Using graphics programs such as Photoshop or GIMP, I'm trying to understand the tradeoffs between putting text into the same layer as images or in separate layer. For example, if I'm making a button, and it has text, and that text might change for a different language. Or if I have a radial button choice with language by it, perhaps several buttons in an interface.

Can you please help me understand the trade-offs better ... whatever comes to mind, using images and text in separate or the same layer? Thanks.


There isn't really much of a trade-off at all, keeping text and images separate is always a good idea. The only time you wouldn't do it is or couldn't do it is if you're saving down to say, a JPG, or another flat file type for print or web or what have you. But your source should always keep these element separate, there's no real advantage to having them on the same layer, only really big disadvantages.

  • I'm using programs like these (And PowerPoint) to build a GUI. So if the GUI has 3 buttons on a given page, is the text for those all in a layer above? How does this affect alignment needs, e.g. say you want to move a button. Does it make it harder, in your mind? Or anything you can advise, thanks. – Ray Dec 25 '16 at 16:55
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    I agree. If your concern is number of layers, from now on train yourself in organizing layers. If your concern is file size, it shouldn't be. Storage media (hard drives, flash, solid state drives, etc.) get better yet cheaper every year. On that note, always backup your files :') Organize and backup. – Lorgen GR Magpantay Dec 25 '16 at 16:58
  • @Ray -- The text when you export the buttons will be one single image. Inside of the editing program however it would be multiple layers... but you can select multiple layers at once to move them or align them, and you can group them as well. – Hanna Dec 25 '16 at 17:37
  • Thank you Johannes and Lorgen both (also for you reminder Lorgen, good one). – Ray Dec 27 '16 at 17:24

It sounds like you might want to look into a dedicated application such as Sketch designed more for UI. But in Photoshop you can use Layer Comps for different states. Here's a video that shouldn't go dead ever since its by Adobe -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKSLu_UELv0

I'm not really a UI person. Between that and how long I've been using Photoshop (long before Layer Comps existed) I would just do it with Layer Organization.

For example you could make a Group and name it:

First Button

Then inside of that three groups called: English State, Russian State, German State. In each of those groups you have your modified text and its button.

As for "trade-offs" its a bit confusing because Text cannot be created on the same layer as a Button. You would have to actively flatten it. There's almost never a reason to do this especially with newest versions of Photoshop when you could use Smart Objects.

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