Photoshop stroked objects and drop shadows
August 14, 2012 10:13 PM   Subscribe

Photoshop semi-newbie here, using CS5. When I create a rectangular selection on a new layer over a layer with a photo, then apply a stroke to create a simple frame, I'd also like to create a subtle drop shadow that would stay outside the shape. That is, the drop shadow should show up on the outside edges of 2 of the sides of the entire rectangular selection, but not inside the other 2 edges. The drop shadow should not be applied to the stroke itself.

This tutorial shows you how to do it by copying a selection to a new layer, but the frame created by the stroke and drop shadow is fixed in size and position.

This video tutorial shows you how to create a similar effect, but the frame is movable and re-sizable, and the colour effect will move with it. I end up with a stroked rectangle that does everything shown there, except that the damn drop shadow is cast from the stroke, casting a shadow on the portion of the image on the lower layer that appears within the stroke.

The video starts after the basic frame effect has been created, but no matter how I squint and experiment, I can't recreate what he did at the start. What am I missing? (And does he convert the original selection with stroke, plus drop shadow, into a single smart object?)
posted by wexford_arts to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Did you try using a layer mask for the parts you don't want, and turning on "layer mask hides effects"? (Sorry if I'm misunderstanding)
posted by circular at 10:47 PM on August 14, 2012

just add the stroke to the image itself (not a separate layer above it)...that ought to fix it.
posted by sexyrobot at 10:49 PM on August 14, 2012

1. Keep the same selection that you used to create the stroke (command-click on the stroke's layer to get the selection back if you've already deselected it).

2. Create a new layer and fill the selection with white.

3. Apply the drop shadow to that layer and move the layer underneath the photograph's layer.
posted by letitrain at 12:58 AM on August 15, 2012

Select the rectangle
edit->fill->50% gray
Set blend mode to overlay (the gray square should disappear)
Then open the layer styles and add the stroke and dropshadow.
posted by missmagenta at 1:03 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Use layer effects. Under the layer menu, or accessible by double clicking in the clear portion of a layer in the layer palette. Non-destructive layer effects, ahoy, including stroke, drop shadow, fill, etc.
posted by jpburns at 5:02 AM on August 15, 2012

Thanks , everybody! I've marked missmagenta's answer as it appeared to be the most straightforward way to get what I want (a re-sizable, movable set of layers), and it worked!

The old image with the interior drop shadow.

The updated image, including the PS settings at the right.

When I created a rectangular selection on a new layer above the photo, then filled the selection with 50% gray in Overlay blending mode, I couldn't see it disappear. But I set that layer to Overlay and it did vanish. After applying the stroke and drop shadow via layer effects, I then Ctrl-clicked on the thumbnail to select the shape, applied an adjustment layer for Hue and Saturation (making the framed area monochrome), then inverted the mask with Ctrl-I to keep the colour within the selection and desaturate everything else.

I can now select the two layers (frame with effects and adjustment layer) and move the picture frame, resize it and apply it to other images by dragging. Thanks again!
posted by wexford_arts at 6:05 AM on August 15, 2012

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