A dear reader had been struggling for some time with a very confusing problem. You see, when she opened a layered digital template, it appeared to have all the layers merged and locked. This problem boggled my mind as well as that of a few other industry educators.
Then, at last night’s chat on templates, this reader joined us and we finally figured it out. We jumped on the teleconference service DimDim and we were able to see exactly how this reader’s computer was handling the file.
A Lightbulb Moment
Since the template was working for others, we figured the problem had something to do with the process of downloading and unzipping. We were correct, but the issue was harder to detect for one small reason: the computer was displaying zip files as folders. In some operating systems, compressed files like zips are displayed as a folder. The folder is still compressed by the contents can be viewed. However, in files like a layered PSD, they do not open fully because the contents are still compressed.
While this reader was using OS X, we know this can happen on Windows as well. The solution is to know the behavior of your machine and make sure to extract the files (even though they appear to already be extracted). In this case, the most simple instruction was to drag the files to the desktop and then file them away from there. The important thing was to get them out of that original folder without opening the files first.
I’m so glad this reader can finally use templates and get her stories scrapped. If you ever have a strange problem or error, these tips could help you get it resolved:
1. Have someone watch what you are doing. With computers, it could be an easily-overlooked subtlety.
2. File type management, particularly compressed files, can vary between operating system versions and software installed.
3. Never be afraid to ask for help, or even ask multiple people, to figure out the problem. It could make all the difference.
Have you ever had a ‘weird thing’ happen to you on a computer? How did you fix it?