CS5 Drop shadow action

Started Dec 6, 2010 | Discussions thread
NBDR
Regular MemberPosts: 272
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Set Ruler to percent and record shadow layer offsets with Move tool
In reply to Ross Dillon, Dec 8, 2010

As JJ noted values recorded in action steps as pixels instead of percents gets one into trouble quickly when it comes to flexibility. The good news is that simple borders and drop shadow effects can be rendered by actions without Layer Styles using commands that record in percent values as well as linear values.

For example one can duplicate the original document, then use the Canvas Size command to reduce its height to -99%, then fill with white. This results in a canvas that can be expanded to any relative length (say 300%) and then copied/pasted multiple times into separate layers of the original. With the help of align commands in the Layer menu one can create a simple inside border that has sides 1% thick relative to original image height - regardless of image dimensions, orientation or resolution.

After expanding the canvas by, say, 1/2" all directions, a drop shadow can rendered by duplicating the original layer, filling wth black, lowering opacity and using the Move tool to offset it to , say, 1.5% right and 1.5% down. As long as the offset values are equal, the effect looks fine for portrait or landscape. Note: If the Ruler is set to Percent, Move operations are recorded as % values, which is key. (Free Transform records X/Y shifts in pixels, so this is not the tool to use for the shadow offset.) Apply a little Gaussian Blur and the shadow looks pretty good.

I used these methods to record an action that seems to achieve the desired goals.

Your mileage will vary.
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