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Photoshop Top 40
Illustration by John Hersey

17. Layer Effects


From:

Photoshop Top 40

with Deke McClelland

Video: 17. Layer Effects

(Music playing) Deke's Photoshop? Deke's Photoshop? Top 40! Feature #17 is layer effects and layer effects include all of these options that are available to us from this fx icon at the bottom of the Layers palette. So they include things like Drop Shadows and Glows, Bevel and Emboss and so on. And a lot of folks interpret layer effects to be utterly and completely cheesy, because of the very first layer effect, Drop Shadows. And Drop Shadows create the effect of one layer hovering in front of another.

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Photoshop Top 40
7h 13m Intermediate Dec 21, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

There's nothing people love more than lists, and Photoshop Top 40 offers a great one, highlighting the best features in Photoshop. Deke McClelland counts down to #1 with a new video each week, detailing one great feature after another in this popular digital imaging application. The videos cover tools, commands, and concepts, emphasizing what's really important in Photoshop.

This is an ongoing course that will be updated monthly.

For the newest updates please go to our blog entry for Deke's Photoshop Top 40.

Topics include:
  • Assembling multiple pieces of artwork with layer comps
  • Creating a black-and-white image from a color photograph
  • Merging multiple channels to create an alpha channel with calculations
  • Selecting images with the Pen tool
  • Masking images using the Brush tool
Subjects:
Design Photography
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Deke McClelland

17. Layer Effects

(Music playing) Deke's Photoshop? Deke's Photoshop? Top 40! Feature #17 is layer effects and layer effects include all of these options that are available to us from this fx icon at the bottom of the Layers palette. So they include things like Drop Shadows and Glows, Bevel and Emboss and so on. And a lot of folks interpret layer effects to be utterly and completely cheesy, because of the very first layer effect, Drop Shadows. And Drop Shadows create the effect of one layer hovering in front of another.

So it's casting a shadow on the layer below. It isn't so much a cheesy effect. It can't be used quite effectively. It's just that it's an absolutely overused effect. Whereas if you employ layer effects correctly, you can achieve amazing results inside of Photoshop. For example, this Droplets layer right here has a number of layer effects applied, four in all, and they are exactly what is imparting these sculptured droplets right here. Were it not for the layer effects, we would have this. That is all this Droplets layer is.

It's just a bunch of black. And you may recall this Droplets effect. This is something that I created way back in feature #30 Actions, and what we're able to achieve was this effect right here, water on a wood background like so. All I've done is I've gone ahead and switched it so that we have the water set against this portrait, and the portrait comes to us from a photographer who goes by the name Coka. So what I propose to do inside of this video is show you exactly how I achieved this droplet effect. So we're going to walk through the creation of every single one of these layer effects right now.

So the first thing that I'm going to do is I'm going to right-click over here in this Droplets layer and I'm going to choose Clear Layer Style in order to get rid of all the effects, so we have just the black droplets to work with. And I'm going to start things off by reducing the Fill opacity value. I'll show you what Fill opacity does in just a moment. But I'm going to take that value down to 5%. So now we can barely see these black droplet forms. You can see them just a little bit dark against her light skin right there. And what that does, it does change the opacity of the layer, but it doesn't affect the opacity of the layer effects.

So I change the pixels independently of the effects as we'll see. Now, I'm going to drop down to the fx icon, and I'm going to start things off by choosing Drop Shadow. Photoshop goes ahead and applies the default Drop Shadow settings as you can see. I'm going to also add an Inner Shadow just by clicking on it, and I want you to see when switchback to Blending options right there, and I change to this Fill opacity value, which is the same as the Fill value inside the layers palette. Notice that as I'm darkening up the layer or lightening the layer, I'm doing so independently of the layer effects.

So what Fill opacity allows me to do, especially when I go with a very low value, anything from let's say 5% all the way down to 0 is I can really use that layer just for its edges, and then I can build layer effects around those edges using these options right here. So let's go ahead and establish a few decent settings here rather than accepting the defaults. I'll go ahead and click on Drop Shadow, I'll change that color by clicking on the color swatch right there. That brings up the color picker dialog box, and I'm going to change my H, S and B values, Hue, Saturation and Brightness to 45, 35 and 35 respectively, so we get this kind of tea Brown right there. I'll click OK.

And next what I'm going to do is to raise the Size value to 10. So that's the end of my default value changes where the Drop Shadow is concerned. Now, I'll switch over to Inner Shadow, click on the color swatch, the exact same settings once again 45, 35 and 35. Click OK, and then I'm going to change these values, the Distance value to 10, and I'm going to tap down to the Size value and change it to 15. Now, you may be wondering where am I getting these values. This is a trial and error. So I've set this up in advance, I've figured out the values that work best for me. You're going to need to fool around with the values to find out what works for you.

