Continuing on with the “Creating Shadows” Blog series, today I want to show you a quick and easy technique for creating a rim shadow. If you have not read the other posts on “Creating Shadows” you can review them 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 9. How to “shift” an object’s surface shadow so it matches your light source…
This technique can make a huge difference when trying to blend objects together into one cohesive composite. If you place an object in your scene and it just doesn’t look a part of everything – if it looks too bright, not high contrast enough or even too “flat” compared to the surface it is sitting on, then your object may need a “rim shadow”. A “rim shadow” is a little dark band that gives the “back side” of your object the look of being in shadow. It is the same kind of shadow that makes a pole or a ball, look round. When the pole is brighter in the front and darker as it goes around the side. In other words, its the shadow that runs along the “rim” of your object. This method of creating a rim shadow is also another great way to “change” the direction of light on your object to match the rest of your image. Make sure your object is cleanly cut out and on its own layer before using this technique.
1. Select your layer containing the object. Click on layer > layer styles > inner shadow. (I’m going to use my Mom’s little puppy again. Her name is Ruffles, by the way. Ha!) Your layer styles dialogue box will open. Uncheck the box “Global Light”. This ensures any changes you make on the angle of this shadow doesn’t affect any other layer styles you have set in your image. I always uncheck this box. If you don’t you are going to pull your hair out trying to fix everything back the way it was. LOL! I usually leave the color of the inner shadow as black but you could also use dark brown, dark blue etc… if you need a certain color cast to your shadow. Choose a blending mode under the “darken” section. Try them all and see what looks best to you.
2. Adjust the angle of your inner shadow on the little angle circle in the dialogue box. The angle of this object’s shadow may not be the same direction as your background’s light source. Sometimes your object’s shadow direction will be determined by what your object is sitting next to, instead. For example: if your object’s light is being blocked by another object sitting next to it or in front of it. etc… Trust your eye. You will know when it looks correct. You may also need to play around with the opacity, distance and size settings, in order to get realistic effects.
Here is an animation of the before and after…
That’s it for today! I hope you are finding this series helpful. Message me if you have any specific questions on creating shadows and I will do my best to cover how to solve them. Keep learning and keep #SharingItForward,
Keep learning and keep #SharingItForward!
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