Bevel and Emboss is often considered the most powerful and adaptable tools within Photoshop Layer Styles.
The traditional use for Bevel and Emboss is to make something look more 3-dimensional by adding highlights and shadows to different parts of your layer, but it doesn't stop there.
With some special consideration and careful tweaks, you can create styles ranging from reflective chrome and refractive glass to chiseled stone and subtle letterpress graphics.
The Stroke effect is used to add strokes and borders to layers and shapes. It can be used to create solid-color lines, colorful gradients, as well as patterned borders.
Although you can only apply the Stroke effect once, it can be used in conjunction with other effects to create more interesting and diverse styles.
The traditional use for an inner shadow is to simulate 3D depth in a 2D image. This is done by creating an offset shadow within a shape to make it look like it is cut out and casting a shadow on the object beneath it.
Below you will see an example of how an inner shadow can indicate how big the light source is and where it is coming from, as well as how far away an object is from the background. By changing only the settings of the inner shadow, you can dramatically change the look of an image.
Satin is one of the more obscure settings within Photoshop Layer Styles, but if you know how to use it, you can create a few different effects.
In addition to creating a silk or satin look, it can also be used to add additional depth and even more realistic detail to glass and metal effects.
After going through the many different settings within Bevel and Emboss, it's nice to come across something as simple as Color Overlay.
There isn't much to it at all, but it can be very useful in a number of ways.
Since Layer Styles are non-destructive and you can preview changes to your settings as you make them, using Color Overlay to pick background colors can speed up your workflow.
Rather than choosing a new color in the color picker, switching to the Paint Bucket Tool, and then filling in your layer, you can simply open up the Layer Styles dialog box, turn on Color Overlay, and see your color changes in real time.
You can also copy and paste Layer Styles between layers, making it easy to adjust a single object, then apply your settings to multiple layers.
Gradient Tool draws gradual blends between multiple colors. The Gradient Editor lets you create and customize your own gradients
Pattern Overlay is used, as the name implies, to add a pattern to a particular layer. Using Pattern Overlay in conjunction with other effects can help you create styles with depth.
When you hear the name "Outer Glow" you automatically assume that this effect is limited to just that, an Outer Glow. The truth is that there is much more you can do with it than a simple glowing effect.
On top of creating a glowing effect, Outer Glow can also be used to create faux drop shadows as well as add outer strokes to your designs.
The traditional use for a drop shadow is to simulate 3D depth in a 2D image. This is done by creating an offset shadow behind an object to indicate that the object is hovering above the background in 3D space.