Add a shadow for the text in Photoshop

In this tutorial, you will learn how to add letter shadow using Photoshop tools such as the Transform tool and the Gradient Overlay layer style.

To be able to create shadows in Photoshop, a very important skill that will be useful to you in many areas of digital art.

This lesson will not take you much time, but you can successfully apply the acquired skills to various objects. The lesson is simple and more suitable for beginners to master the program Photoshop.

Let’s start!

Step 1

Working with the shadow will be much easier if you remember a few simple rules and follow them.

1) Light source.
Before working with the shadow, you must determine or choose the source of light. This can be one or several sources of light. Each light source creates a shadow for all surrounding objects.

2) Light characteristics.
Before you start working, you should pay attention to the direction of the light, the distance of the light source from the object, the intensity of the light, and so on.

Let’s experiment with a simple example.
Create a new document of any size. Fill the background layer with # a59d87. On top of the background, create a new layer and write free text. Font color use # e4ddc6.

As you can see, the text and the background, uniform in color, have no transitions, which means we can imagine that at this stage there is no light source.

Step 2

Consider the first option, in which the light source is located in the direction of the text (imagine that the light falls from the viewer on the text).
Remember: the intensity of the light source and the distance of the object from the source determine the length and saturation of the shadow cast!

Change the background according to the selected lighting. Stand on the background layer, unlock it, go to Layer Style and add Overlaygradient (Gradient Overlay). Settings can be applied such as shown in the figure below. Also change the color of the text – make it 1-3 tones lighter.

To create a shadow, copy the text layer. Rename the original layer to “Shadow.” Rasterize the “Shadow” text layer. Activate the tool Transform (Transform tool) and reduce letter size by 60% in height. Set the reference point when scaling as shown in the screenshot.

Switch to Editing – Transforming – Perspective (Edit – Transform -Perspective Tool). Distort the shadow so that it lies on the surface.

Lower the fill of the shadow layer to 0%. Switch to Layer style (Layer Style) and add to the “Shadow” layer Gradient overlay (Gradient Overlay).

In order for the shadow to look more natural, let’s make it softer. Switch to Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur). You can also correct the background. If you think that the background is too light (or dark), it’s enough to stand on the background layer, go to the Layer Style parameters and experiment with the opacity of the superimposed gradient.
Shadow is ready!

Step 3

Consider the second option. Imagine that the light source is located behind the text.
Stand on the background layer and go to the options Layer Style – Gradient Overlay (Layer Style- Gradient Overlay). We will use the gradient, the same as in the previous version, all you need to do is put a tick “Inversion“(Reverse).

Let’s start adding the shadow. Copy text layer. Rename the original layer to “Shadow.” Rasterize the original layer. Switch to Editing – Transform – Flip Vertically (Edit – Transform -Perspective Tool – Flip Vertical).

Next, repeat step # 2:
-lower the fill of the shadow layer to 0%
– go to Layer Style
– add a gradient overlay (gradient overlay)
– soften the shadow using Gaussian Blur
Stand on the original text layer and add a Layer Style – Gradient Overlay layer to it to darken the bottom of the letters.
As a result, you will get a similar image:

We considered only two lighting options. Of course, light can propagate from various points, for example, from the right corner. In this case, all you have to do is distort the shadow using the tools Transformations (Tilt, Perspective, Distortion (Skew, Perspective, Distort)).

In this lesson is over. Good luck to you practice!

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