Tips and Mistakes to Avoid When Creating Shadows in Photoshop

In this video tutorial, watch as Dean Samed shows you how to create shadows in Photoshop by showing you three tips and mistakes to avoid.

In the video, Samed starts by showing us the technique he uses the most, which revolves around shadows cast by objects in close-up scenes, like portraits or character designs. This technique is one we have all done, in which we duplicate a layer, darken it with curves, and then move it under the object. From there, we pull down the darkness and use the opacity to lower the strength. For the next tip, we create the shadow by selecting a dark area from the image and then paint this under the mask with a brush. I like this one because the shadow is not just black; it also has tones of the skin in it, which makes it look more realistic.

As the video continues, Samed shows us a process called "stealing the shadow." You can use this technique when you have a well-taken studio image. All you need to do is cut out the model. You then use the same image to "steal" the shadows using the multiply blend mode and bumping up the lights with levels. Very easy. The video is filled with plenty more advice on creating shadows, so watch it and let me know what you think.

This tutorial is great for beginner photo-manipulators who are struggling to ground the cut-out figures in Photoshop. Shadows are very important and where most people fail. 

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1 Comment

chris bryant's picture

I prefer real shadows, they are very realistic :-)