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Using Composite Photography to Create a Fantasy World

Lesson 23 of 31

Add Shadows to Image

Karen Alsop

Using Composite Photography to Create a Fantasy World

Karen Alsop

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Lesson Info

23. Add Shadows to Image

Lesson Info

Add Shadows to Image

Now we just need to add the shadows So we're repeating what we did with the rabbit. We click on the Alice group. And then underneath the Alice group is where we want to create the levels adjustment layer. So we actually need to click on the layer below Alice, and, levels, turn that down. So we're taking the light out of the scene and this is our sharp shadow. So we call that sharp shadow, labeling as we go. And invert, so Control + I if you're on a PC, make sure we clicked on there. And Command + I on a MAC, and then painting that sharp shadow in. So zooming up under the feet. Now this one's a little bit different because her foot is coming up off the ground. So, looking at this shadow here we do want sort of a solid shadow underneath her foot here. In the same way that we painted in the rabbit's. But here, there is a little bit of distance between her foot and the ground. So it softens off at the back, it's not as dark as down below where it's really close. So you imagine, you've gott...

a actually imagine how the shadow looks. So, I'm always putting my hand on the table and lifting it up and working at how that shadow would look. But that shadow needs to sit like that so it looks like there's that angle in underneath her foot. And then, the soft shadow. So we've got that one. Levels adjustment, bring that slider up to the middle, invert it. Call this one soft shadow. And the same thing as with the rabbit. So we're looking at the rabbit's shadow there. And we're imitating that with Alice's shadow as well. So soft brush, low flow. Make it a bit more obvious to start with and then we turn the opacity down. So more under the feet imagining we can sort of see her dress it's much softer as it comes out here, a bit more distance. Some shadow under there, some shadow under here, softening it off as it gets further away, and then, turning it down. Zooming out to assess, to have a look, I think I wanna turn that one on multiplier mode as well and turn that down, so you're again bringing in that texture of the ground and the color. And, perhaps just a little bit more near the feet. Okay. So, we have a roll. We have our shadows. We have our Alice, our rabbit. We are up to the fun part of painting with light. and bringing in all the color tones. All right, fantastic. Well, do we have any questions here in the studio? Let me double check again with the folks at home. Let's see. Oh, yes. Just a couple of clarifications for people. You mentioned earlier the setup that you use at home when you're not using the tablet. Sure. Could you just mention that again, and in particular, the monitor-- Yes. That you talked about. I will spell it. And maybe, spell it. That's exactly what people were wanting to know. It's, yeah, okay it's pronounced a-zo, but it's actually spelled E-I-zed or Z-O. Yeah, Z-O. And, yeah it's available in only high-end photography stores in Australia, Kayell Australia supply. But that monitor has changed my world. I got it at the start of the year. And, prior to that I was working on the iMac monitor and I was printing. And to try and get my print correct with the color and get it how I wanted it I was wasting a ton of paper. I print on Canson Infinity paper, it's beautiful fine art paper. It's not cheap. And I'm a perfectionist and I was just printing, and obviously for awards you need to get things perfect. And I would have to print, check, change colors, make adjustments, print again. Whereas with this monitor, I can actually see, I have it set so that I can see what it's going to look like on the paper. So, I've actually calibrated it to the paper, so I can see on screen virtually what it's going to look like when it prints. So I'm wasting a lot less paper. I'm printing, and really happy with the prints that come out. So, it's well worth it. It's one of those big monitors that have the sides on them, so it cuts out the light, and it calibrates itself, it pops up every night and calibrates itself, so, it's pretty amazing.

Class Description

Karen Alsop is known for creating beautiful fantasy worlds through her unique compositing techniques in Adobe® Lightroom® and Adobe® Photoshop®. Whether you're a wedding, portrait, landscape or commercial photographer, this class will show you how to create beautiful and distinctive images you can offer your clients to expand your business.  

Join us for this class, and you’ll learn how to: 

  • Shoot with your composite in mind: lighting, posing and angles.
  • Choose background and subject images that will work best in the composite.
  • Learn Adobe Lightroom and AdobePhotoshop techniques to create a fantastical atmosphere.

Karen’s emphasis on creativity and imagination in her process has helped her to make a product that competitors have a hard time recreating. Karen’s beautiful, intricate work is not simply the result of vast technical skill, but rather is the careful integration of a number of elements. She puts subjects at ease and inspires them with artful direction; incorporates them into fantasy landscapes using Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop and then effectively prices and markets the final product.  

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2015


Judy Mitschelen

I've found many great instructors at CreativeLive and Karen ranks right up there at the top! With her relaxed, thoughtful manner of presenting, I was immediately hooked. Her organization, clear explanations and demonstration, and on target response to questions are superb. This course covers an amazing range of skills and tricks of the trade. Whether you're interested in getting better shots to work with, better workflow at the computer, or better output at the end, Karen covers it all.


Karen is very talented and a great teacher and I enjoyed every minute of the course. But what I found to be the best part was seeing what an amazing person she is. The video of compositing the disabled children to make their dreams come true had me in tears. It has inspired me to use my talents to help others and not learn photo manipulation for self enjoyment. God bless you Karen.

Endigo Rae

This was such an amazing class! Karen is so talented, inspiring, and such an amazing teacher. Very forthcoming and open about all of her techniques. I'm so looking forward to jumping into compositing, I feel like this is definitely something my soul desires to explore and Karen has made it so easy and accesible through her beautiful course! Thanks so much Karen and CreativeLive!