tracking Shadows


I think I’m going off the board here but I can’t figure out anywhere else to post this question.

But is there a tutorial that teaches how to track shadows? Or maybe there’s a photoshop/painter “cheat” where I can turn a selection into a shadow casted on a plane. I was thinking selecting and resizing and stretching… but it doesn’t seem to work as well as I hope.

I’ve tried drawing straight lines from points of a drawing to a plane on the ground buuuut… I think I’m doing my perspective wrong ;p… since I don’t see any 1-3 point perspective to be able to put into play here. I think there’s a correct way to do it, I just havn’t found a tutorial on it.

What I’m looking for is a hard edge shadow where you can identify the object without seeing it by having an exact silhouette (deformed of course to the angle of the light). Being a dynamic figure pose or an intricate pattern.

Thanks ahead.



This should help you with lighting and shadows:


There’s a tutorial in the thread linked below that explains how to make a 2 point perspective grid in Painter (and it could also be used for one point or 3 point perspective):

hot to make perspective grids?

In Painter, you can create a drop shadow, then distort it. I’d suggest practicing this on a copy of your image until you feel comfortable with the technique:

  1. Create the object on a Layer.

  2. With the Layer highlighted in the Layers list, use Effects > Objects > Create Drop Shadow and type the appropriate numbers. (You might want to take the defaults first to see how it looks, then redo it if necessary.)

  3. In the Layers list, you’ll see that the Layer and Shadow are now in a Group. Click the triangle next to the Group name to expand the Group.

  4. Highlight Shadow, then use Effects > Orientation > Distort and drag the bounding box handles to distort the Shadow, then click the OK button.

  5. If you need to, with the Shadow still highlighted in the Layers list, you can adjust the Shadow’s Opacity by moving the Opacity slider at the top of the Layers palette.

TIP: Once your Shadow is distorted the way you want it, you can change the Shadow color or fill it with a Pattern to get some interesting effects. To do that, highlight Shadow in the Layers list and click the Preserve Transparency box at the top of the Layers list so only the Shadow is changed and the transparent background remains unchanged. Then pick a color or Pattern and use Effects > Fill.


Wow, the effect is exactly what I’m looking for, except I can’t match the shadow to the image >.> . For example if I try to make a shadow for a table only one of the legs will be connected to the shadow, the other 3 will be floating. I don’t suppose there’s a way to fix that is there? Thanks for the cool shadow effect.


ooops silly me, looks like I can fix the problem if I just distort one leg at a time… But I don’t think I can use this trick to make a shadow for something more complicated.



For oddly shaped shadows, you might try drawing the odd parts with the Lasso tool, then using the Point to Point Cloning feature to paint in the remaining shadow.

To do Point to Point Cloning, choose the Cloners’ Straight Cloner variant, make sure the Clone Color icon is depressed (at the bottom of the Color palette, hold down the Alt/Option key, click in the existing shadow to designate the Clone Source area, then paint in the Clone Destination area to add shadow.

Or, you could just draw your Shadow with the Pen tool, convert the Shape to a selection (Shapes > Convert to Selection), then paint inside the selection using the Airbrushes’ Digital Airbrush variant.

I’m sure you’ll find a way to do it and using the methods described in my previous message, most of the time it should be fairly fast.

Good luck,


Alright, I’ll give it a go. As always you’ve been a great help again Jinny.


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