PHOTOSHOP: Layer Effects Editor Overhaul Proposition

  • 3
  • Idea
  • Updated 5 years ago
  • (Edited)
Layer Styles.

These have been around for a very long time in Photoshop but have seen extremely little change since their introduction (save for an unnecessary re-ordering of the list not long ago). The problem with layer styles is that it's a set list of effects that can only be applied once and only effect the bounds of the object, save for applying glows/strokes.

The way that I would like to see the layer style innovated would be to do away with the finite list. With that, I mean giving us the ability to stack effects as many times as needed, which would allow us to create combination effects and more complex results. Perhaps the effects could be selected from a list that's no different from the current available options, but would atleast be able to be used and rearranged as many times as the designer chooses, preventing the need to rasterize (which seems to be a growing trend with the advent of Smart Layers).

Here is a mock-up that I have created to show a possible way it could work within the current layer style editor layout. Effects could be drag-and-dropped onto the Style list and built up. (I also moved the "Styles" presets into plain view, for easy access, as I have found that quite a few people- especially beginners- do not realize that the "styles" tab at the top of the current list is a button.)

Let me give you an example of how this could work. Currently, if you apply something like an outer glow, that outer glow is the only outer glow you can use, and it is applied to the outside of your layer or text. If you then add a gradient overlay to that layer style, that gradient overlay is only applied to the bounds of your text or layer, and ignores the outer glow you just applied. In my proposed scenario, you would be able to apply a glow to the layer and then add a gradient overlay, resulting in a new appearance for the entire layer, including the glow that sits beneath it. But let's say that after doing that, you decided that you don't want that. You could then just drag the gradient overlay down in the effects sequence so that it comes before the glow, only applying to the immediate object.

To give another example, I have attached a sample of how far it could be taken (the current limitations on the left, the proposed abilities on the right). This is obviously not the most visually appealing result, but that is beside the point of it being flexible and expandable well beyond the current limitations.

It seems extremely simple to me and much more friendly to creative situations... the ability to experiment and explore rather than stay within the finite boundaries of the layer style list. I think this is the reason that layer styles are often laughed at or seen as a "newbie" tool; it just isn't powerful enough to appeal to a more advanced user with bigger ideas. The proposed layer style editor would be comparable to the "appearance" palette in Illustrator, and would definitely give Photoshop a much-needed breath of fresh air in an area that is otherwise overlooked, ignored, and (frankly) disrespected.

Thank you, and I hope you will consider my idea.
Photo of Brody Sullivan

Brody Sullivan

  • 1 Post
  • 0 Reply Likes

Posted 5 years ago

  • 3
Photo of Ee Rucar

Ee Rucar

  • 1 Post
  • 0 Reply Likes
Excellent idea.