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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.
In this example we are going to inflate a letter with a soft, smooth Bevel and then we'll also see how we can apply this very trendy plastic wrap effect to it. Here's our starting point. I'm going to go to Bevel and Emboss, since that's the main event here. I'm going to turn off Global Light. I'm going to increase the Depth of the Bevel. I'm using a Smooth bevel, and I'm going to increase the Size way up like so. And now to round out these edges, I'm going to Soften.
Now rather than using black as my shadow color, I'm going to change the color. Sample that from the letter itself. Now I'm going to come to Drop Shadow, just drag the Drop Shadow down into the right, and soften it by increasing its Size. Finally here, I'm going to come to the Gradient Overlay and I'm going to change the Angle of the gradient like so, so that the light is going to be coming in from the top-left, change the blend mode of the gradient to Multiply, and then take the Opacity way down to about 20%, so that will just be darkening that bottom right-hand corner of the letter.
Now to add the plastic wrap effect, I'm going to create a new Color Fill layer, and I want the color fill to be the same color as the type itself. So I'm going to choose my Eyedropper tool by pressing I, sample that color, and then come to my adjustment layers and choose Solid Color, and it's going to give me a Color Fill layer that is that color. And I now want to clip that to the letter itself, so I'm going to hold down my Option or Alt key and click on the line between those layers.
Then working on the layer mask that comes with the Color Fill layer, I will switch to my Elliptical Marquee tool and I'm going to draw myself an ellipse about that size. If necessary, I can come inside it and reposition it. And now making sure that black is my foreground color, I'm going to fill that shape with black on the layer mask, so we can see we just have the top portion of that color left. And what I'm going to do next is go and add a Gradient Overlay to that.
But before I do that, I want to make sure that white is my foreground color so I'm going to cancel out of that, press D to restore my colors to their default black-and-white, press X to make white my foreground color. Now I'll go to my layer effects, come to Gradient Overlay, and for the type of gradient I will choose foreground to transparent. And that just brightens up the top portion of that letter. So there is our inflated letter, and it's created using a soft Bevel and Emboss, combined with a Drop Shadow, Gradient Overlay, and then we have this extra layer on top here which is adding this nice plastic wrap effect.
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