To shadow or not?

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To shadow or not?

I have read different opinions on the subject. Some say do not shadow this ‘EVER’ or shadow that slightly. I personally like the shadow look. It’s digital….do what pleases you, right? I think if you like it, do it, especially if you are creating pages for personal use.
What is your thought?

I like to make shadows giving the appearance of reality. Shadows in digi-scrapping will bring the page to life in my opinion.

I always use shadows when I'm making a digital page. I don't, however, put shadows on things I'm selling except for interior shadows on element clusters. I don't like it when designers put shadows on things because then it kind of dictates the orientation and depth the element will have on a finished page. I'm even picky about interior shadows on clusters. The industry standard is to have your light source from top left (135 degrees), but some designers have totally different ideas of where the light source is. I won't use them if they don't have the shadows coming from the correct angle (and I definitely won't even consider buying anything from that designer if the shadows aren't right). Its one of my design pet peeves...

I do almost exact what Cat says: Only shadow things when designing if it´s necessary because there are layered stuff. When creating, hoever, I like to use shadow, and a bit exagerated ones in relation to which shadows should be dropped in the paper stuff... Although we use to think in digiscrap in terms of realism, in fact what most do is hyper-realism, i.e, doing things a bit more real than the real... the digital papers have more texture than a cardstock in real life, they are strongly shadowed, etc. It´s necessary to try to add the ilusion of a third dimension in a bi-dimensional thing.

I never learned that the industry is 135 degrees Cat, thanks for the info! I was using 120...

I never knew industry standard was 135, either. Most designers I have purchased from use 120 and one uses 45. I was using 120 as well.

I love shadowing but I don't follow any rules, I just do what looks right to me on my page.

I also use 120.

Thanks for the tips. I am concerned about what shadowing could look like once I print. I have more than, don't think I'm crazy, 40 pages I will be printing. It's a whole scrapbook for my son and his wife for their 1st anniversary. I'm starting with birth of the 2 and every year up to the wedding. They will have fun seeing what the other one looked like, say in 1998. Hope I explained that well.

Thanks for the tip on the 135! I like shadows on some things and on some things I don't like it. I'm trying not to use shadows in my designs as well because I'd like to keep the people who will use my stuff happy. smiley

I hadn't heard about standards regarding shadowing, either. Interesting. I generally shadow the way that I think best shows off the elements. I find one or two elements that I want to especially stand out and use those to determine my shadowing. Though I must admit, I've been using a LOT from a pack I got for free from Mommyish.

At least I´m not the only misinformed one. Cat, can you share with us where did you find this information? Maybe there are more useful stuff there.

Andene, are you checking for gamut before shadowing to see if the shadows are droping the layout out of gamut? If you use photoshop is just go to view->gamut warning. Also remember to check if your layout looks good in print size. If it´s all ok and on gamut, I don´t think there will be a problem on printing, but it´s better to wait answers about it from the other ladies, who print more than I do.

And no,we won´t think you´re crazy for a 40p. book... Cindy made a really big one for her parents, and shared lots of things with us smiley

I use 135 because that's what I was told from the stores I use to sell in when I was designing before and that's what all the designers used then. Things may have changed in the last couple years. I like using that number for my personal scrapping as well because its easy to remember (top left) and it just makes sense to me that the light source would come from that direction. I think the key is to be consistent with your shadows. You wouldn't use top left for a picture and then use middle right for flowers and ribbon. And I definitely don't think shadows should come from the bottom (but thats my opinion).

I never knew 135 was the standard either..but it happens to be what I use. I like a lot of realism. Shadows can look fake if not played with. I use PSP 9. I use the warp tool to drag my shadows down where they should be deeper because of layers. and I also lessen the opacity. I also don't like templates that have shadows already there, more work for me to get rid of them and do my own and definitely don't like shadows in kits I buy.

