Simplify Layer Warning

Simplify Layer Warning Box

How many times have you seen this warning while using Photoshop Elements type tool?  You may wonder why it keeps coming up and what it means.   I’ve had it happen too so I actually did a little investigation to see what it’s all about.



A Shape Layer warns you the layer must be rasterized before proceeding.




It Is All About Vectors and Pixels

Photoshop Elements displays images using vectors and pixels.  I’m sure you already know that photographs are made up of pixels.  Brush Tools and filters also use pixels.  When you try to use a Brush Tool or filter on a Vector Layer the above message appears because you can’t mix a pixel based action with a vector image.

In order to apply the pixel based action, the image must be converted to a pixel based image. This is called simplification or rasterization.

Smart objects, frame layers, solid color layers, gradient layers, pattern fill layers, and layers created with the following tools are Vectors.



Type Tools





Shape Tools




3 Ways to Simplify Layers

  1. When the Warning Box opens, click OK.  The layer is automatically simplified.
  2.  Right click on the Layer> Simplify Layer
  3.  Go to the Menu bar> Layer> Simplify Layer



Before simplifying a layer it’s a good idea to duplicate it first then simplify the copy since they cannot be changed or edited after being simplified.  Then if you find a spelling error or something you want to modify you can revert back to the original vector layer instead of having