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Photoshop Elements 2 Layer Styles


Photoshop Elements 2 Layer Styles

layer styles

Adds special effects a selected layer
Default location is open, and grouped with Layers



Styles are effects such as shadows, bevels, and glows that can be applied with a single click to the contents of a layer. More than one style can be applied to the same layer.

A layer to which a layer style has been applied will show a little italicized f  icon in a black circle. The only exception to this is if you apply the Visibility > Hide style to a layer to which no other style has been applied. This style, when used alone, will cause the contents of your layer to disappear, but the little f  will not appear on the layer.

Be aware that many of the effects show up only on layer content edges, so if your layer’s contents entirely fill the image window (i.e. there is no transparency on your layer), you will see very little, if any effect from many of the styles. To have an effect apply to a particular shape, put it on a layer by itself, surrounded by transparency.

There is a fairly extensive selection of styles included with Elements. In Elements 1 there were 24 Complex styles (the most elaborate ones), 14 Glass Button styles, 11 Outer Glows, 11 Inner Glows, 10 Bevels, 8 Drop Shadows, 6 Inner Shadows, and 3 Visibility styles (Show, Hide, and Ghosted, in case you’re wondering).

In Elements 2, they have added 13 Image Effects, 26 Patterns, 11 Photographic Effects, 5 Wow Chrome, 14 Wow Neon, and 11 Wow Plastic styles. The Wow styles are all outstanding.

The ability to edit styles such as drop shadows, bevels, and glows is limited. You can see the Settings dialog box at the bottom of this page. You can alter size, and lighting angle, and that’s about it.

Elements is not set up to save any styles you might create on your own by combining multiple layer styles. However, since you can copy styles, you can save styles in a document dedicated to that. Create a layer with a simple shape, apply your custom style, and then save the document. Use one document to save multiple styles, each on its own layer. When you need the style in a new document, drag its layer to that document, and then copy the layer style to the new layer.

I have a tutorial on using styles calledPlaying With Styles.

Please note that palettes which are in the palette well will not stay open while you edit. To bring a palette out of the well, click on its name tab and drag it out.


The illustration on the left, below, shows the Layer Styles palette in thumbnail view. In Elements 2, the little circle with a line across it is used for removing styles. It looks a lot more like a Cancel button when you hover your cursor over which causes it to turn red. In Elements 1, the firs thumbnail in each palette (white with a red diagonal line across it) is used for removing styles.
remove style button

On the right below, you can see the menu featuring all the style groups.

photographic layer stleslayer styles palettes

Below left, you can see some of the Wow Plastic styles displayed in List view. Click on the More button in the palette’s top right corner to find the List, or Thumbnail view options, or click on the icons in the bottom right corner of the palette.

At right below, you can see the Wow Neon styles in Thumbnail View.

The Style Settings dialog box is shown in the second row of illustrations, below. To access this dialog box, choose Layer > Layer Styles > Style Settings, or double click the little italicizes f icon on the layer to which the style has been applied.

To set Lighting Angle, which determines, for example, the direction in which your shadows are cast, you can type a value into the text box, but it is much easier to drag on the little black line within the circle to rotate the angle. With the Preview box checked, you can watch your style direction change in the image as you drag.

The Use Global Light check box will cause all styles in the image to use the same lighting angle. Unless you have good reason not to, I recommend keeping this checked. Otherwise you can have shadows pointing in two different directions in the same image which would not happen if they are lit by the same source.

The menu, shown bottom right, is found by choosing Layer > Layer Styles. As you can see, you can copy, paste, clear (remove), hide, and scale your styles. [The last two illustrations are from Elements 1 but are the same as in Elements 2.]

Wow plastic styles
layer style settings dialog Layer Styles menu