We continuing our look at the Layer Style window, especially how Outer and Inner Glow work. Outer Glow applies a halo effect around any images, type, or shapes that are contained within the layer. The effect is similar to Drop Shadow, but without the Angle setting. It works well with extracted images as well as [...]
We continuing our look at the Layer Style window, especially how Outer and Inner Glow work.
Outer Glow applies a halo effect around any images, type, or shapes that are contained within the layer. The effect is similar to Drop Shadow, but without the Angle setting. It works well with extracted images as well as with type and shapes.
Inner Glow applies the glow effect to the inside boundaries of any images, type, or shapes that are contained within the layer. The effect is similar to Inner Shadow, but without the Angle setting. Inner Glow is great for creating buttons and type effects.
Creating a glow is as simple as heading over to Layer>Layer Style>Outer Glow, or simply double-clicking the far right of the layer in the Layers palette to bring up the Layer Style dialog. The two glows sit just below the shadows, a very logical place to be considering that they essentially do exactly the same thing but with a light colour set to Screen by default. The only other real difference is that a glow has no Distance slider; it extends from the layer contents equally in all directions, surrounding the object instead of dropping off to one side.
The various options work as follows:
Noise: Increasing this slider adds more random elements to the transparency levels of the pixels in the glow. This works in the same way as the Noise option for Drop Shadow and Inner Shadow.
Color box: To choose a solid color to use for the glow, click the color box. You can also choose a gradient for the glow instead by clicking the downward arrow to the right of the Gradient box, and picking a gradient from the list. Alternatively, click in the Gradient box to edit the current gradient. Photoshop then uses the gradient to color the glow, with the left-hand edge of the gradient coloring the glow nearest to the edge of the layer content, and the right-hand edge coloring the part toward the edge of the glow. For example, to create a warm, fiery glow, try using the Orange, Yellow, Orange gradient.
Technique: The two technique options, Softer and Precise, control how accurately the glow is applied. Softer creates the effect by applying a blur; it produces a gentler, more natural-looking glow, but doesn’t preserve the detail of the layer that well. On the other hand, Precise follows the contours of the layer accurately. Precise is good for applying glows to type layers—particularly when using small Size values—but it can look somewhat unnatural when used with large glow sizes.
Source (Inner Glow): The options for Outer and Inner Glow are almost exactly the same. The only difference is that Inner Glow allows you to control the direction of the glow with the Source option. This option allows you to specify whether the glow emanates outward from the center of the layer content (Center) or inward from the layer boundary (Edge).
Spread (Outer Glow) and Choke (Inner Glow): Use these options to control how much of the glow effect is blurred (diffused), and how much is fully opaque (solid)—in other words, how sharp the glow’s cutoff is. Click and drag the slider to change the spread or choke, or type a value in the box to the right. The values range from 0 to 100 percent, where 0 produces a fully blurred glow and 100 produces a totally solid glow. These values don’t change the size of the glow; that’s controlled by the Size option. They merely control how much of the glow’s radius is blurred, and how much is opaque.
Size: This option adjusts the size of the outer or inner glow, measured in pixels from the layer boundary. You can choose values from zero—which produces virtually no glow effect—all the way up to 250 pixels. Use the slider to adjust the value, or type a value in the box to the right.
Contour: Use this option to specify how the glow effect transitions from opaque at the layer boundary (or at the center of the layer content if using an Inner Glow with the Center setting) to transparent at the edge of the glow. Pick a contour from the Contour box, and the glow follows that contour, working from the layer boundary (or center) on the right to the edge of the blur on the left. The higher the point on the curve, the more opaque the result. Choose from a preset contour by clicking the downward-pointing arrow next to the box, or create your own contour by clicking the graph in the box.
Note: The position and size of the contour are also affected by the Spread or Choke setting. The higher the Spread or Choke value, the smaller the range taken up by the contour, and vice versa.
Anti-Aliased: This option smoothes the transitions between opaque and transparent areas of the glow. It’s useful if you’re using a glow contour with a lot of variations, as it prevents jagged edges from appearing in the glow.
Range: This controls both the position of the contour within the range of the glow, and the size of the contour within that range. A value of 50 percent places the contour bang in the middle of the glow range, with the contour spread across the whole range of the glow; 1 percent moves the contour to one edge of the glow and makes the contour take up only 1 percent of the overall glow size; and 100 percent makes the contour stretch to twice the size of the whole glow.
Jitter: The Jitter option works in conjunction with the Gradient option, so you need to choose a gradient for Jitter to have any effect. The option adds random elements to the spread of colors and opacity levels across the gradient to produce an effect similar to Noise that applies across the whole gradient. The more you drag to the right, the more pronounced the effect becomes. You can also type a percentage value in the box to the right. 0 percent has no effect, while 100 percent gives the most pronounced effect. You can use this option to reduce banding effects when working with indexed-color images, such as GIFs.
Note: Jitter has no effect when using the Foreground to Background gradient preset. You either need to use a gradient with two or more (nontransparent) colors for Jitter to work, or you need to have at least three opacity stops in the gradient.
1. To separate your glow from the layer it was created from, select the layer and choose Create Layer from Layer>Layer Style. With the glow separate, you have an editable layer to experiment with.
2. Layer styles eat up memory, and can bring the fastest machine to a grinding halt once you’ve applied enough of them. To speed things up create a new layer below the one with a layer style, switch to the styled layer and then choose Layer>Merge Down or hit Command+E (Mac) or Ctrl+E (PC). This merges the two layers, applying the layer style in the process. The downside is that you’ll be committed to the style as it will no longer be editable.