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Question on drop shadows and masks

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  • Question on drop shadows and masks

    Probably doing something stupid here, but let me ask the question.

    Lets say I have a background image and then I select a person from another image and paste it as a new layer over the background image. When doing this I often have to create a mask on the upper layer to clean up the image thus hiding portions of the original selection that should not be there.

    I now want to add a drop shadow of the person, when I do this, I am having a problem because the shadow shows up, but everywhere I masked around the image, I lose portions of the drop shadow. I hope I am being clear enough in my description.

    Is there something I am doing wrong or a better way of doing this so that I have a clean drop shadow? Thanks for any suggestions - Carl

  • #2
    How are you creating this drop shadow? Can you describe it because that's probably where your problem is occuring.


    • #3
      I'm not entirely clear on what the problem is, but off the top of my head, I'd say: try flattening your image before you apply the drop shadow.


      • #4
        Well usually I just highlight the layer that has the image I want to apply the drop shadow to and then hit the f icon and select drop shadow. There are numerous settings that allow you to control blur, color, angle ect.

        It also is occuring in another plug in filter I use - andromeda shadow.

        I posted a pic so you can see what I am talking about - go here

        Its weird, I must be doing something wrong. Because after you posted your reply I went back and tried to recreate it and the first time I did it, I got a correct drop shadow using photoshops drop shadow using the method mentioned above. I then went to andromeda and I continue to get the problem. For some reason I can't recreate the problem I was having using photoshop drop shadow though I know for sure I have had the problem previously. Sorry to add so much confusion to the original question.


        • #5
          Hey Vikki,

          Thanks for joining in, the only problem with your suggestion is that if I flatten the picture, then I don't know how I would be able to apply the drop shadow to just the person or object that was on the original top layer, without reselecting everything again.


          • #6
            Don't you hate that when things work and you can't figure out why they are working when they didn't before? That is worse than when they just don't work at all. At least you can work through it and eventually solve the problem. Well you must have done something right so I would document the steps that got the results you wanted and follow that in future situations. Sorry I'm not much help.


            • #7
              I've had that happen, just like you describe on several occasions. Canceling out of the layer style menu then going back in seems to clear it up, and the drop shadow applies correctly...( I have not tried any third party drop shadow producers, though)... why this happens I have no idea. It does not occur consistantly and does not seem to be reproducable consistantly... I just cancel out then re-start the layer style dialog box and everything works...strange..Tom


              • #8
                I'm not sure if this will help, but you need to make sure your top layer is cut out properly. If you have the women as the top layer, you should be able to hold down the Ctrl key and click that layer and a nice tight selection should encircle, if you will, the contents of that layer, in this case the women. If you see the marching ants anywhere else but right around their bodies and hair, that is, outside the women, then you have a bunch of unwanted, stray pixels and you have to get rid of them before putting in a drop shadow.
                Also, the drop shadow that comes with photoshop is not very flexible. You're better off Ctrl-clicking the "women layer" to get the selection for the drop shadow, then adding a new, empty layer underneath the women layer, then filling this selection with a dark colour (this becomes the drop shadow), then deselect, followed by manipulating the contents of this new layer (the drop shadow) with gausian blur, smudge, transform tool and whatever else you want to try.



                • #9
                  This is a confusing thread.
                  How about if you saved your layer mask as a selection, then flattened the image?


                  • #10
                    First off thanks to everyone for your input and help. Thomas, thank you for confirming that I am not completely nuts, it sounds like you have had the exact same problem. Maybe I just need to do what you suggested until I get it where it works correctly.

                    Mig and Vikki I will try your recommendations as well, I continue to have the problem with the andromeda shadow filter despite trying all kinds of different things, just is not cooperating.

                    Anyway thanks again for your help, its just been an annoying thing that has happened from time to time that I just can't explain whats going on or figure out what I am doing wrong - Carl


                    • #11
                      Can you attach an example of the problem?
                      Learn by teaching
                      Take responsibility for learning


                      • #12
                        Hey Doug,
                        The second post I made to this thread has a link to the picture that shows the problem - Carl


                        • #13
                          So it does. But I still prefer attachments. Links break, and then members reading this a year from now won't have a clue about what we're talking about.

                          It looks like you are indeed masking the image, but its not using the mask to make a cleanly cut-out image. The dropshadow is ignoring the mask.

                          Are you using a layer mask? Try flattening just that one layer, or using the mask to make a new selection and then delete the background.

                          It seems to me that layer masks should be compatible with drop shadows. Are you using Photoshop's builtin dropshadow function? But regardless, if you have a layer with a cleanly cut-out subject, you should be able to make good shadows.
                          Learn by teaching
                          Take responsibility for learning


                          • #14
                            Hi Doug,

                            Yes I am using a layer mask, I am still learning alot about photoshop, and masks are not something I have any expertise in yet. But here is what I did in this example.

                            1) opened up image #1 (background)
                            2) opened up image #2 selected the women a best as I could. Did an edit copy.
                            3)Went back to image #1, created a new layer then edit-pasted the women.
                            4)I then created a layer mask and cleaned up areas that needed to be removed.

                            So now my image consists of 2 layers in total, layer 1 being the background, layer 2 being the women and to the right of that it shows the mask

                            I then highlighted the top layer (women) and selected the "f" down at the bottom of the layer dialog box and then selected drop shadow.

                            I am confused on one thing you mentioned, is there a way of somehow merging the image you were masking and the mask itself? You mentioned "try flattening just that one layer" I am not sure how that is done. I know I can flatten layer 1 and the background, but maybe you can tell me how to go about flattening just that one layer.
                            Thanks - Carl


                            • #15
                              Just right-click on the layer mask icon and select 'apply layer mask'.

                              There are also other options there that might be useful. It allows you to make a selection based on the layer mask, which could be taken to the original and used to copy a new layer (if you didn't want to lose your mask).

                              Experiment and use the history pallette to undo until you find the method you prefer.
                              Learn by teaching
                              Take responsibility for learning


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