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Effects/Layer Styles with Adjustment Layers

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Engin Osmanovski
Effects/Layer Styles with Adjustment Layers
on Jun 18, 2013 at 3:25:43 pm

I have this track matte pair with a Drop Shadow effect applied Adjustment Layer on top of them. Here is how it looks:



And here is how that composition looks in my Master Comp:




Here are the results when i use Layer Styles > Drop Shadow instead of the Effects > Perspective > Drop Shadow :





As you can see, nothing happens when i use Layer Style>Drop Shadow.

Now, what is the technical explanation of this? Why doesn't the Layer Style Drop Shadow work in this case? Can't we use Layer Styles with Adjustment Layers? Does it have anything to do with the render order of Layer Styles and Effects?


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Tayo Onabule
Re: Effects/Layer Styles with Adjustment Layers
on Jun 18, 2013 at 8:10:25 pm

Precomp it (you've done that already) and then put the Drop Shadow Layer Style on the precomp not on the matted layer inside the precomp. So you should end up having that precomp "Track Matte Comp" with a drop shadow layer style on it.,

Tayo Onabule
LightStorm Visuals


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Engin Osmanovski
Re: Effects/Layer Styles with Adjustment Layers
on Jun 18, 2013 at 8:25:32 pm

@Tayo

Thanks for the reply.

I know there are lots of alternative ways of achieving that result. I just want to know why Layer Style Drop Shadow didn't work with the Adjustment Layer while the Drop Shadow effect did.


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Tayo Onabule
Re: Effects/Layer Styles with Adjustment Layers
on Jun 18, 2013 at 8:30:47 pm

From my primitive knowledge of how layers work in AE, i believe it's because AE looks at layer styles as if they were part of the layer itself meaning that an alpha matte will actually cut away drop shadows, bevels and so on. Where as effects are applied at the end of all the layer processing like alpha mattes.

Terminology may be a little off there and im sure one of the more experienced members can correct me if im wrong.

Tayo Onabule
LightStorm Visuals


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Cassius Marques
Re: Effects/Layer Styles with Adjustment Layers
on Jun 18, 2013 at 8:40:15 pm

Well, Layers Styles came late down the road. So no one here but the adobe developers can tell you why its inner working are what they are.

But the real question is, if there are thousand other ways to do it already... why should it?


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Engin Osmanovski
Re: Effects/Layer Styles with Adjustment Layers
on Jun 18, 2013 at 9:00:58 pm

I am just curious Cassius. :)


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Todd Kopriva
Re: Effects/Layer Styles with Adjustment Layers
on Jun 19, 2013 at 3:10:31 am

Layer styles are very different from effects in terms of what inputs they take and where they sit in the render order. Layer styles are more like blending modes than effects.

BTW, layer styles only exist in After Effects to provide compatibility with Photoshop when you import PSD files that have these layer styles. There are seldom cases (at least that I know of) when you will apply layer styles in After Effects to create a look from scratch. (A common way of making a light wrap is one counter-example, but even that is exploiting the blending mode nature of layer styles.)

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Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
After Effects quality engineering
After Effects team blog
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