Photoshop CC One-on-One: Intermediate
Illustration by John Hersey

The power of the drop shadow


Photoshop CC One-on-One: Intermediate

with Deke McClelland

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Video: The power of the drop shadow

In this movie I'm going to try to instill a little bit of respect for the common drop shadow. Now, in case you're not familiar with them, a drop shadow is a shadow that's being cast by a layer. So, whereas the inner shadow appears inside these letters, a drop shadow applied to these same letters would appear outside the letters. Now, when applied indiscriminately, which is often the case A drop shadow could not be a more pedestrian effect. I'll show you two applications of drop shadows that go above and beyond. First of all, I want to take these letters here, and make them appear to really be carved out of this wood, currently, they're just too perfect.
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  1. 2m 4s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 4s
  2. 1h 1m
    1. The best of Photoshop automation
    2. Content-Aware Fill and Color Adaptation (CC 2014)
      7m 44s
    3. Combining two layers with a layer mask (CC 2014)
      5m 37s
    4. Content-aware healing (CC 2014)
      10m 17s
    5. Introducing the Patch tool
      3m 43s
    6. Using Content-Aware Patch
      7m 17s
    7. Retouching with Content-Aware Patch
      3m 45s
    8. Using the Content-Aware Move tool
      7m 41s
    9. Using Content-Aware Extend
      2m 4s
    10. The Content-Aware Scale command
      6m 35s
    11. Scaling in multiple passes
      2m 22s
    12. Protecting skin tones
      3m 31s
  3. 32m 55s
    1. Editing the histogram
      1m 50s
    2. The new automatic Levels adjustment
      4m 33s
    3. Customizing a Levels adjustment
      4m 53s
    4. Understanding the Gamma value
      2m 7s
    5. Opening up the shadows
      2m 48s
    6. Previewing clipped pixels
      3m 40s
    7. Retouching with Output Levels
      4m 25s
    8. Making channel-by-channel adjustments
      2m 19s
    9. Faking a gray card in post
      2m 51s
    10. Assigning shortcuts to adjustment layers
      3m 29s
  4. 57m 43s
    1. How sharpening works
      1m 38s
    2. Introducing the Smart Sharpen filter
      6m 56s
    3. Understanding the Radius value
      5m 20s
    4. Gauging the best sharpening settings
      5m 45s
    5. Addressing color artifacts and clipping
      5m 49s
    6. The Remove and Reduce Noise options
      4m 22s
    7. The Shadows/Highlights options
      7m 36s
    8. Correcting for camera shake
      6m 47s
    9. Sharpening with the Emboss filter
      5m 45s
    10. Sharpening with the High Pass filter
      4m 44s
    11. Painting in sharpness
      3m 1s
  5. 1h 12m
    1. Vector-based type
      1m 35s
    2. Creating and editing point text
      8m 8s
    3. Font and type style tricks
      7m 58s
    4. Type size and color tricks
      6m 42s
    5. Kerning and tracking characters
      8m 9s
    6. Creating and editing area text
      3m 50s
    7. Selecting and formatting paragraphs
      6m 50s
    8. Setting text inside a custom path
      5m 34s
    9. Creating text along a path
      6m 12s
    10. Adjusting baseline shift
      4m 45s
    11. Creating and stylizing a logo
      6m 49s
    12. Masking text into image elements
      6m 14s
  6. 1h 9m
    1. The other vector-based layer
      1m 39s
    2. Dotted borders and corner roundness
      8m 14s
    3. Drawing and aligning custom shapes
      3m 55s
    4. Creating your own repeatable custom shape
      5m 43s
    5. Selecting and modifying path outlines (CC 2014)
      6m 5s
    6. Isolating selected layers (CC 2014)
      6m 39s
    7. Combining simple shapes to make complex ones
