Add Layer Styles to Shapes for Quick and Easy Buttons

Creating buttons and navigational systems for web pages is a very common task for web designers. Using the shape tools to create those buttons offers added flexibility over drawing them with the Pencil or Brush tool because shape tools draw resolution-independent artwork that can be easily resized at will. In addition, you can quickly add a drop shadow or emboss effect (or both, as shown in the following illustration) to a button just by adding the appropriate layer style or styles.

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TRY IT To create quick and easy Web buttons using shapes and layer styles, first make sure the file you want to work with is open in Photoshop. Select the appropriate shape tool from the toolbox, depending on which type of shape you want to draw—rectangle, rounded rectangle, ellipse, polygon, line, or custom shape.

For example, Figure 8-29 shows how I drew three leaves with the Custom Shape tool in the form of a maple leaf and added text inside each leaf to define the links. (Click the triangle in the upper-right

Figure 8-29 I used the maple leaf Custom Shape tool to draw three maple leaves.

Figure 8-29 I used the maple leaf Custom Shape tool to draw three maple leaves.

corner of the Custom Shape selector and choose All to load all custom shapes, including this one.) For two of the shapes, I choose Edit I Free Transform and dragged just outside one of the corners to slightly skew them.

After drawing the shapes you want to use for buttons, click once on one of the shape layers in the Layers palette to make it active. Click the Layer Styles button (/) and select a style to add. Figure 8-30 shows how I added two styles to the first maple leaf—Outer Glow, and Bevel and Emboss.

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