How to Apply Layer Style to Transparent Text or Shape in Photoshop

How to Apply Layer Style to Transparent Text or Shape in Photoshop

One of the cool things which you can easily create in Photoshop is 3D look with transparent text or shape. It is common to see this kind of effect used to watermark images. There are and many other situations where transparent shape or text is desired for the final effect like when creating loupe, 3D text styles and so on.

In this tutorial, I will explain to you how to create cool effects using Layer style and apply it to invisible (transparent) live text or shape in Adobe Photoshop.

The trick

The trick to applying a Layer style to transparent editable text or shape is to set Fill opacity to 0%. There are two sliders in the top right corner of Layers panel: Opacity and Fill. Many people think both sliders are doing the same thing but that's not exactly true. The difference is that Opacity slider controls the opacity of everything that is associated with layer while Fill is controlling the opacity of the layer's actual content leaving Layer effects intact.
Set Fill Opacity to 0% in Photoshop
The first part of applying layer style to transparent text is to make type layer transparent using Fill opacity slider.

The process  

The process to apply a layer style to transparent text or shape is exactly the same when applying it to either live text and shape or rasterized objects. What about Smart Object layers? You can use the exact same technique with Smart Object layers.

Here are the steps:

  • Select type, shape or any rasterized layer with a shape which has the sense to use for the final effect.
  • Open Layer Style dialog from Layer > Layer Style > Blending Options.
  • Set Fill Opacity to 0%.
  • Apply any of available layer effects like Bevel and Emboss, Stroke, Drop Shadow...
  • Confirm on OK to accept changes and close Layer Style dialog.
  • You can change layer style (effects) at any time you want. If you have live text or shape you can update/modify text or shape and exactly the same effect will be applied.
Apply layer effects to transparent text in Photoshop
Animation with steps to apply layer effect to transparent text. The process is exactly the same when applying effects to shape, pixel based layer or even Smart Object layer.


Product used in this tutorial:
Adobe Photoshop CC 2019

Reference:

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