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Contour: Photoshop creates most effects namely shadows, glows, bevel, and the Satin effect by fading a color from a specified Opacity value to transparent. The rate at which the fade occurs is determined by the Contour option. Click the down-pointing arrowhead to select from a palette of preset contours; click the contour preview to design your own. If you think of the Contour preview as a graph, the top of the graph represents opacity and the bottom represents transparency. So a straight line from top to bottom shows a consistent fade. A spike in the graph shows the color hitting opacity and then fading away again. Figure 14-21 shows a few examples applied to hooray! a new layer. In case you're
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curious, I painted this S shape with a scatter brush, and then filled it with the Molecular Pattern Overlay effect, topping it all off with an Inner Bevel garnish.
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Figure 14-21: Four Contour presets combined with an Outer Glow effect. The Contour setting controls how the halo drops from opacity to transparency, and sometimes back again. These settings were used throughout Screen mode, 100-percent Opacity, 15-percent Spread, and Softer Technique.
The most challenging contours are associated with Bevel and Emboss. The Gloss Contour option controls how colors fade in and out inside the beveled edge, as if the edge were reflecting other colors around it. (Figure 14-27 offers a glimpse.) The indented Contour effect below Bevel and Emboss in the Layer Style list wrinkles the edge of the layer so that it casts different highlights and shadows. Anti-aliased: If a Contour setting consists of sharp corners, you can soften them by turning this check box on. Most presets have rounded corners, making antialiasing unnecessary.
Noise: Associated strictly with shadows and glows, the Noise value randomizes the transparency of pixels. It's like using the Dissolve blend mode, except that you have control over how much randomization to apply. The Noise value does not change the color of pixels; that is the job of an option called Jitter.
Layer Knocks Out Drop Shadow: In the real world, if an object was translucent, you could see through it to its own shadow. However, this turns out to be an unpopular law of nature with most image editors. So when creating a drop shadow, Photoshop gives us the Layer Knocks Out Drop Shadow check box, which when selected makes the drop shadow invisible directly behind the layer. Turn the option off for a more natural effect.
Technique: Moving out of the Shadow panels and into Outer Glow, the first unique option is the Technique pop-up menu. Also available when creating bevel effects, Technique controls how the contours of the effect are calculated. When a glow is set to Softer, as in all the examples in Figure 1421, Photoshop applies a modified Gaussian Blur to ensure optimal transitions between the glow and background elements. Your other option is Precise, which calculates the effect without the Gaussian adjustment (shown in Figure 14-22). Mind you, the effect may remain blurry, but strictly as a function of the Spread and Contour settings. Precise may work better in tight corners, common around type and
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515 Photoshop CS Bible @Team LiB
shape layers. Otherwise, stick with Softer.
Figure 14-22: This figure is identical to Figure 14-21 in every way, except here the Technique option is set to Precise.
The Bevel and Emboss panel doesn't provide the same kind of blurring functions that you get with shadow and glow effects, so the Technique option works a bit differently. The default setting, Smooth, averages and blurs pixels to achieve soft, rounded edges. The two Chisel settings remove the averaging to create sawtooth abrasions into the sides of the layer. Chisel Hard results in thick cut marks; Chisel Soft averages the perimeter of the layer to create finer cuts. Up the Soften value (described shortly) to blur the abrasions.
Source: When working in the Inner Glow panel, Photoshop wants to know where the glow starts. Should it glow inward from the perimeter of the layer (Edge, as seen in the left example in Figure 1423) or outward from the middle (Center, as seen on the right in Figure 14-23)?
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Part IV: Layers, Objects, and Text
Figure 14-23: The two options for the Source setting in the Inner Glow panel. The other settings used in both examples are Blend Mode Screen, Opacity: 100 percent, Technique: Precise, Choke 15 percent, and Size: 40 pixels.
Range: The two Glow panels and the Contour panel (subordinate to Bevel and Emboss) use Range values to modify the Contour settings. This value sets the midpoint of the contour with respect to the middle of the size. As seen in the left example in Figure 14-24, values less than 50 percent move the midpoint away from the source, extending the effect. Values greater than 50 percent shrink the effect, as shown in the right example in the figure.