Usually we use drop shadows to “pop” things on a page, but did you know you can also use drop shadows to blend elements into a page? You can! Let’s delve into this a little more, shall we?

I’ve been throwing big words out there during our LAD (Layout-a-Day), chiaroscuro anyone? Today we are going to talk about another Renaissance technique: Sfumato.

Sfumato is a painting technique for softening the transition between colours, mimicking an area beyond what the human eye is focusing on, or the out-of-focus plane.

– wikipedia

This LAD, Dark Forest, we are working on creating dark & moody pages. Renaissance techniques are perfect to create these effects, we simply need to reimagine them digital style. There are several ways to do this, as always, but for me the quickest & easiest is to add a drop shadow. Take a look:

I am starting with two elements from the Dark Forest Mega, free to everyone participating in our Layout-a-Day.

With the elements layer selected:

  • Click on the Add a layer style icon.

A pop-up box immediately appears. Now we need to set the shadow style perfect for softening the edges of our element, making it appear to blend into our background.

  • Click on the color box next to Blend Mode

Another pop-up box immediately appears, this is the Color Picker box.

  • Click anywhere on your visible background (paper) layer. Darker is better
    note: pick from the background because we want to blend into the background
  • A small eyedropper tool will appear to show you where you are choosing from

When you are happy with the color you’ve chosen, and you can always go back & change it, click OK.

Now adjusted the rest of the Drop Shadow settings. Mine are:

  • Color Hex #222011
  • Blend Mode Linear Burn (click the tiny drop down arrow to change this)
  • Opacity 14%
  • Angle -13
  • Distance 4 px
  • Size 136 px

And that’s it! Your settings may vary depending on both your page & element. Take a look at the finished style, then join us in today’s Layout-a-Day challenge and try it out for yourself. See you there!