Layer styles for humans

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Layer styles for humans

Published by on March 23rd 2011.

As I have mentioned earlier this month, layer styles can be a huge time saver. The ability to change parameters of image effects at any time after they have been used is a game changer. What is limiting the usefulness of layer styles in current versions of RealWorld tools is the clunky layer effect configuration window. Time has come to change it, the layer styles shall be accessible to mere humans, not just to geeks.

The new look

Starting in versions 2011.1, the layer configuration will look like this:

rsrc/layer-styles-config.png image

The box in the upper left corner of the window lists the current effects of the edited layer style.

The mechanism for adding a new effect has been changed. When the last step (<add new effect>) is selected, the area to the right displays icons and user-friendly names of available image effects. Clicking on an icon of an effect adds that effect to the sequence and displays its configuration. Effects can be later moved up and down or deleted.

The lower-left corner of the window shows a preview of the layer style on a sample (red circle) image.

Not so relevant stuff...

Experienced users of RW tools have no doubt noticed the changed icons. Almost every effect got a new icon in a black-gray-brown-pink color scheme. The old effect icons were created at different times and each of them looked a bit different. They should be more consistent now.

The effects were categorized into 3 groups. The first group shows only 5 effects - the most useful ones for layer styles. The second category (collapsed on the screenshot) contains the remaining image effects and the third category is for specialized filters like the JavaScript operation. This is likely the most important change - choosing from 5 relevant effect is much easier than choosing from dozens of semi-relevant ones.

There is yet another small change that may look like a trivial thing, but it was pretty time consuming to implement. If you look closely at the sequence of effects, you'll see something named Simple bevel - 10px on the first position. Some effects are now able to provide information in "human" format about themselves. This allows users to quickly inspect all effects in a layer style by just looking at the sequence without needing to click on every step and deciphering the information from the configuration of each effect.

Where are the other commands?

The old layer style configuration window had a couple of buttons for copying/pasting and exporting/importing layer styles.

These commands were moved directly into the Layer menu and to the toolbar.

The export and import commands allow you to build a personal library of your favorite layer styles. Don't forget, that when storing or opening the styles from the Media library, you'll get previews just like in the new configuration window. The Media library is the right place for your styles.

rsrc/layer-styles-open.png image

When do I get my hand on it?

Soon, redesign of layer styles was the last major feature scheduled for RealWorld Photos 2011.1. The release date is close.

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Recent comments

user icon sixλxis forum moderator on March 24th 2011

im ripping out my hair, so antsy for RW PHOTOS 2011!!! aghiofdahjaophjaoph

user icon Davez registered user on March 26th 2011

Can't wait either ;-)

BTW, why do you have a lambda in your name?

user icon JDDellGuy contributing user on April 1st 2011

Davez, I accuse you of just wanting to say "lambda."

user icon Anonymous
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