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November 11th, 2011, 07:59 PM
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MommaTrish MommaTrish is offline
bless your heart
Join Date: May 2007
Location: the South East USA
Posts: 36,708
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Here are just some shadowing tips from me. All of my tips are based on PS CS, but can be modified (for the most part) to work with PSE also.

  • Not all things are going to have the same shadow settings, as a matter of fact - most things, to get as realistic shadows as possible, are going to need quite different settings. For example - papers are almost always going to have very low shadow settings where as bulkier objects (such as certain types of frames and flowers) will have much high settings.
  • Shadows on items like tape work best with a blending mode set to hard light and a low opacity and size and distance.
  • Acrylics (objects that are almost completely see-through) are a force unto themselves when it comes to shadowing. For the best shadow possible on them see this tutorial.
  • When working with lace elements it's best to always keep your shadows small and light, this allows for the pattern in the lace to be best seen and to translate best as a shadow.
  • If you wan to give your flat paper-like pieces (paper pieces, layered papers, photos, etc) more depth or a slightly grunge-y feel take your shadowing one step further and also add an inner shadow that is set at dark brown and very blurry.
Here are some of the shadow settings that I use on different things:

the settings:
  • a. distance: 9, spread: 0, size: 24
  • b. distance: 20, spread: 2, size: 15
  • c. distance: 11, spread: 5, size: 24
  • d. distance: 17, spread: 5, size: 9
  • e. distance: 12, spread: 0, size: 10 (set at hard mix, opacity 90%)
  • f. distance: 3, spread: 2, size: 13 (set at hard light, opacity 50%)
  • g. distance: 30, spread: 0, size: 16
  • h. distance: 14, spread: 0, size: 35
  • i. distance: 7, spread: 5, size: 9
  • j. (outer shadow) distance: 5, spread: 0, size: 15 (inner shadow) distance: 5, spread: 0, size: 35 - color brown, opacity 20%
  • k. distance: 4, spread: 0, size: 2
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