Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Photoshop Styles - Tips and Reasons

Photoshop Styles are used in four major ways.

First, styles are created and used in order to apply a consistent look to fonts, graphic shapes or for use on repetitive elements. They function as a time saving one-click method to add styling looks to graphics in your Photoshop document. A typical style might be a font color with a drop shadow.

Second, Styles are available all over the web and provide a huge array of looks to ornament fonts, shapes and buttons. Common styles applied to graphics include gold and metallics, glass, corrosion, wood, glitter, gels and more. Typically this application is to dress up ordinary shapes and buttons.

The third use is to create art by manipulating the style presets available.  Tweaking the opacity, blending modes and lighting direction available for each of the ten presets can create astonishing graphics out of simple and basic shapes. Some samples we have on our site are Picture Frames from rectangles, Eyeballs from circles and cloth patches from vector shapes.

Forth is used as a coloration and enhancement method for photographs.

Loading Styles into Photoshop

As I mentioned, there are hundreds of Free and Purchasable sets of styles online. Once you've downloaded them, how do you install them in Photoshop?

If the Styles palette is not open, select 'Styles' from Photoshop's 'Window' dropdown menu.

From the Styles palette, click and hold the arrow button in the upper right corner of the palette. From the drop down menu select 'Load Styles...'

Locate the style file that you've downloaded (an .asl file) to your computer.

Please note: if you select 'Replace Styles', all of the existing styles that you had in the pallet will be erased. You would have to reload them from the original source files.

Your new styles will be located underneath the existing styles in your styles pallet.

As an alternate way of loading styles, when Photoshop is running, just double click on the Style file (.asl file) and it will automatically load into the pallet.

Adding a style to your shape. 
Actually you are adding a style effect to the layer that your shape is on. Make sure that the layer is selected. From the styles pallet, select the thumbnail that you want to apply. Simple as that.

Customizing or creating a style.
Select a layer that the style will be applied to.
Then from Photoshop's 'Layer' dropdown menu >> 'Layer Style' select and any option listed... (Drop Shadow, Color Overlay, Bevel and Emboss... etc.)
Go ahead and move sliders, drag dials and select colors until you have a good looking style for your shape or font.

Good enough to Save
Each style thumbnail in your Styles Pallet, is made up of settings, like color, opacity, texture,
light direction and so forth. If you want to save the one you've just made, go to the very bottom of your Styles Pallet and place your cursor after the last style there. 
The cursor will turn to a paint bucket, and you click to save it. You save the style with a unique name and then have it available to you anytime.  Another way to save the style you've made is to select the triangle button in the top right of the Styles Pallet and select 'New Style'.

Lets say you've made a lot of customized styles and want to save them. Not a bad idea if you've spent numerous hours making them. First, know that when you properly quit Photoshop, all your styles are saved automatically. If you want to make a back up file, select the triangle button in the top right of the Styles Pallet and select 'Save Styles...'.

Deleting Styles.
Overloaded? To delete a style and it's thumbnail from the Styles Pallet, hover over the style you want to delete. Press and hold the Option (Mac) or the ALT (Windows) key. The cursor changes to a sissor. Click, and the style is no more.

Scaling Styles
Styles are generally developed for web pages at 72dpi or 96dpi screen resolution. If you are using the style on a 300dpi resolution image for print work or on a very large or very small image, you may need to scale the style effect. You can do that by selecting 'Scale Effects ...' from the 'Layer Style' drop down menu, in the 'Layer' menu.
Layer >> Layer Style >> Scale Effects ...

Once a style is applied to a shape or text, by selecting 'Scale Effects ...' , you can change the appearance of the effect. Here is a style scaled ~ 30%, Normal 100% and ~250%

The same style as applied to a medium size 72 dpi image, a large size 72 dpi image and a small size 300 dpi image. The middle and bottom image display the style as smaller or larger than normal

To resize a style from the default size into one that is proper for your different sized image.

Under the 'Layer' menu, select 'Layer Styles' and select 'Scale Effects ...' from the pop out menu. 
Click on the arrow button to show the Scale slider. You can change the size of the style visually using the slider or by entering a specific number. 

Also Note; After re-scaling a Frame Style that has a pattern, the appearance of the pattern may be distorted. Double click on the layer to open the options for that style. Adjust the Pattern's scale higher or lower to arrive at a pleasing result.

Some free Shape styles are available HERE on

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