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How to Apply the Satin Setting to Layer Style Effects

This post is part of a series called Intro to Photoshop Layer Styles.
The Comprehensive Guide to Bevel and Emboss
How to Use Color Overlay Within the Layer Styles Dialogue in Photoshop
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

While the Photoshop Satin effect is one of the less used layer styles, it can easily bring your artwork to the next level as long as you become familiar with the way it behaves.

The Satin layer style can be used to add a Photoshop satin texture or create a Photoshop satin background. So, if you want to learn how to add satin in Photoshop or create a satin texture in Photoshop, then this tutorial should be a great starting point. 

Follow along with us over on our Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:

The Uses of Satin

Satin is one of the more obscure settings within Photoshop Layer Styles, but if you know how to use it, you can create a few different effects.

In addition to creating a silk or satin look, it can also be used to add additional depth and even more realistic detail to glass and metal effects.

example of using the satin effect

The Layer Styles Satin Dialog Box

Satin creates two copies of your layer, then offsets and blurs them to produce the final result. You may not be able to picture it, but it is easy to understand once you see it in action.

There isn't much to the Satin dialog box, and we have seen most of these settings before. All that's left to do is jump in and see how they interact with each other.

example of the satin layer style settings

Blend Mode

The Blend Mode allows you to set the blending mode for your Satin, while the color box, as expected, allows you to choose the color.

A good place to start is Linear Burn using the color black, or Linear Dodge (Add) using the color white. This will allow you to see how Satin works, while at the same time applying the most realistic effect.

If you are unfamiliar with how all the different Blending Modes work, I highly recommend checking out the Blending Is Fun Basix tutorial.

example of available blending modes

In the following example, using a white color with Linear Dodge (Add) as the blending mode lightens our text, while using black with Linear Burn as the blending mode darkens it.

example of using linear dodge versus linear burn


Our good old friend, Opacity. A smaller number here makes for a subtler effect, and increasing the Opacity makes it more pronounced.

example of opacity settings

In the following example, you can see that a lower Opacity has a predictably subtler impact on our final effect.

example of different opacity values


The Angle spinner sets the angle at which our Satin effect is offset from the original shape. You can enter a number in the box, or drag the line around using your mouse.

example of angle settings

The following example may not be the prettiest, but it clearly shows how adjusting the Angle can change the look of your style. Used in conjunction with other effects, changing the Satin Angle can help you get more realistic lighting.

example of different angle settings


The Distance slider changes the distance that the Satin gets offset from our original shape. This is extra helpful when you are trying to create reflections for glass styles.

example of distance settings

In the following example, you can see how slightly increasing the Distance of our white Satin effect gives us bigger reflections on our glass text.

example of different distance values


The Size slider sets the blur size of the Satin. The larger the value is, the blurrier it gets. A modest Size value will typically yield the most realistic results.

example of size settings

In the following example, the lower Size setting gives the lighting on our cookie style a harder edge.

example of different size values


Contour curves change the falloff of the Satin effect. A linear or slight "S-curve" would be the best to begin with. More dynamic Contour shapes can help you get more interesting reflective effects.

The Anti-aliased checkbox will smooth out any hard edges when checked, and the Invert checkbox will flip your Contour upside down.

example of contour settings

In the following example, you can see how changing our Contour gives us a more reflective-looking double highlight on our text.

example of different contour profiles

Saving and Loading Default Settings

You can save and load default settings for each effect in the Layer Styles dialog box. When you click Make Default, Photoshop will store whatever settings are currently active as the new default settings for that effect.

If you click Reset to Default, on the other hand, Photoshop will then load whatever settings were last saved. This allows you to experiment and simply reload the default settings if you want to start over.

example of save and reset to default settings

Expand Your Layer Styles Library

Want to build an extended Photoshop Layer Styles library, but don't quite have the time to make them yourself? Well, if that's the case then you should definitely head over to Envato Elements, where you'll find a great selection such as these ones:

Holo Layer Styles

Give your artwork a fresh new take using this incredible holographic layer style pack, which is bound to turn heads.

holo photoshop layer styles
Holo Photoshop Layer Styles by Envato Elements

Pressed and Embossed Book Cloth Layer Styles

Take your text to the next level using this incredibly realistic pressed and embossed book cloth layer styles pack. I guarantee that it will help you stand out.

pressed and embossed book cloth layer styles
Pressed and Embossed Book Cloth Photoshop Layer Styles by Envato Elements

Corsair and Pirate Layer Styles

Always dreamt of being a pirate? Well guess what, now you can using these handcrafted corsair and pirate layer styles.

corsair and pirate layer styles
Corsair and Pirate Photoshop Layer Styles by Envato Elements

Expand Your Photoshop Skills

Just started out using Adobe Photoshop and feel like learning more? Well, today's your lucky day since I've put together a little list of tutorials that should get you going for the following days!

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