When compositing images, you may have noticed, getting the highlights and shadows to match throughout your image can make an artist cross-eyed and weary. It’s an important step. I am constantly on the lookout for Photoshop tricks which will save me time when I need to create them. This next little trick I use a lot. Of coarse, PS tricks are never as good as creating shadows in camera, but this will get you pretty far. This technique is great for taking an object, which has been lit with ambient light and shift those surface shadows so they appear as if they were created with the same light source as the rest of your image. If you are not familiar with the term, “surface shadows” you can go back and review all the posts in this “Creating Shadows” blog series here: 1. It’s In the Shadows… 2. When You Hit A Brick Wall… 3. The Point of Contact 4. How To Select Objects With Their Shadows Intact 5. Adding Cast Shadows By Hand 6. Using Photoshop’s default action to create cast shadows… 7. Surface Shadows: Dodge the peaks and burn the valleys… 8. Adjusting the Intensity of Surface Shadows
1. Select the layer containing the object. (note: this technique will only work if your object is cut out and by itself on its own layer). 2. Select Layer > Layer style > Gradient overlay. Set the gradient as black to transparent. Now play around with the blending modes. Try “Overlay” first, then go down the list from there and see which mode looks best. In this case I felt that linear light worked the best. To keep it from getting too dark on the bottom, I turned the opacity down to 50%. This shift creates the illusion of a directional light from above. You can use this effect on any object. If you want the shift in light to go from left to right, you do this by changing the angle of the gradient in the layer styles panel 3. This technique also works when you stack layers. Duplicate your object layer, place the duplicate on top of your object layer and turn the blending mode to soft light. This will then double the gradient effect. Here is a quick animation to show you the shift and how you can change it and stack the effect… Keep learning and keep #SharingItFoward! Caroline
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