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Old 01-26-2011, 09:36 AM
kimberkatt's Avatar
kimberkatt kimberkatt is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 9,698
Default PS: Using Warp Tool for custom Drop Shadows

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 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.
*avatar created by Elaina, aka nightshadow ( her!)
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