VABCH....Many of the Cricut cartridges have the Shadow as a choice for working with the images.
lovetostamp3....The best advice I can offer is to sit down and just work with the features on your machine. That's the best way to learn what each of them can do. I took a couple weeks to explore the features of the machines (Cricut then upgraded to the Expression) I have. I just cut things in various sizes and used each feature to see what it would do or look like. That's how I learned how to use the machines and all they can do. Then I was ready to cut images to create cards.
If you have an independently owned craft store in your area, you may be able to take a class if your interested. If it's not offered, ask and they may give individual sessions.