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How to us Layer Styles in Pixelmator to create custom shapes

Master Pixelmator’s new Layer Styles options and customise any shape with your own design

mainPixelmator offers a huge amount of power in a neat and well- designed package, but one of its biggest benefits is the fact that it’s being updated all the time. The development team behind the app is constantly working on new features for the image editing software, and with the recent release of version 3.0, it added a couple of useful improvements, including Layer Styles.

Before, certain objects and images simply couldn’t be edited with the same tools as the vector shapes on offer. Now, with Layer Styles, any layer can be edited in a number of ways, whether it was a shape created in Pixelmator or a photo you dropped into the document yourself. Read on to find out just how powerful this tool really is.


step11 Styles palette

The Styles palette no longer only applies to vector shapes created in Pixelmator. Select any layer and you’ll now see that all the options are available to you here, as well.

step22 Fill your boots

The first area will allow you to fill your layer, and you’ll have the option of a block colour or a gradient. If you’re working from an image layer, selecting None will show the image again.

step33 Give it a stroke

The next option enables you to add a stroke to your image, setting the colour or gradient, choosing the weight of the line and applying it to the inside or outside, or on the line itself.

step44 Shadow and glow

The Shadow section lets you add some depth to your shot, but can also be used to make your image glow by changing the shadow colour to a brighter hue, such as blue or green.

step55 Inner shadow

Applying an inner shadow is ideal for giving the impression that your layer is embossed into the layer below, or for making the inside of your image appear below a border line.

step66 Reflection

The new Reflection tool now enables you
to add a mirrored version of the layer you’re working on below, although the options for the reflection are currently quite limited.

step77 Presets

At the bottom of the Styles palette you’ll find a number of presets that you can apply to your layer with a single click. Each one uses different combinations of style, so try them all out.

step88 Mixing the tools

As the presets suggest, you can get the best results by mixing different style options. Try adding inner shadows and borders together, or adding a glow and a bright fill colour.

step99 Layer blending

It’s also important to remember the other layer tools at your disposal, including the Blending modes. Combined with Layer Styles, you can create some impressive results.

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