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From Commercial Photoshop Retouching: In the Studio...

Drop Shadow Mistakes

with Glenn Honiball

There are a variety of common shadow mistakes; in this article I'll go over a few and give you some tips on how to avoid them.

Incorrect Shadow Angle

Always make sure a shadow stays put on the ground in a horizontal fashion, regardless of how the image angle may change. Notice that in picture, there is no mountain or wall to explain the position of the donut's shadow.

Slant hadow
In this picture, the donut is hovering at an angle, but the shadow correctly "sits" horizontally on the ground. The only time the angle of a shadow would change is if the shadow hit an object that is on an angle, like a wall or mountain.
Incorrect: there is nothing in the image that explains the angle of the shadow.

Slant hadow
Correct: a shadow that stays on the horizontal, regardless of the object angle changes

Not putting the shadow on a multiplied layer

Creating your shadows on a normal, unmultiplied layer makes the shadow appear to have a "negative" effect because the color of the shadow "knocks out" color beneath it. The shadow ironically ends up having less density than the rest of the image, as in this example:

Shadows on layers
Incorrect: negative-looking shadow not on a multiplied layer.
Now, let's see how the same shadow should look when multiplied correctly.

Shadows on layers
Correct: shadow on a multiplied layer.

Next NEXT: Take a look at dealing with Next shadows on highly colored areas...

 

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cover Written by 20-year photo retouching veteran Glenn Honiball, Commercial Photoshop Retouching: In the Studio is the only book to deliver advice for the photographer and artist working with Photoshop CS 2 in a real world commercial environment.
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      All the tools, techniques, and skills you need to achieve consistent, professional results with Photoshop CS2 can be found in Commercial Photoshop Retouching: In the Studio. Anyone with intermediate-to-advanced Photoshop skills--whether you want to explore photo retouching personally or as an imaging professional or student--can use Commercial Photoshop Retouching: In the Studio to produce sharp, expert, extraordinary photos that don't look retouched.

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by Glenn Honiball
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