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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.
Here we have a very useful, very easy application of the Drop Shadow to create live, i.e. editable, blurred type. Now you know that it's very easy to create blurred type in Photoshop. You just throw a bunch of filters at your type and you blur it, but you also rasterize it, meaning that you cannot edit it thereafter. This way you get to keep your type live. So here is our starting point. I have a nice big fat W in Lithos Black. It's different from the one that you saw, but I am trying to use fonts that come with CS5 so that you don't incur any font substitution.
So we got the W on a field of color. I'm going to double-click to the right of the layer name to go to my Layer Style and then go to Drop Shadow and the first thing I'm going to do and what this effect relies upon is unchecking this checkbox. Layout Knocks Out Drop Shadow. This is the punchline of this whole piece. Layout Knocks Out Drop Shadow, because if I turn that off and then we go to Blending Options and we turn down to the Fill Opacity, all we see is the drop shadow. We don't see the letter itself. We just see its shadow in its entirety, not knocked out by the shape of the layer, which if you saw the movie about the X, relied upon the layer knocking upon the drop shadows. This is the opposite of that.
So now I want to turn the Distance down to 0 so we put the shadow exactly on top of where the layer actually is, and we can increase the Size just to get the right amount of blur. I am also going to change the blend mode to Normal. Depending on what context we plan on using this in, this may or may not be relevant. And we will put the Opacity up to 100%. So there we have our live editable type and I can change that to any letter and it's going to be nice and fuzzy.
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