chickypow

Want Some Drop Shadow Tips?

41 posts in this topic

OK, keep in mind that I am REALLY terrible with tutorials - so this definitly isn't going to be one, but I wanted to throw together a few tips about keepin' it real with drop shadows. One mistake alot of new digi scrappers make is creating huge floaty drop shadows, so that it looks like your alpha or elements are floating waaaay above your page. This is easily solved!

 

Here goes (for PSE or PS):

 

1. Think about "reality" - when you layer something on a paper LO - because paper or even chipboard is relativly thin, you won't get a huge shadow. Even placeing a bow on paper won't creat a giant shadow.

 

2. So what to do? Apply the default drop shadow in your program, and then double click on the layer style icon (to the right of the layer in the layers pallette) and make some adjustments.

 

3. Reduce the size until you have a shadow just peeking out from under your element, until it looks "real" like it would on paper. If your not sure, get a piece of paper, and place another piece of paper on it, a piece of cardstock, a piece of chipboard and a bow. Then look at it in a few different lights from a few different angles. That is how your shadow on your digi LO should look.

 

4. In PS / PSE the default opacity setting is 75%. I find that too harsh and it creates a heavy black shadow. Shadows are not solid, therefore, they shouldn't look solid. I usually reduce the opacity of my shadow to anywhere from 40-55% depending on the LO. (You can do this in the same place that you reduce the size).

 

5. Colour......sometimes a black shadow just doesn't look real. If you have PS or PSE5 you have the option to change the colour of your shadow. I will often change the colour to a darker shade of whatever my element producing the shadow is resting on. If you have an earlier version of PSE there is some AWESOME pre-coloured shadows in the boutique just for you! They are in a layer style format and look fantastic. Go to the boutique and in the search area type "Shadow" keeping the S capitalized. This will pull up all sorts of goodies for you!!

 

I hope that helps and I'm sorry I can't help with PSP or any other program, maybe Dee could be a good resource for shadows in PSP!!

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to pm me or any member of the LO design team! We are always here to help you!

 

Happy Shadowing!

 

**Edited to Add: I forgot a really good tip that Varanda via Kerry V. mentione awhile ago!! When you save as a jpg to upload your shadows can get messy, it's like when you save everything resizes EXCEPT the shadow, so you get big floaty shadows.

 

What you want to do is save as a PSD - then save as a JPG BEFORE you resize. Open up your "big" jpg, THEN do your resizing and viola! No shadow damage!

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Thanks for the tips! I never even thought about reducing the opacity! Great idea.

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That's an awesome tutorial Erin. Thanks for sharing.

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Thanks Erin!!!

 

For PsP users, go to effects, 3d, drop shadows. From there you move the little x around the white square to get your direction and depth. I usually am only about an 1/8 of an inch from the center!. To change the color click on the color square and chose your new color in the pop up palette. Also you can change the blur and opacity. Play around with those!!

 

That was basic.. im sure if i missed anything, Dee will straighten me out!

 

Angela

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Thanks Erin! I will take all the tips and hints I can get! I really do need to look into those Shadow Tools: I didn't realize there was such a difference!!

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Good tips Erin! If I may add: for getting the shadow colour, I click with the eyedropper onto : say the cardstock bg; then when the colour bin/palette opens it is easy to choose a darker shade of the same colour as well as judge just how dark it should be. I also make a note of that colour in case I may need it on other places in the LO. :D

 

Keep the good tips coming ;)

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Just added an edit on the original post with another tip!!! And Meisie - I fogot to mention that, thank you!...YES!! Use your eye dropper tool to pick up the colour you want your shadow to be, then darken it a few shades. You'll be amazed at the difference!

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Thanks for the tips, Erin! I never thought about playing with the opacity! I learn something every day!

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That is how I do them (eyedropper) but thanks for letting me know why mine are big in the gallery, and especially how to fix them. I was wondering why they did that. Won't be fixing the ones there, but good to know for the future. :)

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You rock!! I hope everyone reads this. I know shadows are a frustration for lots of people :)

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Thanks for the tips, Erin! I was struggling with a drop shadow just a few hours ago.

 

And Angela, good how-to tips for PSP. I'll add just one thing...playing with the blur number really gives it a different effect. So before you'd go with a larger shadow, fool around with the blur number first. It makes quite a difference without increasing the overall size of your shadow effect.

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Thanks for these tips. I had never thought about changing the opacity. Its amazing how you can see something and not think about trying it out. It was also useful to think about how a real shadow would look. I know I can get carried away by putting a shadow on which is not realistic.

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Erin, that "mini" tutorial was very complete and full of great ideas! I also want to add that it is a good idea to check and see what your shadows look like on your layout when it is sized at 100%. We are usually working on layouts reduced to about 30% so we can see the whole thing on our screens. A shadow that looks good when you are sized at 30% looks a whole lot different when it is viewed (and printed) at 100%. Just another tip!

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Considering that wasn't a tutorial...that was an excellent tutorial Erin.

Thanks a lot.

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Oh my gosh - thank you, thank you, thank you! I'm relatively new to this and have really worried about the shadow thing. Thank you soooooo much!

 

Suzie West

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Wonderful tips, Erin, thanks! I was explaining to a friend Friday night that I almost never leave a drop shadow the way PSE intended, but I never thought about the resizing issue. That will come in handy!

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Thanks Erin! Playing around with thes effects is one of my favorite things to do. This will be lots of fun! Great non-tutorial!

:dancing_penguin:

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coolness.. many thanks! i had played with the color of shadows.. but had not thought of the opacity! muchas!

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These tips are SSSOOO helpful. Thanks for sharing these with us. No more floaters for me!!

 

Wendy

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I recently read a post discussing how merging layers sometimes changes a shadow. All of you may already know this, but just in case, before merging layers I simplfy every layer (the layers with the little icon on the right) before merging. This seems to keep everything on that layer intact while merging.

 

Suzie

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Thank you ladies for all these tips. I now have answers to all my questions and am going to go and test everything I've learned.

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