Paint Shop Pro Tutorial: Backlight Effect

This is a Paint Shop Pro tutorial on how to create a backlight effect for your pictures. This will include both creating the light for your image, as well as casting basic shadows for objects in front of the light.

Step 1 - Create Your Fill Color

From a new image, choose the Floodfill option and select a color of your choice. Make sure the Gradient tab is selected in the Style box of the Fill Settings for your Floodfill. For the purposes of this tutorial, have your highlights set to the center, and make sure that the Link Center And Focal Points box is checked. When you click OK, you will have a gradient background with a bright center and darker, circular edges.

Step 2 - Light Source Settings

Select Illumination Effects from the Effects drop down menu, and from there select Light to get the Light Source Dialogue Box. You can play with the settings however you like until the light appears to match your background, but the following standards will be used for this tutorial.

With Light Source 1 selected, set the Darkness to 72. Set Intensity to 40, Direction to 180, Vertical to -30, Smoothness to 67, Cone Size to 56, and Asymmetry to 186.

Step 3 - Adding Your Objects

Select New Raster Layer from the Layers drop down menu and add any objects you want to this new layer. The objects can be figures, text, shapes, etc. Place the objects so that they are in front of the light. Press Control+D (or Command+D on the Mac) to deselect the object.

Step 4 - Adding Your Mirror Image

Duplicate the object by selecting Duplicate from the Layers drop down menu. Choose Flip from the Image drop down menu; your duplicated layer should flip upside down. Choose the selection tool and press Control+A (or Command+A for the Mac), then click anywhere on the screen to make a selection of your flipped image. Drag the flipped image down so the feet match up with the feet of the original image, essentially creating a mirror image with the original.

Step 5 - Turn Your Mirror Image Into A Shadow

Lower the opacity of the mirror image. How low you go is your choice, though 25 should be good for an average shadow. Bring up the Raster Deform Tool by pressing D. Hold down the Shift key, and drag out the bottom left corner (known as a node) a little to the left, and drag the bottom right corner a little to the right. This will stretch the top of the image wider. Then, release the Shift key and drag the middle node on the bottom downward a bit to give the impression of a long shadow on the ground.

That's all there is to it. Repeat steps 3 through 5 for more objects, stretching the shadows in the appropriate directions for their objects.

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