To shadow or not shadow - what's your opinion?

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To shadow or not shadow - what's your opinion?

Hi, I'm just starting out on the designing side and I love drop shadows in my layouts. However, I know not everyone likes to add depth to their pages which I understand. With my designs, I'm thinking of offering two folders within the download. Elements with a shadow, and the same elements without. However, what I'm wondering, is there a standard direction for shadow?? Should it be drop left, drop right or just a shadow that goes all round.

So, as scrapbookers, could I please have your advice as to what you would like to see?

Thank you. smiley


I've read recently that the "universal" is 120° (at Scrapaneers I think) but I've seen A LOT of layout templates and shadow styles which are 45°
I prefer elements without shadows and if there's a part that needs shadow (like a button on top of a flower) then I'll flip the element to suit my needs.

I've noticed however, with the little bit of designing I've done so far, that when I check the gamut on my shadowed previews, the shadows are all out of gamut (I don't worry about it because it's just a preview and not for printing) and maybe a shadow on a transparent background won't be out of gamut, but you might open yourself up to a whole other level of difficulty (like me making an alpha and not checking if it was in gamut before cutting it! *urgh*)

if the element has parts that do require a little bit layering, i'll give just that. a little bit of layering. But i will never give the final shadow.
For me personal, i don't like embellishments with shadowing. I delete those most of the time *blush* Everybody has its own preferences when it comes to shadow, some shadow really heavily like its 3d crafting, others (like me whihi) shadow just mildly.

A couple of things to consider: 1, most designers do not offer shadowed elements. Most scrappers want to do the shadowing themselves. I know of only one designer who gives shadowed and unshadowed elements in her kits. 2, offering both will more than double the size of your downloads, something that most scrappers will view as a big drawback. Also it's time consuming to have to delete shadows from elements because they are not the kind of shadow that I want and even more difficult if a scrapper doesn't know how to delete the shadow.

I agree with what Soro said. If you are offering a layered element, then add shadows to the layers, otherwise, it will have a very flat appearance, but delete any shadow that is outside the element. I usually do the shadows on layered elements at 0 degrees with a high blur, adjusting the darkness as needed to create the sense of depth. I delete all shadows outside the actual element which allows the scrapper to put any kind of shadow to the element in the direction they want.

Around the transparent part of the element I like to keep clean unless I'm using it in a layout .... none of my kits have shadows since most of these are going to be done digitally and they can add their own ... I will however add shadows to a cluster or petals etc if I think they need it inside an element. These I usually add by using the burn dodge tools ... they give a much more realistic shadow. I'm seeing less elements with shadows as a second choice in kits than there used to be as well.

What Linda said.

I delete anything with preplaced shadows (or avoid it all together in the first place). Shadows are, IMHO, extremely dependent upon where and how they are placed on a page.

BUT - I know of some designers who work in PaintShop Pro who do NOT like fiddling with the shadowing tool in that program and could quite possibly appreciate pre-shadowed items (as long as they are consistent). I would suggest offering shadowed and non-shadowed items as separate downloads, if you're wanting to offer the shadowed items. smiley

Thank you so much for all your replies. I didn't expect anyone to reply so quickly. I do love this forum! Thank you also for your patience with me and all my questions in here. smiley

You have given me plenty to think about and I really appreciate it. I'm selling on etsy (well, attempting to...) so what you said about download size makes sense. Also a layer with the shadow that can be removed if they wish makes sense too. Food for thought. I shall read through your replies again tomorrow with a fresh head. Thanks again smiley

I only include shadows when I warp the shadow (make it completely different than what it would be just adding a basic drop shadow) & then I also include the un-shadowed element as well... or even do a completely separate png of the shadow.
I agree that it would make your file size way too big & honestly don't think it's necessary since one of the first things people learn to do when they learn to digi scrap is shadowing a layout.
I've seen designers do 45', -45' and 120' and then black, grey, brown colors as well as either multiply, linear burn, color burn blending modes etc.. - everyone is different so it's hard to pick a shadow where everyone will be happy.
IMO, a better option (if you want to supply people with shadows) would be to just include a shadow layer style with your kit. Then people could choose to use it or not & it would keep the file size smaller.

The standard these days are inner shadows on layered elements only. When you feel that you must include a shadowed version of something because people will have trouble to shadow it, you must include a inner-shadow-only version too.

Thank you. It really is great to have everyones opinions. I think I shall include an extra file with the shadow as a layer if they then wish to add it. That keeps everyone happy and satisfies my need for shadowing. lol

Thank you once again. smiley

I love to use shadows on my pages but I like to add them myself. I prefer elements without shadows that way I can play around with direction and depth.

I think shadows can be helpful, when used in moderation. When I digitally scrapbook, I consider whether a traditional page would have a shadow where I'm thinking of placing one. I mean, there is dimension to traditional pages, so sometimes it's appropriate. If I wouldn't normally layer elements somewhere, I won't put a shadow there. There is way too much shadow overuse in the digital scrapbooking world, imo. It has to make sense. In reality, shadows are created by light, they can't be all haphazard on a page. But they can be tastefully applied if done so in a thoughtful manner. And I'm in agreement with so many other responders in that I don't use elements with pre-placed shadows.

I think shadowed give a layout real depth. I remove any pre-existing ones and create my own.

As a scrapper, I am shadow obsessed! I love my digi-pages to look as realistic as possible, so I shadow pretty much everything (at 120 degrees) from a small paper shadow to a more warped shadow if I want something to appear lifted off the page. Because I'm shadow-obsessed, it even affects the way/direction in which I create my layouts to get the best! I think the type of shadowing in general is definitely a matter of preference as I've seen others who create beautiful layouts with very large shadows that give their elements a floating feel. That said, I prefer to do all my shadowing myself, so I won't use any pre-shadowed items.

As a designer, I never include a shadow on an element unless it serves a very special purpose and then I include a non-shadowed version as well. If you plan to continue to sell your items, you may want to be mindful of the quality control checklist that has become standard around the digiscrap world. (ex: One QC rule is to ONLY include inside shadows on an element when necessary. I use a PS action to remove outside shadows once I'm done with a layered item, so it's easy to remedy.

Hope that helps. smiley

I like to add my own shadows and don't use kit pieces that come with a shadow already applied.

I like to add my own shadows and do a lot at 120...though every designer can be different. I'm a shadow freak so I love them. I'm on a bunch of CT teams and they all have their own styles so... this was great to read.

Exactly what Linda and Lorien Said, the standard is to not include shadows. If you will ever want to sell in a store, most of them if not all have a rule no outside shadows. ONly if it is a stacked/layered element and then you will include only the inner shadow.