How to add shadow to an image in photoshop? Adding shadows to different objects or people when merging two images is an easy way to make the output more realistic and eliminates the need for heavier edits to prevent the image from becoming artificial.
This article explains the use of the Drop Show effect, which can be used to add shadows to images in Photoshop. Also, some small changes will give you a more interesting final image, which is mentioned at the end.
Table of Contents
- Delete subject margins
- Add subject to new background
- Add shadows to the subject
- Shadow Realization
- Add Silhouette effect
Delete subject margins
There are several different ways to remove a background or separate a subject from the background.
Press the L key to select the Lasso tool. Then press and hold the shift key and use the mouse to select the subject margins. Depending on the version of Photoshop installed on the system, different sections may not be selected.
To deselect a section, you can repeat the previous steps, but use the Alt key instead of the Shift key. For example, the Subject Select tool may automatically select the main shadow of the subject and the user will need to delete it manually.
There is no need to choose the general margins of the subject very accurately; Because in the following, we will move the subject and apply more edits to it. After selecting the borders of the subject, to separate it from the background, click on the Mask tool, which can be seen as a white rectangular icon in the lower right corner.
Add subject to new background
There are several ways to move an element between two files in Photoshop. In this tutorial, we are going to use the easiest way. After unlocking the main layer of the file, we will move the subject through the Drag & Drop technique.
Add shadows to the subject
So far we have removed only the subject from the main background and then moved it to the new background. You may be disappointed at first with what you see because the skater does not fit well with the new background and the image looks completely artificial. But adding shadows and a few minor edits can make a fundamental difference in the output.
First, right-click on Layer 1 and then select Convert to Smart Object. This allows for a reversal path and allows the image to be reduced or enlarged while maintaining the original resolution and preventing the output from being pixelated.
Click on the small squares in the margin of the subject to make it the size you want. It is recommended to consider the size of the subject in proportion to the background and its components so that it does not become an artificial image.
Since the light is shining from the left side of the background, it is better to place the subject in the same direction so that the light hits its face. To do this, first right-click on the subject and then select Flip Horizontal.
To save the changes, just click on the tick option at the top of the page or press the Enter key. You can also use the Ctrl and Z key combination to go back. Then, by double-clicking on the right corner of Layer 1, you can open the Layer Style menu.
You can tilt the shadow to the right using the small squares and the arrow keys (when the mouse hovers over the squares). In this section, you may need a little trial and error to get the position you want. Press Enter when done.
Despite the inclination of the shadow, the image still looks unreal and needs further editing. In real images, shadows close to the subject are usually darker, while moving away from the subject, the shadow becomes darker.
Adjust the Path Blur value to the desired value via the slider. You can also use the settings shown in the image below. Keep in mind that you will be able to change the settings again later. Finally, press Enter or OK to record the changes.
Depending on the processing power of the computer, it may take some time to apply the new edits. To speed up this process, it is recommended that you close other running programs. Once done, you will be able to change the Opacity and Fill with the layer to your liking to get a better result. In this sample, 43 and 72% values were used, respectively.
Note that you can change all the edits and settings of the previous steps again to have a more realistic shadow. Other Photoshop tools such as Brush can also be used to add finer detail to an image.
Add Silhouette effect
The Silhouette effect is not directly related to adding shadow to the subject, but it can help make the image more natural. To get started, first create a Stamp Visible layer. The key combination Shift + Ctrl + Alt + E is recommended.
The editing process can be continued at the user’s discretion; But at this point, the picture looks plausible. There are also a variety of other ways to achieve the same output, But the method mentioned in this article is the easiest and perhaps the fastest of its kind. There are several extensions available to help Photoshop users save time.