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Painting in a shadow box

From: Photoshop Creative Effects Workshop

Video: Painting in a shadow box

In this lesson we're going to blend several different techniques to create the effect of a photograph with a painterly style mounted in a shadow box. Let's get started. The first thing I want to do is apply my painterly effect, and I'm going to do that as a Smart Filter. So I will choose Filter > Convert for Smart Filters from the menu and click Okay, so that I can convert my background image layer to a smart object. This will allow me to easily refine the effect of my filters later. Next, I'm going to choose Filter > Filter gallery in order to bring up the filter gallery.

Painting in a shadow box

In this lesson we're going to blend several different techniques to create the effect of a photograph with a painterly style mounted in a shadow box. Let's get started. The first thing I want to do is apply my painterly effect, and I'm going to do that as a Smart Filter. So I will choose Filter > Convert for Smart Filters from the menu and click Okay, so that I can convert my background image layer to a smart object. This will allow me to easily refine the effect of my filters later. Next, I'm going to choose Filter > Filter gallery in order to bring up the filter gallery.

Keep in mind that the filter gallery and many of the artistic filters are only available for 8 bit per channel images, so if you're working with a 16 bit per channel image, you'll need to create a copy of that image and convert it to 8 bit per channel mode. I'll go ahead and explore some of the various filters that are available to me. And in this case, I think I'll start with an ocean ripple or maybe a glass effect just to get sort of a mottled appearance in the image. And then I'm going to duplicate that glass filter, and I'll switch this one to accented edges just to get a little bit more vibrancy and intensity in the colors and tonal values within the image.

And after that, I think I might duplicate once again to create a third layer, and perhaps I'll take a look in the Artistic section here. And maybe I'll use paint dobs. I'm going to zoom out a little so we can see a better idea of the overall effect. I think that's looking somewhat interesting, so I'll go ahead and click okay to accept those filter effects, but of course you can use any filters you like within the filter gallery. Next I want to expand my canvas, so that I can add a drop shadow effect for this image.

So I'm going to choose Image, Canvas size, and I'll make sure the Relative check box is turned on, so I can simply indicate how much I want the image size to grow. And I will add 1/2 inch to the width and 1/2 inch to the height and clikc OK. You can see our image has been enlarged. And now I can add a drop shadow to my image layer here. So I'll click the FX button and choose drop shadow. I can configure the settings as I'd like them, and perhaps reduce the opacity.

I'll increase the size a little bit, and click Okay. Now, at the moment, we're not actually seeing the drop shadow very well because we don't have a white layer underneath. And ultimately, I do want to have that white layer below, so I'm going to hold the Ctrl key on Windows, or the Cmd key on Macintosh, while clicking on the Create new layer button, the blank sheet of paper icon at the bottom of the layers panel. Because I'm holding control or command, this will cause the new layer to be placed directly below the currently active layer. I want this layer to be filled with white, so I'm going to choose edit, fill from the menu, and I will set the use pop-up to white, and then click okay, making sure of course, that my mode is set to normal and the opacity is at 100%.

You can now see the drop shadow effect a little bit more clearly, and my overall is effect is starting to come together. I'd like to add a bit more of a three-dimensional shadow box type of look. So, on this layer, I'm going to add an inside shadow. This is just like a drop shadow, but instead of extending outside the current image frame, it will go inside the current image. So I'm going to choose FX, and then Inner shadow, and I will adjust the settings. You can see that the shadow is coming from the top left. We'll increase the size a little bit, and reduce the opacity a bit to soften things up.

So I'll click okay to apply that layer effect. No I want to expand my canvas once again so that I can get a matting around the outside of the image. So I'll choose Image, Canvas Size from the menu one more time, and this time again, with relative turned on I'm going to add a full inch to both the width and the height. I'll zoom out so we can see the full image, and now I want to add a color that will only be visible in this outer area. I could add a new image layer and fill it with a particular color. But in order to maintain more flexibility I'm actually going to add a solid color adjustment layer.

I'll click on the add adjustment layer button at the bottom of the layers panel and choose solid color. Now at the moment, my color is set to black. I'd like to use a color from within the image, so I'll move my mouse out over the image and find a shade of pink that looks interesting. But them I'm going to increase the brightness And reduce the saturation, the B and S values within HSB, respectively, to tone down the overall color. I just want a very muted effect within the image, so that I have a subtle map that's not exactly competing with the overall image.

I'm going to click OK to accept the color, but you'll notice that the shadowbox effect has now been covered up by this color fill. To resolve that, I simply need to move my solid color adjustment layer to the bottom of the stack on the layers panel. So I'll point to the thumbnail for my solid color adjustment layer and drag it to the bottom of the layers panel, putting it in its appropriate position. At any time, I can simply double-click on the thumbnail for my color fill layer, in order to adjust the overall effect to change that color. I'll go ahead and reduce that saturation even more, to make it even more muted, to get that color to be very, very subtle, and that's looking quite a bit better. So there you have it.

We've explored a variety of techniques, all of them focused on producing an image with a particular result in mind. Whenever you have a vision for how you'd like to interpret an image, you can set about the task of creating that effect in Photoshop. In some cases that will require a number of steps, and in some cases it can be quite simple. But the important thing is that it is possible to achieve your creative vision for any image.

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Photoshop Creative Effects Workshop

31 video lessons · 768 viewers

Tim Grey
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