I do the same thing you do, Jodi; warp my shadows after applying them. I mostly use 120 or 45 degrees, I tend to look at the light in my photos and 'follow the light' that is in those. I never download anything that is pre-shadowed. Some templates have a shadowed and non-shadowed option, that is a very nice touch of the template-designer. Makes my job easier smiley.

There are some excellent links to shadowing tutorials in older threads somewhere here on Pixelscrapper - hold on a minute... - Ah, there they are:

Tutorials on shadowing techniques: this one here and another one here

Thanks for the advice and links to tutorials.
Lórien, got the hint...share. Here is the first page I did. This was before I discovered FREE kits (yay). I still think it's pretty cute, so I will probably keep it. I will share more when I have time to resize and upload. So many things to do ( this message) and so little time to do them.[url][/url]

I could never guess it´s a first page! my first one looks worse than a 4-yo school work compared to yours. In other words, I love it.

Shadows are always a hard matter; dark/black stuff are even worse. But I still LOVE them, so if you wanna see my choices for dark layouts just take a look at my gallery. I really, really enjoy stroking, as you did, but it´s my personal preference. Some glow istead of shadows also work at darker layouts...

Thanks Lorien. It was fun creating it. Love how a small idea can bloom into a creation. Here are a few more pages. I tried to not get carried away, but I think I might have. I was wondering if I should post pages somewhere else and get more advice, tips, tricks from other scrappers who print more often. I would hate to spend all that money having them printed and some, half or all have issues. They might see something that I'm consistency doing and could be a problem (other than the gamut issue) in the print process. I have had posters and pamphlets for baseball teams printed and the printer told me to separate the CMKY and combine again. I don't know why.



Cat, your post was very helpful to me. I had just read another site's DigitalDesignQualityManual.pdf and realized that when designers make clusters, they're supposed to include interior shadows but not exterior shadows. I search for more info on the topic and your post here came up. Do you or anyone else here know of a video tutorial showing how to do this? If not, know of anyone who would be willing to make one? smiley


Hi Anette,

I'll do a little search for you, but in case I don't come up with anything... you can ask Marisa for designer 'behind the scene' tutorials right here:

She is always willing to make tutorials to help us out!

Cat, your post was very helpful to me. I had just read another site's DigitalDesignQualityManual.pdf and realized that when designers make clusters, they're supposed to include interior shadows but not exterior shadows. I search for more info on the topic and your post here came up. Do you or anyone else here know of a video tutorial showing how to do this? If not, know of anyone who would be willing to make one?

How I do it is make an unshadowed copy of each layer of my cluster. Then I make the cluster as I normally would with the shadows. Then I merge the layers of my cluster, which will have an outside shadow at this point. I then merge the unshadowed layers of my cluster, use my magic wand tool and select around the outside of the unshadowed cluster, then highlight my shadowed cluster layer and hit the delete key. This removes the shadow from the outside of the cluster, but leaves the interior shadows.

Hope that helps...

I do pretty much the same as Cat, only I use a layer style for my drop shadow, so I don't need to have an unshadowed copy. If you click on the layer icon inside the layer panel while holding Cmd (on a Mac, Ctrl on a PC), it will automatically select everything on that layer, but not the layer style. I make my cluster complete with shadows, then I duplicate all layers (select all of them and hit Cmd-J or Ctrl-J), I merge the copies and select all the other items the way I mentioned before. Reverse selection and hit delete. Same thing, slightly different method. Oh, and I use CS6, but this should work in CS2 too.

I found another way, that is -again- slightly different, but should work very well too:

I make clusters ONLY with shadows in the interior. We usually provide a complete shadowed version as well as interior shadow only version on ViVa products. On my personal layouts, I prefer to shadow (120 degree shadows) and it prints out very nicely. I use ViVa products to check and make sure they print as well as they look on the monitor. I put the shadows on their own layer so I can control each shadow individually.

very cool tutorial Melo! TFS sweetie!