The advantages of layer effects

Layer effects are a godsend to beginners and intermediate folks, but experienced users might be tempted to turn their noses up at them. After all, you can create many of these effects manually using layers, selection outlines, and blend modes. But there is much to like about automated layer effects:

4 First, they stick to the layer. Move or transform the layer and the effect tags along with it.

4 Second, the effect is temporary. So long as you save the image in one of the three layered formats — native Photoshop (PSD), TIFF, or PDF — you can edit the shadows, glows, bevels, overlays, and strokes long into the future.

4 Third, layer effects are equally applicable to standard layers, shape layers, and editable text. This is unusual because both shape layers and editable text prohibit many kinds of changes.

4 Fourth, thanks to the introduction of the Contour presets in Photoshop 6, layer effects now enable you to create effects that would prove otherwise exceedingly difficult or even impossible.

4 Fifth, you can combine multiple effects on a single layer.

4 Sixth, you can copy an effect from one layer and paste it onto another.

4 Seventh, you can save groups of effects for later use in the Styles palette.

4 Eighth, the effects show up as items in the Layers palette. You can expand and collapse a list of effects, as well as temporarily disable and enable effects by clicking on familiar eyeball icons.

4 Ninth — why the heck do you need a ninth advantage? Didn't television teach us that Eight Is Enough? But what the heck. Ninth, strokes print as vector output, so they're guaranteed to be smooth. There, satisfied?

Now that you're champing at the bit — or as the dolphins say, "bonkin' at the beach ball" — to get your flippers on these effects, the following sections tell you how, why, and what for.

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Photoshop Secrets

Photoshop Secrets

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