Photoshop cs Timesaving Technique: Adding Bevels and Embossing

Photoshop's Layer styles are really fabulous. With a few clicks of the mouse, you can add drop shadows, bevels, textures, patterns, strokes, and more to any layer, type layer, or vector shape on a shape layer. Layer styles work hand-in-hand with the Styles palette. When you come up with a layer style effect that you like, you can save the effect on the Styles palette as a preset for later use.

Getting to know layer styles

The Layer Style dialog box is the place to go for special layer effects. The layer style effects are listed with check boxes on the left side of the dialog box. When a box is checked, that layer style is applied to the active layer. To view the settings for a layer style, click the effect's name in the left column. The settings for a selected layer style appear in the center of the dialog box. Most of the layer effects include several settings that you can change.

You have two ways to access the Layer Style dialog box:

1. Select a layer by using the Layers palette.

2. Click the Add Layer Style button at the bottom of the palette.

3. Select the effect that you want to apply from the menu.

Here's the second way:

1. Use the Layers palette to select a layer.

2. Choose Layer --> Layer Style and select the effect that you want to apply from the menu.

In both cases, the Layer Style dialog box opens with that effect selected. You can then select the settings you need for that effect and add any other effects that you would like to apply as well.

Layer styles can't be applied to the Background layer, a locked layer, or a layer set.

Adding bevels and embossing

Bevels and embossing add depth to a layer by using highlights and shadows to give it a chiseled, three-dimensional look. Using the Bevel and Emboss panel of the Layer Style dialog box, you can create five different effects with the Style drop-down list.

You get to choose from a ton of settings when applying a bevel and/or emboss to a layer. Notice how the settings are divided into two sections: a Structure area and a Shading area. The following directions run through all the options. Use whatever settings you need to achieve the look that you're after and, by all means, experiment!

1. Select a layer in the Layers palette.

2. Click the Add Layer Style button at the bottom of the Layers palette, and then choose Bevel and Emboss from the menu.

The Layer Style dialog box opens with the Bevel and Emboss effect selected.

3. Select settings in the Structure area to shape the bevel and emboss.

• Use the Style drop-down list to select a Bevel and Emboss effect. You can choose from Outer Bevel, Inner Bevel, Emboss, Pillow Emboss, and Stroke Emboss.

• Select a look for the effect by using the Technique drop-down list. You can choose from Smooth, Chisel Hard, and Chisel Soft.

• Select a Direction radio button to set whether the bevel and emboss appears to go up or down.

• Use the Size slider to set how large the bevel and emboss is.

• Drag the Soften slider to smooth any rough edges.

4. In the Shading area, select settings to set the angle, shadows, and highlights.

• Set the direction of the light source by entering a degree in the Angle text box or by dragging the tiny crosshair around the circle.

• Use the Altitude text box to enter a number in degrees for the height of the light source. Zero degrees shines light straight across the layer from the left. Ninety degrees shines light straight down onto the layer.

• Click the Gloss Contour Picker to select the shape of the highlights and shadow

• Select blending modes by using the Highlight Mode and Shadow Mode drop-down lists. To select a different highlight or shadow color, click the color square to the right of the drop-down list. Set shadow and highlight opacity with the sliders.

5. Click OK to close the Layer Style dialog box.

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