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Layer styles change the look of a single layer by adding elements like drop shadows, glows, and bevels. A layer style affects only the selected layer, so be sure to select the layer that you want to impact in the Layers panel, and you can only select one layer at a time. You can't apply a layer style if you have multiple layers selected. I am going to select the Green Plant layer here in the Layers panel. This layer contains a photograph of a green leaf, and the photo doesn't take up the entire layer. There are transparent pixels around the photo on this layer, leaving room to apply a layer style that works outside of the photo, like a Drop Shadow, as you'll see in a moment.
To apply layer styles to this selected layer, I will go up to Effects panel, and I will click the second icon: the Layer Styles icon. The thumbnails here are different styles of Bevel layer styles. There are other categories of layer styles under this menu. I'm going to choose to Drop Shadows category. Each of the thumbnails here represents a different style drop shadow. To apply any of these, I will just double-click its thumbnail, and I'll evaluate how it looks in the document window. I can cycle through these pretty quickly until I see one that I like, like this.
Now, there are more than just eight possibilities of drop shadows; there are actually thousands of possibilities, because I can customize any layer styles that I apply to a layer. The way to do that is to go back down to the Layers panel, and there's a small icon I am going to double-click on the right side of the Green Plant layer. Actually, I will move off that layer for a moment, so you can see that icon. It's the fx icon. I will double-click it, and that opens the Style Settings dialog box, where I can customize the style or styles that I have added to the Green Plant layer.
If the styles that I have applied to a layer contain any of these elements -- Drop Shadow, Glow, Bevel, and/or Stroke -- there will be a check mark next to that element, and I'll have access to controls, like these Drop Shadow sliders, that I can use to customize that element. The Drop Shadow layer style that I applied has only one element, and that's Drop Shadow. Some layer styles, like the Glass Button styles, apply more than one of these elements. I am going to change some of the Drop Shadow settings by moving these sliders. I can change the size of the Drop Shadow, its distance from the photo on the layer, and its opacity.
Most shadows are not fully opaque, so I am going to drag that a little bit down, and most shadows aren't black; they reflect the colors of the objects around them. So I'll click in this color field to open the color picker, and from here, I could select another color, or if I move my mouse out into the image, I can select a color from here, and that made the drop shadow green. I actually want a darker green, so back in the color picker, I am going to click on a darker green color, and then I will click OK. I also can change the angle of the shadow by dragging on this little line on the wheel, but I tend not to do that, because if I do apply a drop shadow, or an inner glow, or other layer styles to other objects in this image, I want them all to have the same lighting angle.
So I will leave that at its default. In this dialog box, I can apply another element to the layer style on this layer. So, for example, I could also have a stroke on this layer, by checking Stroke here, which reveals some controls that apply to the stroke, and then I might drag the Size slider of the stroke over, so I have just a thin stroke. And I can make that stroke less opaque as well. You can see the stroke around here, and you can see that the drop shadow is still there as well. If I want to set all of these settings back to the way they were when I opened this dialog box, I would press the Reset button, but I'm happy with these effects, so I'm going to click OK.
If you have individual pieces of content on the same layer, they will all be affected by the layer styles that you apply to that layer. To show you that, I have a layer here that has two separate pieces of content; the Two Flowers layer. It just has these two small photographs surrounded by transparent pixels. I will select the Two Flowers layer in the Layers panel, and then I will go up to the Effects panel, and I will go to another category of Effects to show you those; the Inner Shadows category. Here, I am going to apply this Inner Shadow style, double-clicking it, and notice that I get the same effect on both of the elements of artwork on this layer.
One thing I find useful is that I can copy layer styles from one layer to another. For example, this red flower is on its own separate layer; the One Flower layer. I can copy the style that I just applied to the Two Flowers layer by holding down the Alt key on my keyboard -- that's the Option key on a Mac -- and clicking right on that fx icon. Let me show you that; there is the fx icon. So I'll go back to the Two Flowers layer, I'll hold the Alt or Option key, I will click on the fx icon, and drag down onto the One Flower layer, and release.
And that will copy all of the layer effects on the Two Flowers layer down to the One Flower layer. Now, I did have only the one effect, but if I'd have multiple effects on the Two Flowers layer, they would now also be on the One Flower layer, and you can see the inner shadow effect down here on the content of the One Flower layer. You can apply layer styles to regular pixel-based layers, but you can also apply them to special shape layers, which I will show you how to make later in this chapter, and to type layers, which I covered in the last chapter. Let's apply some layer styles to the editable Spring Fling type layer.
I will select that layer in the Layers panel, and then I will go up to the layer styles in the Effects panel, and I'm going to go back to the Bevels category. The bevels really give dimension to the content of a layer. I am going to double-click this Simple bevel thumbnail here to apply it to the text, and I'll apply another layer style too, going down to Strokes, and double-clicking this first stroke. I did that, not only to show you that you can apply layer styles to type layers, which often comes in handy, but also to tell you how to undo layer styles.
If you just want to take off the last layer style that you applied, in other words, in this case, the black stroke, you can click the Undo button at the top of the Editor. But if you want to remove all the layer styles you've applied to a layer, then you can right-click -- or if you have a one-button mouse on a Mac, Control+Plus-click -- right on the fx icon on the right side of the layer in question, like this. And that brings up a contextual menu from which you can choose Clear layer style, and that gets rid of all the layer styles on that layer.
One last thing; you can't apply a layer style to a special background layer, and many photographs come into your computer as special background layers. So if you want to apply a style to those, then you need to convert them into regular layers, and you can do that when you're applying a layer style. So if I wanted to apply, say, a glass button layer style to the background layer, I'll go to the Glass Buttons category, I'll choose the style that I want, I will double-click, and then I get a message telling me that I have to make this background layer into a regular layer.
If I say OK, that will do it for me, bringing up the New layer dialog box, where I can just click OK, and that applies the glass button style to that background layer. I will give you a look at that by turning off all the other layers for a second, and there is my styled bottom layer. So do experiment with layer styles like drop shadows, bevels, and glows, which are all a good way to add a little dimension to the artwork in your compositions. By the way, if you're making buttons for a Web site, experiment with some of these glass button styles, and do try out other layer styles like drop shadows, bevels, and glows, which are all a good way to add dimension to artwork in your compositions.
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