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In Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training, Jan Kabili highlights the key features of this comprehensive image organization and photo enhancement application. She shows how to correct and enhance photographs, and how to organize a growing collection of digital photos. The course also explains how to use photos in creative projects like photo books, calendars, and greeting cards, and how to share work online and in print. Exercise files accompany the course.
Another kind of special effect that you can apply to an image is a layer style. layer styles can be applied to any layer that contains transparent pixels. You can have multiple layer styles on a single layer and those layer styles will be displayed around all of the content on that layer. In this case I have two layers that contain transparent pixels. One is the color truck layer. I'll show you its content. It's just the image on the right of the color truck and then I have the filter truck layer. This layer also contains transparent pixels.
So it can take layer styles too. The Background layer is completely filled with the photograph. There are no transparent pixels on that layer. So I can't add layer styles to the Background layer as it currently stands. I'll start by adding some layer styles to the color truck layer. I'll select that layer in the layers panel and then I'll go up to the Effects panel. If your Effects panel isn't opened, you can open it from the Window menu at the top of the screen. I'm going to click on the second icon in the Effects panel which is the layer Style icon. Now I have a menu here with different categories of layer styles.
I'll start with the Bevels category of layer Styles and I can see icons for different styles of bevel here in the Effects panel. I'll click on the first one and then I'll click Apply. Now in the layers panel, if you look closely, you can see that there is an fx icon on the color truck layer indicating that this layer now has one or more layer styles and you can see the layer style around the content of the color truck layer in the image. I can experiment with other styles of Bevel layer styles by selecting them here in the Effects panel and then clicking Apply.
I can only apply one Bevel layer style at a time so these Bevel layer styles are not cumulative. I can experiment with different ones by clicking them and clicking Apply and I can go through all of them if I want. Now let's say I decide that I don't want any Bevel layer style. I could click Undo, but I would have to click Undo many times to go back through all the different Bevel layer styles that I had applied. It's more efficient if I want to get rid of all of the layer styles that I have applied so far, to go up to the layer menu at the top of the screen and down to layer Style.
Here, I find a number of commands related to layer Styles and one of those is Clear layer Style and that will remove all layer styles that I have applied to the selected layer. Now I'm going to go to another category of layer Styles. I'll select Drop Shadows. I still have the color truck layer selected. So to apply a drop shadow around the content of that layer, I'll select one of these Drop Shadows layer Styles, the low style and then I'll go down and click Apply. I'm going to stick with that one because I want to show you that I can apply cumulative layer styles as long as they're from different categories.
So if I go back up to the Category menu and I choose another category of layer Style say Strokes, I can click on one of the stroke layer styles, I'll choose the second one here and click Apply. Now I have a black stroke and a drop shadow around the content on the color truck layer. Now let's say that I'd like to customize the size of the stroke and the size of the drop shadow. I can do that for these particular categories of layer style by going to layer menu at the top of the screen and choosing layer Style and then choosing Style Settings and that opens the Style Settings dialog box which offers options for four of the layer style categories, Drop Shadow, Glow, Bevel and Stroke.
The other layer style categories don't offer options. Notice that there is a check mark next to Stroke and Drop Shadow. The check mark indicates that those layer styles have been added to the selected layer. Here are some options for the Drop Shadow that I've added. I could increase its size, its distance, I could change its opacity, I can even change its color and I also have options for the Stroke layer style that I have applied. So if I want that to be a little thinner, I could drag the Size slider to the left and there are some other options for the Stroke as well. From this dialog box, I can also add additional layer styles, Glow layer styles and/or Bevel layer styles to the selected layer.
So let's say that I want to add an inner glow. I'll put a check box next to Glow and that expands the Glow category where I have another choice. I can add an inner glow and/or an outer glow. I'm going to add an inner glow so I'll put a check mark there. There is a slight inner glow here. I'd like to make that bigger, so I'll drag my Size slider a little bit to the right and I'll leave the other settings at their defaults. At the bottom of this dialog box, there's a Reset button. If I click that all of the options that I have changed will go back to their defaults, but I'm just going to click OK to accept these changes and I now have a combination of three layer styles, Inner Glow, Stroke and Drop Shadow on the color truck layer.
One thing that I really like is that I can copy this combination of layer styles from one layer to another. With the color truck layer selected I'll go up to the layer menu and down to layer Style and I'm going to choose Copy layer Style. Then I'll go back to the layers panel, I'll click on the Filter Truck layer and I'll go back to the layer menu again and choose layer Style>Paste layer Style and that adds the same combination of layer styles to the content of the filter truck layer over here. Now I mentioned at the beginning of the lesson that I can't add any layer styles to the background layer because that layer is completely filled with a photograph.
Let me show you a workaround for adding transparent pixels to that layer, so that I can add a layer style to it. I'm going to go down to the layers panel and the first thing I need to do is to change the Background layer to a regular layer because I can't add transparent pixels around a special background layer. I'll select the Background layer and then I'll click on the lock icon on that layer and drag down to the Trashcan at the bottom of the layers panel and that changes the layer from a special background layer to a regular pixel-based layer called layer 0.
Now I can add transparency around this layer. I could do that from the Image> Resize> Canvas Size menu here or a quicker way is to get the Crop tool in the toolbox and click and drag a crop boundary around the entire image. Then I'm going to hold down the Shift key to constrain proportions and the Alt key on the PC or the Option key on the Mac to drag from the center outward and with those two keys held down, I'll click on a corner anchor point and I'll drag outward to add a frame around the photo on this layer.
I'm actually increasing the canvas size when I release my mouse and those keys and click the green check mark. Now I can see transparent pixels around the photo on layer 0 and that means that I can add layer styles to layer 0. So with layer 0 selected, I'll go up to the Effects panel. I'll click on the Stroke layer Style and I'll click Apply. To finish off this collage, I'm going to add a layer of white beneath layer 0. I'm going to hold down the Ctrl key on a PC or the Command key on a Mac as I click on the Create New layer button at the bottom of the layers panel and that makes a new layer below layer 0.
With that new layer selected in the layers panel, I'll go up to the Edit menu and I'll choose Fill layer and I'll make sure that the Use menu is set to White and I'll click OK. Now if you look at the layers panel, you'll see that the color truck layer, the filter truck layer and layer 0 all have a small fx symbol indicating that each of those layers contains one or more layer styles. So that's how to use layer Styles to add yet another kind of special effect to your images.
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