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One of the most common questions I get even from very experienced Photoshop folks is what the world is the difference between this opacity value right here and the fill opacity value? Because when you're first starting off it seems like the two values do exactly the same thing. Well let me show you the difference inside of the big layer style dialog box and I'm going to do that by double clicking on the statue layer thumbnail right here. Double clicking on that little head inside the layers palette that brings up this big layer style dialog box and you see there is the blend mode.
There's the opacity value, and there's the fill opacity, the item that goes simply by fill inside the layers palette. All right. So with the preview check box on I'll reduce the opacity value to 50%, we saw this in a previous exercise. We get a 50-50 mix of head and background sky. All right. So just kind of make a mental note of that. I'll go ahead and increase the opacity value to 100% and now reduce the fill opacity to 50% and now we get a 50-50 mix of the head along with the background sky. So what gives? These two effects so far are exactly identical when the blend mode is set to normal as it turns out.
So what in the world is the difference between the two? Well. Simply stated, the opacity value affects the opacity of everything associated with a layer. The fill opacity affects just the pixels and nothing else. So how in the world do we see the difference? Well, let's restore the fill opacity value to 100%. And then I want you to click on this item right here outer glow, in order to turn it on and make it active. By default, the outer glow is set to yellow so I want you to click on this little yellow swatch here, change the color to white by clicking in the upper left hand corner of the color picker graph, then click OK. Now change the opacity value that's associated with the outer glow effect to 100%. Click inside the size value and raise that to 65%, and I'm achieving that value by pressing shift up arrow six times in a row. So I've got 100% opacity.
White is my color and size is set to 65 pixels and I get this fairly garish actually outer glow effect applied to my image. Now click OK. All right. Now we're going to be able the see the difference between the opacity and fill settings very easily. I'll go and bring up the Layers palette. Here's what happens if I reduce the opacity of the layer to 50%. Notice that I affect not only the head, not only the Giuliano de'Medici himself but also his outer glow. Everything is reduced to 50% opacity.
All right. Compare that to raising the value back to 100% and lowering just the fill value to 50%. This time I affect the head. The head becomes translucent and the outer glow effect remains as strong as it ever was. All right. Well fill turns out to be a very useful setting so it's not surprising that it's available to you from the keyboard at any time. Go and click on the statue item again to make that fill slider go away. Now you can press shift along with a number key in order to change that value. So if I press shift eight I change the fill opacity to 80%. If I press shift two, I make the fill opacity 20%. If I press shift 56 then I'll make the fill opacity value 56% and so on, and of course shift zero restores the fill opacity value to 100%.
If I want an absolutely transparent fill, then I need to manually reduce the fill value to 0% like so and that allows me to completely drop out the layer and only see its outline as expressed by the layer style, which can be very cool when combined with text for example. You might be able to imagine that. All right. In any case I'm going to press shift eight in order to increase the fill value to 80% so that we have a strong outer glow effect going here with a just barely translucent head.
So we can just barely see through the head to the landscape and you can see the effect most clearly down here in the neck region so you can see slightly through the neck to this landscape below. All right. So that's the effect of the fill value. It does turn out it's a little more complicated than that because the fill value does affect some specialized blend modes differently than others and we'll see how that works in subsequent exercises, but for now just know if you remember nothing else about this, fill affects just the pixels inside of layer, independent of the layer style.
Opacity affects pixels and layer styles equally.
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