Select an object with shadows.

In this lesson you will learn how to move an object to another background, retaining all the subtle and complex shadows from it.

Select an object with shadows.

Select an object with shadows.

The flower was specially photographed for this lesson. Under the light of a dim bulb (75 watts) so that all subtle and soft shadows are clearly visible. The background behind the object does not have to be white, but it should be relatively non-structured, that is, monophonic. This will prevent inaccuracies when transferring the shadow.

Select an object with shadows.

* The original image will be exactly the same size as the image with the object, as the background will be placed in the document with the image of the object with a shadow from it *

Step 1. Duplicate the layer.

Duplicate the layer. Drag it to the bottom, on the layers palette, to the “Create a new layer” image.

Select an object with shadows.

Or, do this by pressing Ctrl + J

Step 2. Using Gradient in quick mask mode.

From the light of the lamp we got the effect that the background is closer to the background is white, and further from it it turns into dark gray. We need to make a white, smooth color, but so as to keep the shadows from the flower.
Press the “D” key so that the colors in the palette become black and white.

1. Enter the quick mask mode (by clicking on the quick mask icon in the toolbar, or by pressing the “Q” key)

2. Select the Gradient G tool.

3. In the gradient settings, select a linear gradient and a color from basic (black) to transparent.

4. Drag the gradient from light to dark.

Select an object with shadows.

Exit the quick mask by clicking on the quick mask icon on the toolbar or the “Q” key. You have a selection. Without removing the selection, go ahead.

Step 3. Using levels to align the color tone on the background.

1. Without removing the selection, click on the icon in the layers palette. Select an object with shadows. (create a new adjustment layer). In it, select Levels.
2. Thus, the Gradient appeared in the Levels layer mask. This will allow us, by adjusting the Levels, to even out the background.
3. In the Levels window that appears, drag the white slider slightly to the left, and then drag the gray slider to the left.
4. Drag the slider until the background is almost the same white color.
5. The main thing is not to overdo it, we need the shadows to remain almost unchanged.
I got the following indicators in the settings:

Select an object with shadows.

Step 4. Selection of a flower without a shadow.

On the “Background (copy)” layer, in the quick mask mode, select the flower without shadow. Select it with a brush with 100% stiffness so that the edges are smooth. Remember that in black you paint a mask, in white you erase it if you suddenly climbed out of the edges.

Select an object with shadows.

Without leaving the mask, apply a Gaussian blur, I set a radius of 2.5 pixels.
Exit the quick “Q” mask. Invert the selection Shift + Ctrl + I. Make sure you are on a duplicate of the original layer (“Background (copy)”).
1. Add a mask layer by clicking on the mask icon at the bottom of the layers palette.
2. Move the resulting layer above the “Levels 1” layer.
3. Remove the link between the “Levels 1” layer and the masked layer by simply clicking on the chain between them.

Select an object with shadows.

Step 5. Using isogel.

Make active the “Levels 1” layer. Create a new adjustment layer, select Isohelium there. Set the brightness threshold to 255, we need the background to become black. Check the layout of the layers, you should have the same as in the picture.

Select an object with shadows.

Step 6. Shadow.

Go back to the “Level 1” layer. Create a new adjustment layer, select Levels in it. In Levels, move the white slider to the left, and then move the gray slider back a little. As a result, we should have a black shadow. Do not worry that not all background became white. We will remove the black spot in the upper right corner in the next step.

Select an object with shadows.

Step 7. We remove the dark places that do not belong to the shadow.

Go to the very first layer “Background”. Take a brush, the rigidity is better to put 0%, make sure that you have the main color White. And paint all black, that does not apply to the shadow.

Select an object with shadows.

In order not to remove excess in the shadows. Hide the Isohelium 1 layer. Increase the size of the brush and gently erase the excess.

Select an object with shadows.

Step 8. Import a new background.

We no longer need the “Isohelium” layer, so we will not return visibility to this layer.
Take a previously prepared, new background for our flower. Unlock it by renaming it to “Background”. And just drag from the layers palette to the flower document.

Select an object with shadows.

Place the “Background” layer above the “Levels 2” layer.

Step 9. Create a clipping mask.

In this step we will place the old background on top of the new.
For a start, we need to create a clipping mask for the old “Background” background.
To do this, while on the “Levels 1” layer, go to the menu \ layer \ create a clipping mask.
Repeat the same with the “Levels 2” layer. This will ensure that the new background stays the same as you move the “Levels” layers in the next step.

Select an object with shadows.

Step 10. Move the layers.

Unlock the “Background” layer by double-clicking on it, it will be renamed “Layer 0” by default. This will now allow you to move it in the layers palette.
Holding down the Ctrl key, select three layers: “Layer 0”, “Levels 1” and “Levels 2”; move these layers above the “Background” layer. The new “Background” will be replaced by the old, white background. We will fix this in the next step.

Select an object with shadows.

Step 11. Using blending modes.

In this step we will place our shadows on a new background.
Change the blending mode for Layer 0 to Multiplication (Multiply).

Select an object with shadows.

And to the layers “Levels” change the blending mode to Glow/ Screen (you can experiment, Soft light/ Soft Light doesn’t look too bad either.) You can also apply Brightness \ Contrast to these layers, if required

Select an object with shadows.

Step 12. Lighten the background.

In conclusion, we will make the background more bright in the distance, this will allow us to focus on the shadows.
Above the “Levels” layers, create a new adjustment layer, select “Levels”. Click Yes. Now take the Gradient, from black to transparent color and drag it upwards. Double-click on the “Layer 3” layer thumbnail, this will bring up the levels window. Move the gray slider to the left so that the background is brightened.

Select an object with shadows.

Well that’s all.

Select an object with shadows.

This technique will be extremely useful for photographers to make a complex high-quality montage of the image on a different background, with the transfer of all small and subtle shadows.

I hope you will succeed.

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