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One of the most challenging tasks in Photoshop is combining items from several images with varied colors, shadows, and lighting into a single composite that looks realistic. This is one of the main differences between professional and amateur designers’ work.

Photoshop teacher unmesh dinda from Piximperfect has created a comprehensive lesson that demonstrates how to make realistic shadows and match the lighting when compositing in Photoshop. You will learn how to paint, tint, and blur shadows with realism.

create a perfect composite in photoshop

1. Open Cup.jpg in Photoshop. In the Layers panel rename the default layer named “Background” to “Coffee cup” by double-clicking it.

2. Duplicate the “Coffee cup” layer by dragging it on the Create a new layer icon.

3. Enter Select and Mask mode: Choose Select > Select and Mask.

create a perfect composite in photoshop
create a perfect composite in photoshop

Create a mask

4. In the Properties panel that appears, choose View On Black. In the mini tool palette at left, choose the Quick Selection Tool brush and adjust brush size and hardness from the top palette.

5. Paint inside the cup and click OK

create a perfect composite in photoshop 2
create a perfect composite in photoshop 2

6. Based on your selection add a layer mask by clicking on the Add layer mask icon. The mask is indicated by a white hole where you painted, to the “Coffee cup copy” layer.

7. Open Ocean.jpg. To add it to cup document, choose Select All then Copy. Select the Cup.jpg document again and Paste.

8. Clip the ocean image (Layer 1) to the mask on the layer below, by creating a clipping mask: Alt+click between the layers or right-click Layer 1 and select Create Clipping Mask.


In this video, you will also learn how to match the color, the ambient light, and the direct sunlight in the new background with that of the subject. It’s all a combination of Curves and Blend Modes! I hope this lesson helps you. Thank you so much for watching 🙂


00:00 Extracting vs. Painting Shadows

01:11 Downloads and Resources

01:20 Getting the Composite Ready

04:18 Creating the Shadow

11:04 Coloring the Shadow

13:45 Get the Right Blur

15:44 Don’t Forget the Ground!

17:24 Contact Point Shadow

20:21 Add Little Darkness From the Shadows

21:53 Matching Ambient Light

22:54 Matching Brightness

24:16 Adding Additional Warmth

25:45 A Small Correction

26:21 The See-Through Shadow

27:42 Enhancing Shadows on the Subject

29:27 Darkening Subject Shadows to Add Dimension

30:47 Final Adjustment!

31:51 Oops! Don’t Miss This Tiny Matching Factor!

32:57 Recap

34:52 Outro

If you really enjoyed this, you may want to step up your skills with more information about the world of design you can read more about it on our website we offer to you all our knowledge to guides to be master in a design you can begin with this article How to learn web design (in 6 step process)

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