      6m 31s
    8. Cropping, adjusting, and merging shapes
      8m 49s
    9. Creating a soft, synthetic sparkle
      6m 22s
    10. Saving a resolution-independent PDF file
      6m 42s
    11. Turning a small image into a huge one
      8m 38s
  7. 1h 14m
    1. Depth, contour, and texture
      1m 28s
    2. Imparting depth with a layer effect
      9m 9s
    3. The power of the drop shadow
      7m 37s
    4. Modifying a layer and its effects
      6m 21s
    5. Saving custom default settings
      4m 12s
    6. Creating a custom contour
      8m 5s
    7. Introducing Bevel and Emboss
      8m 8s
    8. Multiple effects and multiple layers
      7m 45s
    9. Global Light and rasterizing effects
      8m 5s
    10. Gloss and surface contour
      6m 4s
    11. Adding texture to Bevel and Emboss
      7m 21s
  8. 34m 48s
    1. Styles store settings
      1m 38s
    2. Creating and applying a paragraph style
      3m 41s
    3. Redefining a style and styling a word
      5m 38s
    4. Creating and styling a placeholder style
      5m 43s
    5. Applying and creating layer styles
      5m 45s
    6. Loading and customizing layer styles
      5m 42s
    7. Merging and saving layer styles
      6m 41s
  9. 56m 48s
    1. Meet the transformations
      1m 55s
    2. Transformations and Smart Objects
      5m 46s
    3. Adjusting the interpolation setting
      5m 10s
    4. Rotating a layer with Free Transform
      5m 22s
    5. Scale, duplicate, and repeat
      4m 30s
    6. Creating a synthetic star field
      5m 20s
    7. Warping a logo with Arc and Flag
      5m 34s
    8. Distort, perspective, and skew
      4m 15s
    9. Using transformations to draw and correct
      7m 0s
    10. Bolstering text with layer effects
      5m 43s
    11. Adding highlights with Lens Flare
      6m 13s
  10. 43m 36s
    1. Removing the weight that the camera adds
      1m 7s
    2. The Warp and Reconstruct tools
      6m 44s
    3. Brush size, hardness, and opacity
      4m 29s
    4. The Pucker, Bloat, Push, and Twirl tools
      7m 12s
    5. Saving and reapplying Liquify settings
      4m 9s
    6. Lifting and slimming details
      9m 42s
    7. Warping legs, arms, and fabric
      5m 33s
    8. Improving a model's posture
      4m 40s
  11. 58m 46s
    1. Shoot in color, convert to black and white
      1m 55s
    2. Three ways to grayscale
      5m 36s
    3. Mixing a custom black-and-white image
      7m 31s
    4. Simulating an infrared photograph
      6m 39s
    5. Creating a sienna-infused sepia tone
      5m 38s
    6. Creating a hyper-saturated image
      5m 26s
    7. Introducing the Black & White command
      3m 16s
    8. Customizing the Black & White settings
      4m 50s
    9. Black & White meets the Channel Mixer
      7m 29s
    10. Infusing an image with tint and color
      5m 9s
    11. Grayscale and Split Tone in Camera Raw
      5m 17s
  12. 41m 34s
    1. The many ways to print
      1m 41s
    2. Using the test document
      3m 18s
    3. Print, position, and size
      5m 57s
    4. Description and printing marks
      3m 3s
    5. Establishing a bleed
      3m 44s
    6. Getting reliable color
      5m 54s
    7. Special printing options
      5m 1s
    8. Previewing an image at print size
      4m 16s
    9. Creating contact sheets
      4m 49s
    10. Creating a multipage PDF
      3m 51s
  13. 31m 9s
    1. Making Internet imagery
      1m 6s
    2. Introducing Save for Web
      4m 39s
    3. Creating the perfect JPEG image
      5m 14s
    4. Creating a high-contrast GIF image
      6m 23s
    5. The two varieties of PNG
      3m 57s
    6. Downsampling for the web
      5m 59s
    7. Adding copyright and contact info
      3m 51s
  14. 1m 3s
    1. Until next time
      1m 3s

