How to make a shadow to an object

posted by poze, Nov 10, 2006 4:25 PM — 12 comments

1. First of all, off course, open the picture in Adobe Photoshop, any edition you have and want. If you want to adjust the contrast or brightness and if you think it’s needed, do it. If don’t, leave the picture as it is. I choose for this tutorial a picture with an Seat Leon FR, because it’s one of my favorite car, but you do exacly the same thing to any other object. You can’t do it to pictures with landscapes; actually you can do it, but it will appear horible. It’s you’re decision.

2. To do shadow, first of all you need to do a path of the car. Switch to „Paths” tab.

3. After this select the „Pen tool” or just press „P”. With this intrument you will do the path.

4. Be sure after you select the „Pen tool” on the task bar you have selected the „Paths” option and „Add to path area (+)” option. Otherwise it will do another thing to you’re picture.

5. Start whereever you want with the path. You will fallow the exacly shape of the car. It will be like you draw with a pencil the shape of the car. In „Paths” tab it will appeare an „layer” called „Work Path”. This it will show the progres of youre path. What it’s with white colour it’s the needed shape, what it’s with gray colour, it’s the background. In the end you will see you don’t needed that anymore.

6. You can do the path if you are not skillfull enough by making small steps, from a point to another. Or you can do it with big steps like this: you do a step; and after you click in one point drag the mouse just a little. Now it will appear to you some anchors called „Anchor Point”. With the „Alt” pressed you can move that anchor point until the path it’s exacly on the shape of the car. But, i say it again, do this only if you are skillfull enough. It will make you nervous on the first. Trust me, i know :)

7. Continue with the shape of the car until you close it. After you close the path you will see the shape of youre car in that „Work Path” „layer”.

8. You will need to save the path by pressing the option of „Paths”. Select the „Save Path”.

9. It will appear a window, where you can called the paths how do you wish, but it’s easier if you let it just how it is – Path 1. Click OK.

10. The name you choose it for youre path with appear on that „layer”

11. Right click on the „layer” and select „Make selection” option

12. It will appear another window with some option for the path. It better if you leave the „Feather Radius” to 0 pixels. Be sure it is selected the „Anti-aliased” option and „New selection”.

13. After you click OK the path will glows (i onest don’t know how to call it). You will understand after you do this :)

14. Click on the „Edit in Quick Mask Mode” on the instrument panel or just press Q. Youre shape will became a red transparent mask.

15. Select the „Polygonal Lasso Tool” or press L. You can do the following step with the „Lasso Tool” also, but for me it’s easier with the Polygonal Lasso.

16. Start do a selection of the real shadow of the car, until you close the selection. My tip is not to do that selection exacly on the shape of the shadow. Do it a little inside of the shape. You will understand later why. Be sure when you do this the „Feather” option from the task bar it’s on the 0 pixels.

17. After you closed the selection press Ctrl+Alt+D to enter a value for the „Feather Selection”. I used often the 20 pixels value. You enter this value to apply to youre future shadow some-how of fading. The future shadow will not end abruptly, it will have a nice ending.

18. You will see the selection youve made earlier now it’s smaller, because of the value you just enter. The bigger value you enter, the smaller selection will be.

19. Now it’s the important part of the this tutorial. You will do the shadow. Keep pushed the Alt key and press the „Backspace” key two-three times on a row. The selection it will became red. That is the shadow. It’s not over yet.

20. Press Q or „Edit in Standard Mode”. Now the picture it is like when you started, but a selection on it.

21. Press Alt+I to invert the selection.

22. It’s almost over. Delete the selection (just press Delete key).

23. Now it’s over. Press Ctrl+D to deselect and... that’s it. This is how the picture looked at the beggining and this is how the picture appear in the end. And this is how it’s made those picture from the magazines. Have a nice live and good luck. C ya.

Comments | RSS

1. posted by tdusan, Nov 11, 2006 2:48 PM

Just what I need.

2. posted by carmenrod, Nov 11, 2006 5:57 PM

Nice but I have a problem with the browser? I guess. Cause all the photos are in the wrong place and the text is all chaos. I used Internet Explorer. What browser suits better?
Thanks a lot from Peru

3. posted by polska1, Nov 19, 2006 11:52 PM

Nice and useful tutorial. Thank you

@2 - Any browser is better than IE

4. posted by icecube666, Nov 22, 2006 8:05 PM

great tut! best explination of this subject ive seen

5. posted by jwoelper, Dec 9, 2006 4:29 PM

You could just cut out the car using the extract filter, then paint a shadow. No need for pathes.

6. posted by Bongani, Jan 26, 2007 12:21 PM

Thanks - you make it look easy.

7. posted by asjaloys, Feb 26, 2007 11:12 AM

It is really fentastic explanation But there are simple way..just make cutout and give shadow as you wish

8. posted by rj6686, Aug 2, 2007 9:11 PM

I would also suggest using the dodge tool on edges that have reflection of original background still visible OR using burn tool on more if you're putting on a dark background. I learned this in school, it was actually a final exam to cut out with the pen tool and give cars shadows. I hated it at the time but, boy, am I a good pen tooler now!

9. posted by okit_tiko, Mar 16, 2008 4:46 AM

just freakin awsome, thanx alot
im a begginer wit this stuff and i understood everything in this tuturial!!


10. posted by rtmtasse, Sep 5, 2008 4:27 PM

very good...

but its more like 'how to cut whit the pen" than "how to make a shadon"...

11. posted by tuoitho, Oct 23, 2009 10:17 AM

Nice but I have a problem with the browser? I guess. Cause all the photos are in the wrong place and the text is all chaos. I used Internet Explorer. What browser suits better?
Thanks a lot from Peru

12. posted by careersB, May 27, 2013 3:43 AM

Wow, great tutorial!!!
And the result is wonderful...
I will have to try that, thank you!

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