Applying Effects to Masked Layers

You've come a long way to arrive at what is essentially the start of the creative part of compositing. Layer style effects are a powerful way to transform the appearance of the composition. In the following steps, you will use many of the skills you picked up when working with plans and elevations earlier in the book. However, you won't have to fill in transparent areas with black as you did when working with CAD drawings of plans and elevations.

NOTE Refer to Chapter 5, "Presenting Plans," and Chapter 6, "Elevating the Elevation," for a review of applying layer style effects.

The layers in the compositing project already reveal rendered pixels in the appropriate areas by virtue of their layer masks. Therefore, all that is required is for you to experiment by applying various layer style effects to get the look you want for each layer.

Although the parameters in the following steps are given with exact values, you can experiment and find your own combination of parameters that makes the masked layers look best in your opinion. One of the best things about layer style effects is the immediate visual feedback you get when adjusting the parameters; so keep tweaking until you are satisfied. Let the exact values be your guide and starting point.

Throughout these steps, you can open the Layer Style dialog by double-clicking just to the right of the layer name or by clicking the Add A Layer Style button at the bottom of the Layers palette and choosing a style.

1. If you have CompositingProject.psd open from the previous exercise, you can continue here; if not, open that file from your hard drive before continuing. This file is also provided on the companion CD if you are jumping in here.

2. Select the Ground layer in the Layers palette and open the Layer Style dialog box. Apply the following effects:

Pattern Overlay Use the Parchment pattern from the Artist Surfaces library at 99% Scale, Overlay Blend Mode, and 60% Opacity.

Gradient Overlay Select Overlay Blend Mode, 25% Opacity, and select the Black, White gradient from the Gradient Picker. Check Reverse, Linear Style, Angle 35°, and 125% Scale. Drag in the document window to adjust the gradient if desired.

Color Overlay Select a pure white color, Screen Blend Mode, and 10% Opacity.

The Pattern Overlay effect adds texture to the original flat rendering color. Gradient Overlay adds slight lighting variation on the ground surface, getting darker in the background. Color Overlay is used creatively here to brighten the other effects, rather than overlay a new color as is usually done. Figure 7.26 shows the pertinent effect parameters for the Ground layer.

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