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Adding Shadows to Lace in Photoshop

by SnickerdoodleDesigns on 15 March 2014
in Commercial Use,Designer Tools & Tips,Freebies,Photoshop CS+,Tutorials Pin this scrappy stuff!

St. Patricks Day is right around the corner!  In 2011 I visited Ireland and fell in love – with the people, with the beautiful country, and with Irish Lace. Last week I released some Irish Lace products, and I have received multiple emails this week asking me the best way to shadow the lace.  Today I would like to share with you how I do it.

We all know there are multiple ways to accomplish the same results in Photoshop.  If you have a favorite way of shadowing difficult pieces like lace, please share with us in the Comments area. We love hearing from you and learning from each other.

For today’s tutorial, I am using Photoshop CS6, and the element I will be working with is pictured below.  This beautiful flower was created by Jill (Jilbert’s Bits of Bytes), using her Paper Flower Action – PSCS version and a paper from her Papers-Watercolor Sea 1 (and I recolored it for the purposes of this tutorial). She used one of my new (just released today!) Irish Lace Overlays, Set3 for the lace flower overlay. The button is Jill’s creation also. (Soon to be released with a new button set.)


Without a shadow, this lace gets lost and looks pretty drab. So let’s perk it up a bit.


I double clicked on the layer of the lace flower to open the Layer Styles Panel.  I then applied a shadow to the lace with the following Structure:

Angle 120
Distance 19
Spread 0
Size 38

There is nothing magic about this structure. It’s just what I liked for this particular size and shape element.


Next I clicked on the color box to the right of the Blend Mode to active the color picker.


Using the eye dropper tool, I clicked on a dark part of the green flower to select that color, then clicked OK to close the Color Picker Box.  You will see the color that I have chosen reflected in the color box to the right of the Blend Mode in the Layer Style Panel.  I changed the Blend Mode to Linear Burn and to 49% Opacity.


Here’s the Before and After:


Here is the flower with the default Photoshop Shadow style applied. (Color Black; Blend Mode Multiply; Opacity 75%;  Angle 120; Distance 5; Spread 0; Size 5). The black color of the shadow is visible through the sheer parts of the lace, and creates a very harsh… and just-not-attractive look.


One of the keys to creating realistic shadows is in choosing the right color shadow and in using a Linear Burn blend mode.  Experiment, and see how you like this method!

If you would like to get your St. Patricks layouts off to a great start… or any layout, really… click on the image below to download this lovely lace flower!


Important Note:  While Jill’s action does work on PNG images, it is not marketed or advertised to do so. A lot of manual tweaking must be done in order to make the lace look perfect, and it is a difficult process. Jill generously worked on this lace flower today so we could offer it to you as a gift.  However, don’t be disheartened if you were looking forward to some lace flowers.   Jill is working hard at creating some for us all!   Keep on the lookout to see those in our stores soon!  Pick up Jill’s action now and start creating all of the flowers you would like to have, so when the lace flowers are available, if you would like to layer them, you’ll be ready to go!  While you’re at it, check out my Irish Lace product line.  What could be better than having perfectly matching lace overlays and flowers?

Credits and Good News!  You will find theStudio’s PU and CU shops on sale for 30% off through March 17th!  That  includes all of my Irish Lace products, including the brand NEW Irish Lace Overlays, provided in PNG format, and just released today!  It also include’s Jill’s Paper Flower Action, provided in both PSCS and PSE versions.   Links to specific products are provided below.

From SnickerdoodleDesigns: Irish Lace Styles; Irish Lace Corners; Irish Lace Borders Set 1; Irish Lace Borders Set 2; Irish Lace Overlays Set 1; and BRAND NEW:  Irish Lace Overlays Set 2; Irish Lace Overlays Set 3; Irish Lace Overlays Set 4; Irish Lace Frames.

From Jilbert’s Bits of Bytes: Paper Flower Action – PSE Version; Paper Flower Action PSCS version

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 RachelR 15 March 2014 at 11:50 am

This is great info. Thanks so much for taking the time to write it.
I wanted to add the lace flower shape to my cart before I checkout but I can’t find it. There is no shape like that in the “Paper Flower Action”.
Did you use one that’s not included in the product?


2 Su Hall 15 March 2014 at 12:47 pm

The difference is amazing! I have started trying to use Linear Burn and the background color, but, I think I must be not lowering the opacity enough. I guess it just takes practice. Thanks for the ‘push’ to try harder!



3 Peggy S 15 March 2014 at 12:51 pm

This is a terrific tutorial and a gorgeous flower gift! I have Jill’s Flower Action and it is so fun. For Elements users, we need to buy an action to separate our shadow to a new layer in order to use Linear Burn on it. I have one by Anna Forrest that works quickly and easily. There are others available too. Check the Studio for one. It is well worth having for this purpose and also to do a distort on the shadow to get nice realistic effects.


4 SnickerdoodleDesigns 15 March 2014 at 1:40 pm

Thanks for your feedback, ladies! Rachel, this particular shape will be in the new product Jill will be releasing this week. I’m sorry I didn’t mention that in the blog post for those interested in that specific one.


5 Carol 15 March 2014 at 3:54 pm

I have the flower action that you used, but what I don’t understand is how you got the lace to be see-through. I made a lace paper png, but when I used it with the flower action, it superimposed it on the background rosette shape and you couldn’t see through the holes in the lace. Do you have to make a lace clipping mask on an already finished flower?


6 SnickerdoodleDesigns 15 March 2014 at 4:06 pm

Carol, the lace overlay was created with a PNG file (one of my new Irish Lace (PNG) Oerlays, released today. The links to these products at at the bottom of this post. There is an explanation as the bottom of the tutorial about the action, PNG files, and Jill’s upcoming templates for the PNG lace overlays. If you have any other questions, let me know.


7 Carol 15 March 2014 at 4:41 pm

I used one of your lace overlays to make my flower. (I bought 1 set of overlays, 1 set of lace edges and your lace styles, which I love!) I think I have it figured out now, but one last question-I assume the top and bottom layers of your flower were created separately and then put together since the action doesn’t make 2 different shapes on one flower, so did you put the lace on the same paper that the bottom was made from so that it looks like the lace is sitting directly on the bottom layer? I hope this isn’t too confusing!


8 SnickerdoodleDesigns 15 March 2014 at 4:47 pm

The green flower was created using Jill’s action, and it was one piece when it was finished. Then Jill created the lace flower, separately, and placed it on top of the green flower. So, yes, 2 separate actions and 2 separate layers. Does that help?


9 Pam aka Cat Wild (Crazy Cat Creations) 16 March 2014 at 7:01 am

Thank you for sharing this beautiful flower! Very pretty! :)


10 Галина 16 March 2014 at 1:03 pm

Большое спасибо -очень интересно !!!!!


11 Stash Empress 18 March 2014 at 10:31 am

This is just tooooo gorgeous. I WANT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE & YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN ;-)

Now could you somehow put a link to this tute in the forum thread about the flower action? For those of us who are having a hard enough time remembering where we left our keys & phones, let alone where we saw how to do what???? ;-)


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