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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.
This movie is about an option in the Layer Style dialog box called Transparency Shapes Layer. It's one that you're rarely going to use but every once in a while it can be very useful. So here is when it might come in handy. So here I have an A on a sand dune. Don't ask me why. It's just a good way of demonstrating this particular option. So what I am going to do is add a Drop Shadow to this and then having made the Drop Shadow, I am going to separate the Drop Shadow from its layer, and I am going to do that by right-clicking on the fx badge and choosing Create Layer.
I will get this warning message. So I now have a layer that is just that shadow. This is very useful for other reasons, which I'll be going into in other movies. But for now let's just say that I want to press Command or Ctrl+T to go to my Free Transform and spin this around so that it looks something like this.
Then let's say that what I'd like to do is apply a gradient to this shadow rather than have it being a uniform black Multiply at 100% Opacity. So to do that, I'm going to double- click to the right of the name and go to Gradient Overlay, and aha! This is where the problem occurs. The Gradient Overlay is applying not to what I was expecting to be just the opaque pixels on that layer, but to the whole layer.
So what's all that about? Well, when you separate a layer effect from its layer, this option is turned off. In all other instances, it's always turned on. So if I now go and turn that on and then go to my Gradient Overlay and say I want this to be Multiply, and I will come to my Blending Options and turn the Fill Opacity all the way down, so that all that we're actually seeing is the gradient rather than the fill color. I will come back to Gradient Overlay and I will just reverse that so it goes in that direction.
I think that's kind of what I want. But the punchline of this whole thing is that Transparency Shapes Layer is the option that we needed here, so that we've got to gradient or indeed any other effect applying just to the opaque pixels rather than to the whole layer.
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