View Full Version : PS: Using Warp Tool for custom Drop Shadows

01-26-2011, 09:36 AM
This tutorial brought to you by Piggy Scraps Designs

I almost hate to tackle this here. This is a small space, and this is a big subject. But it will be a start. It will be something to try, to tweak and play with. Something to make your own. I am talking about drop shadows.

Today I will do a short tutorial on using the Warp Tool to alter drop shadows. My goal is to have my frame pop off the page. I'll start by sharing my paper & my frame:

I imagine no one is jumping up & down at the sight of the frame on the paper. It just blends in. I added the standard drop shadow. The photoshop default.
I find the default a little too dark, too rigid for my tastes. I normally dial down shadow opacity to 40-50% depending on the light/dark of the kit I'm working with. I always up the blur factor by increasing size in the effects (fx) panel. I'm not a fan of strong edges on my shadows, though this does have a place & purpose on some elements. Nothing is concrete in photoshop or design!
Now that I've played with all the drop shadow settings in the effects (fx) panel. It's time to get a little more control over my drop shadow. My favorite way of doing this is to put the drop shadow on it's own layer. I do this by going to my layers pallet. Then;

Right click on the "Frame" layer (on the fx symbol)
Choose "Create Layer"
Your drop shadow is now on it's own layer

To warp the drop shadow layer select it in your layers pallet. Then click edit-->transform-->warp
You will see a 9-grid mesh appear over your image. You can pull & push, warp, your shadow any which way. Play with it, hit the check mark above your design(work) area when finished, or hit the http://img2.ymlp153.net/stoneaccents_no.jpg if you want to start over.
I did mine in a rough butterfly shape to help it pop up & out. Then I dialed down the opacity even more. Honestly, I like the opacity even lower but it doesn't demonstrate very well if I do it. I just think it looks good.

01-27-2011, 09:57 AM
How can you do this in PSE9?

01-27-2011, 10:21 AM
unfortunately, the Warp tool is not supported in PSE products, so you have to come up with a work-a-round... I've used the Wave Filter & the Liquify Filter to achieve the same effect, but it is time-consuming & difficult - also, PSE does not have "Create layer" function either... so you have to create your own drop shadow layer to begin with...

There is a basic tutorial HERE (http://www.cottagearts.net/tutorial_shadows_pse.html) on how to get lifted corners in PSE, this was one of the first tutorials I used when I started out with PSE. Scroll about half-way down for the Custom Lifted Drop Shadow - there are other tips & tricks there, too! :)

01-28-2011, 09:52 AM
Thanks so much!!! I will check it out now. Thanks

01-28-2011, 09:55 AM
that worked for me. thanks so much!!

01-28-2011, 10:43 AM
You are very welcome Darline! :XX I'm glad it worked out for you! :DD

06-11-2015, 04:59 AM
Is this how scrappers are getting those deep soft shadows?

06-12-2015, 01:04 AM
Deep soft shadows are achieved by choosing a big number for distance and size (in photoshop). The shadows I used for this layout are 150 in distance and 150 in size. To get the very 3D effect. Usually I lower numbers than that.


06-13-2015, 03:20 PM
Oh Thanks!