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Flattening a photoshop file LOCKS the new Background layer

Community Beginner ,
Jan 14, 2024 Jan 14, 2024

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I have been using Photoshop on Mac for years. Recently the App has gained an unwanted feature. Every time I flatten an image, the now 'Background' layer locks and can not be unlocked. This is a problem because there are features that only work on this layer which must be unlocked. The option to unlock is grayed out and no work-around has worked. Flatening = locking. Anyone experiencing this? Is there a setting to turn off this new unwelcomed feature?

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Adobe
Community Expert ,
Jan 14, 2024 Jan 14, 2024

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It's normal for a flattened document to be reduced to a Background layer.  Just click on the lock icon to change it to a normal layer.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 14, 2024 Jan 14, 2024

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So what have you tried to convert the locked Background layer to a regular floating layer?

 

1) Right-click "layer from Background" in the layer panel or Layer > New > Layer from Background

 

2) Double clicking the layer name in the layer panel

 

3) Duplicate layer, then delete the original Background layer

 

4) Convert to Smart Object then Convert to Layers

 

5) Layer > New > Via Copy (CMD/CTRL J) and then delete the original Background layer

 

Something else?

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 14, 2024 Jan 14, 2024

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The lock icon is grayed-out. Can not use it. I can copy the layer to a new one and it's unlocked, but as soon as I flatten it to use features it locks again. There are many workarounds to get a layer unlocked, but what I need is the unlocked 'Background'. It just started happening, quitting the App and restarting it does not clear the problem either.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 14, 2024 Jan 14, 2024

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You cannot have an unlocked Background layer. A Background is by definition locked. That's how it has always been.

 

Note the italics! If it's spelled in italics in the Layers panel, it's a locked background layer. You can make a floating layer and name it "Background", but then it won't be spelled in italics.

 

There are multiple ways to unlock a Background and turn it into a regular floating layer, described above. The simplest is to just double-click it in the panel.

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 14, 2024 Jan 14, 2024

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Ok... then explain this.. the tool to FILL (content aware) only works on background layers (unlocked). So as a work-around; how do I use this tool on a non-background layer? 

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Community Expert ,
Jan 14, 2024 Jan 14, 2024

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I think you need to explain exactly what you're trying to do. It sounds like a different issue.

 

Content aware fill requires an active selection. As long as you have that it works on any type of layer.

 

That a layer is locked doesn't mean you can't do the normal pixel adjustments on it. It means the layer can't be moved or transformed and you can't have any transparency.

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 15, 2024 Jan 15, 2024

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I have found the problem.

Thank you all for your collaboration, conversing with others allowed me to look closer at what was going on.

 

The reason why content-aware was not working properly is that I accidentally changed the opacity in content aware to 3% (from 100%) and therefore the tool did not seem to work. I do use the numeric keypad constantly and it seems  I accidentally pressed on the '3' key while in dialogue.

 

THANK YOU!!!

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Community Expert ,
Jan 14, 2024 Jan 14, 2024

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One way to understand this might be to separate two different concepts/commands and use them appropriately:

 

If a document has no Background layer and you don’t want to create one (often the reason is to preserve transparency), the best command to use is Layer > Merge Visible. Or, select all layers and use Layer > Merge. Both have a keyboard shortcut.

 

If you want a Background layer, then you use Layer > Flatten Image. I think Flatten has always meant one layer, no transparency. The lock icon is more recent, but it should be possible to unlock it either by clicking the lock icon, or choosing Layer > New > Layer from Background.

 

One question though: What is the mode of the document in Image > Mode, because there is at least one mode that does not allow layers or an alpha channel, so the Background cannot be unlocked in those modes.

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