How to Add Shadow in Photoshop

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One of the easiest effects to apply in Adobe Photoshop is Drop Shadow. Using Photoshop’s drop shadow effect can make your projects and images a little more multi- dimensional, compared to lets say a flat photo.

In this tutorial, we will be exploring the basics of Drop Shadow techniques. From using the built in Photoshop effect, to manually creating a desired shadow angle from a specific object. You may use drop shadows with text or any kind of image that’s a layer.

As a sample we will be recreating the photo above. In the text part of the photo, we have used the pre installed drop shadow text effect while the shadow of the kitten was manually created to have that custom direction that you wouldn’t be able to replicate using the built-in drop shadow effect.

To be able to achieve the shadows that were used in the photo sample, we will have to follow these steps:

Manual Shadow on Image Layer

Step 1: Open the base photo that you would like to use. In this sample, we have opened a base .psd file consisting of several layers.

Step 2: First, we will create a manual shadow for the makiplace vector. We will have to duplicate the vector layer by right clicking on “Shape 1” and then “Duplicate Layer”.

Step 3: Drag down the ‘makiplace shadow’ layer just below “makiplace” and then hide “makiplace”.
Right click on the “makiplace shadow” layer and click on BLENDING OPTIONS.

In the Blending Options settings, click on Color Overlay. Select the color black and hit OK.

You will notice that the kitten has turned black.

Step 4: Click on the Transform Tool and turn the image of the black makiplace.

Step 5: Make “makiplace” visible again. You will notice that the makiplace now has a shadow beneath it.

Step 6: Then adjust the OPACITY (in this sample, we adjusted it down to 50%).

You have now manually created a shadow of an image according to a custom angle.

Built-In Drop Shadow on Text

Step 1: Type in the text that you want. In this sample we are using the text “MakiPlace”. Adjust the text according to preference (Color, Font, Size, etc.)

Step 2: In the layers panel, right click on your text layer. Click on BLENDING OPTIONS. In the BLENDING OPTIONS PANEL, check DROP SHADOW. Play around with the Drop Shadow settings (Shadow Color, Opacity, Angle, Distance, etc) until you find your desired style and look. Once done, click OK.

Step 3: You have now applied a basic DROP SHADOW to your text. Again, here’s the final image of the sample we have just created. A combination of manual shadow and built-in Drop Shadow effect from Photoshop.

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