98. Apply a Layer Style
Before You Begin
91 About Layers and the Layers Palette
92 Create a New Image Layer
96 Simplify a Layer
Photoshop Elements provides several different layer styles you can use to customize the appearance of your layers. For example, you might want to simulate fog by applying a Fog layer style to an eerie photograph. When you apply a style to a layer, it affects everything currently within that layer (the opaque pixels). If you later change the layer's content, the layer style adapts to this new information and changes accordingly, applying itself to the new data. For example, if you drew an X on a layer with the Brush and then applied the Toy layer style to it, the X would be filled with a brightly colored rainbow. If you later painted a circle on the layer around the X, the circle would be filled with the rainbow style as well. Layer styles are also cumulative, so the order in which they are applied to a layer is often important because that order can produce different results.
You apply layer styles using the Styles and Effects palette. The layer styles are divided into two basic groups, with edge styles (which affect only the edges in a layer where high contrast occurs) listed first on the second drop-down list box, and filler styles (which fill objects on the layer with the style) appearing last.
If you choose a filler layer style and apply it to a regular layer (and not a shape or text layer), the filler style might replace all content on that layer with the style. If the layer contains image content, it's replaced; if it contains only pixels you painted onto the layer, only those pixels are changedin other words, opaque pixels are replaced by the filler style and transparent ones are left alone.
Open an image in the Editor in Standard Edit mode and save it in Photoshop (*.psd) format. In the Layers palette, click to select the layer to which you want to apply the layer style. Because layer styles are applied to all opaque pixels on a layer, making a selection before you begin is pointless.
Select Layer Styles Option
In the Styles and Effects palette, click the down arrow next to the first list box and select the Layer Styles option.
Select Style Type
From the second drop-down list, choose a layer style category, such as Bevels. After you select the type of layer style you want to apply, icons for each style in the selected type appear on the Styles and Effects palette.
You cannot apply a style to the Background layer. If you want to apply a style to that layer, you need to convert the Background layer to a regular layer. See 95 Convert a Background Layer to a Regular Layer and Vice Versa for more information on converting the Background layer. If you've just created a layer and want to apply a layer style to it, that layer must have some opaque pixels or you won't see the style after it's applied. So, fill the layer with a color (any color will do) or paint on the layer to add some opaque pixels.
If icons for the styles do not appear, you're using List View. To change to Icon view, click the More button at the top of the Styles and Effects palette and choose Icon View from the list that appears.
Apply Layer Style
Click the icon on the Styles and Effects palette that corresponds to the style you want to apply to the layer. If you're using List view, click the name of the style you want to apply.
If you have the Background layer selected, you will be prompted to convert it to a regular layer before applying the style. You cannot apply styles to the Background layer.
When a layer style is added to a layer, a small cursive f appears next to the layer's name on the Layers palette. Double-click this f to display the Style Settings dialog box, which enables you to make small changes to the layer style such as lighting direction and glow style. Right-click the f and select Clear Layer Style to remove the layer style altogether.
You can remove the layer style at any time by right-clicking the layer in the Layers palette and selecting Clear Layer Style from the menu.
View the Result
The selected style is applied to the current layer. When you're satisfied with the image, save the PSD file. Then merge the layers together (if any) and resave the result in JPEG or TIFF format, leaving your PSD image unflattened so that you can return at a later time and make different adjustments if you want.
In this example, I selected the Image Effects style type and then applied a Circular Vignette style to the layer showing a bed of petunias. This style calculates a circle, using the area of opaque pixels on the layer as its guide to size. Because the style is applied to all nontransparent pixels in the layer, the size of the vignette was calculated using all the pixels on this layer. The vignette was created in the center of the layer, and those pixels were left untouched. Given the width of this image, that left a lot of petunias on the side. From the outer edge of the vignette circle to the edge of the layer, the image pixels were changed gradually to white. If I want to show more of the flowers in the circle, I only have to expand the canvas to make the image more square, and then fill the expanded area with any color (opaque pixels). The expanded canvas causes the style to be recalculated, making the transparent area in the center bigger, and more flowers show up.
You can adjust the scale of a layer style after applying it if you don't like the result. For example, if you apply the Puzzle layer style and want the puzzle pieces to look smaller, choose Layer, Layer Style, Scale Effects. Then choose a percentage (less than 100% makes the pattern smaller; more than 100% makes it bigger).