Posted by: Peter Andrease

Posted on: August 15, 2012 9:02 am


In this tutorial we’re going to create a red ball from scratch adding light and shadows to give it the illusion of being 3d. This is a basic tutorial helping you get to know a few tools in photoshop a bit better and learning how shadows and light are the most important thing in creating a realistic drawing in anything.


1) First of all draw a perfect circle using the eliipsis tool, give yourself enough room on the canvas for the shadow we’re going to be adding in a minute.


2) Add a gradient overlay style to the circle we just created. I kept the blend mode normal changed the opacity to 34% and the gradient from white to transparent. Change the style to radial and the angle to 90 degrees. Next change the scale to 75% and you’ve created the illusion of a light shining directly down onto the ball.


3)  Next lets add some shadow underneath the ball so it looks like its sitting on something. Create a new layer underneath the ball. Draw an oval the same width of the ball and a third of the height. Fill it with black and choose Gaussian blur. For radius slide it up to about 18 pixels and you should have a shadow forming. Play around with the opacity until it looks the right sort of shade, mine was about 34%. Duplicate the layer and transform it to about half the size so it’s darker near the base of the ball.


4) Next lets create the shadow at the bottom of the ball, this will give it depth and realism. Add a new layer above the circle and creat a clipping mask. Grab a soft brush with black selected and change the opacity down to about 30%. Carefully stroke along the bottom of the ball making it darker near the bottom gradually getting lighter further up the ball.


5) There you have it a realistic looking ball created in under 15 minutes!

Posted by: Peter Andrease

Posted on: November 4, 2011 8:20 am


Adding an effective shadow can really enhance any design to add realism and depth. This tutorial will show how to create an attractive effect in Photoshop that can be used on any isolated image, as shown here on a van.

First, open a new file in Photoshop and drag you image in. If your image is not yet isolated then use the Polygonal Lasso Tool to select around your image and remove the background.

Once you have your image isolated create a new layer and place this below your image layer. Using the Polygonal Lasso Tool again create a shape  that resembles the bottom of the image where the shadow would land and fill with solid black like that show below:

Press CTRL + D to deselect the shape and go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and depending on the size of your image enter the apprpriate radius to make a subtle blur to the shape, this image used a 2 pixel radius. Now you can adjust the Opacity of the layer to suit, you can leave this as 100% if that looks best or if, for instance, it is sitting on a dark background.

Now the basis of you shadow is done. If you have parts of your image that sit on the ground more than the rest (for instance the van has wheels) then repeat this process on each individual section using a smaller radius on the Gaussian Blur.

For whole images like the button shown below,  for instance, where the whole image is resting on the ground you can cheat and select the Elliptical Marquee Tool to create a flat oval shape around the base of the image instead of using the Polygonal Lasso Tool. You can then Press CTRL + T to amend the length, shape or height of the shadow and because it is blurred you wont notice much pixelation.

Posted by: Peter Andrease

Posted on: February 10, 2011 10:31 am


In photoshop you can add an inner shadow to an image in the Layer Style popup box, but this requires the image to have a fill colour, if you try deleting the fill the shadow will also go. If you try flattenning the layer you won’t be able to remove the fill. Below shows a white box with the inner shadow effect, as you can just about see it is not transparent.

One way around this is to copy your image and bring the Lightness down to -100 to make it black. Now CTRL + Click on your new layer to select its area and go to Select > Modify > Feather, enter a value of say around 15 and press OK.

Now hit delete and you should see a simular effect to what we had with the inner shadow option, but guess what – it is now transparent! You can now adjust the opacity and even erase certain areas to suit. Shown below is a transparent png of the result, as you can see no white middle!