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Deke's Techniques is a collection of short Photoshop and Illustrator projects and creative effects that can be completed in ten minutes or less. The series is taught by computer graphics guru Deke McClelland, and presented in his signature step-by-step style. The intent is to reveal how various Photoshop and Illustrator features can be combined and leveraged in real-world examples so that they can be applied to creative projects right away.
All right, at this point the car is impeccably masked, but it�s just sitting there. It�s not integrated into the scene at all, which is why in this movie, I will show you how to not only create a shadow under the car, but integrate that shadow along with the individual blades of grass. Now this technique is more art than science. You are going to get a different effect than I am, just as I will get a different effect this time than I did when I created this particular shadow, which is okay. You are going less for accuracy and more for credibility. So I�ll switch back to my image at hand.
We need to see the car�s original shadow and select it. So I will Alt+Click or Option+Click on the eyeball in front of the car layer, and then I will Shift+Click on the vector mask to turn it off. So we are looking at the original photograph. Then, you want to go up to the Select menu and choose the Color Range command. This is just the easiest way to work, and go ahead and click and Shift+Click along this shadow like so. Now I want this shadow to expand naturally. So I am going to increase this Fuzziness value to 100, like so, and I will press the Tab key, and I am going to Shift+Drag over here inside of the four portion of this shadow as well.
So in this case, we want to select more not less; as much shadow detail as possible. All right, once your mask looks something like mine, as I say, we are not going to get the same results no matter what. Go ahead and click OK in order to create the selection. Now we need to winnow away some of the selected region because we don�t want all this stuff up here to be shadow. So go ahead and grab your Rectangular Marquee tool, it�s the easiest one to work with, and press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and just go ahead and deselect some regions, like so.
You want to deselect all the way to the top of the image, of course, and I am going to Alt+Drag around this area. I will Alt+Drag around here as well, and we will come back to some of these details in a moment. Go ahead and Alt+Drag across half of that tire right there and all the way up, and then anything else that obviously needs to go, go ahead and Alt+Drag around it as well. At the top of the image, we will handle these little critters down here at the bottom of the image later. Now go ahead and switch to the Lasso tool, which you can get by pressing the Alt key, and again press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and drag around these areas here to get rid of them, because you don�t want to have too much tire selected.
So I am going to Alt+Drag around this area in order to deselect it and then I am going to Shift+Drag around this area to add it to the selection because we want all that area behind the tire to turn into shadow, and then go ahead and Alt+Drag or Option+Drag around here as well, obviously we are going to clip- away a few details, in ways that don�t entirely make sense visually, but we will take care of that in just a moment. All right, now let�s work on the selection as an alpha channel. We will go ahead and switch to the Channels panel and dropdown to the Save selection as channel icon and Alt+Click or Option+Click on it so that we can name this channel, and I will call it shadow and then click OK.
Now I�ll go ahead and click on that shadow channel and press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac in order to deselect the image. Now what we are going to do is just brush away the stuff we don�t like. We are not going to use any special techniques here, just grab the Brush tool or press the B key, and I am going to press the right bracket key a few times in order to increase the size of my brush. I will right-click inside the image to show you that I have the Hardness value set to 0%. Not normally the way I work when I am masking, unless I was to switch to the Overlay blend mode, however, I am going to stick with the Normal mode here and just brush stuff away, because again more art than science, all that jazz.
Now in my case the foreground color is white, so I will press the X key to switch the foreground color to black because I want to paint away details and then I will just start painting inside the image, like so, and I definitely want to paint that grease spot away because it�s not part of the shadow and I will come down to this region and paint it away, and then I will come up to this area to paint around like so. Go ahead and paint away that forward area. You might paint into this region a little bit, then press the X key in order to switch the foreground color to white and paint in some softness along the top of the shadow.
All right, now let�s go ahead and blur the shadow a little bit, so I�ll press the M key to switch back to the Marquee tool and I�ll go up to the Filter menu, choose Blur and then choose Motion Blur. And these are the settings I am looking for. An Angle value of 90 degrees and a Distance of 50 pixels should work out pretty nicely for this particular image. Then I�ll click OK in order to assign that blur. And the reason I am doing this by the way, the reason I�m blurring up and down is because that sort of matches the blades of grass.
At this point I want the Motion Blur filter to expand the shadow, not contract it. It�s doing both right now. So go up to the Edit menu and choose Fade Motion Blur, and change the blend mode from Normal to Screen and that�s going to expand that shadow as you see here. Then click OK. All right, now let�s load this guy up by Ctrl+ Clicking or Command+Clicking on the thumbnail for the shadow channel, and then switch back to the RGB image, switch back to the Layers panel. Let�s bring back the Layers by Alt+ Clicking or Option+Clicking on the eyeball in front of the car layer, and then Shift+Click once again on the Vector Mask thumbnail in order to turn it back on.
Then click on this rainbow layer that lies in wait for us, and I want you create a new layer by pressing Ctrl+Shift+N or Command+Shift+N on the Mac. We will call it shadow and then click OK, and press the D key for the default colors, so your foreground is black, and press Alt+ Backspace or Option+Delete on the Mac in order to fill that selection with black. All right, now press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac in order to deselect the image. Now at this point I want to sort of redirect the shadow, in a few places and expand it, and I am going to do that using the Smudge tool.
So go ahead and select this Smudge tool, you may need to select it from the Blur tool flyout menu here, and I will increase the size of my cursor by pressing the right bracket key a few times. And I am going to lift up this shadow. I really want the shadow to get into the tires, as we are seeing here, and I�ll drag it down at this point, drag it downward at these points as well. I want a big cursor for this location. Go ahead and move that shadow down, but you don�t want to move this part up here down, which I did just a moment ago, so I will move that back.
And then I want to move this part of the shadow outward, like so. So we are just smearing it out liberally. Now of course it looks ridiculous this dark but we will take care of that in a moment. Now let�s blur things a little more by going up to the Filter menu, choosing the Blur command and then choosing Gaussian Blur, and a Radius value of 20 seems to work well for this image. So I will click OK. All right, now we want the grass to start coming through this shadow and you can see that I am smudging it out just a little more here and we will do that by double-clicking on an empty portion of the shadow layer to bring up the Layer Style dialog box so that we can see our Advanced Blending Options.
Then dropdown to this Underlying Layer slider Bar, press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and drag the left half of that white slider Triangle all the way down to 75 or thereabouts. So you should see 75 on one side of the slash and 255 on the other, and what that does is it allows some of the grass to poke through the tires. Now I�ll click OK in order to accept that change. Now I think this looks really great. I might sit here and mess around with the Smudge tool a little more. However, the biggest problem is that the grass has uneven luminance values.
So over here in this top region, the grass is poking through the shadow and down here in the bottom region it�s not poking through the shadow. So we have an unusually dark area down toward the bottom and I am going to solve that using the Eraser tool. So go ahead and select the Eraser tool, and then right-click inside of the Image Window and I want you to reduce the Hardness value to 0% and you can increase its Size value to anything you like. I might start at a 100 pixels, then press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to hide that panel.
Now tap the 3 key in order to reduce the Opacity to 30% and I�m going to expand the size of my cursor even farther by pressing the right bracket key a few times, then just kind of drag through the bottom region of the shadow, like so, in order to open it up a little bit. All right, now what we need to do is brush the grass into the tires and brush the grass back into the shadows and I�ll show you how that works in the next movie.
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