Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
Photoshop has a number of built-in effects that you are going to apply to layers, and they are non-destructive and can be edited at anytime. They are very powerful. Let's show you the most common one. That's probably the Drop Shadow. So, I am going to select this Dahlia layer up here, this pink layer, turn it on and off, so you can see which one I am talking about. We want to add a Drop Shadow so it looks like this is floating above that background image. To do that, you will go down to the bottom of the Layers panel, and there's this little fx button or icon, and if you click on that, that pops up in a menu, where you can choose from all the built- in effects available inside Photoshop.
So, there's Drop Shadow. Let's go ahead and choose that. This will open up a very large dialog box called the Layer Style dialog box. Styles are a collection of effects. So, each one of these things over in the left are different effects. So, there is a Drop Shadow effect, an Inner Shadow effect, an Outer Glow, and so on. And then later on, you will learn that these can be saved. All these collection of choices that you can make in this dialog box can be saved as something called a Layer Style, so we will get to that later. First, let's talk about the Drop Shadow. When you chose Drop Shadow from that pop-up menu at the bottom of the Layers panel, it opened up the layer Style dialog box and automatically turned on the Drop Shadow effect.
So, you can turn that on and off by clicking the little check box next to the actual name. And then there is a bunch of controls for any particular effect that you have chosen, so, the Blend mode, the Color, the Opacity, the Angle, and so forth. One thing I want to teach new users, right away, is you don't have to play around with the Angle and the Distance sliders just to figure out where you want your shadow to go. You can see, as I move the sliders around, you are seeing the shadow in the image actually changing, and same thing with the Angle. What I actually find is a lot easier and more intuitive is just move your mouse outside the dialog box, and now you can actually grab that shadow directly and move it exactly where you want it.
And as you move it, you will see that the Angle and the Distance sliders are adjusting for you automatically based on your visual preference, instead of playing around with a bunch of numbers. So, tip number one there about manipulating the Drop Shadow, just grab it directly and put it right where you want it. So, the default Opacity is a little bit dark here. It's 75%, and the default Color is black. I may want to actually change the color of that Drop Shadow to be something more natural to this image. So, if I click on the Color Chip next, up here in the dialog box, that brings up a Color Picker.
And again, I can pick any color from within this dialog box and use the Hue slider over here and pick a particular shade of that, or you can actually sample from within the image itself. So, I am going to pick a pretty darker green here. When I take my mouse out of the Color Picker, it turns into an Eyedropper, and I can just pick on the particular color that I am interested in, and it will use that as the Drop Shadow color. I just find that, most often, using absolute black is not a very realistic looking shadow, so pick a nice dark color from the image itself, and you get better looking results.
So, I have sampled this green color over here. I am going to go ahead and click OK. And I can go and fine-tune this if I want. I want to make it a little bit softer, so I will use the Size slider to make the shadow harder or softer. There you can see I can make it pop- off the page there as much as I want. When I am done, I go ahead and click OK, and there's my Drop Shadow effect. So, pretty quick and easy. You will notice that, in the Layers panel, you have a new little fx indicator letting you know that effects have been applied to that particular layer. By default, it's going to expand the effects down.
You see there is a little drop arrow here. It's pointing up because it's opened. If I click it, it collapses those effects. You can have as many as like 10 different effects on a given layer, so you don't necessarily want to see all 10 listed here and take up all that screen real estate, so that's a reason why you have the ability to collapse and expand the list of effects. Now, I said earlier, these are nondestructive, which means you can go back and edit their values at any time. To do that, simply double-click on the specific effect that you want to edit. Now, since we only have one here, it's just Drop Shadow. Just double-click on the word Drop Shadow, and that will reopen that dialog box and take you right to that effect.
There is the last settings you used. So, if you want to make a little bit harder, I can adjust the Size. If I want to make the Distance just a little bit less far away, anything that you have chosen here can be changed. It's completely up to you. Go ahead and click OK, and now that's in effect. So, Drop Shadow, very simple, bottom of the Layers panel, click on the fx icon, choose the effect you want, pops open that dialog box, start editing away. Comes back after you click OK. Its added it as a nondestructive effect, and you can collapse or expand the settings there. You can even turn the Drop Shadow effect off right within the Layers panel as well.
So, if you have more than one effect, let's say, you have a Drop Shadow, Inner Glow, Inner Border, Inner Stroke, and all that, you can turn all the effects off just by clicking on the eye next to the word Effects, or you can turn on and off individual effects just by clicking on the eye next to that specific effect.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
120 Video lessons · 63755 Viewers
119 Video lessons · 71318 Viewers
125 Video lessons · 32140 Viewers
84 Video lessons · 18715 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.