Photoshop Layer Effects via JavaScript

Layer Effects

This script is designed for use in conjunction with collage template and image files.   It is menu driven, thus it is intended for CS2 or later.   It will add, delete, or scale layer effects for a selected layer or all visible layers.

This script needs to be installed to [PSInstall]/presets/scripts/.   Whenever new scripts are added here, Photoshop needs to be restarted to enable them.   It may then be started via Photoshop File: Scripts: LayerEffects.jsx.

Layer Effects Options

Now we should have a look at the options available in the Layer Effect menus.   When the script starts, it will determine how many ArtLayers exist in the current document.   This will not include any hidden layers, layers imbedded in a layer set, adjustment layers, or the background unless it is actually a separate layer.   If there is no active document or it contains no usable layers, the script will end with an error message.

The Cancel button simply exits the script.   The OK button will apply any enabled effects to the currently selected layer or all layers.

The Sel Layer list box will show the names of all layers found and an entry for “all”.   Simply select the layer you want or all.

The “Style Scale%” text input is used to scale the layer effects.   You can define this scaling from 1 to 1,000 percent.   100% is the same as no change at all.   This is applied after all other options.   If there are no other options selected, it will still be applied to the current layer effects.   If a layer has no layer effects, this will be ignored.

The Enable Dialogs checkbox will activate the Photoshop dialogs as the layer effects are being applied.   This may be useful to see what other layer options may be available and to preview any adjustments.

The Delete Effects checkbox will simply delete any layer effects for the currently selected layers.   Again, this is applied after all other options, so the net effect is always no remaining layer effects.

The next two list boxes allow you to select an action set and a user action to run against the currently selected layer(s).   If the selected user action is “none”, no action will be run.   The user actions should be designed to run against a single layer instead of the whole document.   This is intended for actions that might create a unique, complex layer frame or an interesting effect.   An example would be an action that applies a texture filter to create a mosaic tile or stained glass effect.   There is no way to undo these actions except to exit the script and use the Photoshop history pallet.

The remaining panels allow you to select and combine various effects and tailor several options relevant to the particular effect.   Unless the effect is enabled, the options are disabled.

Stroke Options include the stroke size in pixels, location, and the stroke color.

Color Overlay Options include the overlay opacity and color.

Drop Shadow Options include the angle, size, distance, spread, and color.

Bevel and Emboss Options include the depth, size, softening, shading angle, and shading altitude.

Satin Options include the color, opacity, distance, angle, and blur.

Glow Options include the color, inside or outside, opacity, size, and contour shape.

There are many effects options that are not included here.   But, any desired effects can always be saved as a named Photoshop layer style and/or applied with a user action.

By default, the color choser and other menus use an “image” menu control to preview the selected color.   This is achieved by dynamically creating a small PNG image during execution.   Naturally, this has a small performance impact when the menus are being created or updated.   And you will see this image in the Photoshop document area.   The image name is the script-name.png and it is saved in the /presets/scripts folder.   It is removed when the script terminates.   If you want to disable this, change useIconPreview = true to false in the script.   Then the only color preview will be in the Photoshop Foreground color on the tool bar.


These scripts are provided as shareware with no warranty, but also no usage restrictions.   You are free to use and modify them.   If you feel obliged to pay something, make a contribution to your favorite charity.   The sample scripts are available at this link in a ZIP file   I have tested these under Windows but there should be no reason that they shouldn’t work the same on Mac systems.  

If you have any comments, or suggestions, I would welcome your input.   Please send me an  Email

Rags Gardner
Rags Int., Inc.
204 Trailwood Drive
Euless, TX 76039
(817) 267-2554
Send Email
June 7, 2006

This page last updated on: Thursday April 12 2007
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