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I have a transparent layer with a ball for example, no effects, filters or anything like that. When I duplicate the layer with alt+click, it looks like it is applying a sharpen filter and that effect multiplies with every duplicate layer I create. So after 150 copies of the same layer the last one is completely pixelated. Any idea why this is happening and how i fix it?

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Hi Aggy, welcome to GDSE and thanks for your question! Could you please add an example image to your post? With an image, the chances for a good answer are way better. Just link to it in the question, and someone with sufficient reputation will add it to the post. Thanks! –  Vincent Jun 20 at 12:03

3 Answers 3

Raster images use anti-aliasing along the edges. Transparent pixels basically around the entire edge.

The more you copy and paste the layer, the more you mess up the built-in anti-aliasing.

Left side is a single layer, right side has been duplicated:

enter image description here

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Instead of using alt+click, or alt+control+arrow, try using Duplicate Layer.

It will duplicate it exactly, layer styles and all.

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Why this happens:

Opacity builds up as you place layers one on top of the next, because each semi-transparent pixel is added to the one below. Sometimes that's exactly what you want, but in this case it creates an undesirable effect.

One thing that can minimize the effect is to use Cmd/Ctl-click on the layer thumbnail to turn it into a select, add a blank layer and paste. This reduces the effect because the selection of the partially-transparent pixels is itself partial, in proportion to how opaque each pixel is. A 50% opaque pixel will be copied at 50% or 50% -- 25%.

Opacity is not increased if you change the blend mode of your first copy to "Lighten" and copy that with Crl/Cmd-J. You can do this endlessly without increasing the opacity of the anti-aliasing pixels (although, having said that, I don't know why you would want to).

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