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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.
Layer effects are effects that are linked to a given layer. in this case, I have four layer effects linked to the Circle layer. That means that if I move the Circle layer around, the effects will move with it. I could if I wanted to come and right- click on that fx badge or hold down my Ctrl key and click on that and choose Create Layers, which would separate the effects onto individual layers. We will be covering this in a later movie, but for now we want to work with the effects linked to the layer.
While they are linked, they are continuously editable, meaning that I can just double-click on any one of them and I can change the amount of the effect that has been added. These layer effects have a very low overhead, meaning that they will have very little impact on your file size. If I delete these effects, you'll see that the document sizes do not reduce at all. So the effects are adding very little to the file size.
The effects work on the boundary between the opaque parts of the layer and the transparent parts of the layer. Shadow effects, like Drop Shadow and Inner Shadow, work on the transparent pixels and interior effects, like Color Overlay, Gradient Overlay, and Satin, work on the opaque pixels. Because transparency is required by most of the effects, you need to have transparent pixels as we do on the Circle layer. if I turn off Layer 1, we can see we've got a checkerboard indicating transparency.
In all cases, the effects will not work if I flatten the image. You'll see that my effects, even though the image looks the same, I can't move this item around and I can't edit the individual effects. This is now just a one pixel deep image. Nor can I add any other effects to this as a background layer. So effects require the use of layers. Because they require the use of layers, if you want to edit the effects, you should save your document in a file format that supports layers, such as Photoshop or TIFF.
Two terms that are used somewhat synonymously are layer effects and layer styles. A layer style is just a collection of effects. So in the case of this Circle, its layer style is the Drop Shadow plus the Inner Shadow plus the Bevel and Emboss plus the Pattern Overlay. I can double-click on the empty area to the right of the layer name to access the Layer Style dialog box, and I could if I wanted to save this as a style. I could give it a name. I'll just call it Style 1 for now.
And I could now, if I drew any other object or had any other image layer, come and apply that style to it. One more thing I'd like to mention is that these effects also show up in Adobe InDesign and a lot of the same concepts exist in Adobe Illustrator. So things that you learn here you can also apply elsewhere.
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