The distinction between Opacity and Fill Opacity. Here we have a layed document, where the Opacity layer and the Fill Opacity layer are just the same. They both have a Drop Shadow/Bevel and Emboss layer effect applied to them, but with one notable difference and that is that the Fill Opacity layer has the Fill Opacity turned all the way down to zero. So we have two opacity sliders here. The Opacity affects the opacity of the whole layer.
The Fill Opacity affects just the opacity of exactly that, the fill. If I put the Fill Opacity back to 100 and turn the effects off, we have a blend mode of Multiply, which explains why we're seeing the texture through these letters. But we now see the letters shapes. If I turn the Fill Opacity all the way down to zero, they are completely invisible, but if I turn the effects on, we're now seeing just the effects alone. And that can be used to great effect in some situations.
Let me just show you where that is, if we go to the Layer Style dialog box. Here we have the Opacity grouped with the blend mode and here we have the Fill Opacity.
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