To Shadow or not to Shadow? That is the Question

onelittlebird_springrain_labelholderblue


Label holders by One Little Bird Spring Rain. Fontologie Printing Primer font.

There are few subjects in digital scrapbooking that seem to as mysterious and as polarizing as shadowing. To borrow a term from the oft-quoted Paperclipping Roundtable podcast #10, there are the “drop shadow haters” and then there are those who love drop shadows and can’t imagine life without them.

I (Katie) knew nothing about shadowing for the first year that I created digital scrapbook layouts, but I sure wish I did! They make a huge difference on a page! Whether you keep them subtle, or full of depth, there is usually a need for some time of shadowing on most pages. (There are exceptions and I will show examples of those as well).

The best way to illustrate shadowing is to show you some examples. I asked some of our team members to share a layout with us and show us the un-shadowed and the shadowed version for comparison.

No shadows:

Backyard_noshad_web

With Shadows:

Backyard_web

Layout by Heddy. You Make Me All I Was Meant To Be by Lauren Grier , Ingrid’s Templates Set No. 9 by Ingrid Fasquelle, Font is DJB Brittany Script by Darcy Baldwin Kristen Rice shadow styles (shadows perfected)

.

No Shadows:

jld_tempted_vol1_snow_noshadow

With Shadows:

jld_tempted_vol1_snow-1

Layout by Jenn L. Tempted Vol. 1 by Jenn Lindsey, Homemade Holidays by After Five Designers, Pea Jane font

.

No Shadows:

5134798494_f19f19ca88_o

With Shadows:

5134798430_4388413584_o

Layout by Trina. November Grab Bag – Litabells Designs CU Shadows Perfected – Kristin Rice

.

Can you see the difference? Each layout is beautiful, but the un-shadowed versions look a little flat. It’s difficult to distinguish some of the embellishments. Of course some digi scrappers just don’t care for the shadowed look and that’s ok also. Some of the more graphic style layouts look better without shadows or with only very slight shadowing.

Shadows Optional:

I think this page looks just fine without shadows. It’s like a photo collage and the clean graphic lines of the template work well to divide the page visually. The pictures are vibrant enough to each define their own space. I also think it would be fine to use shadowing behind each photo to make them “pop” a bit.

4740146942_2c513c9b2b

Layout by Katie. Template by Debbie Hodge Katie Pertiet Krafty Paper. Fontologie Printing Primer font.

.

Subtle Shadows

This layout has extremely subtle shadowing. I wanted it to look more like a photo contact sheet so I didn’t see a need to add a lot of depth to the shadows. In this case, I thought the shadows might compete with the template design. I did add a bigger shadow to the brad elements so they didn’t look flat.

4837324435_b051f37a17

Layout by Katie. Anna Aspnes template. Times New Roman font.

.

No Need for Shadows:

Do you remember my Week in the Life Album? I decided to not use any shadowing on those pages. The look I was going for was a much more graphic and photo-book style.

10

Layout by Katie. Ali Edward template, Story of Everyday Life collab kit for Daily Digi subscribers, Courier New font.

.

The Art of Shadowing:

I love to browse our flickr group and the galleries in search of beautiful shadowing. I think it’s an art form all it’s own! Here are a few fantastic examples of shadows done so well, that you want to reach out and touch the page. The shadowing on each of these layouts is really what has turned them into masterpieces! (all images are linked for credits)

4802003356_cc42cfc924

.

4392523306_0eaffabb8d

.

JMAY_Freestyle01web

.

For this week's [url=http://www.digidares.com/?p=501]Dare #150[/url] by Aja:  What do you collect? This week I want to hear all about your collections! Do you collect books? Dolls? Photographs? What about your children or spouse? Do they have a fun collection?  Dare Flair     * Since this is about collections, I want to see lots of photos–at least five.     * Use products from at least five different designers–dig into your collection of scrapping supplies!     * Be creative with at least one of your photos–extract it, crop it in a different way, etc.     * Include the word “collection/collect” somewhere on the page.  credits: my photos: stamp album, handwritten envelopes, stamps on envelopes, stamps in white envelope, catalogue background, stitches [url=http://www.the-lilypad.com/store/product.php?productid=2170]Boys R Cool[/url] by Amy Sumrall camera, envelopes, notepad, pen [url=http://www.oscraps.com/shop/product.php?productid=23040]Desk Mess![/url] by Holliewood Studios rubberband Rubberbands #4 by Gunhild Storeide (freebie) rubberband That's How We Roll by Karah Fredricks alpha [url=http://www.scrapartist.com/shoppe/product.php?productid=2026]Cut It Out Dates & Alphabet[/url] by Designs by Lili font: Pea Alisha

.

PlaytimeDST

.

Ok, do you have shadowing skill envy now? I know I do! Creating more realistic drop-shadows is something I want to improve in my own digital scrapbooking. Here are some great tips and ideas to help you with digital drop shadows:

  • Shadowing tutorials here at The Daily Digi
  • We share shadow settings, tips, and tricks, in each month’s Playbook here at The Daily Digi. The playbook comes the monthy or yearly subscription or you can purchase it in the store.
  • Use pre-shadowed embellishments and/or templates. Some designers include shadowed and non-shadowed elements in their kits. If you like shortcuts, use the embellis that come with drop shadows. Also, some templates come with the paper and photo spaces already shadowed. This can make digi scrapping so much faster!
  • Use pre-made shadow styles sold by digital designers. Many of our team members swear by Kristin Rice’s shadow styles, One Little Bird’s shadow styles, Flergs shadow styles, Jenn Barrette’s shadow styles, and many more!
  • Listen to episode 22 of the Paperclipping Digi Show where you can learn great tips for drop shadows from the pros!
  • Read through our contributor spotlights here at The Daily Digi. I learned a great shadowing tip from Kat the other day that I had never thought of before!
  • Study special shadowing techniques for clear acrylic embellishments. There’s a great tutorial by Kiki Halbert on Jennifer Fox Designs blog. Dani Mogstad also has a fabulous tip on her design blog.
  • Copy layer styles. If you find a shadow setting you like in a template, make a note of the settings and use them in other projects. You can also actually copy the exact shadow style. Make sure the layer with the shadow you like is selected, then go to “Layer” — then “layer style” and choose “copy layer style”.

image

Then on the layer or layers you want to apply that same style to, make sure they are selected (hold down the CTRL key while selecting multiple layers at once) and go to “Layer” — then “layer style” and choose “paste layer style”. One of my favorite tricks!
image

  • Shadowing usually looks more natural in a brownish or grayish color rather than the default black setting. Experiment with different tones in your shadow settings area. Go to the shadow setting and click on this box to adjust the color field

image

then enter the numbers to achieve the desired color. Al you need to do is to enter numbers in the first 3 spaces, the rest will fill in on their own. I like to change my color to a dark brown using these settings: 34,98, 18. Some scrappers prefer a more gray shadow. Don’t be afraid to experiment, you can always “undo!”
image

.

If you have any shadowing shortcuts you want to share, feel free to leave us a comment. We love to learn from YOU!

katie