This month we are looking at Layer Styles and how to install and use them. Layer styles are extremely useful tools in Photoshop, creating a variety of effects which can be applied to many different types of objects in Photoshop. These effects can range from bevels, drop shadows,
strokes, glows and patterns. They are typically located in either the Styles Palette in Photoshop or in the Effects Palette in Photoshop Elements.
Within Photoshop, the default layer styles (file extension .ASL) are located in the Photoshop Presets File under the Styles folder. You can store your other
layer styles outside of Photoshop and navigate your way to them as you need. With Photoshop Elements it is a little different depending on the version of Elements.
I am using PSE 7, so will give details for that. You will need to ensure that your folders are set up to show hidden and system files.
I use Windows XP so am using Explorer to navigate to the PSE7 folder as follows: Local Disk (C:) > Documents and Settings > All Users > Application Data >
Adobe > Photoshop Elements > 7.0 > Photo Creations > Layer Styles. Here are the default layer styles and this is where you will need to place your new styles, in
order for them to show up in the Effects Palette. You can do this by cutting (or copying) your styles from their downloaded location into this Layer Style Folder.
I am installing and using some acrylic styles by Amanda Rockwell.
In my screenprint you will also see other objects with the extension .XML and the same names as the styles. These are metadata files and are necessary if you
want your layer style to be shown as another category in the Effects Palette. To do this simply right click on an existing metadata file copy it to the same location
and rename it identical to the style name, retaining the .xml extension.
Then, open up the metadata file using Notepad and change the category value details at the end to be the name of your style (as in my screenprint). Remove all
other entries down to the PSEContent then save. (This really isn't as difficult as it sounds!) Repeat this for each style you wish to include in your Effects
Before you open up PSE7, you need to ensure that Elements recognises the changes in the Layer Styles Folder. Navigate to the PSE7 main folder and locate the
object ThumbDatabase.db3 file and delete it. Then restart PSE7, which will take some time as it is rebuilding its internal database to include these styles.
It is best to do several styles at a time!
Finally we can play! If you ensure you have your Effects Palette checked and click on the Layer Styles icon (second in from the left) taking the Show All
option, you will see your layer styles appear in the selection list. In the screenprint I have a shape in white on which I am going to use a style.
Select the style you want to use on your layer and click Apply. You will see the effect of the style on your layer and know a layer style is applied by the
little fx icon on the layer. You can see how your layer looks and decide if you need to tweak the style settings as in my case!