Tips for shadowing digital tape

Today I've got a tip to share with you for shadowing tape on your digital pages. Have you ever added a shadow to a piece of tape that's holding down a flattish item like a paper frame, photo or piece of ephemera and you wished the end result would look more realistic?

Washi Tape is sooo popular right now, and it's often slightly semi-transparent as it's made from Japanese paper. Once applied over flattish items you can normally see the ridged edge of the paper frame or photo etc. a little as the low tack tape molds around it. Carry on reading and you can get this look on your digital pages by following this one simple trick!

You might be tempted to reduce the opacity of the tape after you've applied your drop shadow to make it more transparent and look more like Washi tape but reducing the fill is a much smarter option . . .

When a layer has a style applied to it, reduction in opacity will reduce both the layer contents AND any style effects. Reduce the Fill of the layer and you'll ONLY reduce the opacity of the contents of the layer itself, and not affect the style at all.

Try it for yourself, apply a drop shadow to a piece of tape (keep your shadowing minimal, remember the tape is supposed to be taped down and stuck to your object, not layered like paper - see my settings at the end of the post if you need a hand) and then reduce the opacity of your tape layer right down to zero, you'll see everything disappear. Now re-set your opacity to 100% and try the same again but with the fill option, reduce the fill and watch the tape reduce in opacity, but see how the shadow remains?

This technique is really cool for tape because it means it gives the tape some definition from the background because the shadow remains, but the item you are taping down will be slightly visible through the tape as it's fill has been reduced a little to create a semi transparent look.

Here is a snippet from a layout I was working on as an example:

Tape with Opacity or Fill settings at 100% - Not looking too realistic here . . 

Shadowing digital tape tutorial by Captivated Visions

Tape with Fill shown at 80% - I like the realisim of the frame peeking through!

Shadowing digital tape tutorial by Captivated Visions

In Photoshop the Opacity and Fill layers can be adjusted in the top right hand corner of the Layers Window as shown below.

Shadowing digital tape tutorial by Captivated Visions

If you need help perfecting the settings for your tape here is the setting I used in my layout, feel free to use it as a starting point or maybe it works for your layout too :) 

Shadowing digital tape tutorial by Captivated Visions

Have fun shadowing your tape!