Photoshop/Elements - Easy Drop Shadows

Easy Drop Shadow layers in Photoshop/Elements – Beginners to Novice

See the 2+ minute video tutorial on drop-shadows from my PS/E video tutorial page

graphic tutorial per request

Summary for Novices: Duplicate your object, then use Enhance >> Adjust Lighting >> Levels, and move the master white all the way to the left, next to the black. You now have a duplicate object in pure black. Apply a Gaussian Blur, then use the “Multiply” blend at 40-75%, depending on the darkness. Move the shadow layer below the object and slightly offset: and up or down, right or left of it, depending on your light source. Transform the shadow for more realistic or even surreal effects.

Create a shadow for this object, a green sofa.

If you have a busy background, create a green fill layer
below your target object, in order to see results clearly

select sofa layer duplicate it

add “shadow” suffix to the name

keep shadow layer
on top. select it
Drop down “Enhance” menu >
select Adjust Lighting >

Output Levels slider, select white handle

Move white handle, left, to black handle

Now your object is duplicated in black. Next you will blur it.

keep shadow layer selected Drop down “Filter” menu >
select Blur > Gaussian Blur

Keep preview checked to moderate changes
Move slider to right to blur more

Grab shadow: click it.
while holding mouse down,
drag downward
Drop shadow below original
object layer

Make orig. object visible
(click box to see an eye)
select shadow layers

use move tool
in tools palette
press keyboard arrow keys
to offset the shadow
up, down, right, left

eraser tool erase unwanted shapes

Use “Transform” to change the perspective or distort the shadow

Drop down “Image” menu >
Transform > Perspective
Move corner handles to alter

Click check-mark to commit the transformation

Change the shadows blend/mode to Multiply

Drop down the Layers Palette
blending menu
select “Multiply”
Slide “Opacity” past midway,
shown at 62%

Before After

Let’s make that DARKER

Move Opacity up to 78%


Before After

Final Product

Although this pictorial uses an object, you can apply the same technique to people, lettering, or anything you like. It’s fast and easy once you’ve done it a couple of times. Remember: LEVELS.
LEVELS is where you change a duplicate object to BLACK.

This tutorial is brought to you courtesy of F.A. Moore.

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