Martini Hour 073, In Which Colleen Experiences the Many Layer Effects of Deke

It’s a languid look at the mysteries of Layer Effects this week, dekeGuys and ‘Dolls. This week’s Martini Hour features simply me and my good buddy Deke taking an intreguing Dashell Hammit-flavored look at this unsung feature of Photoshop. Sure, at first, the Filters get all the flashy attention; they seem like the prime suspect for creative expression. But the first time you realize your “Fresco” version of your image a) will never pass for a Leonardo, and b) not particularly distinguished from anyone else’s faux-Leonardo, you realize you want more control. Open the frosted-glass door to Detective Deke’s Photoshop Investigations Agency, and take a look at the mysterious, sexy, flexible, useful, transferable layer effects that you’ll find inside.

Here’s where our cocktail-infused sleuthing takes us this week:

Layer effects, unlike filters, offer you a much wider range of control and flexibility. They are movable, adjustable, turn-offable, rearrangable.  Rather than use some engineer’s idea of creative expression (don’t get us wrong we love Adobe engineers), they allow you to bring your own ideas to life.

For instance, take the oft-maligned, oft-misused drop shadow. Deke shows you, and by you I mean me, the vicarious you, what kind of magic you can create with this ubiquitous effect. This, my friends is no boring use of drop shadows. It’s downright menacing (and awesome):

Which he then turns into this by adding an Inner Shadow. And because the text remains completely editable, he can choose something inexplicably obscure:

And just as I think we’re headed for the toast, Deke goes on a crazy jag, trying to recreate some high school sports experience employing yet more variations available in the Layer Styles dialog box.

All this and a quick badly needed lesson for me on how to use the text tool. (Cmd-Return, not Esc!)

Where can you go from hard-boiled detective to obscure old-worldly woodworker to would-be letterman-jacket-sporting athlete? With cocktails. You know the answer is nowhere but here in the dekeLounge! Here’s the regular-quality (128kbps) audio file. You can stream, or for best results, right-click and choose Download or Save. High-quality file is in the oven and should be baked shortly. And don’t forget the usual suggestion to subscribe via iTunes.


Next entry:Uses for the (New??) Subtract and Divide Blend Modes

Previous entry:I Just Finished Recording All My Video Series “Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced”


  • Good post

    Very well written article..

  • It’s a fun stuff indeed.

    It’s a fun stuff indeed.  Especially creating shadows or reflections of people or objects that are just not there (transparent).  Also, combine shadow with Divide blending mode and get a kind of old coin (or perhaps a limestone) relief.  Note to myself: need to play with this.

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