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Photoshop has a number of built-in non-destructive effects like Drop Shadows and Outer Glows, which can be applied to a variety of different kinds of layers. First, let's add a Drop Shadow to this photograph. In order to do so, I need to change the background into a layer. So I will double-click on the word Background in the Layers panel and I will rename this Photo. I will click OK or tap the Return or Enter key in order to apply that. I want to make the photo a little bit smaller so that we can add the drop shadow to it. So I will choose Edit and then Transform>Scale.
I will hold down the Option and the Shift key; the Option key will let me transform from the center, the Shift key will maintain the proportions of the image. Then, to apply that transformation, click on the Check icon or tap Enter or Return. Now, in order to add the drop shadow, from the bottom of the Layers panel, click on the fx icon and then select Drop Shadow. In the layer Styles dialog, you'll notice on the left-hand side, we have all of the different effects that we can apply. And of course, we can apply more than one effect at a time.
When you click on the name of an effect, not only does it apply that effect, but you also see all of the different options for that effect. To move to a different effect, simply click on it and click on the checkmark if you want to remove an effect. We can change the angle and the distance for the Drop Shadow by using the slider or the Angle option in the layer Styles panel, but we can also just click-and-drag in the image area to move both of these options at one time. The Drop Shadow has a hard edge right now.
In order to soften it, I will move the Size slider to the right. I also want to add a stroke around my image. So I'll click on the Stroke layer effect, and I'll change the Size to 5. I also want to make sure that the Position is on the Inside, so that I get a nice hard edged corner as opposed to the rounded one that you get when it's set on the Outside. Since the majority of the time, I prefer the position to be on the inside and the Size to be set to 5 pixels, I can use the option to make this my default.
Now, every time I come into layer Styles, and I want to apply a stroke, these are my default options. When I click OK, we can see on the Layers panel that I have two effects applied; a Stroke and a Drop Shadow. If I want to hide either one of these effects, we can click on the Eye icon next to Stroke or next to Drop Shadow. If I want to hide all of my effects at once, I can click on the Eye icon next to the word Effects. If I don't want to see this long list of effects, I can click to the right of the fx icon on the Layers panel on the triangle in order to hide or reveal all of my layer effects.
If I wanted to delete an effect, I could click-and-drag it down to the Trash icon or we could Right-mouse+Click and I could say Clear my layer Style to remove all of my effects at one time. But I want to leave these effects. In fact, I want to use these same effects on another layer. I am going to tap the T key to access the Type tool, and then I'll click to add point type. I will type in the word California. And then holding down the Command key or the Ctrl key on Windows, I will click on the Transformation handle to start enlarging my text, and then hold down the Shift key in order to maintain the proportions of the text.
When I have it the size that I like, I'll hold down the Cmd key on Mac, Ctrl key on Windows, and tap the Return or Enter key. I can use the Move tool by tapping the V key to reposition the type a little bit higher. But, we can see that the type is difficult to read against the sky. So I want to add those same effects to the type. If I click-and-drag on the word Effects in the Layers panel, I will simply move the effects from the Photo layer to the Text layer. So let's undo that by using Cmd+ or Ctrl+Z. If I hold down the Option key, and drag the Effects from one layer to another, then the effect is duplicated.
But, I don't actually want both the outline as well as the Drop Shadow, so I am going to undo that as well by using Cmd+ or Ctrl+Z. Instead, I am going to hold down the Opt or the Alt key to make a copy of just the Drop Shadow Effect, and I am going to click-and-drag that up to my type layer. Now, just to be clear, I want to make sure that you know that I duplicated the Drop Shadow layer Effect, and placed it on to the Type layer, but the Type layer effects and the Photo layer effects are not linked. So if I wanted to change one, it would change independently of the other.
In order to change it, I would double -click where it says Drop Shadow in the Layers panel. That brings up the layer Style, and let's just bring down the Size of the shadow a little as well as reduce the Distance here and maybe decrease the Opacity. When I click OK, you can see that it was only the Drop Shadow on the text layer that was updated, not the Drop Shadow on the Photo layer. Now, in this example, it was very easy to drag-and-drop an effect from one layer to another because we are only working with two layers. But, if you had a document that had say 50 layers of type and you wanted to quickly apply a layer effect from one layer to another, you can use the layer menu to select layer Style and then Copy the layer Style.
Then, you could select multiple layers in your Layers panel, return to layer, go to layer Style, and choose Paste layer Style. I'm not going to do that to this example because we only have two layers. But, I also just want to point out that you can do the same thing by Right-mouse+Clicking or Ctrl+Clicking on the layer panel itself. If I Right-mouse+Click on the effect, I get the option to copy my layer style. Then, I could select multiple layers, and if I Right-mouse+Click again, we can easily paste the layer style to all of our selected layers.
We also notice there's an option to Clear Layer Style if I wanted to quickly remove my layer style from that layer. And there you have it; a quick overview of layer styles in Photoshop CS6. They are non-destructive, re-editable and easily applied to multiple layers at one time.
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