Layer effects bonanza

You'll have a blast experimenting with layer effects and type. Layer effects are fast, flexible, easy to use, and they were designed largely with editable type in mind. Sure, they get overused. But as with any cool feature, you can stay ahead of the curve by applying your effects creatively.

Figure 15-30 shows three very simple but unusual implementations of layer effects. All three effects rely on character masks, but I created these selection outlines using standard type layers. I clicked with the type tool, entered the words Shake, Murder, and Imprint, and then formatted them. Then I Ctrl-clicked on the layer to draw out the selection outlines as I needed them.

Tip Why use a standard type layer to create selection outlines instead of the type mask option? Simple — because type on a layer is forever editable; a type mask is not. Editing type on a layer doesn't affect an existing character mask, but I can Ctrl click to generate new masks any time I like. The upshot is that a type layer serves double duty — to create both editable text and type masks. This one tool does everything you need, which is why I for one never change type tools; I always work with layered type.

Figure 15-30: Three examples of childishly simple layer effects applied creatively to character masks

That's really the key to creating cool effects. The rest is just "scribbling and bib-bling" as a dramatized Mozart once said. But because the scribbles and bibbles may prove of minor interest to you, here's how I made each effect:

4 Shake: First, the boring stuff. I extracted the layer mask for the word Shake by Ctrl-clicking on my type layer and Shift+Alt-dragging around the word Shake with the rectangular marquee tool to deselect Murder and Imprint. Then I switched to the background layer and pressed Ctrl+J to send Shake to an independent layer. Finally I pressed the / key to lock the transparent pixels so I could edit the type and only the type.

Now for the fun stuff. I created a pattern from the embossed texture back in Figure 15-4 using Edit ^ Define Pattern. Then I used Edit ^ Fill to fill Shake with the pattern. After double-clicking the new layer name to open the Layer Style dialog box, I applied a black drop shadow, setting the blend mode to Multiply, the opacity to 100 percent, and the angle to 45 degrees. Next I applied a white Inner Shadow, setting the blend mode to Screen, opacity to 85 percent, and angle to -135 degrees. The upshot is that the drop shadow darkens the background and the inner shadow lightens the characters.

4 Murder: I filled the background layer behind the word Murder with black. Then I did all the boring stuff that I mentioned two paragraphs ago — Ctrl-clicked the type layer, intersected Murder with the marquee tool, pressed Ctrl+J to send Murder to its own layer, and pressed / to lock the transparent pixels.

I set the foreground color to white and brushed across the Murder layer with the paintbrush set to 40 percent opacity. Because the transparency of the layer was locked, I painted inside the letters only. Finally, I opened the Layer Style dialog box and applied a white drop shadow to the text layer, setting the blend mode to Screen and the Angle value to -126. The result is a directional glow.

4 Imprint: Here I filled the area behind Imprint with the same pattern I defined for Shake, and then I mushed the pattern together using the filters Noise ^ Median and Blur ^ Gaussian Blur (both explained in Chapter 10). Then, as usual, I did the boring stuff — Ctrl-clicked on the original type layer, intersected Imprint with the marquee tool, and pressed Ctrl+J and the / key.

With Imprint on its own layer, I double-clicked the layer name to open the Layer Style dialog box and applied the Bevel and Emboss effect using the Emboss effect style. The result was a bit disappointing. Muted and dark, it didn't have the punch I wanted. To brighten it up, I duplicated the Imprint layer by dragging it onto the page icon at the bottom of the Layers palette. Then I pressed Shift+Alt+S to apply the Screen mode. The final result is the much sharper effect you see in Figure 15-30.

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