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How to shadow Transparent Items.

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How to shadow Transparent Items.

Hello Everyone! Monica here, today we are going to be talking about putting shadows on transparent item. For this tutorial I’ll be using Photoshop CS 6. I am using Legacy of Love Kit by Connie Prince for my page in this tutorial. I used a piece of Washi Tape from Leaves are Falling by Lindsay Jane.


Vellums, Lace, and Washi Tape are three of the main things that are hard to shadow. Vellums and Washi Tape have a transparent look to them. This means you can see through them. They wont have a HUGE shadow since they do sit directly on your page but you want them to have a slight shadow so they are not flat looking. This tutorial, I hope will help you with shadowing these items!!

Part One – Shadowing Tape and Vellum

When shadowing tape or vellum you want to make sure you have a small shadow. Tape sticks to a page so it needs a very slight shadow and vellum is thin so it will not make a thick shadow. Since you can see through it there are a couple of things you need to do.

Step one

You first want to duplicate your tape and hide the duplicate for now.


Now on the original tape layer you want to add a small shadow.


Now you can see that it added the shadow behind the tape too and that’s not what we want! We want it just around the edges. To get rid of it is easy!

Step Two

Remember that Duplicate I had you make? We are going to use that to help! You need to simplify or rasterize the tape you just added the shadow too. Then make the copy visible again.


Now I know the tape is no longer transparent, hang on. Select the copy of the tape you have made, make it the active layer and use your magic wand to select the tape.


Now you need to select the inverse. To do that, with your magic want tool right click and choose select inverse. This will select just the tape. Now you want to make the original or bottom layer of the tape that you put your shadow on the active layer.


Now with that bottom layer selected you just delete the selected area. By doing this it will remove the tape part but leave the shadow part. I have deselected the tape so you can see the washi tape and the shadow.


If I hide the washi tape layer you can just see the shadow.


Now you can lock those two layers together so that you can move them if you need.

These same steps can be done with Vellum. Here is what my Vellum on this page looks like with and without the shadowing.



The instructions above will work on any transparent item.

Part Two – Lace and Stitching

For lace and stitching you want to think about how they would actually look on a real live page. Stitching is going to go through paper or fabric so the shadowing it has is so small you can hardly see it. Lace is going to have a slightly thicker shadow than stitching would but nothing like a flower.

On my page I have a lacy stitched doiley.


It is going to have thick spots and thin spots of shadowing. When I shadow lace or this doiley here are the settings I use.

Now these are just my own personal taste in settings but you can see it has SOME depth to it but it’s not a huge depth that makes it look too thick to be under the items I have on my page.


Final thoughts

There is no right or wrong way. Think of the items as if you had them laying in front of you under a lamp. How would each would look under that lamp. Which would have a thicker shadow? Which would have a thinner shadow? Shadowing is all up to the person in control. Some like thick shadows some like thin ones. I like my shadows to look more realistic. I wouldn’t expect a thin vellum sheet to have the same thick shadow as a flower. Flowers are thicker! I hope this has helped you today. As always if you have any questions feel free to pm me here at Gotta Pixel, I’m sparky_mom!

Check out my Finished Page!


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