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Perhaps the easiest 3-D effect is to add a "Drop Shadow". Let us start with an image captured just inside the east entrance to Jasper National Park in Alberta Canada.
Canvas Size menu item
First we must expand the "Canvas Size" to make room for the shadow. Under the "Image" menu, select "Canvas Size".
Change Canvas Size

We are going to put the drop shadow into the lower right hand corner, so we need some white space in which to do it.

Make sure your background color is white - or matches the background where the picture is going to be placed.

In this case I have a 320 x 201 pixel image and as you can see on the left, I added 20 pixels to make the width 340 and the height 221.

Under"Image Placement", I made sure that the new area would be on the bottom and on the right.

Tool Options
Click on the "Magic Wand" tool, set "Match mode" for "Brightness" with a "Tolerance" of zero and no "Feather".
Select area for drop shadow

Now there is a 20 pixel area of white to the bottom and to the right.

Click somewhere in the white area to select it. Then Invert the selection. You can also select it with a rectangular marquee, but this is easier, as long as there is no white along the edge of the picture.

How to find "Drop Shadow" on the menu.
The "Drop Shadow" control window

The "Drop Shadow" feature is accessed under the "Effects" menu and "3-D Effects" sub-menu.

Since we have a 20 pixel area for the drop shadow, I used offsets of 10 "Vertical" and 10 "Horizontal". So that the shadow has room to soften before hitting the edge, I used a "Blur" of 10 pixels.

"Opacity" is whatever looks good to you. Use the preview for setting it interactively. No rules - if it looks good, it IS good.

In most cases, leave the colour as black. However, feel free to experiment with other colours if you want.

East Jasper Park with drop shadow
Here we have the final effect. Simple and effective. A picture hovering above the page and casting a shadow.

© Larry N. Bolch 2002

Outer Bevel