This article was originally shared in our daily newsletter on Wednesday, July 11th, 2012.
Tutorial created using Photoshop CS5 with a PC
When I have a spare moment to scrapbook, the last thing I want to do is fiddle with drop shadows. Thank goodness our designers have taken the guesswork out for us! Today, let’s focus on ScrapSimple Tools – Styles: Drop Shadows 11701 Super Biggie and see all it has to offer.
As its marketing description states, this handy style set includes drop shadows in four different directions. Designer Jen Reed named them handily with their degree number (e.g., the usual shadow below and to the right of each object is a 120-degree shadow). I just remember them as down/right, down/left, up, and down. Within each direction, there are varying sizes of shadows.
When you look at real-life objects sitting on a surface, thicker items leave a larger shadow. In the example below, the key and the cardboard are thicker items and thus have larger shadows than the title letters, which mimic stickers or die cuts.
Sometimes you might want to play around with the sizes a little bit and fine-tune them to your liking. That doesn’t mean you have to create your own drop shadow. Apply one of these styles; then, as shown in the screen capture, double-click on the layer in the Layers Palette to bring up the Styles box. Click on Drop Shadow and use the sliders to increase or decrease the shadow size and distance.
The default drop shadow for the vast majority of us is 120 degrees (down/right). But what about those layouts where the light source is obvious and would not naturally create 120-degree shadows? Look at the sun in the card below – it is placed in the upper right corner.
The blue arrow shows the direction of the light from the sun. As in real life, this sun should light up the upper right corner of each object and cast a shadow down and to the left of each object (45-degree shadows).
Commercial license versions of ScrapSimple Tools – Styles: Drop Shadows 11701 Super Biggie and Here Comes the Sun Collection Biggie are also available.
One last rule of drop shadows is that, in general, the bottom layers in a stack or cluster would cast smaller shadows than those objects on top. In the layout below, the gray paper casts a small shadow on the striped paper. The thick corrugated cardboard is the next layer up, though, so it needs to cast a fairly large shadow.
And finally, feel free to take some liberties – I layered coins underneath the frames. In real life, that would lift the frame up higher and it should cast a larger shadow as a result. However, these gorgeous, grungy frames came with their own halftone pattern, and it just didn’t look right with a big shadow. In some respects, I am a perfectionist, but for this, I just shrugged my shoulders and said, “It looks cool the way it is!”
Commercial license versions of ScrapSimple Tools – Styles: Drop Shadows 11701 Super Biggie, Pirate Code Collection Biggie, Pirate Code Solids Paper Mini, ScrapSimple Embellishment Templates: Ripped Cardboard, ScrapSimple Embellishment Templates: Tattered Photo Masks and Inspiring Dates Word Art Mini are also available.
Article written by Cheri Thieleke
Scrap Girls Digital Scrapbooking Layout Artist