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After you have finished painting your shadows there are a few filters that can help really add some realism to your image. Here you can see my two painted shadows. Again, shadow one, and shadow two and I'm going to adjust the Opacity and Blend mode of Shadow 01 like before. So I set it to Multiply and I lower my Opacity. And overall this looks okay, but it still looks like a brush stroke. It still looks like a solid painted shadow. So a good technique to use for this is to add filters to try and add some realism to it.
So I'm going to right-click on my layer and I'm going to tell it to convert to a smart object. If you can't remember that you can also go to the Filter menu and just say Convert for Smart Filters, it'll do the same thing. And that creates a smart filter layer for my Shadow 01. This is my base layer. So I'm here, I'm going to go to Filter > Blur and Gaussian Blur, but this isn't the only blur I'm going to use. Gaussian Blur does a nice diffusion, but it also goes through and it kind of loses detail too quickly.
So, it just looks soft and fuzzy. So, I'm going to increase my diffusion a little bit, by using the Radius control down below. Hit OK. And I'm not going to leave it like that because again, it just looks soft. Instead, I'm going to go back up to Filter and I'm going to run a second Blur on this. And this time I'm going to use Motion Blur. Now Motion Blur is handy because not only do I have a distance so I can increase or decrease my blur, but I can also change the angle of the blur so it more appropriately matches the lighting source of this image.
So on here, since I have a highlight on this side and I have shadows on the lower right, I'm going to try and angle my blur to mimic the same direction. And hit OK. And that gives me a more natural looking fade than I would by just using one or the other. Now, for my second shadow, I simply want to soften this up. I don't want to have this look as sharp as what I have, so again I'm going to drop my Opacity back just a little bit, convert it to a smart object so that I don't do this destructively.
Go to Filter, and this time I'm going to go to Blur, and I'm going to try, just a Gaussian Blur on it. And in Gaussian Blur, I'm just going to let it diffuse, maybe increase it just a little bit more and see how that works. What I don't want to do, with my core shadow that I put in underneath the object directly, is do a Motion Blur. Because that will diffuse it too much. What I really want to do is have my shadow show up and hold some sort of assemblance of the original image. So, you can see where it touches the ground here. That's where the darkest part of the shadows are going to be.
Where it's lifted up a little bit more, it may not even have a secondary shadow. So, this technique allows me to go in and work non destructively. If I need to edit my blurs, I simply go back and double click on my smart filter and adjust as needed.
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