Layer Styles

Each layer can be assigned a variety of creative blending effects that are stored in a style. Layer style blending effects include: drop shadow, inner shadow, outer glow, inner glow, bevel and emboss (with contour and texture subeffects), satin, color overlay, gradient overlay, pattern overlay, and stroke. All these blending effects are controlled through the Layer Style dialog box that is accessed via the Layers palette. Let's take a look at a few key blending effects now.

1. Create a new file by choosing File > New, or press Ctrl+N.

2. In the New dialog box, select 640x480 from the Preset Sizes drop-down and click OK.

3. Click the Create A New Layer button on the bottom edge of the Layers palette.

WARNING You can't apply blending effects to the Background layer.

4. Press D to set the default colors in the foreground and background color swatches in the toolbox (black and white).

5. Press B to choose the brush tool. Paint a few soft black brush strokes on the image.

6. Click the Add A Layer Style button on the bottom edge of the Layers palette. A menu appears (see Figure 1.31) that contains all the blending effects. You will open the same dialog box no matter which blending effect you choose.

7. Choose Stroke from the menu to open the Layer Style dialog box (see Figure 1.32).

Figure 1.30

Creating a knockout

Figure 1.31

The layer style choices

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Gradient Overlap...

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Stroke...

The Layer Style dialog box

You navigate this dialog by clicking the blending effects in the table on the left. The dialog box is context-sensitive; currently Stroke is selected, so you see the Stroke controls on the right side.

8. Change Size to 1 px, and change Position to Inside.

9. Click Color Overlay on the left side of the Layer Style dialog box, and then click the color swatch on the right side to open the Color Picker. Choose a dark blue color and click OK to close the Color Picker.

10. Click the Bevel And Emboss effect on the left. In the Structure group on the right, change Depth to 100%, and change Size to 18 px.

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11. Click the Drop Shadow effect on the left. Then, in the Structure group to the right, change Distance to 17 px, and change Size to 27 px.

12. Click OK to close the Layer Style dialog box. Each blending effect is accessible now through the additions made in the Layers palette. You can double-click any of the round f icons in the Layers palette to open the corresponding effect page of the Layer Style dialog box. Figure 1.33 shows the transformation the black brush strokes took after the application of a few blending effects. (Many are visible only in color.)

13. Close the file without saving.

TIP You can create an amazing variety of looks by applying blending effects. Try experimenting on your own with the various tools in the Layer Style dialog box.

Figure 1.33

Blending effects

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