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When you're trying to achieve special effects in Photoshop, it's tempting to turn to the Filter menu. The Filter Gallery, in particular, offers tons of options as I'll show you in a later course. But it takes some experience to get decent effects. Your better tools at this point in the game, are layer effects. A typical layer effect traces or fills the outline of the active layer. That is the edges along which the pixels transition from opaque To transparent.
For example a drop shadow traces along the transparent edge outside the layer. While an inner shadow traces along the interior of the layer. Both are useful for imparting a sense of directional lighting and depth. You can combine layer effects to create contours and textures. And as we'll see, transform letters. Into gold. All layer effects are parametric, meaning that you can modify them anytime you like by tweaking a few numerical parameters.
They take up next to no room in memory. Plus, you can apply layer effects to entire groups of layers, which permits an effect to continue from one layer to another, as you'll see. My only problem with layer effects is that there aren't enough of them. Even so, there's no end to what you can do with them as I'll show you in the following movies.
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