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Realistic Shadows for Semi-Transparent Embellishments and Vellum

Note: Tutorial created using Photoshop CS2 and Windows XP.

Adding shadows to your embellishments and papers on your digital scrapbooking layouts helps to add depth and realism. However, sometimes you may have a semi-transparent embellishment or paper, and when you add a shadow to that, it just doesn’t look real, as the semi-transparency means you can see the dark shadow.

 

Scrap Girls University - Digital Scrapbooking Tutorial - Realistic Shadows for Semi-Transparent Embellishments and Vellum

Not realistic at all.

For this tutorial, I’m using a sheer bow from my Primrose Hill Collection. Any semi-transparent embellishment or vellum paper will work just as well.

Open and add your chosen embellishment to your layout.

 

Scrap Girls University - Digital Scrapbooking Tutorial - Realistic Shadows for Semi-Transparent Embellishments and Vellum

Add a shadow to your embellishment. Go to your Layers Palette and click on the “Add Layer Style” button on the bottom of the Palette and then choose "Drop Shadow."

 

Scrap Girls University - Digital Scrapbooking Tutorial - Realistic Shadows for Semi-Transparent Embellishments and Vellum

In the Layer Style dialogue box, click on "Drop Shadow" and add a soft, small drop shadow. Use the settings shown here. Alternatively, you can use Ro’s ScrapSimple Shadow Styles available in the Scrap Girls Boutique. There are a few to choose from and they are excellent for adding quick, realistic shadows.

Note that I’ve changed the color of the drop shadow from the default black to a mustard/yellow color. Grey/black shadows very rarely look natural. To achieve realism and a nice sense of depth, choose a color from your background on which your embellishment is being placed. Keep the Blend Mode set for "Multiply."

Now, your embellishment should have a nice drop shadow.

 

Scrap Girls University - Digital Scrapbooking Tutorial - Realistic Shadows for Semi-Transparent Embellishments and Vellum

What we are going to do now is remove most of it! Right-click on the Layer Effect and choose "Create Layer."

 

Scrap Girls University - Digital Scrapbooking Tutorial - Realistic Shadows for Semi-Transparent Embellishments and Vellum

Your drop shadow should now be on its own independent layer under your embellishment.

Ctrl+Click on the embellishment's thumbnail in the Layers Palette to select it. Alternatively, you can select it by going to Select> Load Selection.

You should now have “marching ants” around your embellishment. Now, make the shadow layer active by clicking on it (if it’s not already the active layer).   The “marching ants” should still be there.

 

Scrap Girls University - Digital Scrapbooking Tutorial - Realistic Shadows for Semi-Transparent Embellishments and Vellum

Go to Select> Modify> Contract. Choose 1px and click "OK." Now, go to Edit> Cut. Or, you can just hit the Delete key. You should now have cleared most of the drop shadow, other than a small part around the embellishment. Your semi-transparent embellishment or paper looks much more realistic now!

Computer scrapbooking layout "Precious" by Diane Rooney

Layout by Diane Rooney
larger view

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Diane Rooney

Tutorial written by Diane Rooney


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