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Last summer, my sister and I toured Vietnam. This is one of the many gorgeous places we visited, Cat Cat Falls in Sapa. The longer I digital scrap, the more I love fussing with my shadows. As I work on a page, I add one of the many drop shadow styles I have purchased over the years. When my layout is nearly finished, I start tweaking my shadows. Since I work in PS, I put the shadows on their own layer. Here some of my tips/techniques:

I use the smudge tool most often when working with my shadows. I bring the shadows further out to make an element look like it’s lifting off the page. If an element is being tucked under something, like the tag on the right side of the frame, I smudge the shadow inward so it looks as if the tag is flattening as it tucks under the frame.


I often make 2 shadows for an element as I did with the banner, and the tag. After duplicating the element, I put a different shadow on each layer; and mask away the unwanted parts. With the tag, I wanted the string to be floating above the frame so it needed a larger shadow with less opacity then the tag. I applied the same technique on the little green banner because I wanted the upper part of the banner to be held down by the brad; and the lower part to be floating upward.


To make your shadowing more realistic in clusters, try putting larger shadows with a lower opacity on the top elements; increasing the opacity and lowering the size as you work downward through the cluster.


There are many fun ways to work with your shadows. The warp tool, and the wave filter can give you great effects, too. Each layout requires different shadowing techniques. Soon you will find yourself addicted to shadow play!


Cat Cat Falls by Deborah Wagner|Supplies:  Anna Aspnes – TimeLine Brush Set, Big Words Travel No.1; Alison Pennington – Anchored; Lynn Grieveson – Deep End; LJS Designs – For The Love of Peace; Stolen Moments Designs – O Captain; KimB – Destination Escape, The Road Ahead, Fish On, Hippie Go Lucky, Salty Kisses, Precious Beginnings; Sabrina’s Creations – 25 Days of Christmas; Katie Pertiet – Travel Clusters No.3