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This course 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.
Alright, in this movie, we're going to take that photorealistic shadow that's being cast by this volleyball. And, we're going to turn it into a translucent shadow, that can be captured inside of a PNG file, as you're seeing right here. And that way, we have a very versatile shadow, because not only can we use it inside of Photoshop if we like, but we can use it inside programs that don't support Photoshop's blend modes, such as, a world of presentation programs, including Keynote and PowerPoint and so forth.
So we're going to start things off inside of that composition that we put together in the previous movie. The reason being that we got some work done in the form of this circle shape layer, that is serving as a backdrop for the volleyball. So, if I were to turn that layer off, you can see that we essentially have a translucent volleyball that's darkening its background, which is great for the shadow, not so great for the ball. However if I turn the circle layer back on, then we have some opacity inside of that ball layer. Now I'm going to get things ready to go here.
By clicking on the beach layer and Shift clicking on the wooden deck layer in order to select all of the background. And I'm going to press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac to temporarily get rid of them. We'll bring them back at the end of the project. Now, I need to select the volleyball and its shadow, by switching over to the Channels panel, which by default, is right next door the Layers panel. And you can see that I've got some large previews, and the reason is that I right-clicked inside this empty area of the panel, down below the blue channel, and I selected large.
That way, I can see what I'm doing. All right, what you want to do, and you can be working inside any image that features an object casting a shadow against a white background. This is going to work. What you do is, you press and hold the Control key, or the Command key on the Mac, and you click on the thumbnail for the RGB image. That's what you want. And now you've managed to select the image based on its luminance. So, we're selecting everything that's white, de-selecting everything that's black, and selecting everything else to some degree in between.
Now I'll switch back over to the Layers panel, and turn off both the circle and volleyball layers. And I'm going to create a new layer by pressing Ctrl+Shift+N, or Cmd+Shift+N on the Mac, to bring up the New Layer dialog box, and I'll go ahead and call this layer Shadow, and click OK. Now we want this layer to be at the bottom of the stack. So just go ahead and drag it down to below the other layers. And now, go ahead and tap the D key to instate your default colors, which translates to black as the foreground color, and press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete on the Mac, in order to fill the selection with black.
Now I've got things upside down because I selected the white stuff and deselected the black stuff. I want actually the opposite effect. So, I'll press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on the Mac to undo that fill, and I'll go out to the Select menu. And choose the Inverse command, and that way, we're reversing the selection. Now we've selected all the black stuff and deselected all the white stuff, and I can confirm that's the case by pressing Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete again, and you can see that we've got this translucent version of the darkness associated with the volleyball.
Now, click off the selection in order to deselect it, or you can just press Ctrl+D or Cmd+D on the Mac. Then turn on that Circle layer, and you can see that now we've got a white circle casting dark shadow, and then turn on the Volleyball layer. For all the good it did us because this Volleyball layer is still multiplying into everything including the shadow. That's not what we want. We want to drop out that background. So, we're going to clip the volleyball inside the circle layer, by pressing the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, and then click on that horizontal line, right there between the volleyball and the circle layers, and you'll clip the volleyball inside the circle like so.
So as a result, we have an opaque volleyball that's casting a translucent shadow. Alright, I'm going to switch back to this PNG image here, and I'm going to close it, because I'm going to show you how to make it right now. Now I'll go up to the File menu and choose the Save As command. That's the best command for our purposes here. And I'm going to change the file format from PSD to PNG, P-N-G right there. And then I'll click on my Translucent shadow.png file because I'm going to replace it. Notice that the As A Copy option right here, is not only dimmed, it's also checked, which indicates that we are saving a copy of this image.
In other words, we're not going to change the name of the file that we're actually working on. And that's because PNG images don't really technically support multiple layers. You'll see what it looks like in just a moment, but, I'll click on the Save button, in order to save over the image. I'll click Yes, in order to replace it. And these are the options you want to select. Compression should be set to smallest slow, it's not that slow really. And then interlay should be set to none. Then go ahead and click OK in order to save the image and you can see I'm already at 84% and now I'm done.
So it just takes a moment or two. Now, because this is still that image that contained the volleyball set against the beach background, I want to restore those backgrounds by going up to the File menu and choosing the Revert command. And that'll go ahead and restore the original saved version of the file, and now I'll turn off both the volleyball and circle layers. Actually I'm going to turn off everything but the wooden deck layer, right back here. And now let's see what's going on with that PNG file. I'll go up to the File menu and choose the Open command.
And I'll select that Translucent shadow.png file and click on the Open button. And I just want you to see that we do technically have a layer. It doesn't have a name associated with it, and it's not going to do you any good to rename that layer because PNG files don't save that information. And it's really Photoshop converting the PNG, along with all of its translucency, to a floating layer. That's what's actually happening here. But it's one layer that's all fused together. So we have the opacity of the volleyball, and the translucency of its shadow. Now you may ask, well wait a second, if I take a look at that original ball image, it doesn't have a black shadow.
It's got a blue shadow over on one side and a yellowish shadow over here and a little bit of blue at the top. And that's because the light is reflecting off the blue and yellow of the volleyball and that's informing the shadow, can't we do anything like that? Can't we create a kind of gradient in that shadow, or at least couldn't we have? And the answer is no. And the reason that's not going to work for us is because the shadow's going to be opaque. It's going to be whatever that color is, that blue or yellowish color. And at some point it's going to be opaque right at the beginning, and then it's going to fade away to translucency.
But it's not going to give you a multiply mix. So, if you want a shadow that's absolutely guaranteed to darken the background, it's got to be black. That's the only way it's going to work. And now let me prove it to you. I'll go and switch back to that background image right there. And I'll go up to the File menu and I'll choose Place Embedded, here inside Photoshop CC. That would just be the standard Place command, in CS6 and earlier. And now I'll select Translucent shadow.png. Click on the Place button, and we see the image appear, inside the Image window, with a big X through it, that just shows you that, you have a moment to transform the image if you want to.
I'm just going to press the Enter key, or the Return key on the Mac, in order to accept that placement. And notice that that shadow, because it's black, is absolutely darkening its background. At no point in time do we see a little bit of brightness. In other words, the shadow isn't brightening its background, which would be ridiculous. Shadows never lighten, they only darken. And this is the way things would look if we were to place this very PNG image into Keynote or PowerPoint or any other program out there that supports 32-bit PNG files with translucency built into them.
So here's what the volleyball looks like set against the wooden deck. Here's what it looks like set against those tiled bricks. And here's what it looks like set against that beach background. So what you have is a PNG file that is essentially idiot proof. You can give it to anybody, who doesn't know the first thing about Photoshop. They only know how to work their presentation software, and they can either set it against nice backgrounds like these, or who knows what. But at least, everything will look absolutely as good as it can, because you have a shadow with built-in translucency here inside this PNG file.
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