The Digital Darkroom
Using Photoshop Styles

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As some of you may already know, when you install Photoshop not all of the application is immediately loaded. There are many features and options that require further attention to become accessible. Photoshop "Styles" is one of those features. This article uses screen captures from Photoshop Version 7.0, but much of this information also applies to previous versions.

Find the Styles Palette over on the right-hand side of the Photoshop window (#1).

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Click on the Styles tab to bring the Styles Palette to the front (#2).

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Now, look in the upper right-hand corner for a little circle with an arrowhead in it. See the red arrow (#3).

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Click on that little arrowhead and you will get a fly-out menu. Select the menu item Load Styles (#4).

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When you click on the Load Styles menu item, you will get a window showing the 10 different Styles that are already on your hard drive, but not yet loaded into the application (#5).

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Click on the first Style (Abstract Styles.asl) and it will be loaded in. Return to the Load Styles menu item and load the next Style, Buttons.asl. Continue loading until you have loaded all the Styles. With all the Styles loaded into the application, the Styles Palette will now look something like what's shown in #6.

Notice that there is a scroll bar that allows you to scroll through about twice as many Styles as what are shown.

Now, it's time to show you some of the neat things that we can do with Styles. As a photographer, you may want to add titles to some of your pictures. Or, you may want to create title slides for use in PowerPoint presentations or other photo album programs. The Styles feature of Photoshop and the Photoshop Text tool allows you to create some great titles. To demonstrate this, let's first create a blank page and put some text on it in Layers.

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Here's how:
Go to the Photoshop pull-down menu called File and pull down and click on New. That will bring up a window. Clicking on the Preset Sizes arrowhead will give you a fly-out menu where you can select 8x10" (#7).

The new blank canvas that will be created will be 8x10" at 300 ppi. This is just what you need for preparing an image to be sent to your ink jet printer. Next, get the Text tool from the Tool menu on the left-hand side of the application and place it on the blank page.

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I have typed "PhotoShop Styles" onto my blank canvas (#8). I have used the font called Arial. I have also selected "Bold" and set the font size to 50 pt. All of these settings are in the tool bar at the top of the Photoshop window.

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Next, I wanted to create several additional copies of the text so that I could apply a different Style to each of them. To do that, go to the Layers Palette in the lower right-hand corner of Photoshop and click on the highlighted Layer containing the text that you have just written and drag the Layer down into the little symbol that is just to the left of the trash can at the bottom of the Layers Palette (#9).

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Now, go back to the blank page and using the Move tool, drag the copy of the text layer that you just created in the Layers Palette down below the original text that you typed in. If you repeat this process several times, you'll wind up with the same words repeated several times on your blank canvas (#10). There are other ways to get multiple copies of the same words onto the blank canvas, but this works for me.

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Now, this is the fun part. Go to the Layers Palette and click to highlight one of the Layers of text. It will be to that highlighted Layer that we will now apply the first Style.

Go to the Styles menu and choose one of the Styles. As you click on the chosen Style, watch what happens to the text on your blank canvas. Click again on a different Style, and notice that the text will change to that new Style selection. You can keep clicking on different Style selections until you have selected one that you like.

Out of the dozens of Styles to choose from in the Styles menu, I have shown five different Styles applied to the five different text Layers (#11). Incidentally, you can also apply Styles to individual letters in a group of words. Just perform a "selection" on the letter or letters that you want, then click on the Style that you want. To perform a "selection" of single letters, just drag across the letters with the Text tool to highlight them.

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