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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 are going to create a cool stencil effect using an Outer Glow and a Shallow Knockout. We're also going to be using some Pattern Overlay and Gradient Overlay and for a finishing touch we'll be warping the Drop Shadow of the stencil. Here's our starting point. We have an H on a wood background. That wood background has a vector mask which is currently disabled. So I am going to begin by creating the stencil and to do this I'm going to duplicate the H. So I am going to select the H and press Command+J. To duplicate it I'll then come back and select the original H and now press U, which is the shortcut to go to my Vector tool and the Rectangle Vector tool is the one I want, and I'm going to draw a rectangle that will be the stencil paper.
So I am going to center it on the H. I am going to start drawing and then hold down the Alt key. There's my stencil. I want this filled with white, so I am going to press X to go to white as my foreground color, Alt and my Backspace/Delete key to fill that shape with white. Now I want the H copy, this layer, to knock through that stencil. I am going to turn off the visibility on the original H and come to the Blending Options of the H copy.
And if I turn down the Fill Opacity to 0 and then change the Knockout to Shallow we see that we are knocking through to transparency. We actually want to knock through to the wood texture. So what we need to do is click OK to that and then select these two layers and put them in a group. So with them selected, Command or Ctrl+G and now the Knockout only goes through to the bottom of the group, in this case revealing the wood texture that's behind.
So I am not going to expand the group and we'll start out by working on the stencil paper. So I am going to double-click on that and I want to give it Pattern Overlay. The pattern I want to use is in the Grayscale Paper presets. So I am going to choose that and I will append that to what we already have. And then I am going to change to view this as a Large List. Makes it slightly easier. And what I am after is Craft Paper.
In addition to that, I also want a Gradient Overlay and I just want the Gradient Overlay to make the light look less uniform. I am going to reduce the Opacity on that and I am going to change the blend mode on that to Multiply. So that's the stencil. I'm now going to work on the letter itself, the letter that is actually cut out from the stencil paper. In order to do this I am going to turn on the visibility of the existing H, the one down here, the one that is already sprayed onto the wood, but I am going to come and work on the H copy.
And first of all I'm going to add an Inner Shadow. I am going to move this Inner Shadow inside the stencil shape and I'm going to increase its Size to soften it. And then I'm going to come to Outer Glow and this is the reason I turned on the visibility of the other H, because I want to sample the color of the Outer Glow from this one right here. So I am going to click on the Color box and then moved my Eyedropper tool onto that H. Sample the color. Click OK. I will need to change the blending mode of that to Multiply and increase its Size so that it looks like spray- paint around the edges of the stencil, and then I am also going to increase its Noise, just to make it look more spray-paint-like.
OK, now what I'd like to do is give a Drop Shadow to the stencil itself. I know in advance that I want to separate this Drop Shadow from the layer but I would not want to separate the Gradient Overlay and the Pattern Overlay. So therefore, what I am going to do is I am going to make a copy of this stencil layer, Command+J and I will through away the effects that come with the copy just by dragging them into the Trash. And then I'm going to go and add a Drop Shadow, which I will just pull off to the side, and then I'm going to right-click on the fx batch and I am going to choose Create Layer, which will put that Drop Shadow on its own independent layer.
I no longer need the copy from which the shadow was derived. I do need to move this down underneath the stencil itself and I now have three items that make up this stencil. That is the letter that's being knocked out, there is the stencil paper, and there is the shadow. I am going to collapse that group. So what I want to do is transform this whole group. Before I do this I am going to re- enable my vector mask by Shift+Clicking on it and I see the bounds of the square in which the letter is being created and then we also have this transparent area around that.
Now I want to extend into that transparent area, but I don't want to go beyond the edge of the canvas. So I am going to select the group and press Command or Ctrl+T, rotate that whole group, reposition it. If necessary, just rotate it a little bit more so that it's offset, something like that, and I'll press Return to accept that. And now I am going to expand the group, I am going to come and select the stencil paper, press Command or Ctrl+T, and then come and click on my Warp Options, and I am going to slightly warp that so that it's warped relative to the shadow.
One last thing I might want to do with this is just give a slight warp to the H. I'll try and retain it as being editable type. I am just going to double-click on the type thumbnail, come up to my Warping Options. I won't have quite as much flexibility here. I can choose any one of these that I like, because actually all I am going to do is dial down the percentage of the effect and just add in a little bit of Horizontal and/or Vertical Distortion. Let's now turn that group off for a moment and now we need to work on the H that has been sprayed on to the wood.
And to do this I am going to duplicate the Outer Glow that is applied to this one. So I am going to come and grab that effect, hold down my Alt key, and drag it on to the H. And then I am going to need to slightly modify that, because if we zoom in, we can see it's not really matching as we would like it to. That's because I need to change the Opacity of it to 100%. We'll leave it at Multiply and then I am also going to change the blend mode of the layer itself to Multiply.
So that looks like it's a sprayed letter with fuzzy edges, but perhaps they wouldn't be quite as fuzzy as that, so I'm just going to reduce the size on that a bit, and I'll add a slight amount of warping to this letter also. Just so it's less than perfect. Now we can turn on the group and there's our finished effect.
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