I have received a bunch of questions this week about styles and patterns. I guess I just took for granted that everyone knew where to put them and how to use them! Sorry about that! First of all, .asl (styles), .csh (custom shapes) and .pat (pattern) files will only work in Photoshop or PSE. They won’t work in PSP. And where they go varies depending on what version of PSE you have. It’s been a long time since I’ve opened up PSE but I found the easiest way to load them was with Graffi’s Add-O-Matic! You just drag your actions, pattern file, style file, brushes, plug-ins into the box and press a button and it puts everything in the right folder. Easy Peasy! If you don’t want to pay 10.99 for the program you can install these presets yourself. There are several fabulous resources out there that will walk you through the process. Here’s a roundup of a few of the best: (Links will take you to the specific content)
Hummie’s World – Hummie really is the Go-To person for all things PSE. She has TONS of information on her site and her tutorials are second to none. She also offers a very reasonable subscription with additional tutorials that you should check out and an active forum and gallery. She has an excellent section on installing plug-ins (including styles). Where you see an icon with pencil/book, click on it for a .pdf that you can print out for reference.
About.Com – Sue Chastain writes for About and has a weekly newsletter that she emails with tips and reviews of several different graphic programs. There are detailed instructions on how to install shapes, styles, etc. in various versions of PSE.
Scrapper’s Guide – Linda Sattgast is another excellent tutorial writer and has a great free forum and offers subscriptions and classes on CD.
Adobe Help Center – Personally I haven’t had much luck with Adobe Help for Photoshop or Illustrator but the sections for PSE explain how to scale styles, remove styles, etc. It’s worth a look!
It’s important to remember that you may have to restart PSE a couple of times for the layer styles to show up, or you may have to rebuild the MediaDatabase file (Instructions in Hummie’s tutorial).
If you use the full version of Photoshop you can just load styles using the Preset manager or the style palette. You can apply layer styles to shapes, text, or any element in your layer. The layer must not be a “Background” layer however. If the layer is labled “Background” in your layer palette, double-click on the layer to convert it to a regular layer.
I’m not really a tutorial writer but hopefully these links have directed you to some who are excellent tutorial writers and can help you work with the free presets you download here on my blog! If you have any other links or great sites on using/loading layer styles feel free to comment and provide the link!