Saturday, October 8, 2011

Tipsy: What a little shadow can do for you

Last week I was out taking pictures at my favorite place, Disneyland (where else?) and while I was waiting in line at Toy Story Midway Mania, I was snapping pics of some of the great poster art decorating the queue. This one caught my attention not because it's the most interesting (it's not) but because it suddenly occurred to me that one of the reasons the art is so great is because of the terrific shadowing.

The posters are absolutely 2-dimensional, but the darts look like they are standing straight out, like you could reach out and touch them, and it's because of the shadows applied to the design. Here's what I mean. On the poster on the right, the darts appear to be popping off the page. Or look at the pink balloon near the top. The words also appear to be dimensional ("Surprises Galore.")

In the circle on the left is a close up of one of the darts. It's really 2-dimensional, but it's shadowed to make it appear 3-dimensional. Clever, right?

When you see a great design that catches your eye, it's worth it to stop and think for moment. After the initial "this is awesome!" let it soak in for a second until you start to analyze WHY it's terrific and you might learn something useful for scrapbooking.

I've actually done this on a digital scrapbook page, but only once. I was using this awesome book element as if it was an actual scrapbook page, and placed the photo I was showing off "in" the book. I used a handwriting font for the description, and then shadowed a feather pen to make it appear is if it was standing up off the page.

Very briefly, here's how I did this. I made a copy of the feather element and placed it under the original feather. Then I rotated it and resized it until it was in a position that it looked like where a shadow would fall. When resizing, I am generally careful to re-size proportionately, but in this case, it actually works better to shrink it disproprtionately. Think about when you are walking outside at sunset and your shadow is really long, or at midday when your shadow is really short because the sun is overhead. Shadows are not always the same!

Back to how I did this, after stretching and shaping my second feather in the shape I wanted, I added another new layer. I "hid" the second feather by clicking on the eye in the layers palette, and then I selected the layer by using CTRL+clicking on the layer thumbnail. (All of this is working with the second feather that is the shape of the desired shadow.) Next, I simply used a the paintbrush tool to paint in that selection on my blank layer. I used a grayish blue color rather than black. Once my shape was painted, I reduced the opacity of that layer until it looked right.

That was a really quick explanation, please comment if you have questions!

1 comment:

  1. This is a very cool tutorial. Going to try it next time I have CS5 open! :)