How to create a Drop Shadow effect in CS2?

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Posted By
Dinarius
Oct 20, 2006
Views
2477
Replies
24
Status
Closed
This is what I am doing…….

1. Open 16bit TIFF photo.

2. In Layers palette, drag Background icon to New Layer icon and create new Background Layer.

3. With Background Copy layer selected, choose Layer/Layer Style/Drop Shadow.

4. Play with Distance, Spread etc……….then click OK.

Nothing happens (at least not visibly) so what am I doing wrong?

Thanks.

D.

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BL
Bob Levine
Oct 20, 2006
You need to enlarge the canvas in order to see the shadow.

Bob
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Dinarius
Oct 20, 2006
Bob,

If you mean dragging the edges of the frame to isolate the image, all that does is reveal the actual photograph against a grey background.

D.
BL
Bob Levine
Oct 20, 2006
What were you expecting? If you want to apply a drop shadow to only part of the image, you’ll need to isolate it on its own layer.

Bob
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chrisjbirchall
Oct 20, 2006
Your second layer is casting a shadow, but as the canvas is the same size as the layer, the shadow obviously cannot be seen. It goes beyond the extremities of the image.

Therefore, if you go IMAGE>CANVAS_SIZE and add a small amount of space all around, your shadow will be cast upon that additional space. You will, of course, need to fill the additional area of background layer with white for the shadow to show up.

Does this help?

Chris.
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Dinarius
Oct 21, 2006
I’m afraid not! 😉

It’s a long time since I did this. The last time, I just recall it happening there on the screen.

Would appreciate if someone could talk me through it. I want to apply a drop shadow to the entire image, though with the shadow appearing only along the bottom and right edge.

Thanks.

D.
JJ
John Joslin
Oct 21, 2006
You have been given all the advice you need.

A shadow has to be cast on to something!

If your image fills the picture area there is no surface for the shadow to be cast on.

Expand the canvas around the picture area using a background colour of your choice, then select the picture and make your drop shadow.
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Dinarius
Oct 21, 2006
John,

Yes, I have the background expanded so that it is visible outside the area of the photo.

Also, I can add the Drop Shadow and see it clearly, but only if I switch off the Background. The shadow is then visible against a checkerboard pattern.

But, how do I change the Background Copy colour from black to white?

Thanks.

D.
JZ
Joe_Zydeco
Oct 21, 2006
Maybe a third perspective will help give you an "Aha!" moment. In the Canvas Size dialog, choose white for Canvas extension color. In the Layer Style dialog, choose black in the Structure area. Set the other controls to your liking. That’s all you need to do to make a normal looking shadow.

Actually, you can choose any colors you like for those two areas, but they should contrast with each other so the shadow stands out. You can even choose black in Canvas Size and white in Layer Style; looks weird, but Photoshop will do your bidding.
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Dinarius
Oct 21, 2006
Joe,

Aha, indeed! 😉

Many thanks. Sorted!

In the Structure area, black seems set by default.

D.
JZ
Joe_Zydeco
Oct 21, 2006
<In the Structure area, black seems set by default. >

Yes, I suppose black is the most common color for a shadow. The trick you needed was to provide a white "skirt" of canvas for the black shadow to contrast against.

Good to hear that you’re back on the Happy Campers list!
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Dinarius
Oct 21, 2006
Joe,

Just curious….

If the background is black (say, for example, I hadn’t selected White in the Canvas Size dialog) how could I go about changing it to white?

Secondly, as an experiment, I tried the following:

Having used Canvas Size to extend the canvas, with a black background, and with Background Copy highlighted in the Layer palette….

1. Select/All

2. Edit/Clear (the Background Copy icon is now a checkerboard)

3. Edit/Fill (choosing White).

I’m expecting the background to fill (i.e. the bit of it I can see around the photograph) but, it all fills with white.

What am I doing wrong?

Thanks.

D.
JZ
Joe_Zydeco
Oct 21, 2006
Dinarius, for your first question, I am assuming you mistakenly used black to extend the Canvas Size and now want to change it to white. If you notice the error right then, just press Ctrl-Alt-Z to undo it. If not, you could use Image>Trim to zap the black border, then redo the Canvas Size operation.

