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Give Shadow to Cutted Objects


Tutorial goal:
rob7676 wanted to know how to give shadow to cutted out objects. In this tutorial I'll show you how.

End result:
Give shadow to cutted objects Final Image

step 1

Hello everyone, and escpecially rob7676! Today i will try to explain how to give shadow to elements on your image. The things i will show can be used from Photoshop 7 and older.

First, we need an image. My chose was a random guy that i picked off from sxc.hu (one of the best stock photo site). I will name this guy Ali for instance.

So i made a new document, and pasted my little random avarage (handsome) guy. But in order to give Ali some shadow, we will need to cut him out from the background. There is a lot of tools to achive this, but i used the "Color Range" selection tool. So if you want to follow me stricktly then go to Select>Color Range and click on the white background beside Ali. You have to play with Fuzziness because the value will depend on your image.

step 2

If you hit OK, you will get a nice selection around Ali and the background. Now hit Shift+I to reverse the selection. We just want to cut out him, not the background. The selection now changed and now you can press Ctrl+J to move Ali on his own layer. Now you can get rid of the layer where he came from.
Next stop is the most basic and easiest way to add shadow to something: Drop shadow!
Right click on Ali's layer and click on "Blending Options"

step 3

Now its time to hit the little checkbox beside "Drop shadow". Your image may look weird now, as the Blending Options will instantly give you a preview on what you are doing atm, but dont worry.
The "Angle" determines where does the shadow came from, so drag the little arrow thing to the proper direction.
The "Distance" kinda speaks for itself. It will set how far will the shadow go from the source
"Spread" will only have its effect if the "Size" of the shadow if big enough. You can change how dark and heavy should the shadow be.
"Size" will give the shadow size. If you give huge values, the resoult can be creepy but sometimes its just what you need.

One more important thing is the "Use Global Ligh" checkbox. If you are using more then one options in "Blending Options" example an inner shadow and their direction is not the same, the you have to turn this off in order to apply a different angle.

step 4

But that was just one way, i will show you another!
You can also create shadows manually. Delete that "Drop Shadow" effect and make a copy of Ali by pressing Ctrl+J. Now press the little eye icon on the layers palette besides the upper Ali, we will work with the lower one.

step 5

Hold down Ctrl and click on the thumbnail of the second Ali to load his "selection". Now hit Shift+Backspace or go to Edit>Fill and then select the Black color and leave everything on defaults. This will make or little guy totally black, but thats what we wanted to achive. Now click on the eye icon on the layers palette again to make or second Ali visible, but we will still work with our black guy!

step 6

Press Ctrl+T to go to Free Transform. Drag the top handler all the way to the middle. If your image is big, you have to correct the distorsion at the bottom by dragging the bottom handler a bit up. This shadow is a bit sharp so now we will correct this.

step 7

With our newly created shadow highlited on the layers palette we go now to Filters>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Lets blur the shadow a bit! The value of the blur depends on how big the shadow is.
I have to admit, i overrun with the value a little :P

step 8

You can further enhance your image with a little trick called "Lighting Effects" :)
Go to Filter>Render>Lighting Effects

step 9

This optional trick wont place shadows beside or behind elements. It will darken your objects so it will look like it should be if a light source would hit it. This is a very nifty tool and there is no pattern that you can follow from now on. Try to play with the sliders untill you are satisfied with the results.

Well i hope i helped on you Rob, and o everyone else who is new to shadows.

I hope you guys enjoyed as much as i enjoyed making it. This is my first tutorial, but hopefuly (?) not the last.

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