• Three Different Ways to Shadow Chunky Cuts Grids in Photoshop and PSE

    In this series of tips, we have been working with Katie Pertiet's Cutting Files: Chunky Cuts Grids. This set is part of the cutting files collection at Designer Digitals, but it is so much more. These grids can be used in digital scrapbooking and other digital projects.

    One question several of you have had about the grids is how to change the way the paper is "attached" to the grids. By adjusting the shadows, you can make the paper look like it is either glued to the grid or glued to the background paper, so you can get the look you want to achieve. Here's how:

    Begin by referring to our video tip on filling the grids. Here are the written instructions for filling the grids.
    Create the fill layers in Photoshop or PSE as demonstrated in the tip. Now decide how you want the paper to look.

    • If you want the paper to look glued to the background paper, you'll apply a shadow to the grid layer only. If your grid is clipped to paper, be sure to apply the shadow to the grid layer – not the paper layer! This method is demonstrated in the How to Fill Chunky Cuts Grids video tip. Drop shadows are made by selecting a layer and using the Styles Panel at the right side of the screen. I like to use Katie Pertiet's Drop Shadow Styles to apply the shadows. I find these shadows to be much more realistic and customized than the shadows that come preloaded in Photoshop and PSE.
    • Sometimes, you may prefer to have the paper appear as though it is attached to the grid instead. This is a bit trickier to achieve since you'll want the shadow to show behind the grid, but not in the inner sections. The easiest way to get the look is to hide all layers except the grid, grid fill sections and any patterned papers clipped to the grid. If you are following the tip, just hide the background and background paper if added. You can do this by clicking the Layer Visibility icon on the left side of any layer you want to hide. If you are hiding a large number of layers, just click and drag downward to hide all of the layers in line as you scroll down.
      - Once the layers are hidden, click to select the top layer and press Alt Ctrl Shift E (Mac: Opt Cmd Shift E) on your keyboard. This creates a new layer at the top which is a composite of all of the visible layers.
      - Apply a shadow to this layer. Now you’re the papers and photos appear to be a part of the grid (not glued beneath it.)
    • Perhaps you'd like a hybrid of the two methods where the paper looks glued to the back of the grid, but the entire filled grid is attached to the background. You'll probably want the shadow on the paper to be smaller than the paper on the outside edge of the grid, as it would be on an actual page. To do this, apply a small shadow to the grid layer. Here are the settings I used:

    Attachment 3167

    Continue by hiding all layers except the grid, grid fill layers and papers attached to them. Select the top visible layer and press Alt Ctrl Shift E (Mac: Opt Cmd Shift E) on the keyboard to make a composite. Now attach a larger shadow to the composite layer that populates at the top of the Layers panel. Adjust the shadow distance and size until you are happy with the way the grid composite is shadowed against the background. You can hide all of the grid/ grid fill layers at this point, leaving just the composite and background if desired.

    Using this method, your shadows are more realistic and you can get the effect you want.