Layer Styles & document resolution

  • Photoshop :

    CS3 or newer

  • Easy


There are many awesome sets of layer styles, available over the internet. The majority of these styles have been optimized for 72 ppi (pixels per inch) photos / documents. There are also a number of sets whose default settings are optimized for 300 ppi.

There is a slight issue: if you try to use a set of styles on a document with a different resolution than the one that the styles have been optimized for, the result may be disappointing. This tutorial will show you how to tackle this issue.



In the first example I created a new Photoshop document at 300 ppi. I added a text layer and applied Shellyn Long's Baltic Sea Glass style; its default settings have been optimized for 72 ppi. As you can see in the image on the left, the style details look wrong: the shadow is huge while the bevels are exaggerated.

In order to re-adjust the style settings, so that the details look optimum for the resolution of the document you are working on, you need to re-scale (upscale or downscale) the style settings by a certain factor (x). To find its value, you need to make this simple calculation:

x = (style resolution) / (my document's resolution) * 100

In my example this factor is: x = 72 / 300 * 100 = 24. Let's find out how to use this value to re-scale the styles:

Choose Layer > Layer Style > Scale Effects from the main menu, or right-click the "fx" button in the layers panel and choose "Scale Effects".

Adjust styles resolution in Photoshop, step 2

Enter "24" in the Scale field and hit OK:

Adjust styles resolution in Photoshop, step 3

That's it. The style effects look great on my 300 ppi document:

Adjust styles resolution in Photoshop, step 4

Now lets check the opposite scenario:

Let's say that you have a set of styles, optimized for 300 ppi. To use them on a 72 ppi document, you need to upscale the style effects by x = 300 / 72 * 100 = 417%:

Adjust styles resolution in Photoshop


This tutorial assumes that you know the resolution of the styles you wish to use. As mentioned above, the vast majority of the style sets available over the internet have been optimized either for 72ppi or for 300ppi. So, if the style looks wrong in your 72ppi document, the chances are that the style settings have been optimized for 300ppi (and vice-versa).

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