This project consists of a textured background and one text layer, with several Layer Effects applied. The text is fully editable.
To begin building a Layer Effect, enter the line of text as usual, then click on the “fx” icon at the bottom of the layer, then add one or more of the effects. When Layer Effects are applied, the “fx” indicator appears on the layer. I used four different effects for this example.
This screen grab shows the settings in the Bevel & Emboss effect, including adding a blue shadow side and white highlight side. A similar panel for Stroke, Gradient Overlay and Drop Shadow will appear when each effect is highlighted on the left side list.
To create this version, all I had to do was drag my text cursor over the original ABCD letters to highlight them, then change the font.
This is identical to the previous example, except I clicked the text tool cursor between the O and L, then I held the Alt/Option key down while tapping the left arrow on my keyboard to visually kern the letters.
As before, I selected the text, then changed the font and changed the text size. To copy a Layer Effect from one layer to another, hold down the Alt/Opt key on the source layer, then drag the copied effect to the receiving layer.
To copy a Layer Effect from one layer to another, hold down the Alt/ Opt key on the source layer, then drag the copied effect to the receiving layer.
At any time, you can save a set of Layer Effects as a New Layer Style by clicking on New Style. When the new panel opens, give the Layer Effects set a file name of your choice. The new Layer Style will be added to the Style Library.
When the new panel opens, give the Layer Effects set a file name of your choice.
The new Layer Style will be added to the Style Library.
To access the Layer Style you just created, click on the “Styles” tab in the upper left. That brings up a panel that looks similar to the screen grab. The user made styles show up near the top. Select one of them and click OK. Additionally, there are several categories of default Layer Styles in the list. I have Natural styles shown in the large red box. Pick any of them and hit the OK button, and it will be applied to the layer.
To add Layer Styles from other sources, click the gear icon, and select the Load Styles option. Navigate to the folder on your hard drive that contains them and click OK.
This screen grab shows the results in the folder of MetallicStylesPS_OldGold styles I imported. There were 15 variations in this collection. It is possible to add outlines, shadows and overlays to any commercial effect.
For this example, I applied my newly created Layer Style to some text, then deleted the text. That left a blank layer with the Layer Style intact. I dragged out a rectangle and filled it with any color. Presto! The rectangle turned gold with the bevels and shadows. I did the same thing with the circle. Then I picked a hard-edged brush and added the freehand script, using a stylus and Wacom tablet.
The original Layer Style had a much too large bevel, so I double-clicked the “fx” icon to edit the size of the bevel.

Using Layer Effects and Layer Styles in Photoshop

Create and save effects for drop shadows, gradients, bevels and other favorites

By Mike Jackson

Posted on Monday, April 27th, 2020

Layer Effects are always at your fingertips. They are some of Photoshop’s most powerful, fun and creative tools. Layer Effects are easy to apply, and if you take the extra step of creating a Layer Style, you’ll find it is easy to reproduce a complex effect on another layer in the project—or on a future project!

Three of my favorite Layer Effects are Drop Shadow, Stroke and Bevel/Emboss, but there are others like Color Overlay, Gradient Overlay, Pattern Overlay, Outer Glow and Satin. A single Layer Effect can have any or all effects applied to objects in a layer, and all of the effects are fully editable. If that’s not enough, each of the various Layer Effects have a wide variety of adjustments!

It’s fairly easy to create complex Layer Effects adjustments. If you create an effect you like, even a simple one, it’s equally easy to save all of the adjustments as a Layer Style with a name of your choice. Once saved, the entire set of adjustments can be applied to any layer, now or in the future. Layer Styles you create can be copied to other computers or shared with friends. Additionally, Adobe includes a long list of Layer Styles with the software. Numerous companies sell Layer Styles, and many are available for download on the Internet.


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