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Applying a layer style

You can enhance a layer by adding a shadow, stroke, satin sheen, or other special effect from a collection of automated and editable layer styles. These styles are easy to apply, and they link directly to the layer you specify.

Like layers, layer styles can be hidden by clicking eye icons (eye.jpg) in the Layers panel. Layer styles are nondestructive, so you can edit or remove them at any time. You can apply a copy of a layer style to a different layer by dragging the effect onto the destination layer.

Earlier, you used a layer style to add a stroke to the beach photo. Now, you’ll add drop shadows to the text to make it stand out.

  1. Select the Island Paradise layer, and then choose Layer > Layer Style > Drop Shadow.

  2. In the Layer Style dialog box, make sure that the Preview option is selected, and then, if necessary, move the dialog box so that you can see the Island Paradise text in the image window.
  3. In the Structure area, select Use Global Light, and then specify the following settings:

    • Blend Mode: Multiply
    • Opacity: 75%
    • Angle: 78 degrees
    • Distance: 5 px
    • Spread: 30%
    • Size: 10 px

    When Use Global Light is selected, one “master” lighting angle is available in all the layer effects that use shading. If you set a lighting angle in one of these effects, every other effect with Use Global Light selected inherits the same angle setting.

    Angle determines the lighting angle at which the effect is applied to the layer. Distance determines the offset distance for a shadow or satin effect. Spread determines how gradually the shadow fades toward the edges. Size determines how far the shadow extends.

    Photoshop adds a drop shadow to the “Island Paradise” text in the image.

  4. Click OK to accept the settings and close the Layer Style dialog box.

    Photoshop nests the layer style in the Island Paradise layer. First it lists Effects, and then the layer styles applied to the layer. An eye icon (eye.jpg) appears next to the effect category and next to each effect. To turn off an effect, click its eye icon. Click the visibility column again to restore the effect. To hide all layer styles, click the eye icon next to Effects. To collapse the list of effects, click the arrow next to the layer.

  5. Make sure that eye icons appear for both items nested in the Island Paradise layer.
  6. Press Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) and drag the Effects line or the fx symbol (layerstyle.jpg) onto the HAWAII layer.

    The Drop Shadow layer style is applied to the HAWAII layer, copying the settings you applied to the Island Paradise layer. Now you’ll add a green stroke around the word HAWAII.

  7. Select the HAWAII layer in the Layers panel, click the Add A Layer Style button (layerstyle.jpg) at the bottom of the panel, and then choose Stroke from the pop-up menu.
  8. In the Structure area of the Layer Styles dialog box, specify the following settings:

    • Size: 4 px
    • Position: Outside
    • Blend Mode: Normal
    • Opacity: 100%
    • Color: Green (Select a shade that goes well with the one you used for the “Island Paradise” text.)
  9. Click OK to apply the stroke.


    Now you’ll add a drop shadow and a satin sheen to the flower.

  10. Select the Flower layer, and choose Layer > Layer Style > Drop Shadow. Then change the following settings in the Structure area:

    • Opacity: 60%
    • Distance: 13 px
    • Spread: 9%.
    • Make sure Use Global Light is selected, and that the Blend Mode is Multiply. Do not click OK.
  11. With the Layer Style dialog box still open, click the word Satin on the left to select it and display its options. Then make sure Invert is selected, and apply the following settings:

    • Color (next to Blend Mode): Fuchsia (choose a color that complements the flower color)
    • Opacity: 20%
    • Distance: 22 px

    The Satin layer effect applies interior shading to create a satiny finish. The contour controls the shape of the effect; Invert flips the contour curve.

  12. Click OK to apply both layer styles.

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