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Understanding layer styles

From: Photoshop CS6 for Web Design

Video: Understanding layer styles

One of the easiest and most effective ways to add special effects to your artwork inside of Photoshop is to utilize layer styles. Layer styles are pretty cool because of the fact that they are applied nondestructively to the layer that they're affecting and they can be changed, modified, or even deleted and taken away any time without affecting the underlying pixel values whatsoever. In this movie, we'll be exploring layer styles and how they can help us add a little something extra to our designs. I'm going to start off on this file right here that I'm looking at, and you can see here that I've created a tablet mockup that has a lot of depth and three-dimensional qualities to it.

Understanding layer styles

One of the easiest and most effective ways to add special effects to your artwork inside of Photoshop is to utilize layer styles. Layer styles are pretty cool because of the fact that they are applied nondestructively to the layer that they're affecting and they can be changed, modified, or even deleted and taken away any time without affecting the underlying pixel values whatsoever. In this movie, we'll be exploring layer styles and how they can help us add a little something extra to our designs. I'm going to start off on this file right here that I'm looking at, and you can see here that I've created a tablet mockup that has a lot of depth and three-dimensional qualities to it.

But in reality, this is nothing more than a few basic shapes with layer styles applied to them. If I look at the original file, you can see here that it's just very, very basic. Nothing really exciting going on here. There's just squares and rectangles. So how do I go from this to this? That's the beauty of layer styles. So let's jump back over and let's see if we can re-create this on the original file. I'll jump back over here and I'm going to start on the tablet itself, down here at the bottom. In order to add somewhat of a bevel to this, I'm going to first add a layer style.

I'm going to do that by either double-clicking to the right-hand side or coming down to the bottom and choosing the small fx icon. And then I can go in and I'll choose something like Stroke. Once I'm inside of this dialog box, I can set different properties for the layer styles themselves. In this case, I think a 3-pixel stroke works okay, and the color needs to be sort of a lighter gray, and I'll hit OK. Now it's going to be difficult to see this because it is a dark tablet on a light background. But if I were to switch this to a dark background, you'd be able to see the edge a little bit better, and it would create almost a three- dimensional appearance. Now I'll hit OK.

When I apply that, you're going to notice a small fx icon appears next to the layer, and underneath that you get Effects and the name of any effects that you currently have applied to that layer. You also have eyeballs next to each one of these. If you toggle the eyeball next to the word Effects, it turns off all of the layer style visibility. If you turn off the eyeball next to the individual effect names, it only disables that style. So for instance, if I have multiple effects applied to this, I could uncheck individually or disable them all simply by clicking those two eyeballs.

If you don't want to see these--because they do clutter up the Layers panel don't quite a bit--you can click the small icon here and it'll fold it right back up. So now let's move on to the Home button. The Home button is just a circle with a rounded rectangle on top of it. What I want to do is create a three-dimensional appearance to the Home button so that it looks as though it's recessed into the tablet somewhat. In order to do that, I'm just going to double- click out to the right of where it says Ellipse 1. And once I do that, I'm going to choose Gradient Overlay. Inside of Gradient Overlay, it automatically applies a black-to-white gradient on the top of this circle for me.

In order to edit that gradient, I come right here and I'll click on the Gradient Editor. Inside of the Gradient Editor, I'll take this and I'll just drag this to the left, to 50%, and I'm also going to change the color to a gray. Then I'll take this slider, drag it in till it meets it, right about there. And now it's pretty much finished, although I need it to be flipped over. So in order to do that, I'll just drag these until they switch positions, like so.

If you have a little bit of trouble lining these things up, that's okay. You can just hit OK here and then check the Reverse box right there and it will automatically reverse the direction of the gradient for you. Once I hit OK, it takes me back out into the document, and if I click away from this, you'll be able to see it. Now it looks as though that's a glossy button that's sort of embossed into the tablet. Pretty neat. I'll collapse up the Home button. Let's continue to work. I'll select the screen. And the first thing I'm going to do is add sort of a beveled edge at the outside, and I can do that simply by adding a stroke.

So I'll double-click to the right-hand side. I'll click on Stroke. Inside of the Stroke, I'm going to back the Size down to 1. I'll change the Color to a dark gray. Now I want to make it look as though this is sort of recessed or pressed back into the tablet as well. In order to do that, I'll click on Inner Shadow. One of the cool things about the shadows inside of Photoshop is the fact that you have the ability to actually bring them out here and control them by clicking and dragging.

Now I want to come over here and turn off this Use Global Light checkbox. I'm doing that so that I don't affect the overall appearance of any of the other effects in my document. Once I uncheck that box, I can come out here and I can simply position the shadow anywhere I want. See, if I drag it all the way over, you can kind of see the shadow. So what I like to do is drag it out where I can actually see it. Then I work with the Size and maybe the Opacity a little bit. And then when I'm finished, I just drag it right back up until it fits right where I need it to go. And if you need to increase the Size a little bit more, that's okay.

The higher the size, I think the more it looks as though it's pressed down into the tablet itself. So I'm going to actually shrink that back just a tad. There we go! Now we'll hit OK. And so once I do that, I'll click away from it so we can kind of see the finished product. And there you have sort of a beveled edge at the outside, and then that shadow really makes it look as though it's pressed down into the tablet. Now finally, we have this layer called Gloss, and the Gloss layer is simply a shape layer that has no fill and no stroke. It's completely transparent at the moment. And what I want to do is fill it with a gradient to add somewhat of a glossy appearance to the tablet.

