I have a folder that contains many strings. This folder has layer effects applied:

  • Color overlay (bright yellow)
  • Stroke (black)
  • outer glow (can be any color, currently white.)

I want to clip a layer with a pattern to the outer glow of the layer effect applied to the folder. basically, I want the Outer glow not to be a solid color, but to have an image/pattern overlayed.

How can this be done?

I found one way that works but is a bit of a hassle and the result is not perfect:

I convert the whole folder to a smart object (layer effect is applied INSIDE the smart object) then I clip the layer with the pattern to the smart object and use blend if to apply it only to the bright white outer glow.

It's not perfect because the font itself is quite bright and it has some fringing around the outer stroke. Also, if possible, I would like to avoid converting to smart object..

  • So the Smart Object method you are talking about is basically what I have in the second part of this answer: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/a/10603/2332 right? In... I believe CS 6 — definitely in CC, you can do the same thing with a group. So instead of a smart object, you group the layer and form a clipping mask with the group.
    – Joonas
    Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 6:58
  • yay, it works.. so basically i have to double group... the group that has the effects needs to go into another group that has the clipped layer.. else it wont work. If i clip it directly to the Group that has the layer efect then it is clipped below the effect and not on top.. But how can I solve the problem about the blend if? I would like to have a better border.. currently its not like i would expect.. because of the "antialiasing" of the stroke, the border is not entirely clean.. Please if you have a solution post as answer so i can accpet. Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 9:01
  • I hesitated to mention this before as it is a bit destructive and not super ideal, but the only "proper" way to do this that comes to mind is to: expand the Layer Effects, right-click any one of them and choose Create layers. That basically takes all layer styles and turns them into raster layers. That way you can do whatever you want to the outer glow layer without affecting anything else. The downside is pretty obvious. It breaks the layer styles into raster layers so any changes to the original shape will mean you have to redo the layer styles.
    – Joonas
    Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 9:20
  • thanks but that is a nogo.. the text layers are moved continuously on every revision of the file.. Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 9:25
  • Well moving the layers shouldn't be an issue because you can link them or group them, but I think you mean the text changes constantly? The clipping mask group method is about the best you can get if you can't use the destructive method.
    – Joonas
    Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 9:59

2 Answers 2


Kind of thinking out loud...

enter image description here

Duplicate the group with effects..

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With the duplicate group highlighted, choose Layer > layer Style > Create Layers

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You'll then have a layer for ever style applied.

Hold Command/Ctrl and click the thumbnail in the Layers Panel for the Outer Glow to load a selection based upon its transparency.

enter image description here

Delete all the style layers and the duplicate, create a new layer and add a mask based upon the selection of the Outer Glow layer.

enter image description here

Result is a layer matching the size and drop off of the outer glow but you are free to add whatever you want to the actual layer.

Now.. if you need the glow to dynamically change, well that may be a conundrum in itself. :)


If I've understood this question correctly, I think it would be possible to do this non-destructively by combining two layer effects, a Stroke and Outer glow.

Set up the stroke like this: Use a pattern as the fill-type, make sure you choose "Overprint", and set the blend mode to "Lighten".

enter image description here

Then add an Outer Glow effect, and the pattern will merge with the glow.

enter image description here

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