Hi everyone. I'm Rae, and I'm here to continue the lesson on shadowing. Shadowing adds dimension, giving your page a depth, a sense of realism, and is a step in your creative process that is worth taking. There are a multitude of ways to manipulate a shadow on a layer and I find that warping a layer is my go-to tweak of most layer styles I apply. There are a few ways I do this. Let me walk you through the steps I take. There probably are different ways to achieve this as Photoshop usually has more than one way to do just about everything, but this is my way. I do these steps so often that I created an action with a hot key to apply my basic shadow and then I can quickly warp it. My advice to you is, if you are able to create an action for steps you repeat often, do so. It can save a lot of time, but it is not necessary. Okay, so now on to my Photoshop tutorial that is in two steps, shadow warping with the transform warp tool and shadow warping with the puppet warp tool. For anyone using an editing program other than photoshop, hopefully there will be a way to achieve this in your program.
Using The Warp Tool:
Put the shadow on it's own layer: click the arrow beside the Fx symbol to open the menu, hover your cursor over the drop shadow style and right click, then select "create layer". Now you will see a layer underneath that is your separated drop shadow layer (you'll see a double box icon on the right side of the layer). Now you are all set to manipulate this shadow layer. This is when the fun starts. While on the new shadow layer (the layer beneath your product layer), open up the warp tool with shortcut command "Control + T" or, in the menu, select edit>transform>warp. You will now have a box around your product/shadow with control points that you can pull to warp your shadow.Click on a control point and drag, pulling the shadow from that point. If you click in the box itself, you can move the whole shadow. This method is especially useful when wanting to pull the shadow over a bit to imitate a lifted corner. I lift paper and photo edges with this method. To further manipulate the shadow, you can double click on the drop shadow in the Fx menu and the layer style box will open up. I envision what a realistic shadow would be. Would the shadow have softer or harder edges? (Gaussian blur will soften the edges. The blur can be achieved by selecting filter>blur>gaussian blur but save that step til the end.) What direction do I want my shadow to follow? I often position the angle at about 65-80 degrees. You can change the blend mode, I usually choose multiply. You can also change the opacity if you want to lessen the impact of the shadow. It may sound like a lot of steps but I promise you, once you have done this a few times, you will speed through the steps quickly (or create an action).
Using the Puppet Warp Tool:
For this method, create a separate layer (as explained above), and while on that layer, select the puppet warp tool (from the menu, select edit>puppet warp). Your product will now have multiple control points, many more than with the transform warp tool. So now it gets a little tricky. You will click various control points to anchor your shadow which means that when you select a point to pull your shadow those anchors you set down will hold the shadow in place. Think of them as push pins holding things down. I start with 3-5 anchor points (on the outside edges), then pull the shadow. You can remove anchors by clicking on the anchor while holding down the ALT key and can add more anchor points if needed. This is a bit more time consuming, especially when first getting used to this powerful tool, but it gives you so much more control and the more you use it, the easier it gets.
Have fun trying these two methods of warping a drop shadow!