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CC One-on-One: Intermediate
10h 37m Intermediate Aug 19, 2013 Updated Sep 18, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Photoshop CC One-on-One is back, and this installment teaches you how to build on your basic knowledge and achieve next-level effects with this premiere image-editing program. Industry pro Deke McClelland shows you how to seamlessly move and patch areas of a photo with the Content-Aware toolset; stretch the brightness of a scene with automatic and custom Levels adjustments; create intricate designs with text and shapes; and morph an image with layer effects and transformations. Deke also shares his techniques for sharpening details, whether addressing noise and highlight/shadow clipping or camera shake, and converting a full-color image to black and white. The final chapters show you how to best print and save images for the web, making sure all your hard work pays off in the final output.

Topics include:
  • Performing automatic retouch, scaling, and more with the Content-Aware tools
  • Editing the histogram
  • Customizing a Levels adjustment
  • Making channel-by-channel Levels adjustments
  • Sharpening with the Smart Sharpen, Emboss, and High Pass filters
  • Working with vector-based type
  • Kerning and tracking characters
  • Creating text on a path
  • Drawing and customizing shapes
  • Creating depth, contour, and texture with layer effects
  • Liquifying an image
  • Simulating an infrared photo
  • Adjusting print position, size, and color
  • Creating the perfect JPEG image
  • Downsampling for the web
Design Photography
Deke McClelland

The power of the drop shadow

In this movie I'm going to try to instill a little bit of respect for the common drop shadow. Now, in case you're not familiar with them, a drop shadow is a shadow that's being cast by a layer. So, whereas the inner shadow appears inside these letters, a drop shadow applied to these same letters would appear outside the letters. Now, when applied indiscriminately, which is often the case A drop shadow could not be a more pedestrian effect. I'll show you two applications of drop shadows that go above and beyond. First of all, I want to take these letters here, and make them appear to really be carved out of this wood, currently, they're just too perfect.

With the craving layer selected, and thanks to the fact that we already have a layer effect assigned, There's a few different ways we can get to the drop shadow. You can double click on either effects or inner shadow here. Or you can double click in the FX icon to bring out the layers style dialogue box. Then you just go ahead and click on this last item drop shadow in order to both select it and to turn it on. I'm going to cancel out here so I can show you the other method which is to drop down to the FX icon at the bottom of the panel, and then choose drop shadow.

In any case, you'll get a preview of the default drop shadow. Now where folks get into trouble with this command is they apply a distance value and then duplicate that value for size. And that works particularly badly where this layer is concerned because, what's the story at this point? We have letters that are carved into wood? And then they're leaping off the wood and casting a shadow that just doesn't make any sense. What we're going to do instead, is of course change the color. We don't want it to be black.

So I'll dial in that exact same color i used last time. That is 35, 120 for the HSB values. And then I'll click OK. And now I'm going to take the opacity value all the way up to 100%. And I'm going to tuck the shadow in by reducing the distance value to five pixels like so and I'm going to leave the size set at 30 pixels and incidentally spread is analagous to the choke option assoiated with the inner shadow, pretty much the same thing in fact. Meaning that you can fill the shadow in by increasing that spread value.

Anyway, I'm going to take it down to zero because we don't want any spread for this effect and then I'll go ahead and click OK in order to apply the effect. And it may not look like much until we do a before and after here so, if I Press Ctrl z or Cmd z on the Mac to undo the drop shadow you can see these letters aren't credibly carved out of the wood at all Where as if I reinstate the shadow, by once again Pressing Ctrl or Cmd+Z, then you can see that the shadow doesn't look like a drop shadow. In other words, it doesn't look like a shadow that's being cast by the letters.

Rather, it looks like a kind of edge burn. I do want to call your attention to something before we go to the next example. I'm going to double click on drop shadow, in order to bring up the drop shadow option And I was telling you how, when you're working with inner shadow or drop shadow. You can actually drag the shadow directly inside the image window. But watch what happens if I do so with the drop shadow. I want you to see how everything in the scene is changing. So the shadow around the big block of wood.

