Shadows and Highlights in Affinity Photo for Stunning Results

If you’re looking to create stunning images with Affinity Photo, then learning how to use shadows and highlights is a must. These can be used to add depth and dimension to your photos, making them look more realistic than ever before. In this tutorial, we will show you how to use shadows and highlights in Affinity Photo, so that you can create amazing photos that stand out from the crowd!

What are shadows and highlights?

Shadows and highlights are simply the dark and light areas in an image, respectively. By manipulating these areas, you can change the overall tone and mood of a photo. Shadows and highlights can be used to add depth, create contrast, or even make an object appear larger or smaller.

Shadows and highlights in Affinity Photo allow you to adjust the brightness of an image. This can be done by either lightening or darkening the shadows and highlights.

They can be applied as a non-destructive and live filter, meaning that you can always go back and adjust the settings if you’re not happy with the results.

How to create a shadow?

There are many ways to create shadows in Affinity Photo. This is a common method you can use, especially after combining two images and you wish to draw a shadow to makes your image look more realistic:

  • Make sure that the subject layer is selected.
  • Duplicate the layer you want to apply the shadows to by pressing Ctrl + J.
  • To turn it upside down, click on the Arrange menu and select Flip Vertical. Move the layer using the Move Tool until it is positioned underneath the subject.
  • To fix the perspective of the shadow, apply a Perspective Live Filter Layer to the layer. Use the control handles to bend the shape into perspective.
  • Press Ctrl + J to duplicate the layer and rasterize the layer in order to create a selection.
  • Right click on the desired layer to create a selection.
  • Create a new pixel layer and label it as “Shadow”, choose a shadow colour and paint it onto the selected area using the Paint Brush Tool.
  • Next, change the blend mode to Multiply and turn off the picture in the background.
  • Here, you can change the opacity, gradient and blur as per your requirement.

By following these simple steps, you can easily add depth and dimension to your photos. So what are you waiting for? Start experimenting with shadows today!

How to create a drop shadow

Outer shadows are used to create the illusion of depth and dimension on text or objects. In Affinity Photo, outer shadows are created using the Layer Effects panel.

To add an outer shadow to your text or object:

  • Select the layer you want to add the outer shadow to in the Layers panel.
  • Click on the Fx icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and choose Outer Shadow from the list of layer effects.
  • Adjust the settings in the Layer Effects panel to your liking.
  • Click Close when you’re done.

And that’s it! You’ve successfully added an outer shadow to your text or object. Now let’s explore the different settings:

  • Color- try different colors to see what works best with your photo
  • Opacity- play around with the opacity until you find the perfect transparency balance
  • Blend Mode- experiment with different blend modes to see what effect it has on your photo.
  • Radius- the radius determines the spread of the shadow. A larger radius will create a softer shadow, while a smaller radius will create a sharper shadow.
  • Angle- the angle determines the direction of the shadow.
  • Offset- the offset determines the distance of the shadow from the object.
  • Angle- the angle determines the direction of the shadow.
  • Fill knocks out shadow– In the case that the object’s fill is semi-transparent, choosing this option would prevent the effect from showing through the fill.

There you have it! These are just some of the ways you can use shadows and highlights in Affinity Photo to create stunning results.

How to remove shadows?

Shadows can be removed by using a couple steps listing below,

Initially we need to adjust the Curves of the image in order to brighten up the image.

  • First, select the Adjustment icon to apply the Curves adjustment. Alternatively it can be done by the short Command + M(Mac) or Control + M(Windows).
  • Click and drag the white line appearing at the middle of the window which is termed as theSpline“. Increasing the spine will brighten up the image and decreasing it would darken the image.

The shadow is then removed successfully.

In the case that the picture is very bright, we should apply some other features and adjust it. This process is called “Paint it on”.

  • Invert the adjustment by selecting Command I (Mac) or Control I (Windows).
  • Select the Paint Brush Tool and adjust the size based on your requirement.
  • Remember to check whether the Hardness on the top of the toolbar appears 0% and and color of the color palette is white.
  • You can paint the adjustment as per your requirement to enhance the picture to a better look.

Since the picture is quite bright as we brighten the image in the above steps, it’s time to Blend the ranges.

  • Make sure the curves adjustment is chosen and select the Gear icon appearing in the Layers Panel on the right side.
  • Now, drag the handle of the graph to adjust the image.

You may now remove shadows using the techniques shown above!

How to create highlights to make the image look realistic and bright according to the light source?

To create highlights according to your light source, you need to take the following steps:

Initially, draw a rectangle all over the picture whereas the gradient tool can be used to adjust the settings accordingly.

You can change the blend mode appearing on the right window to any mode(here I choose soft light) and move the gradient line to the location where you want to highlight.

Use the Saturation, Color and Gradient options appearing in the top bar to adjust the highlights as per your requirement.

The picture looks more realistic with the highlights.

You can now create highlights in Affinity Photo using the techniques shown above! You can add realism and brightness to your photos by following these simple instructions. Thanks for reading!

How to enhance the shadows and highlights

Shadows and highlight filter is used to enhance the shadows and highlights in an image. It’s a good idea to use this filter when you want to bring out details in both the shadows and highlights of an image.

To apply the Shadows/Highlights filter:

  • Go to Filter > Adjustments > Shadows/Highlights.
  • In the Shadows/Highlights dialog box, adjust the Shadows and Highlights settings to taste.
  • Click OK when you’re done.

This filter provides various other options embedded in the filter dialog as discussed below,

  • Version- Affinity Photo provides you with the option to choose the version of this filter. The default version is 1.7 but 1.6 is the classic version of this filter.
  • Shadows Strength- The shadows strength corresponds to the amount of darkness that will be added to the shadows.
  • Highlights Strength- The highlights strength corresponds to the amount of lightness that will be added to the highlights.
  • Shadows Range- The shadows range defines the tones in the image that will be affected by the shadows strength.
  • Highlights Range- The highlights range defines the tones in the image that will be affected by the highlights strength.

Types of filters available

Filters are used to process the image and give it a desired look. Affinity Photo provides its users with various filters which can be found under the Filter menu. Some of these filters are:

  • Blur
  • Sharpen
  • Distort
  • Noise
  • Detect
  • Colors
  • Astrophotography
  • Lighting/Tonal

How to Apply a Live Filter

Live Filter is used to applying creative effects to your images whilst retaining the ability to modify the effect settings or remove the effect altogether. The filter is added to the active layer, similar to applying Adjustment Layers.

Live filter can be applied by using the following steps,

  • Open Affinity Photo and click on “Live Filters” from the Layers panel.
  • Layers menu will appear and select “New Live Filter“.

That’s it! You have successfully applied a live filter to your image. Affinity Photo provides its users with various filters which can be found under the Filter menu.

Affinity Photo’s Shadows/Highlights filter is a great way to bring out detail in both the shadows and highlights of an image. By adjusting the Shadows and Highlights settings, you can easily enhance your photo. So go ahead and give it a try! You may be surprised at the results.


We discussed about Affinity Photo Shadows, Highlights, the ways to create a shadow, create a drop shadow, remove shadow, creating highlights and some tips to enhance the shadows and highlights. Affinity Photo is a great tool to create stunning results. go forth and experiment with different settings and techniques to see what works best for your photo. Thanks for reading!

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