For this edition of my Photoshop Workflow series, I thought I would walk you through the steps to add a nice shadow/reflection to a product shot. It’s something that I’ve done a number of times at work for both our website graphics and marketing email campaigns. Because of time, I’ll only have the final image but hopefully the description will sufice.
- Isolate your product from its background and place it in a new document. If you’ve placed it in the new document it should be a Smart Object already, if you just dragged it over, convert it to a smart object for the added flexibility and preservation of the image. In this instance, we’re looking at a new Nfinity Volleyball Shoe that we’re selling so I had both the standard shot as well as the shot of the outsole to work with, which will make the reflection more believeable later on.
- If you are going to use the same image of the product as the reflection, duplicate the layer using Cmd/Ctrl+J. Select the version that is lower in the layer stack and go to Free Transform (Cmd/Ctr+T) and flip it vertically and align shift it down so that it lines up below the primary “right-side-up” version of the image.
- Lower the opacity of the upside-down image to around 40%. Add a layer mask to this same layer and with your linear gradient set to “Black to White” grag from the bottom edge of the product to where it meets the right-side-up version. If you like, you can also add a slight Gaussian Blur to it as well.
- To see the effect, using the Rectangle Tool, create a black box below both layers so that the top edge of the box falls part of the way up the original version of the product – be sure to make it far enough up so it looks like the object is sitting on a surface but not too high that the edge is not above the object.
- At this stage we’re going to add a little more flair to it to really make it stand out. On a new layer above the reflection and below the object, use the Eliptical Marquee Tool – or the Elipse Tool – to create an oval around the base of the product and fill it with white. Convert it to a Smart Object and blur it quite a bit to make it look like a spotlight is shining on the product. And reduce the opacity of this layer to about 80% or so – to your taste.
- Duplicate the layer you just created and reduce the size a little, while holding down Option/Alt+Shift to create a hot spot in the middle of the spotlight.
- Duplicate the product shot one more time and select the copy that is directly above the spotlight layers. Add a black Color Overlay Layer Effect to this layer.
- Go into Free Transform and grab the middle handle on the top of the product shot and drag down so it shows up beneath the object – you may need to do some warping/skewing/etc. to get it to fall properly and look right.
- Add about a 4px Gaussian Blur to the shadow layer.
- Add a Layer Mask to the shadow layer and using the edge of a fairly large, soft-edged brush paint with black a couple of times along the edges of the shadow so it will appear that the shadow falls off a little, in a more realistic way.
And the finall shot will look something like this (with a few added touches):
Give it a try and if you come up with anything cool, send it along and I’ll post it here on the blog!