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For the first installment of Photoshop for Designers, Nigel French shows how to create editable, non-destructive effects such as shadows, glows, and bevels with layer effects in Photoshop. The course covers the use of layer effects like Drop Shadow, Inner Shadow, Bevel and Emboss, and Gradient Overlay, as well as how to combine effects with blending modes, transparency, and textures. With these techniques, designers can finesse type and graphics, control light, warp text, and extrude shapes, creating drama and adding depth to their compositions.
In this chapter we're going to look at the Blending Options and we're going to start offering this movie by looking at blending modes. The blending modes can be applied here at the top of the Layers panel, but they can also be applied in the Layer Style dialog box right here. As well as the blending mode that gets applied to the overall layer, as we've seen, the individual layer effects will also have their own blending mode. I'm going to just have a quick rundown of the blending modes, as applied to the whole layer and as applied from the drop-down of the top off the Layers panel.
What I have here is a green rectangle on top of this textured image and I'm just going to switch through the different blending modes to give you an idea of how they work. Before I do that though, if we take a look at this list, we can see that they're broken down into groups. I'll give you a brief description of what they do, but you really have to try them to see what the effect is going to be, because it's often very unpredictable. These two, Normal and Dissolve, are referred to as the simple blending modes, then we have the Darkening modes, the Lightening modes, the Light modes, which effectively can also be referred to as Contrast modes because they can result in a more contrasty effect.
The Difference modes, which usually give very pleasing results, but can be used for in very specific contexts, none of which are really appropriate to what we're doing with layer effects. But these will give us a sort of negative type effect. And then these last four, which respectively as their names suggest, work on the color or the saturation. So I'm just going to cycle through these, and a quick way to do that is to use the shortcuts Shift+Plus and Shift+Minus.
If you're trying this with other colors, you may well find that for certain blending modes, there is no effect whatsoever, because it's really going to depend upon the value of the color that you're using and the value of the colors in the layers beneath you're blending it with. So Shift+Plus and Shift+Minus will cycle me through. When we get to Dissolve for example, we see that this is doing nothing whatsoever, and that's because Dissolve will only work on the semitransparent pixels.
So if I choose this example here, where we have pixels that are not fully opaque, we have a gradient on this layer, and I change the blend mode to Dissolve, then we see it working. However, it's rarely very useful, so I can't think of any practical use of Dissolve, but there it is, should you want to use it. So these blend modes are exactly the same as these ones here. And as I've mentioned, we have the option of applying them to the whole layer, as well as to the individual layer effects that are part of that layer.
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