Favorite Design Tips 'n Tricks: The Drop Shadow

Hi everyone!
I wanted to share one of my favorite design tools:


I add a drop shadow to images on my coverpages because they POP so much more than flat, two-dimensional designs. 

Let's take a look at the difference between these two store ads that I recently created.

With drop shadow added to individual images

Without drop shadow added to individual images:
(except for the blue-green frame which contains a drop shadow in the image itself)

Both ads contain attractive elements in their color, text grouping, image spacing, and white space, but the top image gives more of a workshop look, with images placed on top of the background crinkle paper. The images look like they've been shuffled around by hand. And that workshop, "by hand," look is what I want viewers to feel when they see my work and store brand. This is because I create a lot of unique texture frames and backgrounds that lend to this by-hand, cut 'n paste look.

I LOVE the three dimensional, cut 'n paste look that I achieve from using drop shadow with my images.

Now it's your turn to play with drop shadow on one of my stitched, texture frames!

Click the frame image below to swing by my Teachers Pay Teachers store and 
download the FREEBIE Stitched Texture Frame:
(Comments and feedback are appreciated!)

How to add your own drop shadow:

For layman graphic artists, Microsoft PowerPoint is a great way to create .png images (if it's free and accessible to you). So, I'm going to take you through the simple steps of adding a drop shadow to the frame above.

1. Insert the image into a PowerPoint slide. This can be done by clicking on a PowerPoint slide, and then on the Insert tab, choosing Picture. You'll need to search your computer for the texture frame above, which, if you haven't moved it yet, probably resides in your downloads folder. The file name is: SproutingInSecond_stitched burlap_drop shadow sample.png.

2. Once the image is inserted, the fun begins! Click the image to select it. This way, the correct options will be available in the tabs above. Once selected, choose the Format tab. There is a dropdown menu called Picture Effects. This is where the fun effects reside. 

3. Choose Shadow, which opens another dropdown menu of choices. I prefer the drop shadow located in the 2nd row, far right. The shadow drops to the bottom left of the image. -But his doesn't add ENOUGH of a pop, though, so I keep playing.

4. Back on the Picture Effects tab, choose Shadow again. This time, though, choose the bottom option - Shadow Options. Choosing this will open a dialog box of options to play with. I like to change Size from 100% to 101% because I like an exaggerated shadow and this increases the shadow's size just enough.

And there it is. A simple way to add a 3D, cut 'n paste, pop to your graphic images. Of course, it is often necessary to adjust the shadow's angle, distance, blur, and transparency (also in the Shadow Options dialog box) - especially if you are working with an image that already contains its own drop shadow that you're not crazy about.

What are some other Picture Effects outcomes that you have discovered through this tutorial?
What are some of your tried-and-true picture effect go-to's?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the tips. I have done drop shadows on my titles before and loved the results, but I wasn't aware that you could do it with images too.