How to Create a Drop Shadow in Adobe Photoshop CS4

By Filonia LeChat

Shadows may be associated with ominous dark events around the corner or sordid situations, but when you create shadows in Adobe Photoshop CS4, you control how they contribute to your image. Adding a drop shadow with Photoshop CS4 is an ideal way to make a picture pop -- shadows give a touch of 3D imagery to an otherwise flat design -- and can direct viewers' eyes directly to one particular part of the picture.

Step 1

Open Photoshop CS4. Click the "File" menu. Click the "Open" link. Navigate to the image to add a drop shadow to and click the file name. Click the "Open" button.

Step 2

Select the "Lasso" icon near the top of the "Tools" column. Draw an outline around the part of the picture to receive the shadow, such as one person in a crowd or one house in a landscape shot.

Step 3

Right-click inside the outline and select "Layer via Copy." You won't notice much of a change, but if you review the "Layers" palette on the right side of the work area, you'll see a new Layer 1 with your selected subject on it.

Step 4

Double-click Layer 1 to open the "Layer Style" window.

Step 5

Click the "Drop Shadow" line at the top of the left-side column. This puts a check in the "Drop Shadow" box and opens the "Drop Shadow" dialog window. It also adds a default drop shadow to the picture, but you may have to drag the "Layer Style" window to the side to see it.

Step 6

Experiment with the options on the "Drop Shadow" window, such as the "Size" and "Spread" slider bars to manipulate the shadow's appearance. This step is optional.

Step 7

Click the "OK" button to close the "Layer Style" window. Right-click Layer 1 on the palette and select "Flatten Image." The two layers combine into one.

Step 8

Click the "File" menu. Click "Save As." Enter a new name in the "File name" box and click the "Save" button.