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Shadowing Acrylics in PSE (CS Compatible)

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August 16th, 2011, 10:00 PM
MommaTrish's Avatar bless your heart
Join Date: May 2007
Location: the South East USA
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Here's an acrylic frame on a paper - with and without my shadowing (the question was originally asked with alpha but I couldn't find any of mine for some reason...) and I'll be showing you how to create a similar shadow style in PSE without using premade styles.

It takes a little work, but once you get down how to do it these are steps you can just zoom through (unless you're uber picky like moi), and it's worth the steps since a regular shadow on acrylic in PSE tends to look like this:

OK, once you have your element in place and ready for shadowing I want you to select the layer of the acrylic element. Next go and select your MAGIC WAND tool and select the outside of your element and any inside open areas there might be. (Like how my frame is open in the middle - I selected that) Once those are selected go to SELECT>INVERSE (the shortcut is CTRL+Shift+I). Those little marching ants/dots/slashes should now only be around your element.

With the slashes still going around your element create a new layer and then move it under your element. (Keep those slashes going until I tell you to kill them lol) Go over and set your primary color to whatever color you use on shadows. Select your PAINT BUCKET, and making sure the blank layer is selected, click in the slash area to fill it.

(You can get rid of the marching ants for now)
Duplicate that layer your just made and label them as SHADOW 1 and SHADOW 2. Hide Shadow 1 and select Shadow 2. Take Shadow 2 and nudge and rotate it around until you get it the distance and angle you want it from the element. Once you are happy with that set the opacity of the layer to what you normally set as your shadow opacity, and then turn your blending mode on the layer to either: MULTIPLY, LINEAR BURN, or HARD LIGHT - whichever you chose is entirely up to you and your taste.

Remember how we got the marching ants just around the element before? Well, select your element layer and do that again. Once you have the ants just around the element, select your SHADOW 2 layer and then got to EDIT>CUT.

Next, making sure that SHADOW 2 is still selected, go to FILTER>BLUR>GAUSSIAN BLUR. This will give your shadow that sort of soft semi-blurry look. The amount you set the radius too is completely up to you, but I usually set it somewhere between 5 and 10. For this I used 7.

Last step - I promise.
Go back and unhide and select SHADOW 1. This shadow layer is going to add a little more definition to your element by giving a very light shadow cast under the element. You'll want to use the same blending mode you used on the Shadow 2 layer, but you're going to want to set you layer opacity really low; again somewhere between 5 and 10% depending on what is under your element. Mine is set to 8.

Not only is that it, but those are also the exact same steps I use for shadowing acrylics in CS also.
mom of: Zach (10), Ryan (8), Bella (5), Mason (2), and pollywog #5 due 12/04/14
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