GRAPHICS PRO

July '20

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6 4 G R A P H I C S P R O J U L Y 2 0 2 0 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M S I G N A G E & P R I N T I N G T H E D I G I T A L E Y E | S T E P H E N R O M A N I E L L O HIGH STYLE LAYER STYLES SAVE TIME AND PRODUCE EYE-POPPING EFFECTS S tyles are special effects that add pi- zazz to your images. In this article, I present layer styles for pixel-based software, specifically Adobe Photoshop CC. When you consider how much time layer styles save from the tedious layer ma- nipulation and special content juggling required to achieve the same effects, then you can truly see them as a godsend. Layer styles produce realistic and seam- less effects. They can be just the right en- hancement that thrusts your picture into the "pop zone." When layer styles are combined, an infinite number of effects can be achieved. A thorough look at layer styles could easily fill an entire book, so instead of pouring over every effect that layer styles have the potential to produce, let's exam- ine them in a more general and efficient way. MISSION CONTROL As the nomenclature indicates, layer styles are a function of layers. To create, define, or edit a layer style, access the Layer Style dialog box—the mission control center with dozens of options too numerous to itemize (Figure 1). Worry not, dear stylist, once you've understood one layer style, it's easy to figure out how all the others work. First of all, the targeted layer's content needs to be surrounded by transparency. Most of the layer styles affect the content's edge (Figure 2). Access the Layer Style dialog box by do- ing one of the following: • Choose Layer Style from the Layers menu and then click on a specific style from the submenu. • Double-click the layer's thumbnail. • Click the Layer Style icon at the lower left of the Layers panel (fx) and drag to a specific layer style in the menu. When the Layer Style dialog box is dis- played, choose a default effect by clicking one of the 10 boxes next to its name. To display more extensive controls for any of the styles, click the name itself. Many of the controls have similarities. The live preview in the image window is the best way to see the results as you apply the style. A helpful feature in previewing a combination of effects is the swatch under the Preview check box that demonstrates the effect of one or multiple layer styles on a square. LAYER INDICATORS When a layer has been affected by a style, the fx icon appears in the Layers panel to the right of the layer's name. A list of styles appears under the layer's thumbnail (Fig- ure 3). Double-clicking any of the styles displays the Layer Style dialog box and the controls where they can be edited. The style's effect on the layer content can be concealed or revealed by clicking on the visibility icon (the little eye) to the left of the layer style's name. Each layer style provides a unique and potentially extensive set of options. The best way to get the perfect results you de- Figure 1: The Layer Style dialog box showing the controls for Bevel and Emboss. (All images cour- tesy Stephen Romaniello) Figure 1: The Layer Style dialog box showing the controls for Bevel and Emboss. (All images cour Figure 2: To apply many of the layer styles, the targeted layer's content needs to be surrounded by transparency. Figure 2: To apply many of the layer styles, the targeted layer's content

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