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  • Help with shadows

    Hi

    I am doing a composite of an athlete in a desert. I struggle to get the shadows (especially on and around the feet) to look realistic.

    Any suggestions on how to fix them?



    Thanks

    Peter

    A high-res version of the composite without shadows is downloadable here in case anyone wants to give it a shot:
    http://wip.psportraitphoto.com/#!album-1-6
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: Help with shadows

    Do you happen to have your subject on their original background? And out of curiosity...were they shot on a seamless background by chance? If so, you can borrow some of the original shadows via blending modes.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Help with shadows

      If drop shadows aren't working, perhaps a copy at low opacity, with a vertical flip correctly aligned and if needed, some transforming may help

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      • #4
        Re: Help with shadows

        I added a shadow.
        Attached Files

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        • #5
          Re: Help with shadows

          Great, but consider where the light source is coming from and rotate the shadow to correspond. In this image the sun is to the back right so the natural shadow would likely be more to the front left. Just a thought.

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          • #6
            Re: Help with shadows

            You also may want give the article in the link below a read, it talks about lighting and shadows.
            http://www.peachpit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=30311

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            • #7
              Re: Help with shadows

              Its not a big deal, but I used the sand ripples to determine the location of the sun.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Help with shadows

                Hi philbach. If I was doing this I would have the shadow going off to the bottom left hand corner. Also it looks as though the light source is low so only the leg shadows would be in shot, which makes things a bit easier.

                Shadows are very tricky, but one thing I've found that helps is make the shadow definition softer and less dense the further away from the subject it gets, although not too much in this case, as the light source is strong. As already mentioned, using the shape of the athlete is good for getting the shadow.

                Final little detail I add is a thin line of shadow where the foot makes contact with the ground, getting slightly thicker under the arch of the foot. This is usually there whatever the light direction and adds more realism.

                Hope it goes well. Would be interested to see the final result.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Help with shadows

                  My latest take on the photo, any opinions on how to improve?

                  I studied a few photos of people standing in a desert and just next to the contact shadow under the foot there is often a bright line.
                  Attached Files

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Help with shadows

                    First you need to sculpt the sand by the foot. I would bury the foot a cm or below the surface and add light and shade to suggest the sand is bulging under her weight. The ripples should be distorted very close to the foot to interrupt the continuity. The dark side of the ripples are shadows so take your lead from those - she should be much more contrasty to suit the environment.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Help with shadows

                      Just a thought, which may or may not look good. Would a displacement map help the shadow flow over the contours of the sand?

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                      • #12
                        Re: Help with shadows

                        If you are looking for something like this(attached image),then you have to crop the lady and duplicate twice and dark the middle one using hue saturation lighting value to a -100.then using transform tool you can lay the layer as you wish. Reduce the opacity to 70 or 60% to see through the sand, use the smudge tool to bump the edges of sand ripples.
                        Attached Files

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                        • #13
                          Re: Help with shadows

                          She is already cut out. Why don't you use 3D lighting to get a perfect shadow.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Help with shadows

                            Originally posted by Tulack View Post
                            She is already cut out. Why don't you use 3D lighting to get a perfect shadow.
                            Planning to build and light a model for a shadowcaster and deal with the ground variation? A "perfect" shadow using a 3D approach isn't that easy. Simpler stuff can be replicated in 2D in less time. OP would be better off working on the basics and taking a look at breakdowns of these things. They'll often use bits of disturbed sand for compositing purposes.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Help with shadows

                              Took me less than a minute.

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