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Grounding Your Horse On Photoshop - The Shadow - Part 1
 By T W I   •   15th May 2011   •   6,070 views   •   9 comments
Floating horses in manipulations are a fairly common problem to have, especially with backgrounds where the ground isnít just a flat surface, but with grass, water, flowers, etc.

There are two main methods that I use to successfully banish this annoying problem.
#1 Adding a shadow
#2 Editing the ground around the horseís hooves, as to make it appear that the hooves are buried in foliage or the objects on the ground.

Software: Photoshop Elements | Skill level: Beginner

Shadows are caused by an object (In this case a horse) blocking out the sunís light, hence causing a patch where the light rays are not striking. Shadows should be made varyingly lighter or darker in accordance to just how bright the manip is.

If it has a darkish, evening setting, then the shadow should be very light, as there arenít many light waves traveling through the air to be blocked out. If the setting is light and sunny, then the shadow should be made darker, as to contrast the areas where the light isnít being blocked out.

We also need to know how to shape our shadow. There are two general types: A blob shadow and a detailed shadow. A blob shadow is simply an area of darkness shaped in a rough oval. Blob shadows are usually used in a manip when the sun is high in the sky, as light being blocked out from above wonít have as much of a definite shape as it would when coming straight-on. The higher up the sun is in the sky, the less distinct the shadow will be.

How To add shadows to a horse graphic

To make a blob shadow, take your marquee tool and feather it at 50 pixels. If the sun is directly above the horse in the sky, place the selection below the horse. If the sun is lower than the middle of the sky, make your selection somewhere off to the side of the horse, opposite of the sun. Think carefully about where the horseís body would block out the sun and cause a shadow to appear.

Make a new layer. Take a fuzzy black brush on 100% opacity and in one stroke, fill in the selection. If you lift your brush and do another stroke, the fuzziness of the borders, caused by the feathering, will be compromised somewhat.

How To add shadows to a horse graphic

Deselect (CTRL + D). Now pull down the opacity to whatever amount you think is appropriate. I usually go to about

Take a big, fuzzy eraser tool on 40% opacity and start erasing portions from the edge of your shadow in random places. Even if the sun is at its zenith in the sky, the shadow will still be slightly lumpy, reflecting the shape of the horse as oppose to a perfect ellipse. Donít take tiny pieces out of the shadow, but instead make large, shallow dents in it with your eraser.

If you are working with a snowscape, apply this last step. However if you are using any other type of terrain as your background, then you are done with the shadow.

Go to filters - noise - add noise. Check the box that says ďuniformĒ and the box that says ďmonochromaticĒ. This will add a sprinkling of white dots to your shadow, making it more realistic. Place the amount slider at whatever strength you think looks realistic.

Now your shadow will look like it is resting on freshly fallen snow that is glittering in the sunlight.

How To add shadows to a horse graphic

How To add shadows to a horse graphic
Horse News More In This Category:  Graphics      Horse News More From This Author:  T W I
Breaking Free  
Excuse me, does this also work on GIMP or SplashUp? These pictures are beautiful by the way.
  May 15, 2011  •  3,904 views
 
Simplicity  
Nice picture
Annoyed now- I have GIMP instead:/
  May 16, 2011  •  3,794 views
 
Emma Watson  
Luv this!!!!!!!! soo coool
  May 16, 2011  •  3,829 views
 
T E M P E S T  
Great article!
  May 16, 2011  •  3,841 views
 
Labyrinth  
Thanks for the article! Tails have finally clicked, now onto this! =)
  May 16, 2011  •  3,901 views
 
lovehorse  
Excellent article!
  May 17, 2011  •  3,793 views
 
kingfisher  
Really good to know!
  May 17, 2011  •  3,793 views
 
Mystic56  
Does the version of photoshop affect the work???
  20 days ago  •  3,833 views
 
GoinGoingGone  
Thanks for the post!
  5 days ago  •  3,849 views
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