Manipulating Style Elements

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As always, I hope the week is treating you well thus far. June has made its soggy arrival, and thus far I've only been fishing once. Well, you can't really call it fishing, as the streams were so far out of their banks (high, fast, muddy water) that I dipped the line in 5 times maybe. The solution? Red Lobster! But seriously, I'm thankful for the moisture but I really really really really NEED to go fishing. For those who need to justify the act of killing and eating poor defenseless denizens of the waterways, blame it on an out of whack hunter-gatherer instinct. I'd argue that you haven't lived until you've had smoked trout for breakfast.

While perusing the Photoshop Discussion List this morning, a question was posed about applying filters to layer styles. That is a very good question… and a few ideas popped into my head on the subject, but most of these involved flattening the styled layer and then applying filters. Simply put, there is no easy way to do it, at least not in a way that would answer the original question posed.

There is a way, however, to pull a Style effect, such as a drop shadow or such, from the layer it was applied to and give it its' own layer, on which it may be manipulated, edited, or set on fire.

Just for fun, let's make a quick, cool text style:

1) Open Photoshop. I'm using PS 7 for this tutorial.

2) Create a new image. If it isn't already, fill the background layer with white.

3) Create a new Layer.

4) On the new layer, enter some large type with the Type Mask Tool.

5) Select 2 somewhat opposing colors for the fore and background colors.

6) Fill the Text Selection with one of the colors.

7) Let's set up a style for this layer. Click the Add Layer Style icon on the bottom of the layers palette, and click on Bevel/Emboss.

8) Apply a bevel with settings similar to those seen in the capture below.

9) Now some Inner Shadow:

10) Inner Glow:

11) Lastly, let's add a Stroke:

Here's our type thus far:

12) If you like the style, open the Layer Styles Dialog Box. On the right hand side, save it, name it, and then it will appear in the Layer Styles Palette.

Ok, that was exciting… but what does it have to do with the original premise of this tutorial? In this case, probably not much… yet. But say I have another layer with styles applied above the type layer? Case in point, take a look at this.

In this case, I've added a beveled and drop shadowed wavey pattern over the face of the text. The idea here is to add to the type's illusion of transparency by having the drop shadow for the wavey layer seen inside the text. The problem is the drop shadow also appears outside the boundary of the text, an effect I do not want. Solution? Here it is!

Right click on the layer style inside the Layers Palette. In the menu that pops up, go down the list and select ‘Create Layer'. This will drop all the style effects in their own individual layers where you can manipulate them.

Command/CTRL+Click the text layer in the palette to bring up the type

selection again.

Go to Select>Inverse.

In the Layers Palette, select the layer that now holds the Drop Shadow from the style, and hit Delete. This will wipe away the excess drop shadow from outside the type boundary, while still allowing it to show up inside the plastic/glassy text.

That's about all this week. Until next time, I'll see you at Action Fx!

Special thanks to for allowing us to reprint their Photoshop tutorials here at Renderosity.

You can e-mail Al Ward, the author of this article, at

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Member Opinions:
By: TheVelvetFoxx on 11/11/03
Bravo! Wonderful tutorial. It is nice to see R'osity cast a spotlight on something other than Poser!

By: Ringwraith on 11/16/03
Great tut, buddy.

By: Bungalo on 11/17/03
Nice. Very nice. Even after tutorial it's hard to belive it's not a rendered 3D...

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