Shadows on extracted images can be hard to make decisions about,
but here are some good examples which might help you get a better
If you have bright sunshine or other bright light reflecting
off one side of an object or person, you always want the shadow
to be on the other side, but what if you choose one without?
There is no obvious light on this subject, so that can be good
or bad. Bad if you want help to decide where the shadow should
be, but good if you want to manipulate where it lands.
If within your finished layout or art project you have decided
that the girl is right in front of a background, then she will
have a small drop shadow in whichever direction you choose. Here
she looks as though she is standing on tiptoe in front of a wall.
The drop shadow can either be a part of the image or on its own
But now suppose you don't want her to be close to anything. Make
sure you have added the drop shadow on a separate layer, and smush
it down. This is the drop shadow from the above example, only
skewed short. Now the light is coming from above her and she has
no wall behind her.
To make it more realistic near her feet, you would rotate the
shadow layer so all is hidden under her feet. Use a gaussian blur
on the shadow layer to soften it. If she had had a bright light
on her face the sharp shadow would have been believable, but she
And now the opacity is lowered because the background is a light
color. You want your shadow to be visible but not overwhelming.
On a darker background the opacity might not have to be lowered
Moving the shadow layer down away from her feet lifts her off
Now she is back on the ground but the light source is lower,
as in late afternoon:
And you can combine two different shadows to get this effect
- the against the wall shadow and the ground shadow. Line them
up in the middle and then erase or cut the parts of each that
you don't want to show, the top half of the long one and the bottom
half of the wall one.
Out of Bounds layouts often test your awareness of perspective
and illusion-making. Here is the original of this photo. She didn't
have much in the way of a shadow or brightness, so the choice
is up to the scrapper.
So even though she's "up against a wall" in the layout,
the illusion can be anything for fun, and so her shadow is more
or less directly beneath her, as is that of the skateboard and
photo frame. Her left foot is more exposed to the light, so the
shadow is contained under it, but her right foot falls in the
shadow of her shirt as well, so it's not as clean. Use your warp
or liquefy tool on your shadow layers until they are believable,
or suit the illusion you are trying to create.
Challenge yourself and see what you can do!
Above example: Word art by Tina Chambers. Page kits are Blue
Jean Teen 1, Blue Jean Teen 2, Digiscrappin' Too, Academics 1,
Academics 2, Art Class Junior 3. Castle photo by Rachel Weaver.