Wed 24 Jul 2013
I posted this page last week in our new (and totally awesome so you should come join) Facebook Community Group and got some q’s about how I did the shadowing to make it look like the paper was coming off the page so I put together a tutorial to show you how I did it and now you can do it too!
It’s really easy to do in just 3-4 steps so don’t be scared by all the screenshots – I tried to break it down as much as possible so it would be easy to follow even for the newest Photoshop newbie (I hope).
Note however, this will only work in Photoshop. Sorry Photoshop Elements peeps. Take it up with Adobe.
Let’s get started:
STEP 1: Add a drop shadow to your image/element
Select the item you want to shadow and double click to bring up the Layer Style Menu (pictured below). Select your drop shadow options. I like to make a very large soft shadow so I bump the numbers up quite high. You can play with opacity as well. I leave everything under ‘quality’ untouched.
STEP 2: Move the shadow to it’s own layer
Instead of leaving the shadow as an ‘effect’ (fx) on your paper layer we are going to place it on it’s own layer so we can manipulate it. Right click on the LITTLE ARROW on the right hand side of the paper/element layer you’ve just shadowed. Select CREATE LAYER from the menu.
Now the shadow is on it’s own layer beneath the paper.
STEP 3a: Tweak that sucker
Now it’s time for the tweak. We’re going to warp and bend the shadow and at this point it is all a matter of personal taste. I am not a shadow expert, I just do what looks right to me so you can experiment to see what you like. I like to rotate the shadow first before I start to warp. You may want to skip this step and go right to the warp.
Here’s what I do: Select CNTRL+T to transform. You’ll see a little outline box with handles around the shadow layer. I grab a corner and rotate it slightly to the right because I feel like it gives me a good start with shadows starting to peek out in alignment on the right side.
STEP 3b: Now we warp
While already in ‘Transform’ right click to bring up your transform options. There are lots of fun little options to play with (distort, skew, perspective) which you can experiment with. I stick to WARP.
Once selected you get a funky grid over the shadow layer. You can essentially bend the shadow any which way you choose just by clicking and pulling either on the grid or on the little round nobs along the side. You don’t have to stick to corners, it’s all moveable. If you don’t like the result remember that CNTRL+Z (my bestest friend in the whole wide world) is ‘UNDO’.
I like to pull out the corners of the shadow and bend in the middle (as you can see by the grid) when doing this effect on a paper or photo. It takes a bit of tweaking.
Just move and adjust until you like what you see.
BONUS STEP 4: Double up the drop shadow
After I’ve tweaked to taste sometimes there are certain sides where the shadow is no longer visible or maybe I just want to give the paper/element a little more pop, I’ll go back and add another regular drop shadow (step 1) to the original paper. Not nearly as big or soft as the original one, just something subtle and I find this usually makes a big difference.
This technique is also great to use when shadowing your elements especially strings! Again, I’m not the best with shadows and I did this really quickly but you can see the difference between the regular drop shadow and how it looks when tweaked. For elements like ribbon and string you want to use a much thinner shadow that has a greater distance. (something like Distance: 9, Size: 4). A frame would have a much small distance because it would be sitting flatter on the page.
Hope this helps you with your shadow making. Bookmark (or Pin) this post and give it a shot! If you found this helpful or have any questions, let me know or come join our Facebook Community Group and post your results.