A 3-D shadow is very impressive and creates a remarkable image. And if it is done smoothly the outcome speaks for itself. The wonderful outcome can be achieved with a little rendering. Multifaceted as it may sound, but it’s the final result that elicits ‘Wow factor’.

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There is a major difference between a reflection and a shadow. While the shadow is dark and dense, reflections are more transparent. About a couple of years ago when reflections started to become more common for graphic guys to use it the saying went ‘if you are not reflection’, you’re not designing’. Many new web logos have smart reflection shadow to impress the viewer. They have become so ubiquitous that using them imaginatively still makes one look a little longer at the images. Apple has used them for their iTunes and it has become a major hit. The reflections can highlight not only the object but also its environment if used well. There are many editors who are using their creativity on the web to produce some cool reflections with the graphic programs. It has now become a heady mixture of glassy look, spatial reflections, and drop shadows. The trend now is to mix and match some features to innovative the look.

The straight approach to make a reflection shadow is to flip the image horizontally. It becomes a mirror of itself. But the job does not end here. A reflection is not just a flipped version of the image. It can be put at an angle for a better effect. Depending on the background and other aspects of the image the treatment is done. Just rotating or making a vertical effect is not sufficient. This will not even give the entire reflection. The matching angle does the trick. An identical layer is created to give the effect. A simple reflection can be created with a white background. If the background is dark or even transparent the effect will not show to its fullest capacity. The identical or duplicate layer that has been created has to be made into raster format. A reflective image is not perfect. Hence with the help of the perspective tool some more work is done. This will make it look more authentic. A quick mask can then be used to position it at the correct angle. Maybe the editor will also need to use the gradient tool. This is also used for drop shadows. The bottom part (i.e. the area where the reflection is being created), needs to be more transparent. While the quick mask is still available, a gradient can be created. Once the look has been created, the quick mask can be abandoned. A shadow of this reflection can be created. A shadow can be darker or lighter than the original object.

There are more ways to get the reflective shadow appear in an image. One can make basic reflections to more authentic water reflection, try the same on a pair of sunglasses in summer-the effect is mind blowing, a glassy look, illusion of a shadow dancing, bubbles, glossy reflective effect, neon glowing effect, floating illustration etc.  One of the most magical ways to show off jewelry is via reflections. It is an attractive feature that helps users to buy these exquisite products.

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Rokaiya Yeasmin Munni

As manager and head of digital marketing at Clipping Path India, Rokaiya wants to help retailers and photographers use marketing strategies and tactics that will elevate their business. She has an 18-year background in graphic design, content management and digital marketing.

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