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These directions are written with PS CS 3 and PSE 7. Some things may be slightly different with other versions of the two programs. I can not guarantee that these steps will work with other programs, but they should give you a basic idea on shadowing.
Shadowing is very important for your digital scrapbooking pages. They make the things on your page pop and look more realistic. Here's an example of what a page looks like before and after shadowing has been done:
For a better look, here are some close ups of some of the clustered areas with and without shadows.
The first thing you should know is how to add shadows to your pages. The shadows that come pre-done on your program can be found in your styles area. Styles are things that you can add to your elements, papers, and photos that can change the look of them. You can use them to add shadows, bevels, strokes, and more. To get to your shadow styles just simply do the following: PS CS- Click Window and then go down to Styles and make sure that it is checked. It should then show up on the side of your window. PSE - First, click Window and make sure that Palette Bin is checked. Once it has shown up on the side of your screen go back to Window and make sure that Effects is checked. In your palette section on the side of your screen look under the word Effects, you should see a row of icons and a drop-down menu. As you hover over each icon with your mouse it should show you the name of each one, select the one that says Layer Styles (should be the second one). Go to the drop down menu and select Drop Shadows.
PS CS comes with one pre-done shadow style, PSE comes with several. Just because PSE has several does not mean you are going to want to actually use all of them. The ones best for digital scrapbooking are the styles labeled as Low and Soft Edge, to see which are which just hover over the different shadow icons.
To add a shadow to something on your page the first thing you are going to want to do is to make sure that the item you want shadowed is selected. The easiest way to do this is to look on the bar under the one with File and everything on it and make sure that the box next to the words "Auto Select" is checked. This lets you just click on things your page to move and select them. Now select what you want shadowed, then go over to your shadow styles and (PSE) double click the shadow that you want to use/ (PS CS) click the shadow style.
There are certain things that you might add to your page that don't need shadows (though most things will need shadows). Those things generally are text, doodles, paint, or brushes. Every now and then you will find that those can be shadowed - but 90% of the time they don't require shadows.
In Gimp shadows are found under Script-Fu > Layer Effects. Click on Drop Shadow a new window will pop up.
Set the size and offset distance with trial and error until you find the settings that work best for you. I usually set size to 3 and offset distance to 1. You can set the opacity now too if you want, but I leave that until later and set it on the layer palette.
Once you have your shadow you can move it if you wish using the scale tool in your toolbox. Simply highlight your shadow layer in your layer palette and then click on the scale tool.
Click on your canvas and a grid will appear, you can then drag the shadow over slightly. Once you're happy with the position click scale. This is when I set the opacity of the shadow.
You can leave it there or go one step further and blur the shadow to make it more realistic looking. Click on Filters > Blur > Guassian Blur. Again it's trial and error with the settings to see what suits best.