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Using Adobe Photoshop CS, Part 1

Adobe Photoshop CS comes with an amazing asortment of tools to help you edit your images. The latest version includes a wide range of features to make things easier, but how can you get the most out of it? In this first part of Chapter 5 from Mordy Golding's Adobe Creative Suite, (Sams, ISBN: 0672325918), you'll learn how to use masks, layers, filters, feathers, and more.

Author Info:
By: Sams Publishing
Rating: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars / 143
November 23, 2004
  1. · Using Adobe Photoshop CS, Part 1
  2. · Opening, Creating, and Importing Files
  3. · Creating a New File
  4. · Importing Images
  5. · Working with Selections
  6. · Lasso Tools
  7. · Selecting a Range of Colors
  8. · Modifying Selections
  9. · Channels
  10. · Creating a Clipping Path
  11. · Layer Opacity and Blend Modes
  12. · Working with Masks
  13. · Painting and Drawing
  14. · The Brush and Pencil Tools
  15. · Photoshop and the Web

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Using Adobe Photoshop CS, Part 1 - Layer Opacity and Blend Modes
(Page 11 of 15 )

As we mentioned earlier, you can apply opacity levels to a layer or blend modes that affect the appearance of the pixels on the layer. For example, changing the opacity of the top layer of your document (see Figure 5.52) will allow you to "see through" that layer to the layer underneath-basically allowing the lower layer to show through. Blend modes allow you to specify how the pixels from the upper layer and those from the lower layer mix with each other. For example, if you had two layers and Layer 1 was filled with blue and Layer 2 was filled with yellow, you could set Layer 2 to use the Multiply blend mode to give you a green result.

Tip -With the Move tool selected in the toolbox, you can press Shift along with the plus (+) or minus (-) key to step through the different blend modes. This allows you to quickly see how the different blend modes will affect the image's final appearance.

Figure 5.52 Specifying a blend mode and an opacity value for a selected layer.

Layer Sets

Managing a lot of layers can be difficult, and having to scroll through a large number of them is time-consuming as well. Similar in concept to Illustrator, Photoshop has the capability to create nested layers, orlayer sets, as they are called. A layer set is like a folder that has several layers inside it (see Figure 5.53). You can also put a layer set into another layer set (up to four levels deep), giving you even more control.

Figure 5.53 Several layers inside a layer set.

Create new layer sets by clicking on the Create New Set button at the bottom of the Layers palette, and you can add other layers into a set by dragging them into the set (see Figure 5.54).

Figure 5.54 Dragging a layer into a layer set.

Layer Styles

Each layer can have several effects applied to it, which Photoshop refers to as Layer "Styles." You can access the Layer Style dialog by choosing "Blending Options" from the Layer palette flyout menu. Alternatively, you can double-click on the layer itself (just not on the actual name of the layer).

To apply a particular effect, check the box for it along the left side of the dialog (see Figure 5.55). For each effect, there are specific settings you can use to control how that effect is applied. A layer can have any combination of these effects.

Figure 5.55 The Layer Style dialog with the Drop Shadow options showing.

Tip -Double-click on a layer's name in the Layers palette to edit the name of the layer. Double-click elsewhere in the layer to open the Layer Style dialog.

Here are some of the functions you can apply in a layer style:

  • Drop Shadow-Probably the most over-used effect ever created, the drop shadow is still very useful to make elements seem to pop off the page. This effect creates a soft shadow along the outside of the boundaries of your layer.

  • Inner Shadow-Creates a shadow within transparent areas on your layer. The effect causes your image to appear to be cut out of the page.

  • Outer Glow-Adds a glow around the perimeter of objects on the selected layer.

  • Inner Glow-Applies the reverse effect of the outer glow.

  • Bevel and Emboss-Contains several settings that make an image appear as if it were three-dimensional by adding highlighted edges. Used often for making Web buttons.

  • Satin-Adds shadows and highlights to make the image appear as if it has the pillowed waves or ripples of satin.

  • Color Overlay-Simply adds a color over the entire layer. Colors can be set with an opacity, and this can be used to create color casts or special effects.

  • Gradient Overlay-Same as the Color Overlay, but uses gradient fills.

  • Pattern Overlay-Same as the Color and Gradient overlays, but with pattern fills.

  • Stroke-Can be used to simulate a stroked outline around your layer.

Saving and Reusing Styles

After you've defined a style that you like, you can save it as a style, which you can then easily apply to other layers. After you save a style, it appears in the Styles palette (see Figure 5.56). Alternatively, you can define styles directly from the Styles palette.

Photoshop actually ships with several sets of styles you can use. More important, you can reverse-engineer these styles by seeing how they were created. You can access these sets from the Styles palette flyout menu (see Figure 5.57).

Figure 5.56 Choosing a layer style from the Styles palette.

Figure 5.57 Accessing Photoshop's predefined styles.

Layer Comps

Because layers can be manipulated so easily in Photoshop, and because they are nondestructive, designers will often use layers to create different variations of a design. By hiding or showing different layers, they can quickly preview several different design ideas-either throughout their own process or to show a client several design possibilities.

Continually hiding and showing layers can be tedious-especially when you're trying to remember which layers were used for which design concept. So the wonderful folks at Adobe added a feature called layer comps, which manages this entire process quite well. Layer comps can save the visibility, position, and appearance (layer style) of each layer in your document. You can then quickly step through different layer comps to see what your designs look like. Because Photoshop is simply remembering the "state" of each layer, if you change an item on a certain layer, that change is automatically made on all of your layer comps; so it's a great time-saver as well.

To create a layer comp, begin first in the Layers palette and hide or show your layers as necessary to show your first design. Then open the Layer Comps palette and click on the Create New Layer Comp button. You'll be presented with a dialog box (see Figure 5.58), where you can name your comp, choose which attributes Photoshop will save, and add a comment (always helpful for those of us who forget easily). Where was I again? Oh, yes, you can create additional layer comps by repeating the process. To preview each of your comps, simply click on the icon along the left side of the Layer Comps palette (see Figure 5.59).

Figure 5.58 The New Layer Comp dialog.

Figure 5.59 The icon on the left indicates which layer comp is active.

When we discuss scripting later in the chapter, you'll learn how to automatically generate multiple-page PDF files from your layer comps.

This chapter is from Adobe Creative Suite, by Mordy Golding (Sams, 2003, ISBN: 0672325918). Check it out at your favorite bookstore today. Buy this book now.

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