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Shadowing 201: Customizing Shadow Styles

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November 11th, 2011, 10:38 AM
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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. *Before proceeding with this lesson, please either have a basic knowledge of adding shadow styles OR read over Shadowing 101: Adding Shadows first.

This lesson is divided into two parts; the first part covers PSE, the second part covers PS CS. Please note that they do not apply to each other due to differences in the programs.

You can get by just using the shadow style settings that are automatically on your programs pre-done shadow styles if you wish. But as you progress more into digital scrapbooking you may find that you want to change the way your shadows look on certain things. To do this you will need to go into your styles settings and you can change them to customize them to what you want for your pages. This lesson goes over how to customize those settings.

To change your style settings in PSE this is what you need to do.

Go to Layers, then down to Layer Styles, then Style Settings. A box that looks like this should pop up in your window:

Click on the box that says Drop Shadow. Once that expands you should see three sliders that say Size, Distance, and Opacity. What they do is:
  • Size - This changes the overall size of the shadow. The higher the number the blurrier the edges of the shadows become.
  • Distance - This changes how far out the shadow will go from what you have selected. The higher the number the more it makes it seem as if the element is raised from the page.
  • Opacity - This changes how dark and light the shadow is. This is important because if you've ever looked at something's shadow you know that it isn't always super dark, sometimes the shadows are lighter than the default amount set by the program.
Here is an element shadow with the default settings for the Low shadow style:

And here it is changed to be lighter and smaller:

And here it is changed to be larger and darker:

In the Styles Settings you can also change the color of your shadow and what direction your shadows goes.
mom of: Zach (10), Ryan (8), Bella (5), Mason (2), and pollywog #5 due 12/04/14
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November 11th, 2011, 10:53 AM
MommaTrish's Avatar bless your heart
Join Date: May 2007
Location: the South East USA
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To change your style settings in PS CS this is what you need to do.

Go to Layers, then Layer Style, then to Drop Shadow. It will automatically add PS CS's default shadow setting and a box will pop up that looks like this:

The first thing that I am going to tell you is to just ignore the part of the box at the bottom that says Quality - in all my years of digital scrapbooking I've never seen the need to change that.

You have four sliders this time; Opacity (which does the same as in PSE), Distance, Spread, and Size. Here is what the three last sliders do:
  • Distance - This is how far away from your element the shadow goes. The further away it is the more it makes the element seem raised from what is under it.
  • Spread - Just leave this alone.
  • Size - This changes how blurry the shadow becomes. The higher the number - the bigger the shadow - the blurrier the shadow gets.
Here is a little extra something that you can change about your shadows in PS CS that you can't in PSE. Right under the word structure you should see a drop down menu that says Blending Mode next to it. This controls how the shadow interacts with whatever you have under the element that you are shadowing. What blending mode you use on your shadow is purely up to you and your tastes. The most common used blending modes for shadowing in digital scrapbooking are Multiply, Linear Burn, and Hard Light.
mom of: Zach (10), Ryan (8), Bella (5), Mason (2), and pollywog #5 due 12/04/14
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