Archive for January 27th, 2009

PostHeaderIcon Learnin’ Stuff in Photoshop: Shadows

I’ve decided to start a new regular post on my blog entitled: Learnin’ Stuff in Photoshop. As I learn more about this program and grow as a digiscrapper, I feel like I have to share some of this information so the rest of you will be as excited as I am to make your layouts beautiful! Most of the tutorials I post will be linked places I’ve found on the internet to teach myself. I’m a self-taught photoshopper and I’m living proof that you can learn it all on your own! Ok, not all, but all so far LOL.

Today I want to talk about shadows. I see so many layouts in the galleries that are beautifully laid out, but lack realism because their creators haven’t played with shadows yet. This is the best tutorial out there that I have found on using shadow effectively:

Cast Shadow, posted at Something Blue Studios.

Go ahead, click on it, I’ll wait here.

Ok, done? Good. Isn’t it great? The key is PUTTING YOUR SHADOW ON A SEPARATE LAYER. That’s right. On your layers palette, right-click, select “Create Layer” and it will drop it underneath your element layer. Then you can click on Edit>Transform>Warp and squish it around to your hearts content. Then adjust opacity. Then dodge, burn, dodge some more.

Wasn’t that fun?? Here’s an example of a layout I’ve done with some shadow work:

Click image for credits. See how I made the wing appear to lift off the page a bit? and the ribbons on the string? I’m no expert, but it gives it a little extra depth. Now, an expert would be Bec from Scrap Orchard. Here is an example of an incredible layout with her amazing shadowing techniques:

Look at how she pulled the heart out from the page, and how she burned the edges of the ribbons to make them appear folded under. Here is some of her technique in her own words:

“I create my shadows in a new layer and then warp the shadow to help ‘shape’ things and then I blur the shadow and reduce the opacity. Sometimes I’ll warp the element a little too. I really like the ‘lifting of the paper’ look :) It can help to select just part of the shadow for warping too or use the smudge tool to pull out just one corner of the shadow.
I do this for each and every shadow which can take ages but I’ve made actions to make it a bit quicker. One action to move the drop shadow to a new layer using layer style/create layers, and then an action to blur and fade the shadow. I have 3 copies of the blur action with a radius of 5, 10 or 15 pixels depending on how much depth I want. For the flatter elements or paper I’ll use 5 and for the bigger 3D objects I’ll use 10 or 15.
Then I’ll go over the papers and elements with dodge and burn to further enhance the shading or give it a well handled look :)
Oh and I always try to pick a shadow direction that matches the lighting on the elements and photos I use.”

Check out Bec’s gallery if you want some divine inspiration!

Come back next time for my other favorite Shadow tutorial for when you’ve extracted a picture….that’s the OTHER technique I’ve used in the Sk8ter Girl layout!

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About Me
My name is Charmaine. I'm a working mom of 3 amazing kids and wife to stay at home dad and web designer, Stephen. I started this blog to document funny stories about my life as a parent, and to share my love of capturing it all on film and scrapbooking it! I began designing early in 2009 and truly love the creative energy that it provides for me. I hope you enjoy my designs!
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