Why Would I Want To Warp or Liquefy My Drop Shadows?


Supplies: template by Nanie at Scrap Orchard and papers and elements by Zoe Pearn at Sweet Shoppe.

During episode 8 of the ‘new’ Digi Show, we were discussing common mistakes we made when we first started digi scrapping. The discussion turned to warping drop shadows and WHY someone might want to do it. I know we have talked about the HOW before (in PSCS and in PSE) but not as much the WHY.

It’s important to note that PSE does not have a warping tool, but you can achieve a similar look with the Liquefy and other filters.

When we apply a drop shadow to a layer, it applies the same distance, depth, and everything else uniformly across the whole layer. But, when items are layered, like the layout above, one element might be closer to some layers (creating a smaller drop shadow) and further away from other layers (creating a larger drop shadow). Let’s look at some close up examples from the layout above:


In the image above, the arrows show you where the SMILE element would naturally be closer to the underlying pieces of paper or layers. These two points should also naturally have a smaller drop shadow.

Here’s what my warping mesh looked like before I started making changes:


Here’s what it looks like after I made changes to the warping mesh and committed them:


You can see that the drop shadow on the outer edges is smaller, but in the center, where the pennant is a layer or two further away, the drop shadow is larger.  The change is subtle, but for people like me that are a little OCD on drop shadows, it makes a big difference.

Here’s one more look at a couple of points on the layout:


The ricrac should be closer to the paper frame, therefor, the ricrac should have a smaller drop shadow on those points. I again used the Edit> Transform> Warp method to change the drop shadow only at those points:


Here’s one last look at a few more points on the layout:


After I applied some warping:


Peppermint and I admit in episode 8 of The Digi Show that this isn’t something for everyone. Not everyone gets obsessed about drop shadows and not everyone wants to spend time on them. Peppermint and I both LOVE tweaking them and making changes like the ones above. So, if you aren’t one of those people, don’t worry, keep doing what you are doing! If you do enjoy playing with drop shadows, then be sure to check out our drop shadow tutorial section to learn more about HOW to tweak in your program of choice!

Here are some additional fun uses for warping from our team members:

From Karen: I warp some drop shadows to make it look like an element is lifting off the paper a bit. I mainly do it with photos that I’ve put in aged frames since those wouldn’t probably lay totally flat and even on a paper page.

From Wendy: Anytime you have something that doesn’t lie flat on the page, you can use the warp, skew, or puppet warp tools to help give a more 3-dimensional look. Take a look at this image…. It shows how you can really create depth and dimension by simply changing a flat shadow into a warped one. I usually warp or skew the object one direction, then the shadow the opposite direction. I mainly use it when I want to lift a ribbon or bent photo up off the page


From Lauren: You can also warp background papers. I almost always stack my backgrounds w/ the 2nd being slightly smaller than the first. Then you can warp the smaller background to add interest. I loooove when things look a bit wonky.

So, what do you think? Are you going to try some warping?