Nov 29, 2018

Photoshop Selections – Creating a Shadow With Transform Selections

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Selections is one of the most fundamental tasks in Photoshop but it is the first step to so many creative ventures. You can do so many things when you can select and separate parts of your image to provide special treatments or use in other documents. You can duplicate layers, add new detail or simply add new layers that compliment your existing image. Adding a shadow to your image is a nice touch that adds a bit of life.

We shared the steps for creating an alpha channel so you could separate parts of your image having only those layers appear in your saved file. One you have made selections you can also apply some of Photoshop’s special treatment and effects to create new images of your own. What if you wanted to cast a shadow from your building or from someone?

Use the selection tools of your choice. In my case I have picture of a friend outside in the snow. Using the quick selection tool, I have a nice ‘extraction’ showing only my friend in my new image. With this isolated layer, hold the ‘Ctrl key’ and click on the image portion in the layer thumbnail. When you do this you will select the image you imported. At this point you should see your single ‘friend’ (or whatever you decided use) with the selection hyphens showing it completely selected.

With this selected choose from the top menu, ‘Select->Transform Selection’. This select command will produce a bounding box around your image. It looks just like the free transform box many are familiar with but it is different. It helps me to compare two similar tools effects when they can be confusing but in this case the same bounding box lets you edit and modify your selection boundary not the selection itself. You could go through these same steps using the free transform tool and when you edit your selection in the next steps, it will actually apply to your selection, in my case a friend’s image, not the selection boundary.

With the bounding box in place, choose from the top menu, ‘Edit->Transform->Distort’ and pull your selection back away from your person in an angle that a shadow would cast. When you do you will see the selection boundary, the moving hyphens drawn down towards the ground. Hit enter to accept your angle and you will see the selection boundary still active.

Now with your selection still active, create a new layer, click on this new layer, and enter a fill for your shadow using the fill option, ‘Edit->Fill’. You will see the color fill you chose fill the selection on a new layer. You have created a shadow for your image.

This is a simple exercise but the fun part is that you can once you have a selection, you can apply effects on a new layer. This lets you separate your selection from your resource image and treat them differently. In this case we could have turned off our original image and saved a file with only the shadow itself.

You will discover many possibilities with this simple technique of creating selections from existing components, then doing something creative with the selection on new layers.

Source by Tom Womack

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