I took the paper cut-out horse from two posts ago and spiffed it up a little. It's odd, but I think it's more apparent that it's cut paper now that it has been digitally altered. Remember that old 80's animated movie, the Last Unicorn? The unicorn gets captured by a circus, and the owner of the circus has to enchant a fake horn onto her, because no one can see the real horn. I feel like that's kind of what I did with this piece: took an actual paper cutout, then made it look like cut paper on the computer, because the scan didn't really look like it was real.
Lesson learned from this piece: You can get convincing cast shadows by using a filled in duplicate of what you want a shadow of, gaussian blur it, then erase with a soft brush the places where the actual object gets closer to the surface it's sitting on. For most of the shadows here, I used two layers in this fashion: one as a softer shadow, and the other harder and closer to the object itself.
Example: See that little piece of upside down paper on top of the receipt? The shadow is more blurred in the middle, because there would be a little 'bridge' between the two ends of the paper where it is touching neither the receipt, nor the envelope. The shadow is sharpest, closest, and smallest where the paper sliver touches the receipt, and envelope, on its two ends.
Moral: Stay away from Layer Styles if at all possible--they do things too uniform, too perfect, and it takes the humanness out of it.
Imperfection in small doses makes things look real. (Imperfection in large doses makes you look like an idiot.)
Scissors from www.deviantart.com/art/Scissor…
Wood from www.deviantart.com/art/Wood-Gr…