Layer Styles in Photoshop CS5

Layer Styles are special effects applied to individual layers in Photoshop. Style is a separate entity that is linked to the layer. And hence it will be updated automatically with any modifications or changes made to the layer.

Preset Layer Styles

Photoshop comes with a number of style presets. To open the Styles Palette, go to Window > Styles.


To apply the style, with the layer selected, choose a style from the Styles Palette. Once applied, the effects on the layer can be seen in the Layers Palette.


Custom Layer Styles

1. Right click on the layer in the Layers Panel and choose ‘Blending Options’.


Alternately, click on the ‘Add a layer style button at the bottom of the Layers Panel (one that says ‘fx’). From here you can choose to open the Blending Options or individual layer styles as shown below:


For this tutorial, we will choose ‘Drop Shadow…’ from the menu.

NOTE: The ‘Add a layer style’ icon may look different in earlier versions of Photoshop.

2. In the ‘Layer Style’ window, the first column contains tabs for various layer styles. You need to check the boxes to apply a style with its default settings and click on the tab to open the individual style options in the same window.


Layer styles can be created using these layer effects:

1. Drop Shadow – Creates a shadow behind the layers contents.

2. Inner Shadow – Creates a shadow on top of the layers contents.

3. Outer Glow – Adds a glow behind the layers contents.

4. Inner Glow – Adds a glow on top of the layers contents.

5. Bevel and Emboss – Can create bevel and emboss effects using shadow and highlights.

6. Satin – Creates a satin like appearance.

7. Color Overlay – Fills the content with a solid color.

8. Gradient Overlay – Fills the content with a gradient.

9. Pattern Overlay – Fills the content with a pattern.

10. Stroke – Creates and outline to the layers content, using a solid color, gradients or pattern.

You can create and save a custom layer style, save it and use later. Click on the ‘New Style’ icon in the Styles Palette (Window > Styles).

Filed Under: Adobe Photoshop


About the Author: Minal is a freelance web and graphics designer. She specializes in designing Logos, Stationery, Graphics and Icons as well as website templates using graphical tools like Photoshop, Illustrator and Expression Web. Twitter @saffronstroke

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