In your experiment, I understand you want to change the black border to white. When you do a Select>All, subsequent operations will act on ALL the pixels in the image. To make it act only on the unwanted black border, you must select just the border. To do that, carefully use the Marquee tool to select just the image area. You will see that the marching ants do not include the black border. Then do Select>Inverse to select everything except what is currently selected. You will then see marching ants around the image area and around the perimeter of the black border. In other words, only the black border is now selected. Next, do Edit>Fill with white. Notice that you do not need to do Edit>Clear at all. Do Select>Deselect to turn off the selection.

What I would find to be an easier way is to Select>All, then do Edit>Stroke, using a Width equal to the number of pixels you added with Canvas Size, Color white, Location Inside. This method assumes that, with Canvas Size, you added the same number of pixels on all four sides.
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Dinarius
Oct 21, 2006
Joe,

Many thanks for that explanation.

One last thing…..

On a related point, if I wanted to cut out part of the image (in this case a dinner plate) before creating a background copy and dropping in a shadow, which tool should I use?

Thanks again.

D.
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chrisjbirchall
Oct 21, 2006
which tool should I use?

F1

But then READ all the advice! I’m serious. All the subsequent advice you had in this thread was already given to you in my post #4.

The questions you are asking here are very basic techniques. I’d advise you get to know the program by spending a little time perusing the Help Files and by experimenting.

Photoshop wasn’t learned in a day. We are all prepared to help out here. It’s what the forums are for. But for your own benefit, and to gain the most pleasure from using Photoshop, you really should get to grips with the basics.

Try Googling for Photoshop tutorials. There are many to choose from.

Best of luck with it.

Chris.
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Dinarius
Oct 21, 2006
Chris,

Thanks for the advice.

If your first post indicated which tool one might use to cut out part of an image, then I don’t see it. Apologies if I’m being dim.

Secondly, on the main point…yes, if I had noticed that the background colour (in Canvas Size) could be altered within the dialog, I’d have gotten there a bit quicker admittedly!

Thanks again.

Denis
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chrisjbirchall
Oct 21, 2006
If your first post indicated which tool one might use to cut out part of an image, then I don’t see it.

No. You hadn’t even asked that question at that stage. I was referring to the fact all the advice about your drop shadow/canvas extending/etc was already contained in post #4.

which tool one might use to cut out part of an image?

One of the selection tools (F1, enter "Selection" into the search box)

* Lasso (3 types)
* Magic Wand (various settings)
* Marquee tool (rectangular/oval – various settings)
* Quick mask
* Extract

To get anywhere in Photoshop, you must learn the selection tools.

F1

read

practise
JZ
Joe_Zydeco
Oct 21, 2006
Dinarius, cutting out a dinner plate is in no way related to creating a drop shadow, your posted topic. When you have a new question, consider starting a new thread. I don’t mean to fuss at you, but consider that not every forum member reads every post in every thread. Thus, your cutout question could go unnoticed by many.

Still, to get you started, try the Magnetic Lasso or the Elliptical Marquee. The former is quite straightforward, but experiment with the latter until you see how the Alt, Shift, and Space keys affect it. Only when you feel that you could fully explain its nuances to another person do you truly understand it.

To give you an idea of the complexity of Photoshop tools, the seven groups of selection tools that Chris listed for you could easily keep a person occupied fulltime for two weeks, just to become competent enough in their use to muddle through a task. Nobody is born knowing all this stuff; it takes a huge amount of digging, reading and practice to master it. And that, I hazard to say, is exactly what Chris meant by "F1, read, practise."

By the way, at the beginning of this thread, even after I read the inital posts by Bob and Chris (both of whom are light-years ahead of me), I could not have explained to you what you were doing wrong. So I opened an image and tinkered with Canvas Size and Layer Style until I understood how everything fit together. Only then was I able to see the one little piece of information you needed in order to make it work.

Finally, you deserve credit for clearly stating your problem in your original post, and for providing a step-by-step description of how you were trying to solve it. Sometimes it gets both painful and comical to watch experts try to drag information out of people who are obviously incapable of expressing themselves logically.
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Dinarius
Oct 22, 2006
Joe,

Many thanks.

I had, in fact, already tried both the magic wand and the pen tool.

The magic wand, in conjunction with the brush tool to finish off (at high magnification) what was left, worked very well.

The pen tool (even though the plate is rectangular, albeit with very slightly curved edges)was a different kettle of fish. I found it very unwieldly.