So in order to do that, I'm going to double-click out to the right. I'm going to add another gradient overlay. You can see when I do that, it automatically adds a somewhat glossy appearance. And I'm going to come into the Gradient Editor. Click. I'm going to select this black color stop here, and you can do this one of two ways. You can either leave this as black or you can click the stop on top of it and change the Opacity to 0. That way this fades from white all the way to transparent.

So if you were to change the color of the tablet, for instance, from black to white or whatever you might change it to, the gloss still fades on top of it without actually showing the black color that you had. So from white to transparent. I'm also going to back down the opacity of this white stop over here, so I'll select this, and tone that back, maybe to like 25%, something like that. And you can make this as bright or as dark as you want it to be. Totally up to you. Hit OK and hit OK. And so now I have essentially re-created this tablet mockup using nothing but layer styles.

As you can see, they're just basic shapes set on top of each other in different ways with different layer styles applied, and I've created a three-dimensional product in just a few short and easy steps. So as you continue to create graphics inside of Photoshop, play around with the layer styles and learn your way around them and all that they do so that you can take advantage of them and nondestructively alter your images and turn them into something that you might not have thought possible before.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS6 for Web Design
Photoshop CS6 for Web Design

75 video lessons · 50318 viewers

Justin Seeley
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 9s
    1. Welcome
      48s
    2. Using the exercise files
      21s
  2. 25m 50s
    1. Designing for screens
      1m 8s
    2. Decoding screen size and resolution
      3m 9s
    3. Exploring the PSD-to-HTML workflow
      2m 25s
    4. Setting up Photoshop for web work
      5m 29s
    5. Creating a new document for web
      2m 36s
    6. Creating a new document for mobile
      4m 24s
    7. Setting up a responsive web layout
      3m 31s
    8. Creating email newsletter documents
      3m 8s
  3. 20m 39s
    1. Adjusting color settings
      4m 13s
    2. Understanding web color
      4m 0s
    3. Creating a color palette
      4m 56s
    4. Creating custom swatches
      3m 34s
    5. Applying color to shapes and graphics
      3m 56s
  4. 20m 36s
    1. Exploring the Layers panel
      4m 9s
    2. Renaming and grouping layers
      7m 19s
    3. Searching and filtering layers
      3m 11s
    4. Using layer comps effectively
      3m 4s
    5. Using automatic layer selection
      2m 53s
  5. 29m 2s
    1. Using vector shapes vs. pixel shapes
      3m 31s
    2. Creating vector shapes
      5m 2s
    3. Working with fills and strokes
      4m 36s
    4. Working with Smart Objects
      7m 47s
    5. Importing images
      3m 57s
    6. Cropping and resizing images
      4m 9s
  6. 28m 48s
    1. Planning your project
      3m 13s
    2. Using guides and rulers
      6m 40s
    3. Using a grid system
      8m 28s
    4. Developing a layout with shape layers
      4m 4s
    5. Making pixel-perfect adjustments
      6m 23s
  7. 23m 19s
    1. Using point text vs. paragraph text
      2m 10s
    2. Using text as text vs. using text as an image
      2m 47s
    3. Understanding web-safe fonts
      2m 41s
    4. Inserting placeholder text
      4m 2s
    5. Creating and using character styles
      2m 37s
    6. Creating and using paragraph styles
      6m 11s
    7. Creating editable 3D text
      2m 51s
  8. 26m 54s
    1. Understanding layer styles
      7m 0s
    2. Creating and using drop shadows
      3m 23s
    3. Creating better bevels
      6m 9s
    4. Simulating metallic textures
      5m 8s
    5. Saving and applying layer styles
      2m 48s
    6. Turning layer styles into independent layers
      2m 26s
  9. 50m 23s
    1. Starting with a wireframe
      54s
    2. Organizing page structure
      2m 29s
    3. Adding master elements
      5m 37s
    4. Creating navigation
      4m 36s
    5. Working with photographs
      4m 0s
    6. Working with text
      8m 31s
    7. Creating media placeholders
      7m 22s
    8. Creating buttons
      7m 15s
    9. Creating form fields
      7m 54s
    10. Simulating pages with layer comps
      1m 45s
  10. 33m 38s
    1. Understanding slicing
      2m 4s
    2. Slicing up a mockup
      4m 15s
    3. Understanding web file formats
      4m 3s
    4. Exploring the Save for Web dialog
      5m 3s
    5. Optimizing photographs
      4m 17s
    6. Optimizing transparent graphics
      4m 56s
    7. Saving Retina display graphics
      5m 34s
    8. Using the Image Generator (NEW)
      3m 26s
  11. 10m 40s
    1. Understanding image sprites
      1m 25s
    2. Creating a sprite grid
      2m 54s
    3. Assembling a sprite
      4m 51s
    4. Optimizing sprites for the web
      1m 30s
  12. 18m 6s
    1. Creating a basic action
      5m 28s
    2. Exploring batch processing
      2m 55s
    3. Creating droplets
      3m 20s
    4. Using the Fit Image command
      4m 5s
    5. Using the Image Processor
      2m 18s
  13. 6m 56s
    1. Integrating PSD files with Dreamweaver
      3m 22s
    2. Integrating PSD files with Fireworks
      1m 59s
    3. Integrating PSD files with Muse
      1m 35s
  14. 50s
    1. Goodbye
      50s

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