Workflow Friday

Photoshop Workflows

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Add about a 4px Gaussian Blur to the shadow layer.
  10. 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):

Shadow/Reflection Photoshop Tutorial

Give it a try and if you come up with anything cool, send it along and I’ll post it here on the blog!

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