Three ways to create a diffuse shadow in Photoshop

?Diffuse (diffuse) shadow is a kind of shadow for blocks (box-shadow) that create a greater illusion of depth than the usual drop shadow from an object. The diffuse (diffuse) shadow effect is achieved due to the fact that the shadow is smaller than the object itself, plus it shifts depending on the direction of the light source.

In this lesson we will look at 3 methods for creating diffuse shadows. Each of the proposed options is applied in practice, depending on the situation and the task.

Reception 1: Scattering (shading)

This method is the fastest and easiest. Although its variability is limited, and it only works on layer shapes, it gives you complete control over the settings for the size, blur and offset of the shadow.

Step 1

Select the layer for which you want to create a shadow. Please note that this method is acceptable only for a layer-shape (a figure drawn in the layer-shape mode).

  • Translator’s Note: The author chose a shape layer with a rectangle, which was used as a clipping mask for the image layer.

    You can learn more about using clipping mask from the article. Clipping mask in Photoshop.

    You can learn more about Layer Shape from the article. The shape and shape layer in Photoshop.

Step 2

Duplicate the layer. Select the bottom layer and rename it to “Shadow.”

  • Translator’s Note: alternatively you can draw a black rectangle in mode layer shape, rename it to “Shadow” and place it under the layer to which you want to add a scattered shadow. The size of the rectangle is equal to the size of the image (to which you want to add a shadow).

Step 3

Transform the “Shadow” layer. To do this, press CTRL + T. Move the Transform Center to the lower middle point and enter 80% in the W (Width) and H (Height) fields.

  • Translator’s Note: You can learn more about the Center for Transformation and other subtleties of transformation from the article All about the Free Transform team in Photoshop.

Step 4

Shift the “Shadow” layer down by 20 pixels.

  • Translator’s Note: To do this, you need to change the vertical coordinate of the transform center. You can learn more about this in the article All about the Free Transform team in Photoshop.
  • Another manual offset option: with active tool Move 20 times press the Down Arrow key.

Step 5

Being on the layer “Shadow”, call the window Properties (Window – Properties / Window – Properties) and enter a value for the function Feathering (Feather).

Step 6

Lower the opacity for the “Shadow” layer.

Step 7 (optional)

Associate the layer with the object and the “Shadow” layer so that when moving these layers move simultaneously.

Technique 2: Using the Shadow layer style

This technique is suitable for those who prefer to use layer styles.

Step 1

Select the layer for which you want to create a shadow. This layer can be either raster or layer-shape.

Step 2

Duplicate the layer. Select the bottom layer and rename it to “Shadow.”

Step 3

Transform the “Shadow” layer. To do this, press CTRL + T. Move the Transform Center to the lower middle point and enter 80% in the W (Width) and H (Height) fields.

  • Translator’s Note: You can learn more about the Center for Transformation and other subtleties of transformation from the article. All about the team “Free Transform” in Photoshop.

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Step 4

For the “Shadow” layer add Layer Style – Shadow (Layer Styles – Drop Shadow).

Enter values:

  • Angle (Angle): 90
  • Bias (Distance): 20px
  • The size (Size): 50 pixels.

Note: you can use other settings for a more creative result.

Step 5 (optional)

Associate the layer with the object and the “Shadow” layer so that when moving these layers move simultaneously.

Technique 3: Smart Object

This method is most suitable for more complex situations when you need to create a single shadow for a group of layers, including raster images and a shape layer.

Step 1

Select the layer or layers for which you want to add a shadow. This technique can be used as a layer-shape, and the usual layers.

Step 2

Convert the group or layer (s) to smart object (Smart Object) (Layer – Smart Object – Convert to Smart Object).

Step 3

Duplicate the smart object and rename it to Shadow.

Step 4

Add Layer Style – Overlay color: color (color) # 000000, opacity 100%.

Step 5

Transform the “Shadow” layer. To do this, press CTRL + T. Move the Transform Center to the lower middle point and enter 80% in the W (Width) and H (Height) fields.

  • Translator’s Note: You can learn more about the Center for Transformation and other subtleties of transformation from the article. All about the team “Free Transform” in Photoshop.

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Step 6

Shift the “Shadow” layer down by 20 pixels. If you wish, you can use your own values ​​for offset.

  • Translator’s Note: To do this, you need to change the vertical coordinate of the transform center. You can learn more about this from the article. All about the team “Free Transform” in Photoshop.

Step 7

Apply filter Gaussian blur (Gaussion Blur) layer with a smart object “Shadow”. Blur radius is about 25 pixels.

Step 8

Change the opacity for the “Shadow” layer.

Step 9 (Optional)

Associate the layer with the object and the “Shadow” layer so that when moving these layers move simultaneously.

  • Translator’s Note: To link layers, select the required layers and go to Layers – Link layers.

Conclusion

There are many different ways to achieve the diffuse shadow effect in Photoshop. Using these three techniques, you can quickly and easily solve a problem using the most appropriate method.

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