#CreativeFriday – Group Layer Styles in Photoshop CS6/CC

When CS6 was launched in May 2012 there were some workflow items that were enhanced. One of these, was the ability to have a layer style on a Photoshop Group, this will allow everything inside the group to adopt the same effect. For example, let us say that you are creating a document that has text in several places, and all of these text items must have the same style wherever it is being used, i.e. it may have a drop shadow, or a gradient overlay applied etc. The old way of achieving this would be to create the style on one of the text elements, then copy it to other elements, however, if there was a change to be made to the style then every single element would need to be changed individually, consuming potentially a lot of time and effort.

Now in CC as well as CS6 you are able to apply a layer style to a Photoshop Group (which contains the elements), every applicable item within the group will then get the same style. This is particular handy for have the same look and feel everywhere in the document, as well as being a great time saver when editing the same style across large and complex documents.

In the following example we have 4 text elements

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 08.40.33

To place the same layer style, i,e a drop shadow (seen below on lower right hand letter “A”). You would need to copy the layer style to the other elements.

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 08.41.11

Using a right click on the layer style you are able to copy it and paste to the other items.

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 08.49.00

but as mentioned earlier, making a subsequent change would require the same change to made to every text element.

A better way in CS6/CC is to place all of the affected items into a group layer and then apply the layer style to the Photoshop Group.

You can create a group by clicking on the small fly out menu on the layers palette (this can be seen below (marked in red))

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 08.56.24


You can see from the screen grab below, that you are able to create a new Group by itself, or by selecting individual layers/groups from the layers palette and creating a group from them

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 08.58.04

Once you have created a Group by either method, you can then place a layer style on it. You can see from the screen grab below, the text (shown in blue) is within a Group that has the layer style applied and now all items within it have the drop shadow applied.

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 09.01.05


To change the effect across all elements within the Group, just modify the one layer style on the Photoshop Group.

You can also apply other effects to other elements as well.  In the screen grab below, there are 3 vector objects in their own Group. These elements can be moved or copied individually, or using the whole Group entity into the Group with the layer style.

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 09.15.47

Once they have been copied/moved, they will adopt the Group layer style, also, changes can be made, i.e. A blue colour overlay style has been added to the Group in the following example.

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 09.18.12

In the next example, you can see that another Photoshop Group has been created inside the original Group (a sub Group). This new Group is then using the original layer style as a base for other effects that can be extended by this sub Group. You can see the new group (in red), inside the original group, then the effect on the letter “B” in the document.

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 09.23.34



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