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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 going to create an ice tray like letter using a soft Bevel and a combination of effects, especially customizing the contour of an Inner Shadow. Here's our starting point. We have two layers to make the background, a gradient fill with a radial gradient and a shape layer that is derived using the Custom Shape tool, and this particular custom shape is that one right there and it's called Target. If you don't see all of these shapes you can load them like so, and this layer, the shape layer, is set to a blend mode of Overlay and an Opacity of 9%.
So we just see a nice inverse starburst there. So now let's get working with the letter itself and we will begin with a Drop Shadow and I'm just going to pull that off slightly and then we'll move on to an Inner Shadow. Now for the Inner Shadow I want to sample the color from the background itself. So I'm going to change the color and then come and sample from the lighter area of blue, and I think I might want to go a little bit lighter than that, so I'm going to drag that up on my color field, and I'm going to increase the Size of that to about 60 pixels, and I'm also going to just drag its Distance as well.
Drag it slightly inside the shape. Now here is where the good bit comes in. We want to change the contour. Rather than working with a Linear contour we are going to work with this one which is called Cove Shallow. So if you think of coving the way you get coving around the top of a wall as it meets the ceiling, that's what we have going on here. And I'm then going to just dial down the Opacity on that to about high 30's. So we get this icy look. I can't think of a better way to describe it than that. So now I'm going to come to the Inner Glow.
For the Inner Glow I want to change the blend mode to a Darkening blend mode. So we are going to go to Multiply and once again I'm going to sample the color from the image itself and once again we'll go with a slightly lighter blue than that, and then I'm going to increase the Size of that Inner Glow. All right that's looking good. Now let's move on to the Bevel and Emboss. With the Bevel and Emboss I want to make sure I'm not working with Global Light, so that I don't affect anything that I've already done.
I'm going to use a Chisel Hard and I'm going to increase the size of that and then to make sure we don't see any of the chiseling marks I'm going to soften it as much as 14 pixels. Now I already want to bring out the Highlights and the Shadows and for the Highlight mode I'm going to again sample the color. So we are working with blue, maybe a slightly darker blue than that. Let's just move around on our Color field, and I want to change the blend mode of that to Color Burn.
So exactly having a darkening rather than a lightening effect and then I'm going to get that slider move it all the way up to 100%, and this seems a little bit counterintuitive but with the Shadow mode I'm going to change it to Linear Dodge, which is going to have a lightening effect. I'm going to change the color of that to white. So we are sort of doing the opposite of what you would expect with the highlights and the shadows. Now I'm going to come to my Gradient Overlay and I want to apply a gradient across the whole letter and I want to use a gradient that goes from blue to white to blue to white and back to blue again.
So I am going to click on the type of gradient that I'm using and I want to use a light blue, so I'm going to click on the color stop, click on the color box, slide up in my Color field and I'm going to use sort of aquamarine blue, something like that, and then I want that to transition to white. So I'm going to grab this white color stop and bring it to about there. Now I'm going to duplicate the one color stop that I have, holding down my optional Alt key and drag that to the right, and then I'm going to duplicate the white by dragging that to the right and holding down my Option or Alt key and repeat that again so that we now have these stripes, then click OK.
I need to reduce the Opacity on that so I'm going to bring that down to about 50% and then I'm also going to change the Angle of that, and I could also if I wanted to just mess around with the Scale, but I think the Scale is pretty good where it is at 100%. Next I'm going to move on to the Stroke and I want to add a nice big stroke around the whole letter so I'm going to increase the Size of stroke to 18 pixels and we can leave the color as being black, but I'm going to reduce the Opacity so that we bring back some of the texture of the background. Reduce the Opacity to about 30.
So there I finished K and we've thrown just about everyone of our layer effects at it, I think to good effect.
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