Will try the others you suggested.

On the subject of manuals, online help, self-help and all that…….

The CS2 installed Help almost never says where anything actually is. Take just about any item in this vast programme that you wish and look it up in the Index. Rarely will it state how to find it. Presumably, it assumes that you will support the rather large publishing industry devoted to solving this problem.

I have been using Fraser’s ‘Photoshop CS2’. Brilliant for things like actions and color management, which I have made full use of. Less good for the likes of what this thread was about. Evidently too basic.

Finally, I had Googled every permutation I could think of for this exercise. This was one of the better answers I found, but a bit overwrought for my purposes, as it transpired.

<http://library.albany.edu/imc/pdf/drop_shadows.pdf>

Thanks again.

D.

ps….Off to buy Photoshop for Dummies!
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Dinarius
Oct 22, 2006
pps……..

"By the way, at the beginning of this thread, even after I read the inital posts by Bob and Chris (both of whom are light-years ahead of me), I could not have explained to you what you were doing wrong."

Then you know how I felt! 😉

D.
JJ
John Joslin
Oct 22, 2006
Dinarius

Just a tip: in PS Help, use the search box, not the index!
JZ
Joe_Zydeco
Oct 22, 2006
Dinarius, I looked through the tutorial you listed, and it seems straightforward enough. The reason its drop shadow would work and yours did not is subtle. Their briefcase is on a larger white background, a feature your original image lacked. That’s why you needed to provide a larger white canvas as a place for the shadow to fall.

To me, making selections is by far the toughest part of using Photoshop, and surely no other image editing program could make it easier than the vast array of tools Photoshop makes available. Overall, I tend to use Magnetic Lasso when feasible. The Pen tool is more powerful, but not as intuitive to use. More and more, I find myself using a combination of tools to complete a single selection.

I too find Photoshop’s Help to be of limited value. It contains a lot of information, but is poorly indexed. I find Google to be the better source of knowledge!

@John J: I agree, the search box is better than the index, but I don’t like the fact that, if it doesn’t find a result that applies to Photoshop, it presents results for InDesign or whatever, usually useless for Photoshop. Google is still my best friend…

<Off to buy Photoshop for Dummies!>

I find that series too shallow to serve as good reference books. My approach is to go to the bookstore with one or two real-life Photoshop questions or problems in mind, and then search through an armload of books to see which provides the best answers for my need.

<Then you know how I felt!>

Indeed I do; The road to knowledge is fraught with many potholes!
D
Dinarius
Oct 22, 2006
Joe,

Like you I like to test books on something that’s preoccupying me.

For the record, I came home with:

‘Photoshop CS2 in easy steps’ by Robert Shufflebotham. A straightforward introduction to just about everything. The layout contains neat sidebar tips headed ‘Don’t Forget’, ‘Beware’ and ‘Hot Tip’. Just what I need!

I also bought Martin Evening’s ‘Adobe Photoshop CS2 for Photographers’. A fairly heavyweight tome. Lots of very interesting applications to keep me occupied through the winter.

One last point re Adobe’s Help…….

Anyone who shoots RAW and is a slave to their histogram (as I am) and who comes to ACR for the first time will have been more than a little put out by its camera model (Canon, in my case) defaults. I like to see things as I (think) I shot them, not how ACR would like me to see them. Trying to find out how to switch it off permanently(!) isn’t easy. Not at all in fact. Googling found this link…

<http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/cr-auto.shtml>

…..and I agree entirely with the authors sentiments. But, it just shows again how right you are about the onboard Help.

But, I digress…..

Thanks again to all who replied to my initial question. I learned far more than I thought I would.

D.
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chrisjbirchall
Oct 22, 2006
Googling found this link…

Two URLs to put in your favourites:

<http://www.luminous-landscape.com>

and

<http://www.computer-darkroom.com>

EDIT:

and…

<http://user.fundy.net/morris/>

….others will add to this list 🙂
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Dinarius
Oct 24, 2006
Chris,

Many thanks for the links.

Here’s another site with literally dozens of tips and tricks (maybe there should be a Tips and Tricks links thread?)

< http://tutorialoutpost.com/tutorials/photoshop/photo-editing>

All entries are categorized in the column on the left. The Top 20 is a neat idea.

D.

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