Join Chad Perkins for an in-depth discussion in this video Using layer styles, part of Up and Running with Photoshop CS6.
Layer Styles are a quick and easy way to apply special effects to a layer in a non-destructive way. And so what we're going to do, is we're going to take some text, we're going to apply some Layer Styles to this text. Again, if you're using Exercise Files here, your fonts might be a little bit different but you can substitute whatever font you have, instead of the ones that I use. And also, for Layer Styles, it doesn't really matter. You can apply Layer Styles to those sample layers from these exercise files as well. So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to go to the Innovate Layer. And the way that we apply Layer Styles, well, there's a couple of ways. We can actually go down to the bottom of the Layers panel, there's a little effects icon and we can choose one of the Layer Styles effects here. But the easiest way, is if we go to the right of the name of a layer, there's a blank spot here, if we double-click that, it will open the Layer Style dialog box. Now, we have to be careful here, there's a lot going on in this little area. If we double-click the layer thumbnail, we will select the layer. Just hit Escape to cancel out of that.
If we double-click the name of the layer, we will be able to rename the layer. And then, if we double-click to the right of the name of the layer, then, we'll open up the Layer Style dialog box. Now, here's the way this works, we have some Master Controls, some Blending controls, right here that we're not going to get into. But on the left-hand side, for each of these effects listed, there's actually two options. There's a check box, to turn the effect on and off, so let's say, for example, Bevel and Emboss, which gives us a quick fake 3D look, the check box turns that on and off. But if we don't like the settings for the Bevel and Emboss, we actually want to adjust the Bevel and Emboss, then we need to click the words Bevel and Emboss. That changes the right side of the panel, and then we can adjust the Bevel and Emboss.
And the same thing with all of these. With the Stroke, we can turn it on and off, but if we want to actually adjust the stroke, we click the word Stroke. And then we can change the color of the stroke, the size of the stroke. Basically, that's just the outline going around the object. So, we could add shadows and glows and overlays, and all kinds of things. For this exercise, I actually want to do a couple different things. I'm going to take off Bevel and Emboss and I want to turn on Gradient Overlay. I find myself using Gradient Overlay all the time. So, I'm going to click on Gradient Overlay and by default, the gradient is black to white.
I don't really need it black to white although I could click the swatch for the gradient and then I could double-click one of these ColorStops, either the black or the white to change its color. I'm just going to go ahead and click cancel or I could choose one of the Presets here. Just going to click Cancel cuz I don't want to do that right now. What I want to do is I want to use this black and white gradient but I want it to blend into the exisiting colors that I have. So, I'm going to change the Blend Mode from Normal to Overlay. And this is going to change the way that the gradient interacts with my original blue layer.
So, I'll click Overlay and there we have it. So, we get this cool little glowing blue, bright blue to dark blue gradient. And if we want to tone that down a little bit, maybe take that down soft light, so it's a little bit more subtle but still a cool gradient effect. And we can compare the before and after by clicking the check mark. So, there's all one flat color and with Gradient Overlay, we have a little bit brighter on the top and a little bit darker on the bottom. Little subtle gradients like this often just add a lot of dimension.
Just a beautiful look that's felt more than seen, but it still adds a lot. Satin is a weird one. And just to explain that really quick, it kind of adds this really weird internal shadowing effect. And it's good for applying randomness so we might want to take down the Opacity. We might want to adjust the size a little bit. But if we play with this just right, we can get, again, a really interesting organic randomness to the shadows, inside of our text.
This doesn't work for this project, but something to be aware of. I'm actually going to go ahead and add an outer glow, which is towards the bottom here. Turn this on, and we have the color swatch that its using on the right-hand side. So, I'm going to click this yellow, the default yellow color and I'm going to go and click the green area over here from the graphic part of our image and we can click OK. I could increase the spread size. I could add a green glow that matches that part of the image.
Now, that I'm looking at this, I realized this is not very pretty. So, (LAUGH) I'm going to go ahead and click the green swatch and just go ahead and click all the way up in the upper left-hand corner take this to white, and we need to adjust the size after that. Just a little bit of glow or a lot of glow depending on what you want. Or we could do a lot of glow, and to take the Opacity down if we want to go in that direction. Either way, this is going to make the text pop out just a little bit more. I'm actually going to take that back up and this size back down, just a little bit of outer glow and there we have it. And if, at any time, after our applying Layer Styles, I want to change things, I can click the eye for the effects in the Layers panel that will remove the visibility of all effects.
Or I can selectively just turn off the eye for the outer glow for example, or the Gradient Overlay, whichever one I prefer, and get rid of that. And if at any point I want to delete this effects, not just have them be invisible, but get rid of them entirely, I can Click and Drag this Effects icon to the Trash Can. So, Layer Styles are a great nondestructive way to quickly and easily add special effects to, not just Text Layers, but any kind of layer at all.
- Getting images into Photoshop
- Creating and navigating documents
- Working with layers
- Cropping and straightening images
- Color correction
- Making selections
- Fixing image problems
- Working with effects
- Creating and editing text
- Exporting and printing