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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> Flatten or Merge Visible Layers?
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05/24/2007 02:45:01 PM · #1
Can anyone tell me if there is a difference between flattening and merging visible layers in Photoshop CS? Does the computer employ the same process with exactly the same results or is there a difference? I find it faster to merge visible by [shift + ctl + e].
05/24/2007 02:45:59 PM · #2
flatten will discard hidden layers
05/24/2007 02:48:05 PM · #3
Originally posted by Elvis_L:

flatten will discard hidden layers


Yup and Merge visible will keep them. As an experiment, duplicate the background layer and then turn the visibility o the background layer off. You'll notice that when you merge visible that the background layer will not be tossed.

Message edited by author 2007-05-24 14:48:30.
05/24/2007 02:53:57 PM · #4
Then if I have no hidden layers the effect is the same? Exactly?
05/24/2007 02:57:07 PM · #5
so really you should merge not flatten?

05/24/2007 03:15:55 PM · #6
Originally posted by Buckeye_Fan:

so really you should merge not flatten?


depends on what you want to do. i sometimes create new layers to expieriment and decide i don't like it and turn it off. flatten then lets me discard them all at once. also i think you need to flatten to save as a jpeg though i may be mistaken there.
05/24/2007 03:17:46 PM · #7
Originally posted by Buckeye_Fan:

so really you should merge not flatten?


depends on what the file is being used for and what the hidden layers are for.
05/24/2007 03:21:39 PM · #8
Originally posted by Elvis_L:

also i think you need to flatten to save as a jpeg though i may be mistaken there.

Yes, JPEG and (usually) TIFF files require flattening, though you can do this automatically by using the SaveAsCopy version of the Save command. However, the results of flattening can sometimes be unexpected, so it's often a good idea to do it first.
05/24/2007 03:22:03 PM · #9
If all layers are visible then there is no difference between selecting one over the other.

Normally you chose "merge visible" when you want to pick and chose the layers you want merged without effect on the others.

You normally pick "Flatten Image" when preparing an output from a post processed master file. If you are going to save the output file it will usually be saved under a different name anyway so matters not if you discard hidden layers.

Message edited by author 2007-05-24 15:26:22.
05/24/2007 03:26:22 PM · #10
Originally posted by Elvis_L:

Originally posted by Buckeye_Fan:

so really you should merge not flatten?


depends on what you want to do. i sometimes create new layers to expieriment and decide i don't like it and turn it off. flatten then lets me discard them all at once. also i think you need to flatten to save as a jpeg though i may be mistaken there.


Merging visible also lets you save as jpg. Thanks for your responses, that really cleared it up for me.
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