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Creating a Drop Shadow

To make the blob from the last lesson really fit into the scene, it needs a drop shadow. You will make one by using a Brightness node that will be limited to the area of the blob's mask.

Start Shake.

Choose File > Open Script.

Navigate to the Lesson05/scripts folder and choose blob_pt1.shk, or select the script that you saved from the previous lesson and click OK.

Your script opens up in the Node workspace.

Park the Time Bar at frame 18.

This is a good frame to add the shadow.

Insert a Brightness node from the Color tab between the bathroom clip and the Layer1 node.

Drag a noodle from the output of the Inside1 node to the right side of the Brightness1 node.

An M appears on the side of the node. This is the Mask input.

In the Brightness1 node, click on the + to the left of the Mask control to expand the Mask parameters.

You can apply a mask to any operation by dragging the output of a node to the right side of a second node. That node will only process within the white areas of the channel you specify. When a node has a mask applied to it, new parameters will appear in the Parameters workspace, letting you activate the mask, invert the mask, and control the mask's strength.

The other way to apply a mask to a node is through the Mask Create function. When you click on the RotoShape pull-down menu next to Mask:Create, you have six mask creation options that will automatically create a node and connect it to the Mask input of the node you are editing.

Look at the Alpha channel in the Viewer.

The Brightness1 node will use this mask when creating the drop shadow.

While viewing the Layer1 node, look at the RGB channels in the Viewer and turn the value parameter in the Brightness1 node to a value of 0.

Only the area behind the blob darkens because you haven't positioned the shadow yet.

Insert a Move2D between Inside1 and Brightness1 by selecting the Inside1 node and then clicking the Move2D tool from the Transform tab. You will notice that the Move2D2 node is connected with both the Brightness1 and Layer1 nodes. To bypass the Move2D2 node connection to Layer1, click and drag from the output of the Inside1 node to the left input of the Layer1 node.

View the Layer1 node and edit the Move2D2 node.

Use the On-Screen controls to move the shadow down a bit so that you can see it.

The shadow is really dark right now, but it's best to leave it this way while you are positioning it. Afterwards, you can lighten up the shadow.

Set the xScale to 1.2 and yScale to .10.

Use the On-Screen controls to place the shadow under the blob's feet. Use the horizontal crosshair or the sliders in the Move2D2 node to do this.

Turn off the On-Screen controls for a moment to get a better look at the shadow.

The shadow needs just a wee bit of softness.

Insert a Blur node from the Filter tab between the Move2D2 node and the Brightness1 node.

Set the xPixels value to about 35.

Did you notice that the yPixels value was automatically set? Shake is always making life easier for you.

Drag the Time Bar to view the composite and end on frame 31.

Two problems have reared their ugly heads. The first is the shadow's position. Its placement should animate over time. Second, the shadow appears over the door frame at the end of the composite, and it should be placed inside the mask of the door. You can fix the shadow over the door by using another Inside node.

Place an Inside node between the Blur1 node and the Mask input of the Brightness1 node.

Connect another output of the RotoShape1 node to the top input of the Inside2 node.

The shadow now appears only within the bathroom door.

Double-click on the Layer1 node and drag the Time Bar to view what you've done so far.



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