And the shadow inside the letters is changing along with the shadow that's being cast behind the letters in this case because of pretty well ruin the effect. And that's because of this item right here "use global light." And it happens to be turned on by default, and it's also turned on for all of the directional effects that are associated with both the frame and the text layer. And by directional effect I mean beveling and boss, inner shadow, and drop shadow.

So you need to take care especially when your modifying that angle value when used globalitist is turned on because you can end up ruining everything. And it becomes such a disaster that your only option is to either cancel out or Press the Alt key, and the Option key on the Mac And click on what was formerly the cancel button and is now Reset, and that'll go ahead and straighten things out again. I'm going to cancel out of the dialgoue box because I'm done with this image and I'm going to switch over to that same image that we started with in the previous movie.

Let's say you want to create blurry text but you want the text to remain editable. Well, the simplest way to pull that off is to turn the text into a shadow. With the carving layer selected, I'll drop down to the effects icon and choose drop shadow. Because it's the only command that can really pull this one off. And I'm going to start things off by increasing the opacity value to 100% and then I'll click on a color swatch and change the HSB values once again to 35, 100, and 20. Click OK in order to accept that color.

Then I'll take the distance value down to zero, so the shadow is actually centered on the text. The angle no longer matters. And I'll increase the size value by Pressing Shift up arrow a couple of times to 25 pixels. Now what you want to do is drop away the text, so click on blending options. In order to bring up the fill opacity value and go ahead and reduce that value to 0%. We end up getting a pretty interesting effect here. It looks as if we've airbrushed some stencils or something.

That's not the effect I'm looking for, however, so return the drop shadow and notice this check box right there, Layer Knocks out Drop Shadow. This is the only layer effect that offers this option. Go ahead and turn it off. And the layer itself disappears and all we're left with is the shadow. Now go ahead and click okay in order to accept that modification. And now you can use the opacity value to modify the opacity of your text on the fly. Because I had set the shadow to 100% opacity This now is the only opacity value that matters.

And I'm just going to go ahead and tap the seven key to reduce that opacity value to 70%. And now I want to edit my text a little bit. So I'm going to double click on the t to select that text. And I'll Press Ctrl H or Cmd H on the Mac to hide the highlight. And I'll Press Ctrl Shift Alt, or Cmd Shift Option greater than sign twice in a row in order to increase the size of my text. And then I'll Press the Enter key on the numerical key pad in order to except the modification. Now I want to vertically center my text on the canvas, so I'll Press Ctrl A, or Cmd A on the Mac to select the entire image.

I'll switch to the Move tool which I can get by Pressing the V key and I'll go ahead and click on Align Vertical Centers in order to scoot that text down a little bit. Now Press Ctrl+D or Cmd+D on a Mac and I want to go ahead and skew this text so it looks like it's being cast as a kind of shadow onto the wood. So I'll go up to the Edit menu, choose transform, and then choose skew. And now at this point, notice that I can drag these handles in order to skew the text, or I'll go ahead and Press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on a Mac, to undo that change.

If you Press the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, and drag a side handle You'll skew both sides both the left and the right side around the center. I'm also going to Alter Option drag this bottom handle in order to add a little bit of horizontal skew then I'll Press the Enter key or the return key on the Mac in order to accept that change. And finally, I'm going to change this word entirely by again double clicking on it and I'll type in this text instead. And then Press the Enter key on the numerical keypad in order to accept my change.

And so with any luck, that gives you a sense of just how powerful and flexible drop shadows can be when used with a little bit of imagnation here inside Photoshop.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Photoshop CC One-on-One: Intermediate .

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Q: This course was updated on 09/18/2014. What changed?
A: Deke updated the course to reflect changes in the 2014 version of Photoshop CC. The updates are concentrated in "The Content-Aware Collection" and "Creating and Formatting Text" chapters, but there are new movies sprinkled throughout the course as well.
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