MissBehaving: Shadows – Part I
I’m going to start you out nice and easy. In fact, it’s SO easy, you’re gonna LOVE this tutorial. Welcome to the Dark Side of Shadowing. *insert evil laugh here*
Let’s take Morgan here (I love this picture … she looks so innocent. Looks can be VERY deceiving. heh):
Let’s take a closer look. Note the natural shadows here. I’ve marked in red the underlying shadow … the shadow underneath Morgan that her body makes on the concrete floor. I’ve also marked the shadow her body makes falling on the floor between her arm and torso.
Your mission should you choose to accept it is to recreate this natural shadowing.
I’m going to extract my model and put her on a background. This background is from JenU’s Heritage and Traditions kit (who just happens to be having a HUGE sale right now )
Now, I’ve seen a LOT of layouts that just add a drop shadow.
Do you hear that sound? That is the heart-wrenching sound of my heart breaking into a bazillion pieces. This is: Shadows Gone Horribly Wrong!
This shadow here is NOT the way to go. It does NOT look realistic in any way, shape or form. And if you use this type of shadow after you read this tutorial, I will cry. We want a happy tutorial writer so please … just say NO to bad shadows.
Let’s start over. First … create a Layer mask for your model. Highlight your extracted model and hit “Ctrl + Enter” to select your model. The ants should be marching around your model.
Then hit “Create a Layer mask” button (circled in red).
You have now created your layer mask. Why? We’ll get to that very shortly, I promise.
We’re going to paint our shadow under our model first. Create a new layer under your model and name it “Shadow Layer”.
Go to your Tool Box and Select your Brush Tool.
I’m going to choose a dark color to paint in the shadows. Set your foreground to the color of your choice. I like the dark color of the cracks in the floorboard.
Use a 25 pixels brush (this depends on the size of your model … I started with 25 because of the smallness of Morgan’s fingers), Hardness 25% and color black or a dark brown, Opacity @ 100%. The goal is to paint with the brush right along the edges of your model.
Paint so that you only see the bottom edge peeking out from your model.
The bottom of her dress and legs are larger and it’s easier to paint with the bigger brush along the curves, so I’m going to adjust the size of my brush to 35, keeping the rest of the settings the same.
Continue painting along the edge of your model. Looks pretty good but we’ve just gotten started.
I’m going to blur it a bit because my freehand painting can sometimes be a little lacking in refinement. Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur
I’ve used a Radius of 2.
Mommy likey. We’re getting there.
Duplicate your Shadow Layer by hitting “Ctrl + J” and place it on top of your model.
Umm … yeah … nice paint work, eh? LOL We’re going to fix the shadows in a second.
Remember the layer mask we made earlier? Here’s where it comes into good use. We’re going to clip our shadow into that layer.
Go to your extracted layer and Highlight the mask. You’ll see a black box around it.
Hold down the “Alt” key and take your mouse and hover between this layer and the Shadow Copy layer above it until you see a little icon that looks like a bug with a little arrow beside it. I’m not able to take a screen shot of it so I’ve recreated it as best I could.
Press Enter and your Shadow Copy layer should now be clipped to your Mask.
Highlight the clipped layer and change the Blending mode to Soft Light.
Almost done! The only thing we have left to do is re-create the body shadow on the floor between her arm and torso. Create a new layer under the model’s body.
Using the original photo as your guide, paint in the rough shape of the shadow.
I’m going to blur it as I did before.
Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur
I’ve used a Radius of 2.
I’m going to change the blending mode to “Multiply” and lower the Opacity to 70%.
Honestly, your shadows don’t get much better than this.
I added a couple of more goodies from JenU’s kits: “Heritage and Traditions” and “Vintage Lullaby” and Lorie Davison’s kit: “Before the First Snow” and used the same shadowing techniques for the elements.
Here’s the final result:
Shadowing is muy importante. It honestly can give a beautiful depth to your layouts. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and you find it useful. Depending on the feedback from this tutorial, there may be more. If you have a specific tutorial you’d like to see regarding shadows … please post it in the comments and I’ll do my best to help out.
Good luck and happy creating! Go forth and experience the shadows.