However, what I'm about to show you results in a really nice droplet effect as you'll see. Next, I'm going to switch over to Color Overlay and that's going to just go ahead and replace everything on the layer with red, by default that's what it does. We're going to want to change that out. I'm going to click on the that color swatch, and this time I'm going to change the Hue value to 210, which results in a shade of Hue and I'm going to take the Saturation value down to 50, I will leave Brightness at 100%, I'll click OK. I'm going to switch the blend mode setting from Normal, which obliterates everything on the layer right now.

I'm going to change it to this guy right there, Linear Light and we get some nice intermixing, some commingling of the blue with the background colors. That's too much of course. This is way over-the-top. So I'll go ahead and reduce this opacity value all the way down to 5% so that we get just a hint of blue going on here and you can experiment to taste with that. I'm going for sort of a watery effect. If we're going for a juice effect, I might go ahead and tweak that value up a little bit. It looks like Kool-Aid at this point. Anyway I'm going to take it back down to 5%.

Now, what really makes this effect work is Bevel and Emboss. So let's go ahead and click on Bevel and Emboss there. I am going to establish a few base settings. I'm going to take the Depth value up to 120%. I'm going to leave Styles set to Inner Bevel. Technique is Smooth that's fine. Direction Up is also fine. Let's go ahead and raise the size value up to 15. And in order to get some nice harsh highlights and shadows, which are associated with either water or plastic effects, we need to change the Highlight and Shadow modes to something more dramatic.

So I'm going to switch that Highlight Mode from Screen to Linear Dodge right there, which is going to up the ante a little bit. Notice that we get some harsher highlights as a result. I'll leave the opacity at 75%. I'm going to take the Shadow from Multiply to Linear Burn, so that we get some harsher shadows as well. Now, that's too dark. So I'm going to take this opacity value down to 15%, way down and then let's go ahead and switch out this color once again. White is fine for the Highlights, but for the Shadow, I want to go ahead and use that same 45, 35, 35 combo, so that we have this tea brown.

Click OK in order to except that modification. Now, it still doesn't look quite that liquidly. Looks a little more of plasticity at this point. And that's a function of the Gloss Contour. So first thing that I'm going to do is I'm going to click this down-pointing arrowhead, and I'm going to switch from Linear, which is the default setting, over to this one right there Ring, which is going to give us a much better effect as you're seeing right there, but not quite everything I wanted to be. So I'll now click inside of this little Contour graphic right there. In order to bring up the Contour Editor dialog box, I'm going to select this last point inside of this curve graph, and I'm going to press the left arrow key a few times until I lower that input value to 96%.

And you can see how that went ahead and established more dramatic highlights around the edges of the droplets. Then I'll click OK. I'm done there. One more change I want to make in order to smooth out these transitions around the highlights. I'm going to turn on the Anti-aliased checkbox. It's just going to make a subtle change to the droplets as we see right there. And that is it, friends. I'll go ahead and click OK in order to accept that modification. The only other thing I might want to do at this point is change the Global Lighting. Now, if I go ahead and double-click on something like Drop Shadow in order to bring up the Drop Shadow dialog box once again.

You can see that the angle of the Drop Shadow is 135 degrees. In other words, the light source in the upper left corner is casting a shadow down into the right. However, if I modify that angle value to something different with Use Global Light turned on, notice that everybody's going to change. So all of my directional effects, which include Drop Shadow, Inner Shadow and Bevel and Emboss, are going to change in kind. I'm going to go ahead and change this value at this point to 45 degrees, so the light source is in the upper-right corner casting the shadows down into the left.

And we end up changing all of the effects in kind as you see. I'll click OK in order to accept that modification. We now have a credible droplet effect as a result of four layer effects working together inside Photoshop.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Photoshop Top 40.


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Q: Is there a way to batch convert an entire folder of photos from the RBG color mode to the CMYK color mode without having to open and convert each individual image?
A: In the Actions panel in Photoshop, create an action that converts an image from RGB to CMYK. Then link to that action from File > Automate > Batch inside Photoshop.
Next, in the Bridge, select a folder of images. Choose Tools > Photoshop > Batch. Select the action inside the ensuing dialog box.
Or, in Photoshop, select File > Automate > Batch, and select the action and the folder inside the dialog box.
See also: Photoshop CS2 Actions & Automation, Chapter 2 “Action Essentials.”
 
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