• How to Move Shadows to Their Own Layer in Photoshop Elements

    In the last tip, I showed how to use Photoshop to move a shadow layer style to its own layer. Once the shadow is on a separate layer, you can tweak it to make your page more realistic and interesting.

    Nanascrapper was kind enough to share her technique for separating a shadow in Elements. Here's her workaround for Elements users:

    Begin by applying a shadow using your favorite method. I like using "Simple Drop", or another one of Katie's drop shadow styles: Drop Shadow Layer Styles Collection 1 and Styles No. 2. You can also use one of the shadow styles that came already included with your software. You'll find them under the Layers panel under Effects. Choose Styles and then select "Drop Shadows," the name of your purchased styles, or "Show All" from the drop-down menu. Click once on the style to apply it, then click Layers again at the bottom of the panel.

    You'll notice that a small "fx" icon appears at the right side of the layer to which the style was applied.
    Double click the fx icon to open the Styles Settings.

    At this point, you can drag the distance slider until the shadow is separate from the layer or you can use your cursor to drag the shadow out from under the layer. With the Styles Settings box open, the shadow can be moved with the cursor. When the shadow is moved away from the layer, click OK.

    With the layer still selected, choose Layer > Simplify Layer from the Menu bar.

    Get the Lasso tool and choose a feather of 0 from the tool options. Draw a lasso around the shadow only - being careful not to include any of the original layer. You'll get marching ants around the selection when you get back to the starting point of the lasso selection.
    With the active selection, you'll put the shadow on its own layer by choosing Layer > New > Layer Via Cut or by simply pressing Shift Ctrl J (Mac: Shift Cmd J) on the keyboard.
    You can also right-click inside the selection and choose Layer via Cut from the menu that populates.

    Now the shadow will be on its own layer. You can move the shadow back under the original layer and ripple it using the filter menu as outlined in the previous tip. Just drag the shadow layer under the original layer in the Layers panel and use the Move tool to drag it into position.