Elements Layer Styles


Elements Layer Styles add finish to an image on a background - a subtle drop shadow can make a huge difference because the image seems to "stand out" from the background.  

This image has both a drop shadow and an inner glow which helps the  image pop off of the background.

elements layer styles boat

This tutorial is included in the scrapbooking portion of the site, however the layer styles are not used solely for scrapbooking.  They work just as beautifully with a digital imaging project.

Once your scrapbook images are on their own layer or in a clipping mask then a Layer Style can be added.

The Elements Layer Styles are found in the effects menu and there are a lot to choose from!  

If the Layer Styles are not visible in your Edit screen just go to Windows > Effects.

Elements Layer Styles
With Drag and Drop Images

elements layer styles effects optionsWhen an image is dragged and dropped onto a background it arrives on its own layer and this is where the Layer Style is added.

There are a prodigious number of things you can do with an image to make it pop.  

This is a screen shot of the effects that can be added and each one has multiple choices.

If, for instance, you add a drop shadow to an image and would like it to be a tad more aggressive - well you can make it more aggressive and that's done in the Layers > Layer Style > Style Settings ... menu.

More on that later ...

Let's look at a simple yet dramatic drop shadow using the pre-sets in the Effects Menu.
elements layer styles drop shadow
There are 8 drop shadow pre-sets and obviously each one will give a different effect.  

To add one to a layer simply double click on the one that is appropriate for the image (or select the chosen drop shadow and click Apply) and there you go - you have a nice drop shadow.

If the drop shadow is not exactly what was wanted then the nice folks at Adobe have made it easy to change the appearance in the Style Settings dialogue.

Here is a picture of little Blue Heaven (aka - "ya little rat") on a Sunburst Orange background.  Not bad for a playful little Mini Bull Terrier ...

elements layer styles original

After positioning the image on the background the Effects menu was opened and Drop Shadows selected - the bottom right shadow (soft edge) was chosen and this is the result ...

elements layer styles drop shadow

Much better, don't you think?  Can it be improved?  

Drop Shadow

Of course it can - the Layers > Layer Style > Style Settings was opened and the screen shot on the left is the default for this drop shadow.  By moving the sliders and watching the change to the image the right screen shot was chosen ...

elements layer styles default elements layer styles adjusted
Default Settings Adjusted

And this is the result ...

elements layer styles style adjusted

Much better!

Inner Glow

Now let's add an Inner Glow to the image using the same procedure.

With the image layer selected go to the Effects menu and choose Inner Glow.  I selected "simple" for this image.  Once applied it looked OK but needed a bit more so once again - open Layers > Layer Style > Style Settings and now Inner Glow is checked.

Fool around with the sliders to get a nice glow - and here is something else - you can change the color of the Inner Glow!

To the right of the Size slider there is a little color swatch - click on it and now you have access to about 26 million colors to choose from!

Too many choices!  

Rather than struggle with 26 million colors just take the cursor over the image and it turns into an eye dropper and that means you can select any color in the image to be the inner glow simply by clicking!  

This somehow seems like the right thing to do, don't you think?

elements layer styles inner glow
elements layer styles style adjust
Enhanced Drop Shadow New Style Setting

All of the elements layer styles can be applied and then adjusted using the exact same steps. One could play around with the different styles for days!

Elements Layer Styles
With Clipping Masks

Applying Elements Layer Styles to clipping masks is somewhat different.  The image is behind the mask which means the style has to be applied to the shape layer.

This image of Tabitha on an autumn like background has a drop shadow that was applied to the shape layer.

Elements Layer Styles clip masks

Other than applying the effects to the Shape Layer, the procedures for applying Elements Layer Styles are the exact same for both drag and drop and clipping masks.  

Like the other techniques, you need to try this out for yourself until you find the ones you really like.

It's also useful to remember that the focus of your scrapbook page are the image(s) and any accompanying text so go easy on the layer effects.  

The Video

Layer Styles

Page Links

Drag and Drop

Drop Shadow

Inner Glow

Clipping Masks

The Video

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