Applying and Creating Custom Contours_

The effects available in the Layer Style dialog box can all be modified by using the options provided. One of those options is a contour map. Contours control the shape of the Drop Shadow, Inner Shadow, Outer Glow, Inner Glow, Bevel and Emboss, and Satin effects over a specified range. They do this by allowing you to define how the shadow fades for a Drop Shadow effect; to create rings of transparency for a solid color Outer and Inner Glow; to vary the repetition of the gradient color and the opacity for gradient-filled glows; and to sculpt the bumps, ridges, and valleys that define the emboss for Bevel and Emboss.

You can assign contour maps to an effect from a predefined list or define your own custom contours. To see the subtle changes produced by assigning a different contour, create a simple object filled with 50% gray, apply an effect to it in the Layer Style dialog box, such as a drop shadow, and then cycle through the predefined contours one by one. To select a different contour, click the down-pointing triangle on the Contour icon (Figure 7-5) to call the Contour Picker.

To define your own custom contour, take the following steps:

1. In the Layer Style dialog box, select any one of the effects that uses contours.

2. Click anywhere on the Contour icon to call the Contour Editor, but not the down-pointing triangle, which calls the Contour Picker (Figure 7-5).

3. Modify the curve in the Contour Editor pop-up dialog box (Figure 7-5). Check the Corner box if you want your curve to have a sharp segment.

4. Click the New button (not the Save button), give the contour a memorable name, and then click the OK button.

5. Click the Save button in the Contour Editor if you want to save the contour by itself, or click the OK button to exit.

Figure 7-5: Detail from the Drop Shadow options in the Layer Style dialog box and the Custom Contour Editor dialog box. A—Click to access custom contour pop-up. B—Click to choose a predefined contour.

If you want to save the new contour as part of the current set, in the Layer Style dialog box, click the down-pointing triangle of the icon for the Contour Picker and choose Save Contours from the pop-up Contour Picker's menu.

When you relaunch Photoshop, the saved contour, or set, can be loaded from the Contour Picker menu, provided that you saved it in the default location: ~\Adobe Photoshop CS2\Presets\Countours.

NOTE The contours in the Contour Picker cannot be rearranged within the Contour Picker itself. To rearrange contours, use the Preset Manager (Edit ^ Preset Manager).

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