that indicate how new shapes interact with existing shapes. The default is the “Create New Shape Layer” button is pressed.

If you want to keep adding shapes to the existing layer, press the 2nd button, “Add to Shape Layer” The shortcut for this is to hold down the shift key before you click to begin drawing. After you click, you can let go of the Shift key if you don’t want your shape constrained.

It is like a “Live Pathfinder” function, if you’re familiar with that palette in Illustrator. To get a sense of how to use the various features, I suggest using the rectangle tool and start playing around pressing combinations of the Shift, Option and Command keys to see how the different modes allow you to combine shapes. Watch the buttons and you’ll see them automatically depress when you use the corresponding keyboard shortcut.

One note: every shape you create on a single layer will be a single color. If you want a red square and a blue circle, they HAVE to be on different layers.

Did that answer your question?

It did indeed :slight_smile: And that’s not so bad. I can deal with holding down the Shift key. Beats hell out of repeatedly flattening the damn layers.