Independent Shadow Layers
By Michelle Bradshaw
Shadows on scrapbook pages are often discussed with the goal to make them as realistic as possible for the situation. There are standard shadows with both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. Both allow altering the angle, distance, softness, opacity as well as the color.
Screen shots are from PSE 10 and the Photoshop’s CS5. For this tutorial 3 beach items from Under the Boardwalk by Clever Monkey Graphics and were selected and placed on a pale blue background for visibility purposes.
In PSE, select layer styles from the effects palette and choose Drop Shadows from the list. Note the variety that comes with your program. Hover the mouse over each one, an information box will tell you what it is. Click and then click apply or simply double click to apply the style. In screen shot 2, I’ve chosen just the basic low shadow.
Screen Shot 3 shows the changes one can make within the program by using the sliders.
Screen Shot 4 is showing the pathway from the menu in CS5 and screen shot 5 shows the dialog box.
Sometimes, neither works for you and you just wish the shadow was on its “own” layer. Well, they can be……..
In Photoshop- right click on the layer effect and from the drop down menu select create layer. A box will inform you that some aspects of the style may not work. Just click ok.
Screen shot 7 shows the newly added independent shadow layers.
You are now free to move just the shadow away from the element.
In PSE, it takes an extra step as an applied shadow remains attached to the element. [there is always a work around- wink]. To illustrate I’m removing the shadow style. Instead – create a new blank layer and move this layer below the element, rename it shadow.
With this layer active, use the ctrl key [cmd on a mac] and click the element layer. [marching ants]- Edit > fill selection > color >select a color, click ok.
PSE users can now move the shadow too.
To make the shadow look more realistic: Filter > blur> Gaussian blur > select a radius that works for the image.
For my final ‘result’ after manipulating the shadows using Learning Matters photo transformation tutorial from January 29, 2013
I added a photo I took at the beach as my background.
The beach ball was already on the beach.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you create a layout using any of the tutorials I write I would love to see your final product. If you have a request for a tutorial let me know as well.