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Photoshop Layer Style Guide for Beginners

Tutorials Basics 7279 Views September 19th, 2012

This guide for beginners includes some basic information about Photoshop styles; we will learn how to create layer styles and how to add a new style that we've just created. Of course you will see how easy it is to save one or many layer styles into an ASL file that you can share with other people. And last but not least you will learn how to load styles in Photoshop that were made by others.

Layer styles are among the most used Photoshop presets if not the most used; and there are thousands of styles available for free on the internet. So it is important to know some basic things about styles.

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What is a Layer Style

A layer style is made out of one or many effects that are applied to a layer. In Photoshop the layer style window allows you to pick from ten effects that you can customize in terms of color, opacity, etc. The layer style can be saved as ASL file for further use; I will detail it in the Save Layer Style as ASL Photoshop File section.

A layer style can be added to any layer but a Photoshop style is used especially for text layers and vector shapes. But there are of course styles like Drop Shadow or Inner Glow that are used for raster images like photos for example. Other effects that are used for raster image are Pattern Overlay, Gradient Overlay that you can use for creating great looking backgrounds.

A Photoshop layer effect can be created from one or many layer styles combined, if it is a complex looking effect. For example glass style is made from many layer styles combined to obtain a realistic result.

The layer style window contains ten different effects that can be added to a layer. But there are other settings too that I am going to briefly mention as well. These ten main effects are:Drop Shadow, Inner Shadow, Outer Glow, Inner Glow, Bevel and Emboss, Color Overlay, Gradient Overlay, Pattern Overlay, Satin and Stroke.

Add Layer Style in Photoshop

The easiest way to add a layer style in Photoshop is to double click on the layer; a window will open with all the effects that we've mentioned in the previous section. I will not explain all the effects, you can play and test all of them.

Another method is to use the Photoshop main menu; go to Layer>Layer Styles and pick one of the effects that you want to add to your layer.

Add New Layer Style

Let's assume that we have the following layer style; the settings are not important you can use whatever settings you want. I have added a bevel effect.

You can see on the right side of your layer style window a button named New Style. You can save the style that you have just created by pressing this button. Give it a sugestive name and press ok and the style will be saved and ready to be used for other layers beside this one.

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2 comment(s) for "Photoshop Layer Style Guide for Beginners"

Tony
Tony
3:24 AM Friday, November 29, 2013
This is a great Layer Styles guide for Photoshop beginners, however you have missed an important information.
I think it is useful for Photoshop users to know how to rasterize layer styles, or how you can apply layer styles multiple times to a single layer .
So if a layer has layer styles attached, we can create a new blank layer, select the two layers and merge them. That way we obtain a rasterized layer style effect. reply
John
7:52 AM Wednesday, December 04, 2013

You are right, I forgot to mention how to rasterize styles in Photoshop so thank you for pointing that out.


Actually a more elegant way to add multiple layer styles to a single layer is to use smart objects. That way you can edit any of the layer styles, being a better choice than to rasterize the effects.

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