Removing External Shadows From Clusters and Other Layered Elements

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Removing External Shadows From Clusters and Other Layered Elements

Generally it's best not to include external shadows with your elements when preparing them to be shared. There are two easy methods for removing external shadows, while leaving internal shadows on layered elements.

For simple layered graphics, with just one layer above another

If there are just two layers, or only two layers are involved in the shadowing, use this easy method to manage your external shadows.

I have a shadow applied to my top layer, but I only want the shadow to show on the toothpick.

Right click on the layer style information area. Choose the option "Create Layer."

This will create a new layer from the layer style. You can no longer edit the shadow with layer styles, but you can clip it to the bottom layer. This will let you show only the part of the shadow over the toothpick.

For complicated layered graphics, such as clusters

Here is my cluster. You can see that I've applied a drop shadow to every layer. However, if I were to share it as is, it would include external shadows which some people do not like included with their elements.

You can see in this merged version that the edges are blurry from the external shadows.

To being, select all the layers of the cluster and duplicate them.

Merge the newly duplicated layers together.

Select the original layers, remove the drop shadow and merge all the layers together.

Now you should have two layers. The top layer has shadows and the bottom layer has no shadows. Clip the top layer to the bottom layer.

You can see when I add a slight stroke to the bottom layer that the edges are smooth and unshadowed. You can easily trim the element now of unwanted space.

Save this version as a PNG to share, but be careful not to override your original save file as you won't easily be able to edit this version.

Great tutorial - just this past week I was trying to figure out how to do this in a few easy steps - and VOILA - thanks so much for sharing this tutorial!

Wow, great tutorial, thanks for doing this.

Great tut!! Glad to see that I've been doing it correctly lol