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Join Justin Seeley, lynda.com staff author and design enthusiast, each week for a new 5-minute, self-contained tutorial that you can use to instantly improve your design workflow. This series covers techniques for print, digital, and web design, addressing the tools that creative professionals like you use most. Learn new ways to leverage layer styles and vector shapes in Adobe Photoshop, work more efficiently with text in Illustrator, and embed videos and even tweets in WordPress posts, and much more. Check back each week for a new installment, and a new design hack.
Hi there. My name is Justin Sealy. And I want to welcome you to Creative Quick Tips. In this week's installment we're going to be taking a look at how to create layers from your layer styles inside of Photoshop. Basically what I'm going to do is add an effect to a layer, and then I'm going to turn it into its own layer to extend its capabilities even further. Let's take a look at how it's done. So here inside of this document I have 2 layers. Layer 1 is, of course, the picture of the car. And then I have a white background layer behiind it. And what I want to do is I want to start off by adding a drop shadow to the car layer.
So what I'm going to do first is just double click out to the right hand side of this layer. And once I do that I'm going to select Drop Shadow. When you have Drop Shadow selected, you can actually position the drop shadow by clicking and dragging. Around like this. So I'm just gong to position it so I can actually see it a little bit better, and then I'm going to adjust everything else. So I'm just going to increase the size just a little bit. And I may also increase the spread 1 or 2, and then I'm going to dial down the opacity. To something like 40% just to give it a nice soft drop shadow that look something like that.
Now once I have this done I can also to work on the positioning, for instance, I want this to be sort of straight up and down, so I'll put it 90 degrees. And then, I'm going to hit OK. Now, from here, you're pretty much stuck, unless you know the trick that I'm about to show you. So, right now it looks sort of 3D, but it's still got that really flat appearance. It doesn't appear to be truly coming off the page, or doesn't appear to be like, curled, sitting on a table, or however the case may be. So, how do we fix that? It's actually pretty simple. with that layer selected, go up to the layer menu. once you're in the layer menu you're going to go into layer style.
and then towards the bottom of the layer style menu option, you're going to click create layer. it may come up and warn you the first time telling you some aspects of the effects cannot be reproduced in layers and that's fine, it doesn't apply to drop shadows. so just hit don't show again and hit OK. Now if you look over in my Layers panel, I actually have 3 layers. Layer 1, Layer 1's drop shadow, and the background layer. Layer 1's drop shadow is just a drop shadow layer all by itself. And so what I can do now is select that layer and do things with it. So I can move it up a little bit. To kind of tuck it behind the photo.
I can also free transform it. So I can do command or control t on the keyboard, bringing up my free transform controls, and then I'm going to hit the warp button right up here. And that's going to give me the warp mesh over the drop shadow, and now what I'm going to do is just kind of mouse this up and click and drag this part up. And then I may even tuck in the sides just a little bit. Something like that, and I may even drag down the corners just a little bit more to give it that really bent appearance. Now I hit enter or return on my keyboard to commit to that change and there you can see I've sort of created this bowed-like effect on this image.
If you need to bring it down a little bit more to kind of give it a little bit more depth underneath it, that's fine, but there you go. And so, you can do this with shadows to make them look kind of droopy, like I'm doing here. You can do a really easy "cast" shadows this way. There are a ton of possibilities here, all from just taking that "standard layer" style, converting it over into its own layer and then, manipulating it after the fact. It's 1 of the best ways, I think, to extend the default capabilities of Photoshop. So, I highly recommend you try it out and see what you can come up with.
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