How to Use Layer Styles Basics in Photoshop CS6

Adobe Photoshop CS6 makes creating effects using Layer Styles Basics as easy as selecting an option. Back in the day, creating a drop shadow in Photoshop took a concerted effort. And beveled or embossed type? You really had to have the inside scoop on some Photoshop tricks.

You may see the terms effect and style used interchangeably. Technically, however, Adobe says that after layer effects are applied to a layer, they become part of a layer’s style. You can save and load styles, but not effects. So, if you apply a bunch of effects and want to be able to easily re-create the look, save it as a style.

When you get started with layer effects and styles, keep the following tips in mind:

  • You can apply layer effects to regular layers, shape layers, fill layers, and type layers, but not to backgrounds, completely locked layers, or layer groups.

  • Layer effects are dynamically linked to the contents of a layer. If you move or edit the contents of the layers, the effects are updated.

  • When you apply effects, they become part of the layer’s style. A styled layer has an fx symbol next to the layer’s name in the Layers panel. You can expand (to view the individual effects) or collapse the layer style by clicking the triangle icon next to the florin.

  • Drag the fx symbol from one layer to another to move it. Or Alt+drag (Option+drag on the Mac) the fx symbol from one layer to another to copy the style easily.

  • If you create a style so fantastic that you want to save it for later use, you can save a custom style as a preset and store it in the Styles panel.

  • Feel free to cut loose and have some fun. Layer styles are completely nondestructive. They don’t muck around with your actual pixel data. If you don’t like them, edit them. If you really don’t like them, delete them to go back to your original unstylized image.

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