Photoshop Elements 11 Layer Styles - dummies

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

Layer styles (also referred to as just styles) in Photoshop Elements 11 range from simple shadows and bevels to more complex designs, such as buttons and patterns. The wonderful characteristic of layer styles is that they’re completely nondestructive. Unlike filters, layer styles don’t change your pixel data. You can edit them or even delete them if you’re unhappy with the results, so feel free to use them with abandon.

Here are a few fun facts about layer styles:

  • You can apply layer styles only to layers. Therefore, if all you have in your image is a background, be sure to convert it to a layer first.

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

  • When you apply a layer style to a layer, an fx icon appears next to the layer’s name on the Layers panel. Double-click the fx icon to open the Styles Settings dialog box and make any adjustments that are necessary to create the look you want.

  • Layer styles are stored in different libraries. You can add shadows, glows, beveled and embossed edges, and more complex appearances, such as neon, plastic, chrome, and other manmade textures.

    [Credit: © Image #9234104]
    Credit: © Image #9234104
  • Delete a layer style or styles. Choose Layer→Layer Style→Clear Layer Style or drag the fx icon on the Layers panel to the trash can in the panel.

  • Copy and paste layer styles onto other layers. Select the layer containing the layer style and choose Layer→Layer Style→Copy Layer Style. Select the layer or layers on which you want to apply the effect and choose Layer→Layer Style→Paste Layer Style.

    You can also just drag and drop an effect from one layer to another while holding down the Alt key (the Option key on the Mac). Note that if you drag and drop an effect without holding down the Alt or Option key, you move the layer style from one layer to another.

  • Hide or show layer styles. Choose Layer→Layer Style→Hide All Effects or Show All Effects.

  • Scale a layer style. Choose Layer→Layer Style→Scale Effects. Select Preview and enter a value between 1 and 1,000 percent. Then you can scale the style without scaling the element.