>I really appreciate the replies.  In the work flow example I gave earlier in
this thread, am I correct that there is no other practical way to accomplish
those steps on a photo other than to perform them destructively on a single
layer (set levels, hit ok, correct color, hit ok, etc. so that you can't go
back without undoing in sequence or just scrapping your work and starting over
from scratch)?  And flattening or merging layers is really sort of a 'kicked
down the road' way of 'hitting OK' albeit you are committing to a batch of
changes rather than accepting them one at a time - better, I guess, in that
you get to see the net effect of all the layers in the stack before committing
to their effect.

So, if I'm correct, then, I finally think I've grasped how to use layers in
editing a photo.

Additional advice appreciated.



>> > Ok, but, when you merge, do you not lose the ability to go back and fix
>> > something that you might decide needs adjusting?
>> Yes, which is why you don't merge until. you're absolutely sure that 
>> everything you're merging is to your satisfaction. And if there are a 
>> couple of layers which you're not quite certain about yet, one can merge 
>> the layers below those, and still reduce the file size. I haven't 
>> explored this yet, and may be wrong, but it might just be that if there 
>> is one small area that needs a fix, that one can make a layer just big 
>> enough to manage the fix, rather than making the layer the full size of 
>> the image. One thing that might reduce the size of the file a bit, is 
>> that if there is only a small bit of something that needs fixing, to make
>> > I would thing that layers in an xcf file would only represent
>> > references to adjustments and the underlying file 
>> I think a better visualization of layers is to consider them like an 
>> overlay on a projector, and that the layer containing the change is 
>> independent of the layer to which the change relates, until the two are 
>> merged together.
>> > I'm just a-wonderin' why the xcf files grow so large.
>> >   
>> I suspect that becuase you have a number of layers all the same size as 
>> the image.
>Also the size of the file will grow even larger when you start to use
>layer masks.

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