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One of the most common methods of sharing photographic images, even with so many digital possibilites, is the print. A print is obviously 2 dimentional, but by adding some layer effects, you can add depth to an image along with a variety of other creative possibilities. Let's take a look at how it's done. In order to add a layer effect to an image, you must convert the background image layer to a normal layer. To do so, simply Double-click the thumbnail for the background layer on the layers panel, and Click OK in the new layer dialog. You can then add a layer effect by Clicking the FX button at the bottom of the layers panel and choosing the effect you'd like to apply. For example, let's assume I'd like to add a drop shadow to the image. This will bring up the layer style dialog and I can fine tune the settings for my drop shadow.
Of course, you might have noticed that I'm not able to actually see my drop shadow and that's because the drop shadow effect actually applies outside of the image area. So how are we going to make it possible to see that drop shadow effect? All we need to do is enlarge the canvas, so I'll go ahead and Click OK to close my layer style dialog, and then I'll choose Image > Canvas Size from the menu. This will bring up the canvas size dialog. I'll make sure the relative checkbox is turned on. This allows me to specify how much space I want to add around the image rather than indicating the actual new size for the image.
So, for example, I'll add half an inch to both the height and the width, and I'll Click OK. And you can see that that is added space around my image, and I can now see the drop shadow effect. To make it a little easier to see some of these effects I'm going to add a new layer below my current layer and fill that with white. So I'll hold the Ctrl key on windows, or the Cmd key on Macintosh while Clicking on the Create New Layer button. The blank sheet of paper icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, and because I was holding the Ctrl or Cmd key, that layer will be added below the currently active layer rather than above.
I can then Choose Edit fill from the menu and set My Use pop-up to white, and Click OK in order to fill that layer with white. And again, I'm only adding this layer so that I can better see some of the effects I'm applying here. Now I'd like to modify my drop shadow, and perhaps add some additional effects. So, I'll Double-click on my drop shadow effect on the Layers panel. That will bring up the Layer Style dialog, and I can change some of the settings for example, maybe change the angle of the light perhaps change the size of the drop shadow and the spread.
I might reduce the opacity, to make it a little bit more subtle. You get the idea. I can fine tune the various controls that are available here. And of course, there are other effects that I might like to add. For example, I could add a bevel and emboss effect to give the image something of a 3D type of effect. I'll reduce the opacity of the shadow to soften that up just a little bit. I might also add a stroke to the image. This would be a border around the edge. I can adjust how large the stroke is and whether it appears outside the image or inside the image. In this case I'll switch it to inside the image, and I can change the color, for example, I'll Click the color swatch.
And I can change to any color I'd like or even Click within the image to sample a color from within the image itself. So, using the red of the diner sign, for example, to add a red stroke around the image. At the moment I'm being a bit arbitrary about the effects that I'm applying, I just want to show you some of the possibilities, but the basic concept remains the same. We can choose any of the available options fine–tune all of the settings until we're happy with the result. And add as many of these various styles as we like.
And of course at any time we can also modify an existing style by simply Double-clicking on it in the Layers panel. There are quite a few options for applying layer effects to an image. The basic concept is the same though for any of the possible effects. Simply turn on the desired effect and then adjust the settings for that effect to taste. Just keep in mind that in most cases you'll want to use a relatively subtle effect when using layer effects. A little can go a long way.
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