Use Photoshop Drop Shadow Effect To Darken an Object

This is another fun thing to do with the Photoshop Drop Shadow effect. If you are building up a graphic from different images, sometimes you need to darken an object to blend it into the correct distance from the viewer. There are a number of ways to do this, but a quick way is to use the Photoshop Drop Shadow Effect on a layer above the object to darken it.

Try the following sequence:

  1. Duplicate the object layer Right Click layer, Duplicate Layer
  2. Click OK
  3. Under the layer tab, select the fx to Add a Layer Style
  4. From the list select Drop Shadow
  5. Click OK to accept defaults
  6. Right Click on Drop Shadow layer and select Create Layer (near the bottom)
  7. If a warning appears that aspect of Effects can not be reproduced with layers, click OK
  8. Finally, delete the temp layer above the new Drop Shadow layer

The original object will now reappear, but quite dark. Simply adjust the Opacity of the flying Drop Shadow layer to achieve the desired result.

So there you have it! A quick way to use Photoshop Drop Shadow Effect to darken an object to adjust its apparent distance in a picture. Experiment, and have fun.

Add Drop Shadow Effect in Photoshop

The Drop Shadow Effect in Photoshop has a number of uses, apart from adding apparent depth to flat images. So over the next few months we are going to run a series of fun things to do with it. First of all, let us start with the normal use of the Photoshop Drop Shadow effect.

Add a Drop Shadow To A Flat Object

Shadows give a touch of 3D imagery to an otherwise flat design, so bring it to life. If we have a flat object to add to a project, we might want to add a shadow to lift it off the background. This may be a character, or text string, or an image cut out, such as a person or shape. In each case use the following sequence:

  1. Select the layer of the object to receive the drop shadow
  2. Under the layer tab, select the fx to Add a Layer Style
  3. From the list select Drop Shadow
  4. On the Layer Style window, under Structure, Select the Opacity (defaults to 75%) say 50%
  5. Set the angle of the light source, for example 135˚, which is 45˚ from the left
  6. Set the Distance slider for example 10px
  7. Experiment with the Spread slider, although 0% is fine
  8. Set the Size slider to a suitable value for example 10px
  9. Finally, click OK

Other Things To Do with the Drop Shadow Effect in Photoshop

The Photoshop Drop Shadow effect has a number of parameters which make it very flexible. Have fun playing with the sliders in the Structure group of the Layer Style window. It is so easy to produce very diffuse shadows, or highly concentrated dark shadows. Finally, try adjusting the angle of the light source to see how the shadow behaves.

Coming Soon

Watch out for the next post in the series of fun things to do with the Drop Shadow effect. Enjoy!

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